Today’s Political Headlines – 22 November 2017

A round-up of the latest political headlines, including the big Budget day stories, Brexit divorce agreement deadline and Kezia Dugdale on ‘I’m a Celebrity’. 

Budget: Last minute briefing as Downing Street takes control
This morning’s Daily Telegraph reports that 10 Downing Street took control of a last minute Budget briefing, as it is worried that the statement will ‘fall flat’. The paper quotes a Cabinet source who described it as ‘the worst Budget build-up in history’, as the Treasury first issued an ‘uninspiring’ statement and claimed that no policy announcements would be made, before performing a U-turn over two hours later. According to The Sun, May cannot sack Philip Hammond as Chancellor as ‘she fears she is too weak’.

Budget: More funding for schools and house-building measures
The Times reports that schools are to be paid £600 for each extra pupil they persuade to sits Maths A-level, with teachers in poorly-performing areas to benefit from £1,000 career development grants. The paper also expects measures to increase house-building, including direct state intervention (including a land-buying programme) and loosened borrowing restrictions for councils.

Budget: Veterans to get funding from LIBOR fines
In an exclusive, The Sun says that the Chancellor is to announce that veterans will benefit from £4.5m of fines from bankers as a result of the LIBOR scandal. £1.5m will be allocated to fund a new support programme by the charity Help For Heroes, whilst the Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research will be given £2.95m. In total, over £30m in funding from the fines will be allocated today.

EU and UK aim to reach Brexit divorce deal within three weeks
The UK and the EU are aiming to reach a Brexit divorce deal within three weeks, according to the Financial Times. Negotiators have apparently pencilled in the week of December 4 as a breakthrough moment, with senior EU diplomats suggesting that there is ‘now a better than even chance of agreement’ on ‘sufficient progress’ at the EU summit in December.

Kezia Dugdale avoids ‘I’m a Celebrity’ suspension
Former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has avoided being suspended by her party, according to an article in The Daily Telegraph. The party’s MSP group ruled that Dugdale would not be suspended despite taking ‘an unauthorised leave of absence’ to appear on the TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and would instead be interviewed on her return.

Hinkley Point power station deal to hit poorest hardest, report says
The Guardian carries details of a report by the Public Accounts Committee, which has found that the price the Government has promised to pay for power from the new Hinckley Point C power station will add £10-15 to the average household energy bill, hitting the poorest households the hardest.

Brexit rebels force Government climbdown
The Times reports on the progress of the EU Withdrawal Bill through Parliament yesterday. Conservative rebels, led by Dominic Grieve, forced the Government to announce that it would attempt to find a compromise on plans to remove the right of citizens to sue the Government, and on protecting citizens’ rights outlined in the EU’s charter of fundamental rights.

Conservative claims over police budget protection ‘a lie’ says Mirror
The Mirror claims that Theresa May’s boast that the Government had ‘protected’ police budgets is ‘a lie’. It reports research by the House of Commons showing a £413m cut in police force funding. Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh said the cuts were ‘a threat to public safety’, whilst the Government did not deny the accuracy of the figures.


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Today’s Political Headlines – 10 November 2017

A round-up of the latest political headlines, including Penny Mordaunt’s appointment, the Brexit date, Northern Ireland’s status in the customs union and David Cameron’s lobbying. 

Penny Mordaunt appointed as International Development Secretary
Penny Mordaunt, previously minister for disabled people, has been appointed as the new International Development Secretary, following Priti Patel’s resignation. The Times says the appointment keeps the balance between leave and remain supporters in the cabinet, and suggests that it was a ‘consolation prize’ after Mordaunt emerged as a front-runner for the post of Defence Secretary last week.


European Commission calls for Northern Ireland to remain in customs union
The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times break the story that a European Commission document shows that Ireland wants ‘concrete reassurance’ on the issue of the Irish border before the next EU leaders’ summit in December. It appears to require that the UK remains in a customs union with the EU, or that Northern Ireland has a special status and remains in a customs union, creating a trade border between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland. A negotiator quoted in the Financial Times described Ireland’s stance as a ‘wild card’ factor.


