Parish wants better-designed new homes – too late for Axminster!

Er, he seems to not have spoken out in Axminster which is in his constituency, where problems with new housing abounds! Owl noted it here:

“ …Not only do we need traditional designs in keeping with the natural built environment, we a need a new homes Ombudsman to focus on complaints with new build homes. The fact the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, has backed this proposal – will be welcome news to hundreds of thousands of new housing residents in the coming years. It’s vital we get both the design and quality of these new homes right – because we won’t get a second chance. …”

Stable … horse …

Swire’s donors and Parish’s lack of them

A recent comment got Owl digging into donations to out two MPs. Direct personal donations rather than those to the Conservative Party. All donations over £7,500 have to be registered here:

This register was last updated on 13 November 2017 and covers only this current Parliament 2017-2019.

In the most recent list of donors to individual MPs, the largest donation to East Devon MP Hugo Swire is of £10,000 from a Mrs Rosemary Said.

Might this be the wife of arms dealer Wafic Said?ïd

“Syrian-born Wafic Said is reported to be a ‘former operator of a kebab restaurant who made millions in commissions on a 1985 British Aerospace arms deal to sell Tornado fighters to the Saudi royal family’.[1] Said’s chief Saudi patron is reported to be Prince Bandar.[1]

Rosemary Said has given the Conservative Party almost £580,000 and is reportedly a member of David Cameron’s Leaders’ Group of elite donors that enjoy direct access to the UK prime minister by virtue of donating more than £50,000 a year.”

and here:

and good to see a billionaire member of Swire’s family ( Sir Adrian Swire)
chipping in £5,000:

By contrast, Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish declares zero donations:

MP travel and accommodation costs

Conservative East Devon:

Hugo Swire:
£9,201 in travel expenses
£8,324 in accommodation(including £3,000 buildings insurance, £2,778 council tax plus bills).

Neil Parish:
£20,580 in rent
£6,584 in travel

Amazing that our MPs can claim against council tax and buildings insurance for a home they presumably own and even that they can claim travel expenses when people from their areas, earning much, much less than them, must pay 100% of their commuting costs.

Do tors question privatisation – no confidence in contractor Capita

Oh Lord, government says it is “holding Capita’s feet to the fire”. Would that be the same fire that MP Neil Parish said he was holding the CCG’s feet to, just before Honiton and Seaton hospitals closed?

Not much of a fire, feet rather a long way from it.

“Doctors raise alarm about controversial private company’s plans to overhaul cancer screening

GP representatives have raised concerns about the potential risk of delayed or missed cancer diagnosis from a new IT service being developed to administer smear testing for cervical cancer.

The British Medical Association’s GP Committee (GPC) has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to highlight the continued failures in key back-office functions from paying doctors to registering patients.

The problems all relate to a major contract for primary care “support services” that are essential to the day-to-day running of GP practices, dentists, opticians and pharmacists.

NHS England decided to contract for a single national supplier and awarded a contract to outsourcing giant Capita, starting in September 2015.

The BMA letter says major problems have persisted since NHS England commissioned the service two years ago, changes the letter says are “putting patients at risk”.

But it warns there are more changes planned for next year.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey writes: “We understand that new systems for both cervical screening and GP payments and pensions are due to go live in July of next year.

“We are very concerned that preparations are not sufficiently advanced at this stage of the projects to guarantee a seamless transfer to the new service.”

“We have no confidence in Capita’s ability to deliver this service,” the letter adds.

A spokesperson for Capita told The Independent that a final date had not been set, but did confirm that a July deadline has been discussed.

They added that the new service was being developed alongside NHS England, NHS Digital and Public Health England.

Capita’s support services website shows it is responsible for updating and operating key elements of the National Cervical Screening Programme.

The programme invites women aged 25 and 64 years for a routine smear test every three years, and health chiefs warned earlier this year that screening uptake had hit a 19-year low. …

… A Capita spokesperson said: “This is a major transformation project to modernise a localised and unstandardised service, which inevitably has meant some challenges.

