11th August 2008
Lords & Commons Joint Committee on UK Bill of Rights
The Lords and Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights has published a report into whether the UK should have a Bill of Rights noting that a 'UK Bill of Rights and Freedoms' should include rights to health, education, housing and a healthy environment. The Report said that "there is considerable scope for a Bill of Rights to add to what is already provided in the [Human Rights Act] and we are therefore satisfied that the case for a Bill of Rights is made out". Read the Report
6th August 2008
Independent's Poll-of-Polls: How Labour Unpopularity Could Translate to Seats
A poll-of-polls taking the weighted average of last month's voter surveys for The Independent shows the Conservatives continuing to ride high with 44% to Labour's 27% and the Lib Dems on 18%. The newspaper points out that "If that were reflected in a general election, the Tories would have 391 MPs and Labour would be banished to its heartlands with just 195 MPs". Read all about it in the Independent's article 'Poll of polls shows Labour at its most unpopular since 1935'
6th August 2008
Commons Leaders Question MPs over Financial Control & Audit
Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons, and Deputy Leader Helen Goodman, have published a Command Paper proposing further action to improve the financial control and audit of the system of allowances claimed by MPs. The paper poses questions to all MPs for achieving better scrutiny of the £93 million of public money claimed annually. MPs have been asked to submit responses to the consultation by 29th September. Download the document
5th August 2008
Former Tory Candidate Pleads Guilty to LibDem Harrassment
Ian Oakley, the former Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Watford, has pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment and five counts of criminal damage at St Albans' Magistrates Court. The offences included harassment of Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate Sal Brinton who said "I am relieved that Ian Oakley has pleaded guilty and that the nightmare of the last three years may finally be coming to an end. This has been a traumatic period for all those who have suffered from his vile campaign to defame, intimidate and terrorise people, simply for expressing support for a political party". Edward Davey, Chair of Campaigns and Communications for the Liberal Democrats, has written to Conservative Leader David Cameron to demand that an urgent inquiry is held into the activities of Watford Conservative Party. Read the Liberal Democrat press release
5th August 2008
BERR Crack Down on Rogue Employers
The Government has unveiled a drive to crack down on rogue employers from undercuting honest businesses and abusing vulnerable workers. The plan will be overseen by the new Fair Employment Enforcement Board, chaired by the Employment Relations Minister, and charged with co-ordinating government enforcement agencies covering minimum wage, health and safety, employment agencies and gangmasters. Business and trade union representatives will be included in the Board's structure. A telephone helpline for vulnerable workers to report abuses will be created. Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said "We want to prevent unscrupulous employers who undercut honest competition and prey on people who are fearful or so desperate to earn a living that they are open to exploitation".
5th August 2008
Lords Criticises Parliament Involvement in Terror Suspect Detention
The House of Lords Select Committee on theConstitution has criticised the proposed involvement of Parliament in detention of terrorism suspects for up to 42 days. The Report, Counter-Terrorism Bill: The Role of Ministers, Parliament and the Judiciary, notes that "In developing this scheme, the Government have sought to devise ways in which Parliament may be involved in decision-taking about police detention of terrorist suspects. Insofar as the motivation is to ensure democratic accountability, this is understandable; in our view, however, it is muddled. The Bill risks conflating the roles of Parliament and the judiciary". The Lords are concerned that "Parliament would be asked, under the scheme of the bill, to make decisions that in the circumstances it is institutionally ill-equipped to determine".
4th August 2008
Cabinet Meetings Move Around UK, BBC Reports
The BBC is reporting that the first Cabinet Meeting after the summer break may be held outside London. Tuesday morning Cabinet meetings take place in 10 Downing Street, but it is reported the first meeting back could be held in the West Midlands on the 8th September, as part of a shake up to further engage with the public.
4th August 2008
Tory Plan to Strengthen Family Life
Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Michael Gove has promised support for stable family structures to increase equality and opportunity. Gove stressed in his speech that a secure start in life in a stable family environment is the "best guarantee of maximising opportunity" and outlined a series of plans including a universal health visitor service and introducing flexible parental leave. He also criticised the "instant-hit hedonism celebrated by the modern men's magazines targeted at younger males" continuing that "Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available. The images they use and project reinforce a very narrow conception of beauty and a shallow approach towards women. They celebrate thrill-seeking and instant gratification without ever allowing any thought of responsibility towards others, or commitment, to intrude. The contrast with the work done by women's magazines, and their publishers, to address their readers in a mature and responsible fashion, is striking". Read the full speech
31st July 2008
PubAffairs Cricket: PubAffairs vs The Conservative Party 30 July, Match Report
PubAffairs take a big political scalp
Match report By Tony Cox. Wicketkeeper, roving journalist and consultant at Linstock Communications
With the Conservative Party flying high in the polls and very much odds on to form the next government one would expect a bunch of self seeking public affairs professionals to roll over and ask Dave's boys to scratch their bellies.
Well I have to say that this match was nothing of the sort. From the off PubAffairs were going for the kill. After the Tories threatened to make them field with only four men (due it must be noted to Boris' tube system) PubAffairs went for the jugular....Download the full report below.
30th July 2008
Conservatives to 'Unite Britain's Divided Cities'
The Conservative Party has launched a programme which urges 'social responsibility, not state control' to unite Britain's divided cities. The five-point plan aims to tackle the "social gulf that exists between rich and poor in our cities" and includes: improving education in divided communities; supporting comunity groups in deprived areas; tackling youth gang crime; and specialist 'welfare to work' programmes in the poorest neighbourhoods". Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Chris Grayling, said "We should not be tolerating a society where the social divide has become so vast". Download the document 'Uniting Britain's Divided Cities'