Brexit date to be set in law
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Theresa May has announced an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, setting the date and time of the UK’s departure from the European Union as March 29, 2019 at 11pm GMT. Looking ahead to the next stage of the bill’s scrutiny in the House of Commons, she promises to listen to MPs who suggest improvements.


Budget news: Hammond refuses to loosen the purse springs, plans NHS spending increase and taxes on diesel cars
According to the Daily Mail, the Chancellor is refusing release billions of pounds for investment and won’t compromise on plans to eliminate the budget deficit by 2025, causing frustration for the Prime Minister. The Times reports that Hammond is planning to include more funding for the NHS in the budget. It says that the Chancellor is considering both ‘a cash injection’ and a pay boost for frontline workers. The Financial Times says that higher taxes will be placed on sales of new diesel vehicles, either by increasing VAT or creating a new levy.


Calls for cabinet reshuffle, amid ‘fierce debate’ in Downing Street
A story in The Guardian claims that senior figures in the Conservative party are calling for a ‘bold reshuffle’ of Theresa May’s cabinet, arguing that a ‘new generation’ of Conservative MPs need to be promoted. Others, including civil servants and whips, are warning that this might cause instability.


David Cameron lobbied China over planned investment fund
The Times reveals that David Cameron discussed a ‘UK-China fund’ being set up by figures including Lord Chadlington, a Conservative peer, with Chinese vice-premier Ma Kai during a visit to the country. If the fund is set up, the paper reports that Cameron is considering taking a role. As the fund does not currently exist, he did not need to seek official clearance.


Carwyn Jones may face investigation over handling of harassment allegations
The Guardian says that Carwyn Jones, the Welsh First Minister, may face an investigation over his handling of the allegations against Carl Sargeant, who was found dead after being sacked last week. Separately, The Daily Telegraph reports that John Bercow, the Commons speaker, has said that Charlie Elphicke, the suspended Tory MP, should be given the details of the allegations against him.


Metropolitan police chief calls for tougher sentences for young offenders
The Daily Mail carries remarks made by Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, in which she called for tougher sentences for young offenders, which would ‘actually deter people’. She was speaking to the Howard league for Penal Reform, whose Chief Executive, Frances Crook said that ‘it is unusual for a police officer to comment on areas outside their expertise, like sentencing’.


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Today’s Political Headlines – 9 November 2017

A round-up of the latest political headlines from the UK’s media, including Priti Patel’s resignation, a Brexit ‘crisis’, the sexual harassment scandal and Corbyn’s call for sprinklers. 

Priti Patel resigns amid unauthorised meetings scandal
Yesterday evening Priti Patel resigned as International Development Secretary, having been summoned back to London by Theresa May following further revelations about her authorised meetings with Israeli officials. The BBC explains the scandal, whilst The Times says that friends of Patel believe that the story was leaked by the Foreign Office to kill off an attempt by her to change Government policy towards Israel. The Daily Telegraph reports that allies of Patel claim that she is ‘livid’ and ‘could do some pretty hard damage’ to the Government from the backbenches.


EU leaders fear Government instability could lead to Brexit crisis
The Times says that ‘fears are growing in Brussels’ that instability in the British Government could lead to a new Prime Minister or new elections, resulting in a Labour victory. Brussels is therefore planning for a disorderly ‘no deal’ exit or even for the UK to decide to stay in the EU. The Financial Times reports that the UK will offer more clarity on budget commitments if the EU simultaneously outlines a transition deal, but that the EU will only do this the UK makes ‘sufficient process’ on financial issues, quoting a diplomat who described this as a ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma.


Sexual harassment scandal: bar manager speaks out and Welsh First Minister criticised
Alice Bailey, a former bar manager at Parliament’s Sports & Social Bar spoke to The Sun about her experiences of harassment by MPs whilst working at the bar. When she asked bosses about reporting one incident, in which an MP followed her onto her bus home, she was told that she would not be believed. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports calls for Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones to resign as a result of his handling of allegations against Carl Sargeant, who was found dead earlier this week having been sacked from his cabinet post.


NHS Chief Executive warns of soaring waiting lists
The Guardian reports that Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, has called for NHS England to be given at least £4 billion more in 2018-19, and for the Government to emulate German, French and Swedish levels of health spending. He warned that waiting lists could reach 5 million if action wasn’t taken.


