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Westlake Legal Group > Law and order

Iain Dale: The Prime Minister. He gets knocked down. But he gets up again.

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

Number Ten, it seems, has recognised that withdrawing the whip from 21 Conservative MPs and preventing them from standing as Tory candidates at the next election might just have been a teency-weency bit over the top. A bit of rowing back has gone on this week, and the MPs in question have received a letter telling them that they can either reapply for the whip or, if they think they have been treated unfairly, appeal to a panel.

Time will tell how many will avail themselves of the offer. There will be some who will refuse and revel in their martyrdom, but others who will want to return to the tribe. I suspect, however, that the conditions imposed on them will mean that most may well refuse. If this is a genuine offer by Downing Street and the Chief Whip, then the 21 need to be treated sensitively rather than presented with the equivalent of signing a total surrender document.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Having had a five week long political honeymoon, the last ten days have seen the Prime Minister experience the political equivalent of five rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua. He’s been pummelled onto the floor by losing six votes Commons – but hasn’t been knocked out, despite being punched in the guts by his brother Jo.

And that’s the blow that hurt the most. I’m told that the Prime Minister was reduced to tears by this as he immediately realised the implications. Forget the political effect, it was the immediate realisation that his relationship with his brother would never be quite the same again. He was knocked for six.

This may explain his shambolic performance in front of the police cadets in Wakefield, where he gave a speech which was almost incomprehensible. And that’s being kind. On a human level, I think that many people will have a lot of sympathy for him. In some ways, this was far worse than what Ed Miliband did to his brother by standing against him in 2010. This was a dagger – straight to the heart.

One thing our Prime Minister finds very difficult to cope with is people who either don’t like him or who misunderstand his motives. It’s very human in many ways, and I warm to him because of it, but in politics it’s a weakness.

It may make him a less empathetic human being, but perhaps Johnson needs to grow a suit of human body armour. As Prime Minister, it’s impossible to be liked by everyone, and you can’t avoid the fact that your political enemies will come for you when they scent blood. And, boy, have they scented blood in the last ten days.

– – – – – – – – – –


Last Friday, I chaired the Norfolk Police & Crime Commissioner selection hustings in Norwich. The last time I had attended a meeting at the Mercure Hotel (formerly the Hotel Norwich) on the Norwich inner ring road was in April 1987, for the adoption meeting of the then Norwich North MP, Patrick Thompson, at the start of the general election campaign.

The room hadn’t changed a bit.  There were a lot of people there I knew from my North Norfolk campaign in 2005 and the age profile of the audience was very different to that I experienced during the leadership hustings. Yes, there was a scattering of young faces, but not a single person who wasn’t white.

Norwich itself has become a much more diverse city in recent years, and that needs to be reflected in the membership of local political parties. There was four finalists for the PCC job, all of whom were in their 60s (I think). Three men and one woman.

I gave each of them quite a grilling and all of them stood up to it quite well, even if I suspect none of them had ever experienced anything like it. The eventual winner (on the first ballot) was Giles Orpen-Smellie, a former diplomat with the gift of the gab. He provided the best answer to the final question I put to each of the four candidates: “I think PCCs are a complete waste of money and should be abolished. Tell me why I’m wrong.”

– – – – – – – – – –

I think enough has been said and written about my appearance on the BBC’s Question Time show last week. However, I was very aware that when I next hosted an LBC Cross Question show on Wednesday, I’d be under quite a bit of scrutiny. Could I maintain control over the panellists on my show – David Starkey, Andrew Adonis, Christine Jardine and Mark Harper – in a way that Fiona Bruce had often failed to do on hers the week before?

Would I allow one panellist to dominate in the way that Emily Thornberry was allowed to? Well, you can listen for yourself on the Cross Question podcast or view it on the LBC Youtube channel.

To be honest the hour was, in my opinion, exactly what a debate should be about. Apart from Starkey calling Theresa May “a hag” (which I made him apologise for), it was conducted with utter respect, without fake rows and I think the listeners learned a lot. But while I think I maintained control I think I failed to stop Starkey dominating. But then again, I defy any presenter to do any better than I did!

