As parent of sick child confronts him, Boris Johnson denies press are there – while being filmed by press!

“An angry relative of a sick child has confronted Boris Johnson during a hospital visit, criticising the NHS as “not acceptable”.

Mr Johnson was visiting Whipps Cross University Hospital in northeast London when he was confronted by the man on a children’s ward.

In a conversation lasting around two minutes, the man claimed there were not enough doctors or nurses and accused the prime minister of visiting the hospital for a “press opportunity”.

He told Mr Johnson: “There are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there’s not enough nurses, it’s not well organised enough.

“The NHS has been destroyed… and now you come here for a press opportunity.”

In response, the prime minister said: “There’s no press here.”

However, the man was quick to point to cameras filming the altercation, saying: “What do you mean there’s no press here, who are these people?”

https://news.sky.com/story/not-acceptable-boris-johnson-confronted-by-relative-of-sick-child-on-hospital-visit-11813046

Is Boris Johnson prepared to break the law to get what he wants?

Looks like it if you read this car crash interview with his good friend (but obviously somewhat annoyed) BBC politics editor Laura Kuenssberg:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49717554

Seriously, is that the best an Eton education can offer? If so, get your money back Stanley!

“All eyes on Devon independent politician Claire Wright ahead of pending General Election”

Owl says: it would be tragic if other mainstream parties put up candidates against her which might bring a Tory back to power.

“National political pundits are predicting that independent Devon politician Claire Wright could be about to make history.

It comes after last night’s shock announcement that East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire will not stand in the looming General Election. The Conservative saw his majority dwindle in the 2017 General Election after a serious challenge from independent candidate Ms Wright, who came a close second in the traditional Tory heartland – she gained 36 per cent of the votes with 21,270 votes and Sir Hugo took 48 per cent with 29,306 votes.

New Statesman political correspondent Patrick Maguire, said: “This is fascinating. Apart from North Down, East Devon is just about the only seat in the UK that could plausibly be won by an independent (in this case anti-austerity councillor Clair Wright) at the next General Election.”

Historically very few seats in Parliament have ever been won by candidates with no political party backing.

Although there are currently 31 independents in Parliament, they were all elected as members of different political parties and have later quit.

Today the independent Devon County Councillor for Otter Valley admitted she was shocked when she heard Mr Swire’s announcement that he won’t stand in the upcoming General Election. She said: “I had heard a few rumours but I didn’t believe them. There were no signs – in fact he had been more active in recent weeks.

“I think he knew he would have a stiff challenge.

“I have been preparing with my team for a year and we have recently ramped up our preparations rather swiftly. Now I am excited.”

She has been aware that nationally political pundits have begun to watch her with interest. She said: “It’s always nice to get a tweet from a National journalist. I have noticed on my Twitter feed that national journalists have started following me recently.”

Predicting a November election she said: “This will be my third election and my team and I are ready to build on the two previous elections.

“The momentum in 2017 and the excitement and energy was incredible – it felt then that I could win, and now we are that much further on.

“I was a serious threat. Brian May backed me before the last election as one of his ‘common decency’ election candidates.

“I think East Devon will be close whoever the Conservatives put forward. This is the Tory heartland. East Devon has been Conservative for 150 years. That’s what I’m up against. It’s a huge challenge.

“This will be my third general election and my manifesto will be based on a survey I carried out at the beginning of this year. Hundreds and hundreds of people filled out the survey and I feel confident I know the issues that people are concerned about in East Devon.

“The Conservatives have just been disastrous for the country – they have gone from one crisis to the next. It’s been like watching a slow car crash – and in the last few weeks it’s turned into absolute meltdown.

“The whole Tory agenda is simply about saving their own skin. The rhetoric seems to be about how they can out-Brexit the Brexit party and turn themselves into the new Brexit party.

“The things they should have been focusing on are public services and the environment. Devon County Council has lost £100m from its budget and all the people in Devon have lost out on services as a result of those cuts.”

The anti-austerity councillor is also known for her strong stance on protecting the environment. She said she likes to be totally independent: “I like to plough my own furrow. I don’t want to have to answer to a party and told what my policies are.