Corbyn calls for high rises to be fitted with sprinklers
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to call for £1 billion to be set aside in the budget in order to fit all social housing blocks with sprinklers, starting with those over 30m (ten storeys), to prevent a repetition of the fire at Grenfell Tower, The Mirror says.


Gove backs ban of neonicotinoids
The Guardian reveals that Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove is to back a proposed ban of neonicotinoids across the European Union. In an article for the paper, Gove writes that ‘the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood’.


Iranian prisoner’s husband asks to accompany Boris on Iranian visit
The husband of the Iranian prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has told The Sun that he will ask if he can accompany Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson when he visits Iran. Richard Ratcliffe told the paper that he had not seen his wife for 18 months and that Johnson had repeatedly turned down requests to meet. The Foreign Office told the paper that Johnson would meet Ratcliffe and try to arrange a family reunion.


Leading US General warns against cuts to the UK’s armed forces
Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges, who commands the US Army in Europe, has told the BBC that if the British armed forces ‘got any smaller’, the UK’s position as a US ally and leading NATO member would be at risk, and the country would struggle to meet is global commitments.


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Today’s Political Headlines – 8 November 2017

A round-up of the latest political headlines from the UK’s media, including Priti Patel, Brexit, Paradise Papers and the NHS. 

Priti Patel returns to London amid further accusations
Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, is flying back to London, following further revelations about unauthorised meetings in Israel. The Times reports that she breached Government protocol by visiting the Golan Heights, had further unauthorised meetings after returning, and that Lord Polak, ‘a leading figure in a corporate lobbying group’, sat in on meetings. The Daily Telegraph claims that Priti Patel departed for Uganda earlier than originally planned yesterday, missing questions in Parliament.

Brussels says that the UK needs to concede to secure trade talks, banks warn of job moves and Government handling of negotiations faces public disapproval
The Guardian has been told by Brussels officials that there is less than a month for the UK to make a concession to secure trade talks. The Financial Times says that a group of large financial institutions warned the US commerce secretary that slow progress with Brexit planning and an unstable government may force them to move thousands of jobs out of London. The Daily Telegraph has a poll showing that the Government’s handling of Brexit negotiations has a 66% disapproval rating.

Paradise Papers revelations continue
The BBC and Guardian are continuing to publish revelations from the ‘Paradise Papers’. Recent revelations include that the Prince of Wales has a ‘conflict of interest’ (according to Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life) between his investments and his environmental lobbying, and the use of the Isle of Man as a tax haven, with Margaret Hodge suggesting that Lewis Hamilton should not receive a knighthood. The Times has revelations about the use of tax havens by Labour councils.

NHS will need £24bn more funding by 2022
The Guardian reports that Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, told the NHS Providers conference that the NHS in England could need as much as £24.2 billion more funding than currently pledged by 2022, or it will have to scale back services. A report produced by the King’s Fund found that ‘there will be a significant and growing gap between the resources given to the NHS and the demands it faces’.

Corbyn aide suspended
The Mirror says that David Prescott, Jeremy Corbyn’s aide and son of the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has been suspended ‘amid the sexual harassment crisis’. He has not commented on the allegation, and the Labour Party would not comment on this specific case.

Carl Sargeant, former Welsh minister, found dead
Carl Sargeant, former Welsh communities secretary was found dead yesterday, after being sacked from his job and suspended from the Labour party on Friday following accusations about his behaviour. The BBC reports that Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, is facing criticism about his handling of the situation.

Johnson says words were ‘taken out of context’ in Iranian prisoner remarks
The BBC reports on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s said that his remarks about Nazanin Zagheri-Ratcliffe, currently imprisoned in Iran, were ‘taken out of context’ and that he intends to visit Iran to discuss the case before the end of the year. Her husband said that Johnson’s clarification was a ‘good thing’.

IFS warns of uncertainty surrounding Scottish income tax increases
According to The Daily Telegraph, research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s planned tax increases could backfire, with there being ‘a lot of uncertainty’ over whether more money would be raised. The Scottish Government said that it had considered ‘a range of potential revenue impacts’.

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Engaging with new MPs after #GE2017

So, on the 8th of June, there’ll be some brand new faces sitting in Westminster. Knowing who they are, their political interests and, most importantly, the best way to engage with them is crucial to the success of your public affairs strategy in the coming parliament.