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A UK-US trade deal. Never mind the economics (at least for a moment). Feel the politics.

“While trade deals have taken on an important political and symbolic value in the context of Brexit,” Dominic Walsh of Open Europe wrote recently on this site, “their economic benefits are typically smaller and slower to materialise than many realise.” This is the place to start when considering a possible UK-US agreement on trade.  Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm for one is as much political as economic: a successful deal would show Britain, as it moves a bit further from the EU, also moving a bit closer to America.

Such a rebalancing is a strategic consequence of Brexit, at least in the eyes of many backers of leaving the EU.  Future trade deals were a Vote Leave EU referendum priority – though it may be significant that the United States was not one of the headline countries named.  Perhaps the reason was a wariness of anti-American sentiment among a section of the voting public.  None the less, the prospect of a trade agreement with the United States was mooted during the 2016 campaign: hence Barack Obama’s line, written for him by Team Cameron, of Britain being “at the back of the queue” for such a deal.

The obstacles to one are formidable.  For while the Prime Minister is bound to view it through the lens of politics, Donald Trump is more likely to do through that of economics – though the one admittedly tends to blur into the other.  America’s approach to such matters as food safety and animal welfare, environmental protection and intellectual property rights is different from ours in any event.  Never mind the red herring of chlorinated chickens – so to speak – or autopilot claims from Corbynistas about NHS selloffs. The real action is elsewhere.  The United States has long had a protectionist streak, and is resistant to opening up its financial services markets, for example.

The conventional view is that Trump is the biggest America Firster of all; that he would drive a hard bargain, that he has the muscle to do so – and that he wouldn’t be in control of an agreement anyway.  Congress could block one if it wished, and might well do so in the event of No Deal, since the Irish-American lobby is as well-entrenched as ever.  It has been a headache for British governments over Ireland-linked matters before: remember the McBride principles.  A different take is that politics may win out in the end, because both Trump and Congress will want a UK trade deal in order to put economic and political pressure on the EU: we will publish more about that later this week.

John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Adviser, is visiting Britain.  He said yesterday that the UK will be “first in line” for a trade agreement post-Brexit – a deliberate counter to Obama’s line.  Bolton will be dangling the prospect as an inducement.  He will want Johnson to take a more resistant line to Huawei than Theresa May did, and for the UK to move closer to America’s position on Iran.  But the possibility of early sector deals – or at least the exclusion of Britain from new pro-protection moves – seems to be real enough.  As with the NHS, policing, immigration and stop and search, so with trade.  Johnson wants progress towards a quick win as a possible election looms.

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“To literally feel terror”

Boris Johnson wants, specifically, to frighten Labour off a no confidence vote and, more broadly, to intimidate the anti-No Deal Brexit Commons coalition before the Commons returns in September.  That means demonstrating that voters are backing him.  That requires improving opinion poll ratings.  And that, in turn, means an August blizzard – yes, such a thing is possible – of policy announcements to prove that his new government “is on your side”.

So to Dominic Cummings’s trinity of an Australian-style points-based immigration system, more NHS spending and tax cuts for lower paid workers we must now add action on law and order.  The new Prime Minister promised 20,000 more police during his Conservative leadership election campaign.  To that we must now add 10,000 new prison places and greater use of stop and search powers – both of which are announced today.

Or rather we would do, if Johnson had a durable majority, and were the future more clear.  The money to fund those new prison places may not be available in the event of No Deal: it may be needed for other measures.  And sweeping changes to sentencing would require leglislation, which the Government is in position to present to Parliament.

None the less, the Downing Street bully pulpit has its uses, and if the Prime Minister want wider stop and search powers to be available, he is in a position to get his way – for as long as he’s in place, anyway.  Today’s push should help.  As Matt Singh writes, there has already been “a substantial Boris bounce”.  It has largely come off the back of Brexit Party supporters, and this latest initiative is aimed at them (as well as Labour working class voters).

So too was the appointment of Priti Patel as Home Secretary.  ConservativeHome is told that there was a collective intake of breath in Downing Street when she said recently that she wants criminals “to literally feel terror”.  Number Ten need not have worried about how that view would go down.  There is “overwhelming support” for it among the public, according to YouGov.

