“50 MPs From Seven Parties Join Forces On ‘Issues Ignored Because Of Brexit’ “

“More than 50 MPs have launched a cross-party movement to work together on “issues ignored because of Brexit”.

The ‘More United’ group, dubbed ‘politics for the Netflix generation’, features politicians from seven different political parties, including Labour, Tory, SNP, Lib Dem, Green, ChangeUK and Plaid Cymru.

The new network, which includes leading MPs David Lammy, Nicky Morgan and Caroline Lucas, will help fund candidates who campaign on poverty and homelessness, responsible technology, mental health and urgent climate dangers.

Backed by 150,000 members, it has already helped MPs from different parties to work together on issues like immigration visas, restoring the ‘Enable Fund’ for deaf and disabled people and access to Legal Aid.

MPs who lead and support More United campaigns will be eligible to receive money and volunteers from the movement at general elections, with almost £500,000 raised via crowdfunding and 54 candidates supported in 2017.

The group is not and never will be a political party and as result offers a ‘safe space’ for MPs from opposing parties to join forces on areas of common interest.

Lammy said: “A rare silver-lining to come out of the disastrous Brexit process is a new willingness among MPs to cooperate beyond traditional tribal loyalties.

“MPs have found that there is a special power in cross-party working and by publicly committing to seek out strong alliances that protect shared values we can help create positive changes that benefit the entire country.”

Morgan added: “All MPs come in to politics because they want to improve the lives of the people they represent. Of course we don’t always agree on how to do that but where we can find agreement across party lines there is often a compelling case to be made to the government of the day. The More United Network will give MPs across the Commons a chance to do just that.”

In a HuffPost UK blog, Morgan and Labour’s Tulip Siddiq and Lib Dem Christine Jardine said: “Each of us is strongly committed to our own party. We have plenty of healthy disagreement on all sorts of topics. Yet when it comes to issues that outlive any one Government we think cross-party working is vital.”

More United CEO Bess Mayhew said that the public see cross-party working as a proxy for trust in politics.

“When polling shows that only three out of ten people believe they can make a difference by getting involved in politics something has to change,” she said.

HuffPost UK understands there is no whip, but MU will refuse to direct election resources to MPs who openly oppose their campaigns and vote against in tight votes.

The group aims to have 100 MPs on board by the end of 2020.”


Wright v. Swire round 2 (knock-out by Wright, contest over)

“Claire Wright has responded to claims she and other ‘remainers’ were seeking to ‘play political games’ in the Brexit debate.

In his column, East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire claimed those who supported staying in the European Union changed from campaigning for a ‘people’s vote’ to now calling for Article 50 to be revoked.

In response, Miss Wright says she is still in support of a second EU referendum and Sir Hugo should focus on local issues rather than ‘picking a fight’ with her.

She said: “Sir Hugo Swire has misrepresented my position on Brexit in his column of last week.

“My position has not changed. I still support a second referendum on the basis that now that we are far more aware of the true impact of Brexit, the people should be given the opportunity to have a say – that is democracy.

“It also appears to be the only way to address the total impasse in Parliament in what must be one of the most shambolic periods of government in British political history.

“I supported revoking Article 50 only when it appeared that a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit was the likely outcome.

“I have explained this twice to Sir Hugo via Twitter following his questions, but he seems not to understand.

“Among many other things, a ‘no deal’ Brexit, still supported by Sir Hugo, would bring an immediate end to all our trade agreements, lead to food and medicine shortages and a sharp rise in prices.

“It is a very great shame that the Conservative government’s obsession with leaving the EU has eclipsed every other issue.

“What Sir Hugo should actually be concerned with, is how and why a local school – Exmouth Community College – has been forced to ask parents for money to help them manage, as his government continues to starve our schools of resources.

“He should be worried about why it is now regularly taking four hours for ambulances to reach elderly people who have fallen and broken their hips, why hospital waiting times for operations continue to grow, why hospital beds are still being cut and why East Devon’s hospital buildings are still at risk from being sold off.

“And Sir Hugo should be asking why his government is not only failing its climate change targets but has scrapped green housing-building initiatives, incentives to buy less polluting cars, why it is investing in roads rather than rail (apart from the massively damaging HS2) and why it has introduced the horribly environmentally destructive practice of fracking.

“While Sir Hugo obsesses over Brexit, which new Tory party leader to align himself with and picks fights with me, Rome burns.

“And with it, so do our precious public services and planet.”


East Devon Alliance Councillor Gardner clarifies Sidmouth Herald EDDC debt story

Owl reported this story from the Sidmouth Herald in full yesterday:


East Devon Alliance councillor Cathy Gardner has contacted EDW to clarify the story:

“To my knowledge (as a District Cllr), EDDC has over £80m in debt because it had to borrow money to hold on to its council housing when the conservative government were making councils sell it off. So this is debt for a good & bad reason!

I’m surprised that the ‘politically neutral’ press officers have not added this to their comment to the Herald. I’ve objected to the council proposing to borrow money to invest in commercial property (to generate income), something else forced on them by the conservative government cuts to council grants (now zero).

The relocation from the Knowle is another matter. If re-elected I will continue to push for transparency on costs and to see if any of the Conservative group can ever prove break even.”

8 days to local elections – today’s picture

East Devon mainstream parties have their party machines and party money behind them (just don’t ask where the money comes from).  Independents operate on tiny shoestring donations from local people – or subsidise their campaigns from their own pockets – plus enthusiastic local supporters giving their time for free. Every board you see for an independent (in a garden or near a road) is produced by local people for people supporting local candidates.