Owl says: What a surprise! Remind me – isn’t the DUP a fundamentalist “Christian” party? Oooohhhh … wait for the fire and brimstone – not.
“Labour has criticised an attempt by the government to allow the DUP to conceal details of past political donations, including during the EU referendum, despite a 2014 law that extended party transparency rules to Northern Ireland.
The government has announced it will bring into force new transparency rules for Northern Ireland’s political parties to allow the Electoral Commission to publish details of donations over £7,500.
The provision for the new rules, which will bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK, was first introduced in legislation in 2014, with the wide understanding it would be applied from that year.
However, the Northern Ireland secretary, James Brokenshire, said he intended the act to be applied from 1 July 2017, which would mean donations during the EU referendum in 2016 are not made public.
Campaigners have raised questions over the DUP’s spending on the EU referendum in June 2016 – including a £435,000 donation from a group called the Constitutional Research Council (CRC), chaired by Richard Cook, a former vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party.
The source of the cash was revealed by the DUP after a series of articles published by OpenDemocracy, though details of the CRC’s source of income are still opaque. …”
Disability charity Scope and others call for chancellor to withdraw his comments implying disabled people are to blame for sluggish economy.
“Disability charity Scope called on Philip Hammond to withdraw his “totally unacceptable and derogatory comments” after he said Britain’s sluggish productivity could partly be blamed on more disabled people in the workforce.
In Wednesday’s treasury select committee, the chancellor was asked about low economic productivity levels, which he had reported during the autumn Budget last month.
At first, he responded saying that high levels of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, “will be felt for many many years to come”.
He then added: “It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”
“They (the Government) sent the Roads Minister to talk to us about grand new plans for our rail network.
The press call was for 9am on Platform 6 at Exeter St David’s station.
Jesse Norman took the train to Exeter on Tuesday. He stayed in the Premier Inn, and strolled across to the station where he was due to meet Devon County Council leader John Hart and the media.
There was only one problem: Mr Norman went to Exeter Central, instead of to Exeter St David’s.
In the end he jumped into a cab to the right station, shaving a few minutes off an already tight interview schedule. …”
“As a prime minister drained of authority struggles to hold her party together, ambitious ministers feel increasingly able to cock a snook with impunity.
This week’s rows over Boris Johnson’s dangerous handling of a disagreement with Iran, and Priti Patel’s freelance policymaking in the Middle East may seem a coincidence.
But the conduct of the foreign secretary is bound together with that of the international development secretary.
Both Mr Johnson and Ms Patel are able to play fast and loose because normal collective cabinet disciplines no longer apply. The prime minister is afraid to reprimand or sack. In this government it is everyone for themselves. …”
and yet there are people who will continue to vote for them.
It says as much about their voters as it does about their Ministers and MPs.
And so many of their voters in East Devon – where we had our own mini-scandal when Diviani voted against his own district councillors at county council over closure of community hospitals.
Did Tory district councillors sack him? No, they rallied round him and agreed to keep him not just as a councillor but as their Leader.
Such is political life today. Thank you Tory voters – for worse than nothing.
“In the Evening Standard today Joe Murphy and Kate Proctor says the backbench Conservative 1922 committee opposed a bid by David Cameron to introduce a binding code of conduct for Tory MPs that would have strengthened the protections available to staff suffering harassment. Murphy and Proctor say:
The powerful 1922 committee of backbenchers mobilised against an attempt made by David Cameron to create a binding code of conduct that would have included a right for staff members to seek arbitration.
Mr Cameron attempted to persuade the speaker and other party leaders to support the measures following a sex scandal but his move met resistance from MPs, said sources.
The former prime minister then attempted to get his own MPs to sign up voluntarily.
But this was blocked by the 1922 committee, which saw the plan as a whips’ plot to impose “central control” on backbenchers.
The story is on the front of the Standard under the headline – Revealed: How backbenchers blocked bid to shield staff from sex pests.”
“The growing fear among Tory MPs is that the sexual-harassment scandal is evolving into the equivalent of the MPs’ expenses debacle – and that it could bring down the government.
It’s all the fault of that bloomin’ list of MPs and their alleged misdemeanours that was compiled by Tory aides and was published by the Guido website overnight, with names blacked at.
The blacking out is not preventing reputational damage to a pair of cabinet ministers and several other senior members of the government.
Their names are being openly touted in Westminster – and it won’t be long till they are outed on social media, and on offshore websites.”
“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? …”