If Johnson somehow survives the autumn without a general election, or wins one with a majority, a further question will arises about all these spending plans – namely, whether or not they’re consistent with the traditional centre-right commitment to fiscal stability.  The Prime Minister could be forgiven for thinking, given the probability of an autumn poll and the uncertainty of any result, that this would be a nice problem to have.

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James Frayne: The new Prime Minister won’t triumph on Leave votes alone. Here’s how he can win some Remain supporters over.

James Frayne is Director of Public First and author of Meet the People, a guide to moving public opinion.

It’s not impossible that the Conservatives will need to fight both a general election and a referendum in the next year. It was therefore vital that the Party picked a candidate with a record of successful campaigning – and who believes in the Brexit cause. Jeremy Hunt ran a decent campaign and deserves a serious job, but Party members have chosen the right candidate.

While I’ve been making the case for Boris Johnson’s appointment on these pages for two years, his arrival in Number Ten complicates the Conservatives’ electoral strategy – and the Party must be considering how best to adapt it. They should be exploring full, Clinton-style triangulation.

I stress “explore” because the truth is, we don’t have a clue about where public opinion is at the moment. It would be an understatement to say the polls are a mess. We only know a few things: that the public remains completely divided on Brexit; that the broad Conservative base (activists plus regular voters) has fractured since the Government missed its own self-imposed Brexit deadlines; that there is a risk this broad base will remain fractured if the Government doesn’t deliver Brexit “on time” (although this timetable is probably more flexible than people have said), and that, until recently, the Party has been polling strongly amongst working class and lower middle class Leave voters in the Midlands and North – more so than amongst Remain voters in large cities and across the South.

Everything else is clouded in doubt. As Johnson arrives with his Eurosceptic reputation, we don’t know, for example, if the Southern and urban Remainers who have reluctantly stuck with the Conservatives will now peel off in great numbers to the Lib Dems; we don’t know if Johnson’s record will be enough to keep Midlands and Northern working class and lower middle class Leavers onside, or whether they will be watching the antics of Hammond, Gauke etc and now proclaim “they’re all the same”; we don’t know if there are particular, non-Brexit policies that will appeal to these Remainers or Leavers, and we don’t know if middle class Labour voters are getting sick of the failure of Labour to deal with anti-semitism within the Party ranks. We don’t know any of this and it is hard to say when we will. Not, presumably, until Christmas when Boris Johnson has been Prime Minister for a while (itself an assumption).

But while there is great uncertainty, the Conservatives cannot just sit patiently on the sidelines and watch the action unfold before coming to a decision on their broad governing and campaigning strategy. They have to deliver Brexit  – but they also have to prepare and execute a programme that is going to be good for the country and, yes, let’s be realistic, for their own electoral prospects.

So what should they do? With the polls so messed up, all anyone can do at this point is to sketch out a governing and campaigning hypothesis on the basis of careful thought – and put it to the test.

For five years at least,  I have been advocating a strategy that focuses hard on working class and lower middle class voters in provincial England. I emphatically would not junk this approach; these voters will likely form the basis of the Conservatives broad base for the foreseeable future.

However, for positive and negative reasons, under Boris Johnson, this needs adapting. Positively speaking, these working class and lower middle class voters are, assuming that the Conservatives deliver Brexit (or are seen to die trying), temperamentally more positive towards Johnson than Theresa May.

And not just on Brexit; Johnson instinctively understands the importance of the NHS and schools, he understands public concerns about rising crime, he is unembarrassed about being English or about English history (something that has not been sufficiently explored) and he doesn’t obsess about political correctness. These voters aren’t “locked down” – far from it – but Johnson starts in a good place with them. More needs to be done to keep this voters onside, and I will be setting out some ideas on how in the coming weeks.

Negatively speaking, there’s no denying that Johnson starts in a terrible place with Remain voters full stop – and particularly those from urban, liberal-minded, middle class backgrounds. These are the people that associate – wrongly, but there we are – the Brexit cause with racism and intolerance. He is in a more difficult place than May with these voters, and it would be a disaster for the Party if vast numbers of them peeled away. Johnson needs a high-impact, high-visibility, immediate strategy for these voters – showing that he is the same person that ran London in an inclusive, centrist way.