“This letter does not accurately reflect our involvement and responsibilities in PCSE, nor does it reflect our recent correspondence from NHS England who have recognised the improvements and significant progress being made across services in 2017, which has been demonstrated through improved and increasing customer satisfaction.

NHS England said: “We are holding Capita’s ‘feet to the fire’ on needed improvements”.

“Campaigners put pressure on government to improve ‘dire’ Devon education funding at national lobby”

As yet there appears to be no similar East Devon campaign group and our two MPs simply dole out meaningless platitudes without concrete follow-up action. Swire seems more preoccupied with who to back for next PM (or maybe ex-PM!) in order to regain a foreign office ministerial post while Parish’s preoccupations remain farmers and dualling the A303.

… “Tamsin Higgs, mother-of-three from Braunton, has been leading the parent-led and non-political Fair Funding For All Schools campaign in North Devon since the beginning of this year. For more information you can visit the campaign’s Facebook page here. Tamsin has also set up a campaign group in Torrington who recently met with Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox. …

… Tamsin said she regularly meets with the central school funding campaign group in London who, alongside the National Education Union, planned the national lobby at Westminster against school funding cuts. The group decided to take part in the lobby, which attracted more than 1,000 people, to apply pressure from all constituencies on the central government to increase funding and ensure schools are not losing out. …”

The new way to stay in power – do nothing (and just one Tory rebels)

The new way to stay in power – abstain on anything important

“… Dr Wollaston, chairwoman of the health committee, at one stage threatened to vote against the Government unless ministers recognised they need to address a “fundamental flaw”.

… Dr Wollaston rebelled against the Tory whip by voting in favour of Labour’s motion.

She was the only Conservative MP to do so, according to the division list.

The result of the vote released by the House of Commons also said DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds voted in the aye lobby in support of Labour’s motion.

But Mr Dodds told the Press Association he did not vote in the aye lobby, adding: “They made a mistake.”

Labour MP Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East) was not listed on the ayes despite speaking out against UC roll-out in the debate.

Raising a point of order after the vote, Ms Abrahams said: “This is a major defeat for the Government on their flagship social security programme.

“Conservative whips and the Prime Minister have spent today strong-arming Conservative MPs to vote against a pause of the rollout of Universal Credit.

“While the Secretary of State has retreated on various aspects of his Universal Credit policy, in a panicked attempt to appease Tory MPs who know that the policy is not fit for purpose.

“Yet again, the Prime Minister and the Tories cannot command a majority in the House of Commons.

“The Prime Minister is in office, but not in power.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow said: “A resolution of the House of Commons is just that, an expression of the view of the nation’s elected representatives in the House of Commons.

“Constitutionally, and this is important…the House cannot direct ministers, and it is for ministers in the Government to decide how to respond to the clearly expressed view of the House.”

Mr Bercow added that he felt confident ministers would do so, having granted an urgent debate on the Government’s response to opposition day debates just two weeks ago

Tory MP Peter Bone (Wellingborough) said it would be helpful where a substantive motion was passed that the Government came to the House to explain what they intended to do about it.

Mr Bercow responded it was “a statement of fact” Labour’s motion was passed, adding: “I think it highly desirable that the Government, in the light of the result, should come to the House and show respect for the institution by indicating what it intends to do.”

Tory former minister Sir Edward Leigh questioned what the point of the Commons was if it merely expresses opinions “for the sake of it” as he made a point of order following the vote.

He said he had trooped through the lobbies to vote on hundreds of divisions on Wednesdays over 34 years as an MP, and that he was “under the impression that it served some purpose”.

And what worries me is that surely there is some sort of precedent here.

“This is not and should not be a university debating society, what is the point of the House of Commons if we just express opinions for the sake of it and surely when we vote it should have some effect?”

The division list was later updated, with Mr Dodds’ name no longer on the ayes list and Ms Dodds’ name appearing on the list of Labour MPs who supported the motion.”