Today’s Political Headlines include Boris Johnson’s Brexit speech, Labour’s animal welfare plan, McVey’s call for McDonnell to apologise and the Oxfam crisis.
Boris Johnson to reach out to voters alienated over Brexit in speech today
Boris Johnson is to give a speech on Brexit today, with the BBC reporting that he will try to reach out to voters alienated by Brexit, claiming ‘that Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope’. The Daily Telegraph reports that Johnson will argue that ‘It is only by taking back control of our laws that UK firms and entrepreneurs will have the freedom to innovate’ and that stopping Brexit ‘would be a disastrous mistake’.
Labour to unveil animal welfare plan today
Labour is to unveil a new 50-point animal welfare plan today. The Guardian reports that the party would introduce bans on foie gras and badger culling, further curbs on hunting with dogs, mandatory CCTV at abattoirs, and a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter. Other measures include expanding healthcare for pets with owners on low-incomes and greater rights for tenants to own pets.
McVey calls for McDonnell to apologise over ‘lynching’ comments
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has called on John McDonnell to apologise for making comments at a comedy night about people in her constituency who wanted her to be lynched. She said that his refusal to apologise had given people ‘permission’ to bully her online.
Oxfam chief executive ‘should go’, says committee member
Nigel Evans, a Conservative member of the International Development Committee, has said that Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s chief executive, ‘should go’, The Times reports. The paper adds that both Lord Hague and Jeremy Corbyn have called for ministers not to cut the aid budget as a result of the scandal surrounding the charity.
Times tables tests to be introduced
According to The Daily Telegraph, the new Education Secretary Damian Hinds will announce today that children as young as eight will be forced to take times tables tests for the first time in 75 years. Schools Minister Nick Gibb told the paper that this was part of the Government’s drive to make the UK a world leader in mathematics.
Committees criticise delays to immigration plan and disability assessment firms
A report by the Home Affairs Committee finds that delays to the Government’s white paper on the post-Brexit immigration system are causing anxiety for EU citizens and uncertainty for businesses, The Guardian says. Meanwhile, The Sun has details of a report by the Work and Pensions Committee criticising firms which assess disability benefits, whose staff are ‘at best lacking in competence and at worst actively deceitful’.
UK fails to hit defence spending target, report claims
The Financial Times has details of a report by the Institute for Strategic Studies that concludes the UK has missed its target of spending 2% of GDP on defence for the second year in a row. Instead, it calculates the figure as 1.98%. The report is released as Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson meets fellow NATO members in Brussels.
DUP leader says no to a free-standing Irish Language Act
The BBC reports that Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, has said there will not be a free-standing Irish Language Act. Sinn Fein has said that such an act is ‘essential’ to restoring power sharing at Stormont. Foster refused to comment on reports that a package with three acts on Irish, Ulster Scots and other cultural matters was under discussion.
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