Which brings us back to Clinton’s triangulating strategy of the mid-1990s. Back in those days, Clinton created a campaigning and governing strategy designed to appeal both to partisan Democrats and to floating voters that leaned Republican. Early Blair did the same, and this is what Johnson’s team should be considering. The Conservatives should deliver Brexit whatever happens, develop a longer-term strategy to turn the Midlands and the North blue, but also launch an assault for liberal-minded Remainers.

What might this entail? The Government is going to have to look again at increasing NHS spending – given the side of that bus, further NHS spending (with reform) is going to be hard to walk away from. It should look to develop a suite of environmental policies that incentivise good behaviour and that wrestle the issue away from the very hard left. The Government should also launch, along the lines of the GREAT campaign, a global PR campaign to encourage the best qualified workers to move to a modern, tolerant, post-Brexit Britain. And the Government should look at making it easier for new parents, at a time when they’re financially stretched, to secure loans for childcare. There will be many other alternatives, but you get the point.

The Conservatives must continue their transition towards becoming the provincial workers party, but the creative energy in the short-term should be directed South.

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Johnson’s August 3) Delivering campaign pledges – in so far as he can without a durable majority

It is now overwhelmingly likely that Boris Johnson will be the next Conservative Party leader and become Prime Minister.

He may well face a no confidence vote in September, and the Brexit extension expires at the end of October in any event.

So he and his new team will have to hit the ground running in August. We continue our series on what he should do during that month and late July before the Commons is due to return on September 3.

– – – – – – – – – –

According to our weekly updated list, Boris Johnson has made some 25 policy pledges during the Conservative leadership election.  In the probable event of a general election in the autumn, he won’t be able to deliver on many of them.  And he will soon have a working majority of only three in any event.

Which surely rules out a Special Budget in September.  It would have to contain more provisions for No Deal, and wrapping them up in this way would only encourage MPs to vote them down.  He would do better to try any that he needs on the Commons piecemeal.

MPs would also vote down any tax cuts “for the rich” – a category who they would collectively argue includes those who pay the higher rate of income tax, the threshold of which Johnson has promised to raise.

It would be impossible in effect to cut income tax rates in time for a snap election anyway, though the Commons might nod through a rise in the national insurance threshold for lower paid workers, another of his pledges.

But just because Johnson can’t do everything – or even anything much that requires a Bill – doesn’t mean that he can only do nothing.

Governments have greater discretion on spending than tax.  So, for example, he could start to deliver on increasing funding per pupil in secondary schools and raising police numbers.  That would come in handy with an autumn election looming.

The latter move would go hand in hand with a battle with Chief Constables and others over the best use of new resources.  Voters want to see more police on the streets and more use of stop and search.  Johnson’s new Home Secretary should pile in.

And while he will have little legislative room for manoeuvre, he will be able to propose some relatively uncontentious Bills for September – settling the status, for example, of EU citizens.

Then there are measures that he could announce the new Government will not proceed with, as well as those that he wants to proceed with.  Theresa May is providing a growing list of the former.

Not to put too fine a point on it, he should take an axe to parts of her legacy programme – including, as Henry Hill has argued, the hostage to fortune that is the proposed Office for Tackling Injustices.

He will also want to show a direction of travel on some major policy issues.  We do not believe that refusing to commit to a reduction in immigration is sustainable.  As a starting-point to establishing control, he could do a lot worse than take up the Onward proposals floated on this site yesterday by Mark Harper.

There is a limited amount that the new Government will be able to do a in single month – not least when the new Prime Minister is bound to be out of London for parts of it, Parliament isn’t sitting, there is a new Brexit policy to get into shape, and the threat of a no confidence vote in September.

What Johnson can do is form a team, shape a Cabinet – of which more later – begin the Brexit negotiation’s new phase, and show what his priorities are: police, schools and infrastructure, with a particular stress when it comes to the latter on the Midlands and the North.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Sponsored Post: James Lowman: Breaking the cycle of violence against shopworkers  

James Lowman is Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). This is a sponsored post by the ACS.