If you want to keep ahead of the game why not tune into our upcoming webinar ‘’Engaging with new MPs after #GE2017’’ for a complete guide to identifying, engaging and influencing the new MP intake which takes place on Tuesday 20 June at 11:00 am BST.

During the webinar we’ll be covering everything from:

  • Identifying the right MPs to engage with based on their political interests, such as select committee membership.
  • Access over 4,000 political contacts including MPs’ staff– the most effective way of reaching MPs.
  • Achieving ROI on your engagement with email tracking and comprehensive reports that measure the success of your campaigns.

Save your spot now on our up and coming webinar to see how our political database can help you!

Introducing the all new integrated database from Vuelio

George Osborne’s appointment as editor of the Evening Standard showed just how easy it is for the worlds of politics and the media to collide.

That’s why we’ve integrated our media and political contacts on one platform, giving you full insight from across the stakeholder community.

So whether you need to contact journalists, MPs or other stakeholders, you’ll have all the information you need, in one place.

Our new integrated database allows you to:

  • Categorise your engagements by campaign or issue – for all your media and public affairs outreach in one place
  • Achieve ROI from your communications with graphs and analytics to measure and evaluate all your stakeholder activity
  • Stay on top of your conversations with a searchable, real-time overview of interactions with MPs, the media and other stakeholders


Political and Media Database


‘’The media contacts database has been really helpful in creating media campaigns and the political monitoring and contacts database have ensured we have covered off all bases when organising events or targeted stakeholder work.”

Kirsty McCaskill-Baxter, Communications and Public Affairs Manager


It’s the full package, and we’d like to show you how it works – request a demo here


Are you struggling with public affairs?

If you want to ensure your organisation influences the political agenda, a public affairs strategy will be crucial to your wider stakeholder engagement. And if you’re struggling to identify who to engage with and how, our upcoming webinar ‘’Influencing Public Affairs’’ will give you the full toolkit for success.

InfluencingPublicAffairs_Lionel Zetter

Our guest speaker, Lionel Zetter, is the former President of the CIPR and the CIPR Government Affairs Group, and is the current Chairman of the PRCA Public Affairs Group. Lionel will explore the fundamentals of public affairs and show you how to achieve tangible results from your political engagement.

Save your spot to see how our public affairs tools can help you:

  • Target your outreach by tracking your open rates and logging engagements with MPs and their staff
  • Stay on top of your team’s external interactions with a searchable, real-time overview of conversations
  • Measure the impact of your activities and see ROI from your public affairs by organising, sharing, tracking and evaluating all your stakeholder activity

The webinar will take place on Tuesday 25th April at 11:00. Make sure you Register now! 

Supercharge your public affairs strategy- engage with MPs

Engaging with MPs is a vital part of any public affairs strategy, but it’s also one of the biggest challenges that public affairs professionals will face. Identifying who to approach is one thing, but getting your voice heard is another. How do you stand out, given the huge number of emails landing in MPs’ inboxes every day?

  • Be clever with contact. Once you’ve identified the parliamentarians you want to engage with, it may be tempting to jump straight in and email the MP directly. However it’s rare that they will be the first to read their emails, and the high volume of correspondence that is sent to their main address may limit the impact that yours has. A far more effective way of getting to MPs is through contacting their staff – an event invitation sent directly to a parliamentary assistant will have far greater chance of being seen by the right person.
  • Do your research. A successful public affairs strategy will have a foundation of engaged MPs who you can work with to inform the political debate. To build this base, you need to identify the right MPs to engage with based on which select committees they sit on, which APPGs they’re part of, and which issues they speak out on during debates. Social media is also a great way to keep track of interests which MPs may not necessarily list officially, but which could be a key part of your engagement strategy. This could be which sports team they support, their favourite charity or recent events they’ve attended.
  • Never lose track of your interactions. This is crucial, as the last thing you want to do is duplicate efforts across your team or engage with a new staff member when your organisation already has strong relationships with another. By tracking and saving all communications taking place across your team, you can rest assured that no one is left out of the loop.

Find out more or request a demo of the Vuelio political database here.