Today’s political headlines include Watson’s warning that more MPs will defect if Labour fails to change, the five Tories that could join the new group and Gauke’s calls to axe short prison sentences.
Watson warns more MPs will defect if Labour fails to change
As The Guardian reports, yesterday seven Labour MPs including Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna left the party to form a new Independent Group. Berger warned that Labour had become ‘sickeningly institutionally racist’, while Umunna claimed it was ‘time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics’. In the aftermath of the schism, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said that he sometimes ‘no longer recognises’ his own party and called for a Cabinet reshuffle, while Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called on the MPs to ‘do the honourable thing’ and fight by-elections.
Five Tories could join new group
According to The Daily Telegraph, a Conservative minister and four backbenchers ‘appear poised’ to join the Independent Group. The unnamed minister told the paper that the group was made up of ‘remarkably sensible people’. Other potential defectors it identifies include Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen and Nick Boles.
Gauke calls for short prison sentences to be axed
The Guardian reports that Justice Secretary David Gauke used a speech to call for short prison sentences to be axed, asking why the Government should ‘spend taxpayers’ money doing what we know doesn’t work, and indeed, makes us less safe?’ Instead, he suggested the use of community orders, tagging and mandatory treatment, such as for alcohol issues.
Cox and Barclay to seek changes to agreement
The Sun says that Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay are to present the EU with new Brexit proposals tomorrow. Lawyers from both sides will consider what changes could be made, either to the agreement or as ‘additional promises’ to secure MPs’ support. However, the Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney yesterday ruled out supporting even ‘keyhole surgery’ to the agreement.
Honda announces closure of Swindon plant
The Financial Times reports that Honda is to announce the closure of its Swindon plant, causing the potential loss of 3,500 jobs. Local MP Justin Tomlinson said that the decision was ‘because of global trends’ but Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable claimed that ‘Brexit uncertainty is weighing on the company’.
Cabinet split over Huawei
The Times says that three Cabinet ministers are ‘at odds’ over the security risk posed by the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei. The Commons Science and Technology Committee wrote to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Wright over a month ago, but their reply has been delayed because Williamson initially wished to write a separate more robust response.
Ministers tell May to stop threatening a no-deal Brexit
The Guardian claims that four Cabinet ministers have told Theresa May to stop using the threat of a no-deal Brexit as a negotiating tactic. Amber Rudd, Greg Clark, David Gauke and David Mundell used a meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday to claim that businesses need certainly.
Labour readmits Hatton
The Daily Mirror reports that Labour has decided to readmit Derek Hatton as a member over 30 years after he was expelled from the party for being a member of the hard-left Militant tendency. As deputy leader of Liverpool City Council, Hatton was responsible for setting an illegal budget and sending council workers redundancy notices by taxi.
Don’t miss a single announcement – Vuelio Political Services clients found out which MPs quit yesterday, as they quit.