Last year, almost 10,000 people working in convenience stores were the victim of violence while doing their job, with similar numbers reported by big retail stores. The circumstances of these offences are simply responsible businesses and their employees upholding the law and keeping their communities safe by enforcing age restrictions, refusing to serve intoxicated customers or dealing with shop thieves.

Retailers have invested millions to protect their stores. Regrettably this essential action increases costs for consumers and despite significant investment, the tide of violence and abusive behaviour has continued. Soon the new Prime Minister will appoint their new team, and possibly a new Home Secretary and Justice Secretary, who will need to deal with this massive human and societal problem, face up to this challenge and give local shops the support they need.

Over the last 12 weeks, retailers have had the opportunity to tell the Home Office directly about the impact of violence and abuse faced by them and their staff as part of a formal call for evidence. This is more than just a data gathering process, it matters because these incidents rarely get reported. Low reporting rates means official figures understate the problem, so resources get allocated elsewhere. Thousands of stores have now sent in their stories of dealing with violence and abuse, some on an almost daily basis, and the message is clear: this is serious issue facing many thousands of people, and it isn’t a problem that’s going away on its own.  So, this is the plan the Government needs to implement.

Firstly, when the perpetrators of crimes against retailers and shop workers are caught, there’s an inconsistent and usually unsatisfactory response from the justice system. People who work in shops are on the front line, enforcing the law on age-restricted sales and serving as part of their community. If a shopworker is attacked while just doing their job, we believe that offenders should receive tougher sentences in line with what they would have received if they had attacked emergency workers. This is a bold recommendation requiring changes to sentencing guidelines and new legislation, but there needs to be a clear message that attacking a shopworker is unacceptable, and that their contribution in upholding the law is valued.

The second thing we need is a fundamental review of the out-of-court disposals system for low-level offences like shop theft. Tougher sentencing does not matter if offenders aren’t getting to court in the first place.  Fixed penalty notices and cautions as they currently work are not deterring offenders from committing further crimes which often become more serious and more violent.  As Sir Brian Leveson told Radio 4’s PM programme last week using the example of repeat shop thieves, there must be sufficiently significant and meaningful penalties or offenders will not change their behaviour, nor will the cause of that behaviour – usually addiction to drugs or alcohol – be recognised and treated.

To break the cycle of offending, better interventions are needed. The Centre for Social Justice’s ‘Second Chance’ programme is a good starting point for new interventions that could make real difference to offenders and the communities they live in. If courts aren’t intervening, through support or sanctions, we shouldn’t then be surprised when those individuals can no longer feed their habit through theft, and threaten shopworkers with syringes, knives and hammers in order to steal £50 – a scene that unfolds daily across the country.

We also have to confront some hard truths about the resources and priorities of police forces.  Chief Constables simply don’t have the personnel, time and support to investigate every incident of violence and intimidation in our members’ stores.  Conveniently, the Government can point to Police and Crime Commissioners’ resource prioritisation as the reason why so many incidents aren’t investigated.  But if people working in our communities are the victims of violence every day, and the police can’t find the time to investigate, then they’re either adopting very strange priorities, or more likely they haven’t got the resources to do their job.  Fret about politicising crime as much as you like, the reality is the trauma felt by those victims of violence, far too many of whom aren’t seeing justice, and who feel that under-resourcing, inaction, and indifference is making it more likely that they and their colleagues will be a victim again in the future.

You can look at the recommendations we, along with many others in the retail sector, have made to the Minister here, and I trust that Conservative Party members will engage with these policy suggestions and respond appropriately to this serious challenge to the community in which we all live, and the shop staff that work within it.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

E. Jean Carroll’s Rape Claim Looks Awfully Similar to a Plot Line from an Episode of “Law and Order”

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-1-5-620x357 E. Jean Carroll’s Rape Claim Looks Awfully Similar to a Plot Line from an Episode of “Law and Order” Television Sexual Assault rape accusation Politics New York Manhattan Law and order Front Page Stories Featured Story fantasy E. Jean Carroll donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

We’ve been watching the unfolding of the story of E. Jean Carroll, the woman who claims Trump raped her.