Bruce de Saram, chairman of East Devon Conservatives, said: “East Devon Conservatives would like to thank Hugo for his outstanding work as our MP since 2001 and also his service as a Northern Ireland and Foreign Office Minister, where he developed a passion for the Commonwealth among his many other interests.

“Hugo rose to the challenge of being our MP, winning five general elections. He has continually challenged injustice with great passion and been very visible in the constituency, standing up for local residents.

“We are very sorry to say goodbye to him and wish him well for the future.

“We will now begin a process to select a candidate to build on Hugo’s excellent work.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/eyes-devon-independent-politician-claire-3316742

Government Brexit consultants – expensive and secret

“Government departments have ploughed nearly £100m into “overly secretive” Brexit consultant contracts since the 2016 referendum, MPs have said.

Publicly available information on consultancy work to prepare for Brexit is lacking and in some cases has taken too long – up to 237 days – to materialise, according to a Public Accounts Committee report out today.

Government guidelines say details of contracts should be published within 90 days of being awarded.

“Departments have been overly secretive about what the consultants are doing,” the PAC said.

“When departments have published information on consultancy work, usually later than they should have, they have failed to meet the government’s own transparency standards.”

Even when documents are published they are often “over-zealously redacted, the committee added.

The MPs also accused the government of being “overly relaxed” that 96% of the £97m spent on consultancy contracts has gone on just six large companies, despite the governments supposed “aspirations for more government work to go to small and medium-sized enterprise”.

The committee report suggested the true cost of Brexit consultancy work was not known, due to differing definitions of ‘consultancy’.

It said: “There is a widening gap between the Cabinet Office’s analysis of data on overall spending on consultancy services, not just to support Brexit, and expenditure reported by the departments.

“It appears that different departments are choosing to categorise their spending on consultancy services in different ways.”

For 2017-18 the Cabinet Office said total spend on all consultancy – not just for Brexit – was £1.5bn whereas analysis of invoices from individual departments suggested only £0.3bn was spent.

The Cabinet Office has been approached for a response. …”

Source: CIPFA (pay wall)

Exmouth Journal: misleading headline

The headline is:

“Exmouth seafront regeneration talks to no longer be held in secret”

HOWEVER, as the article goes on to say:

following concerns over the ‘secretive’ nature of the new group, East Devon District Council’s cabinet agreed that while the group would meet in private until January 1, the situation would then be reviewed as to if it could be opened up to the public.”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/exmouth-regeneration-groups-talks-no-longer-secret-1-6258682

Not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, Tory Exmouth town and district councillor Bruce de Sarum is now a member of the group and he has promised us all complete transparency:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/09/07/tory-party-gangs-up-on-the-independent-group-in-exmouth-about-transparency-and-open-ness/

so it’s all fine – isn’t it!

“Councils face bankruptcy after Tory cuts open £25billion black hole in finances”

“Council leaders say government funding cuts will leave a £25billion black hole and plunge stretched local authorities into worse debt.

Research by the TUC and New Economics Foundation think-tank shows the plans will lead to greater suffering and even council bankruptcies.

Grants will fall almost to zero and plans to let councils keep income from business rates will not match the shortfall.

Nationwide, £16billion has been taken from the Local Authority Grant since 2010, equivalent to 60p in each £1.

Labour ’s Paul Dennett, leader of Salford Council, said this summer that
3,000 children in his area were given emergency food vouchers, police numbers have been cut by 2,000 and new foodbanks have been opened.

“Local government is on its knees,” he said.

“Without serious investment, we will soon see more bankruptcies in local councils, as has happened in Conservative-run Northamptonshire.”

The TUC report shows ringfenced government grants to councils have fallen from £32.2billion in 2009-10 to £4.5billion in 2019-20, and are expected to be cut further by 2024-25.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady warned: “A colossal hole will be left in local budgets and the poorest communities face the biggest shortfalls.”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/councils-face-bankruptcy-after-tory-19843933

EDDC Indie Groyp Leader adds critical Exmouth Tory to Queens Drive Delivery Group

Great – he wanted transparency so he will be reporting back to us on those secret meetings won’t he?

https://exmouth.nub.news/n/council-leader-responds-to-conservative-criticism-of-plans-for-exmouth