What a lovely bunch our MPs are …

One of Theresa May’s Brexit Ministers was at the centre of a new Westminster sexism row last night after admitting he called his secretary ‘sugar t*ts’ and got her to buy sex toys for him.

The disclosures about Mr Garnier came as:

Former Cabinet Minister Stephen Crabb admitted sending ‘explicit’ messages to a 19-year-old woman after a job interview at Westminster.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove sparked outrage by making a tasteless joke about Harvey Weinstein on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. …

… Father-of-three Mr Garnier, 53, one of International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s deputies, last night confirmed the claims. ‘I’m not going to deny it, because I’m not going to be dishonest,’ he said. ‘I’m going to have to take it on the chin.’

Campaigning anti-sleaze Labour MP John Mann called for a Commons Sex Pest Tsar to protect women at Westminster from male predators.

Claims emerged that women have had their drinks spiked with date rape drugs in Commons bars.

He denied it constituted sexual harassment. Mr Garnier said that the sex toys were bought after a Christmas lunch. ‘We bought some soap sets, that sort of stuff, scented candles. The vibrator shop was high jinks.’

Mr Garnier said he told Ms Edmondson he didn’t think it was a good idea, but she had gone ahead. ‘I hung around outside and she went into this shop. That was it.’

He said they later ‘fell out’ and claimed that ‘disgruntled’ Ms Edmondson ‘has been using [the incident] against me ever since’.

He vehemently denied sexual harassment, saying: ‘Not at all. It absolutely does not constitute harassment.’ “

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5027709/Brexit-Minister-Mark-Garnier-sent-PA-buy-sex-toys.html

“Rogue landlords enjoy an easy ride as councils fail to prosecute”

“Councils across Britain have been accused of letting rogue landlords off the hook, after new figures revealed that most have failed to secure a single prosecution.

Almost six in 10 councils had not prosecuted any landlords in the last year, with more than 80% prosecuting fewer than five.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, have prompted suggestions that private renters face a “postcode lottery” when it comes to having their rights upheld.

It comes with councils complaining that the unprecedented budget pressures they are facing mean that they are struggling to cope.

Nearly 30% said they had carried out fewer than 100 inspections in their area in the last year. It has led to calls for councils to be handed more power and resources to tackle the problem.

More than 180 councils responded to a survey on inspections of private rented housing and prosecutions.

The London borough of Newham stood out, having prosecuted 331 landlords. The council has a mandatory licensing scheme for landlords, which it is currently waiting for the government to renew.

Brent council was next with 65 prosecutions, followed by Waltham Forest with 58, Doncaster with 49, Barking and Dagenham with 35, and Wirral with 29. However, most reported that they had not secured any. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/28/rogue-landlords-enjoy-an-easy-ride-as-councils-fail-to-prosecute

“Chancellor Philip Hammond faces backbench rebellion over £6billion tax loophole for foreign ‘non-dom’ property owners”

“Philip Hammond is facing a backbench rebellion over a £6billion tax loophole for foreign non-dom property owners.

They must pay tax on residential property sales but the government is not including profits made on commercial buildings.

It means that foreign owners can declare their flats and houses in Britain are for commercial use before they sell them- meaning they don’t have to pay a levy, reports The Sun.

The omission has created a loophole worth approximately £6billion that is set to spark a Commons showdown, according to campaigners.

Mr Hammond is now facing a rebellion from a cross-party coalition of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP MPs when the Finance Bill is put to a vote on Tuesday.

Labour MP Stella Creasy said: ‘Why should British businesses have to pay this tax but foreign ones get away with it? …”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5027167/Philip-Hammond-faces-rebellion-6billion-tax-loophole.html

Is a new, powerful supra-regional authority being created without public consultation?

Owl says: yes!

On 1 January 2018, a new “Joint Committee” will come into being.

It is charged with delivery of a “productivity strategy” for the whole Devon and Somerset area.

For its (sinister?) aims and objectives, see section 1.3 here:

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/papers/cabinet/011117bpcabinethotsw%20jcarrangementsappendixc.pdf

Truly, we live in disturbing times as NONE of this has had ANY public consultation, yet, at EDDC, it will be decided on the nod at its Cabinet meeting on 1 November 2017:
http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2258719/011117combinedcabinetagenda.pdf

Some really worrying points:

In Section 2.2 it says that the joint committee can at any time extend its powers as it sees fit.

Section 9.2 says a simple majority of votes will decide actions [the membership will be overwhelmingly Tory]

Section 12.0 Chief Executives and Monitoring Officers will be able to add items to the agenda.

NO DOCUMENT PUT FORWARD HAS ANY MENTION OF SCRUTINY OR TRANSPARENCY

The new “joint authority” authority consists of:

[MEMBERS]

Dartmoor National Park Authority
Devon County Council
East Devon District Council
Exeter City Council
Exmoor National Park Authority
Mendip District Council
Mid Devon District Council
North Devon Council
Plymouth City Council
Sedgemoor District Council
Somerset County Council
South Hams District Council
South Somerset Council
Torbay Council
Taunton Deane Borough Council
Teignbridge District Council
Torridge District Council
West Devon Borough Council
West Somerset Council

PLUS CO-OPTED NON-VOTING MEMBERS:

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership
NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
NHS South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group
NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group

AND ANY OTHER CO-OPTED MEMBERS THAT THE JOINT COMMISSIONING GROUP DECIDES TO INVITE

Update on Winslade Park (Clyst St Mary) planning application

PRESS RELEASE

“I have been advised that the planning application for Winslade Park, Clyst St Mary has been removed from the agenda for 31st October. This request was made by the owners of the site to East Devon District Council and came about as a result of the concerns made by the residents of Clyst St Mary.

At this stage, we don’t yet know if or when the application will go back on the agenda.

The Save Clyst St Mary group remains committed to ensuring East Devon District Council and the Applicant reach the right decision for our village with regard to this application. Any proposal should be both safe and sustainable.

On a different note, the planning application for Enfield Farm is still on the agenda and should be heard by the Devolopment Management Committee in the afternoon of 31st October. We have two residents speaking for us on Tuesday; should you wish to support them please feel free to do so.

On behalf of the SCSM team, please can I thank you all for your ongoing support over these past three years.”