While the mainstream media did everything in their power to prop Carroll up as a viable source, the woman has exhibited incredibly odd behavior, including a very awkward interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, wherein she floated the idea that people think rape is sexy.

Carroll’s claim was that one day she was in a Bergdorf dressing room in Manhattan when Trump burst in and sexually assaulted her. There’s no proof that it happened, and as time goes on, it’s becoming safe to assume that it didn’t. Especially after an interesting discovery floated around on social media.

As it turns out, being sexually assaulted in a Bergdorf dressing room is the plotline in an episode of “Law and Order,” wherein a man being questioned by police describes a role play fantasy being played out by a couple where the man bursts into a Bergdorf dressing room while the woman was trying on lingerie.

Let’s remember that during Carroll’s interview with Anderson Cooper that she mentioned that people think rape is sexy and described it as being a fantasy.

“Think of the fantasies,” she told Cooper.

I want to be clear that I’m not saying that Carroll’s claim is or isn’t real. I have no proof of either, just a hunch due to a long history of watching accusers come out of the woodwork when a person is about to achieve a position of power. From Clarence Thomas to Brett Kavanaugh, and a plethora of Republican politicians in between, sexual assault allegations are a dime a dozen, and they very rarely seem to be true.

With Trump approaching 2020 and the Russian scandal a dud, the left has to turn to something, and another sexual assault or rape accusations was completely expected.

That said, I do want to bring attention to the fact that this “Law and Order” episode and the similarities of the claims made by Carroll seem too similar not to be suspect. Adding the fact that she mentions rape fantasies, just like the episode talks about, makes this seem even odder.

I’m not one for engaging in conspiracy theories, but I am one for paying attention to weird details. And this? This is definitely a weird detail.

Somebody should ask Carroll if she watches a lot of television.

The post E. Jean Carroll’s Rape Claim Looks Awfully Similar to a Plot Line from an Episode of “Law and Order” appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-1-5-300x173 E. Jean Carroll’s Rape Claim Looks Awfully Similar to a Plot Line from an Episode of “Law and Order” Television Sexual Assault rape accusation Politics New York Manhattan Law and order Front Page Stories Featured Story fantasy E. Jean Carroll donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Chloe Westley: Khan poses, tweets and postures – while London is ravaged by four murders in four days

Chloe Westley is the Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

During the coming weeks, this website will be filled with articles about who should be the next Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister. There will be a fierce battle of ideas between those who would prefer to continue with Mayism, and those who are hoping for change. There will be advocates of a No Deal Brexit, and those who would rather a closer relationship with the EU.

But there is one point that I think all Conservatives can agree on – and that’s the appalling track record of Sadiq Khan’s tenure as Mayor of London.

Last week, four people in London were murdered in four days. This extraordinary tragic set of events sparked cries of outrage at politicians, and particularly the politician who is responsible for dealing with crime in London. The respectful thing for the Mayor to do, would have been to apologise for his lack of action and look into how he could divert more of his £18 billion budget into policing. Instead, Sadiq Khan refused to take responsibility. He claimed that ‘government cuts’ – not his own wasteful spending in other areas – had deprived the Met of the resources needed to tackle crime.

So how hard-pressed for cash is City Hall exactly? Well, somehow the Mayor found £300,000 to put on a pool party, and £20,000 to gift to a 2nd referendum campaign group. Remarkably he also found £200,000 for a flashy new website, £175,000 for a PR campaign on why ‘London is Open’, and £1.7 million for new water fountains. Oh, and of course he miraculously discovered £9 million for new hires and pay rises for City Hall staff, which could have funded 150 police officers.

Not only is Khan wasting taxpayers’ money; he’s also exploiting the office he holds to grandstand on issues which have nothing to do with the job that taxpayers pay him to do. In order to distract from the terrible job he’s doing as Mayor, Khan decides to use his platform to virtue signal about foreign affairs and social issues.

Take this inspirational video for Elle, in which he proudly declares himself a feminist. Or this video interview where he criticises Donald Trump’s domestic policies and says he shouldn’t be welcome in the UK. Or the countless times he’s called for a second referendum.

Now, you may agree with some of his opinions on these issues, but is this relevant to anything that taxpayers actually pay him to deal with? I don’t think Londoners voted for Khan so that he could seek airtime to assert his moral superiority on foreign affairs and social issues. They wanted to elect someone who would focus on improving public services like transport and policing.

Aside from virtue signalling on Twitter, the only thing he’s been able to actually achieve is to introduce a white van tax and banning ‘junk food’ advertising on the tube. Even Faiza Shaheen, a Labour Parliamentary candidate, has recognised that Khan’s van tax will hit poorer families the hardest.

And that ‘junk food’ ad ban turned out to be a ‘pretty much any food’ ban. As industry leaders tried to warn Khan, the definition of ‘junk food’ is so broad that even a bowl of strawberries would be deemed too dangerous for commuters’ eyes. If companies find they are constantly being asked to redesign their advertisements to remove all images of food, they might decide it’s not worth the hassle, resulting in less revenue for TfL. Staying very true to character, both of these policies were about ‘feeling good’ and getting a PR hit – as opposed to ‘doing good’ and thinking about the wider impact on Londoners.

As Khan tweets and tours TV studios to express his disapproval of Trump and Brexit, London suffers. Londoners have suffered through 16 tube strikes, despite Khan pledging that there would be zero strikes under his watch. In the years since Khan was first elected, reported knife crime has increased by 52 per cent, robberies up by 59 per cent, and the homicide rate by 26 per cent.

Compare Khan’s track record with Boris Johnson’s. Delays on the tube went down by around 50 per cent, making it easier for Londoners to get to work on time. And after making the tough decision to give the police greater powers to stop and search those suspected of carrying weapons, the murder rate in London went down by 50 per cent, the crime rate down by 20 per cent.

Londoners have had enough of Khan’s virtue signalling and incompetence. It’s time to put us out of our misery. We need a Mayor who focuses on the job that he or she is paid to do, who puts the needs of residents and taxpayers above the temptation to hand out pay-rises, bonuses and jobs for their mates. We need a Mayor who can take responsibility for problems in London without shifting the blame to central government.

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Iain Dale: The tragi-comedy of the collapse of Change UK

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

Today is the day Theresa May officially resigns as Leader of the Conservative Party. She will, of course, remain as Prime Minister for another 55 days, until the new leader is unveiled on July 22. It will be an uncomfortable few weeks her, as she seeks to come to terms with the fate that has befallen her.

But she has 55 days to do a few things which could form part of her legacy. Her premiership will, of course, be defined by the failure to deliver Brexit, but she is still in control of the levers of power, and she could use them to affect people’s lives, even if only in a small way.

– – – – – – – – – –

It won’t just be the Prime Minister who leaves Downing Street in late July. No one ever thinks of the dozens of prime ministerial staffers who will all lose their jobs too.

One or two may be retained by the new regime, but most won’t. They’ll all get a few months salary by way of recompense, but after working in Number Ten, I do wonder how easy it is to go back to civvy street into a more normal job. Does Craig Oliver get the same buzz from the world of PR that he got in Downing Street? I doubt it.

Many will no doubt tread the well-trodden path into lobbying and public affairs. I’d urge them to think very carefully before doing that. It’s the easy way out. Yes, it’s financially rewarding, but what you’re effectively doing is pimping your contacts. Where’s the job satisfaction in that? There are plenty of other alternatives if you look hard enough.

– – – – – – – – – –

One of the notable things in this leadership campaign is the failure of any of the leadership candidates to come up with many eye-catching, game-changing policies.

Perhaps they need to take a leaf out of the book of the Alabama State Legislature, which this week passed a law which means that all convicted paedophiles will be chemically castrated.

At first sight, you think, wow, what a totally inhumane thing to do. But when you actually look into it, it makes total sense. A chemical castration is perhaps the wrong phrase to describe the procedure. Essentially, you get a three monthly injection of a chemical which reduces your sex drive to almost zero.

I imagine there are many self-hating paedophiles who would voluntarily submit themselves to this, in order to prevent them from committing an offence in the first place.

When I did a phone-in on this on Tuesday, I was shocked to learn that charities who provide emotional and therapeutic support to paedophiles get financial support from the taxpayer, but charities who provide support for the victims of paedophiles get nothing, and have to rely on voluntary contributions.

They are so badly off financially that they have to often turn people away, who are desperate for help. This is a prime example of the system not working for those who really need it. So, for any Conservative leadership candidate reading this, store it away, and if you win, pledge to do something about it.

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You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel for all those people who dutifully followed the 11 Independent Group MPs of their respective parties. Tens of thousands of people abandoned their lifelong tribal loyalties, and put their trust in those MPs to form an exciting and fresh new political party.

Boy, how they’ve been let down. Now that six of that original 11 have abandoned Change UK to go back to being independent, there is no hope of it being able to continue as any kind of meaningful political force.

Anna Soubry now leads the rump of five MPs, but she’s the only one with any name recognition. Meanwhile, it is only a matter of time before most, if not all, of the six others join the Liberal Democrats.

This might an interesting move for Chuka Umunna, who is on record as declaring in recent months: “I am not a Liberal Democrat.” He forgot to add the word ‘yet’.

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On Wednesday night, I conducted the first of my Conservative leadership candidate interviews, with Mark Harper.

The series continues on LBC on Monday with Rory Stewart (8pm) and Sam Gyimah (9pm), followed by Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey on Tuesday and Sajid Javid on Wednesday.

If you can’t listen live, our esteemed Editor will be posting the Youtube videos of each interview on ConservativeHome the next day [see above], or you can download them for your delight and delectation on the Cross Question podcast feed. End of advert.

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Pauline Latham: Why I am voting for McVey

Pauline Latham is MP for Mid Derbyshire.

The political class has exhausted the country over the last couple of years. Deadlock in Parliament and our failure to grapple with delivering the historic referendum result has ensured that our Party has been pounded in the recent elections.

Not only do people feel ignored, but the Brexit stagnation has meant that we haven’t been able to focus on other important areas, such as health, housing, local transport, education and policing. We can’t continue blindly marching on in the same way as before. If we do, we may as well crown Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister today.

We have had a great record as a Party over the last nine years. We’ve seen the fastest growth in wages in almost a decade, record amounts of money going to the NHS, high employment levels and economic growth.

But we have become inward-looking, and seem to have stopped listening to what people out there are saying. We must re-connect, start listening to voters, remember why we’re in the political business in the first place, and start to renew that fragile bond of trust with the British people. And the way to start this is by delivering Brexit.

We need a leader who believes in Brexit, and who is passionate about us making a success of our future as an independent, self-governing nation. They must be prepared to rule out, unequivocally, any extension to our leaving date of October 31st. Businesses have prepared, the country is ready to leave the EU and it’s only politicians who seem to be lagging behind, causing endless fatigue and uncertainty for people and businesses.

The EU and our excellent civil servants have spent months agreeing an array of mini-deals so that we won’t be operating under World Trade Organisation rules alone from November 1st. Deals will be in place ensuring that planes fly, lorries can move their goods and business can continue.

So we need a clean break: no resurrecting the botched Withdrawal Agreement and no more talk of backstops. We are tired of it, we’re ready to do without a Withdrawal Agreement deal – and the only candidate who is calling for this is Esther McVey, which is why I am backing her for the leadership of our Party.

Esther is one of the rare politicians I’ve met who is able to communicate authentically with voters in all parts of the country. People hate it when politicians are not completely straight with them, and we need a leader who can reach out beyond our core supporters, and who say it as it is. We need someone who doesn’t hide behind bland, non-committal, political waffle; who isn’t posturing on Twitter but who’s out there, talking to real people and saying exactly what she thinks and what her values are. That’s the kind of straight-talking politics the public are crying out for.

Labour has been taking its northern heartlands for granted and has abandoned hard-working families and communities, who used to vote for them in favour of their metropolitan members. This is an opportunity for us as a Party ,and Esther will be able to capitalise on it. She will be able to articulate how Corbyn’s socialist plans will destroy these voters’ jobs and leave them worse off, and her Blue Collar Conservatism project demonstrates that she shares their values too.

Esther has been out in the country, talking to voters to hear what their priorities are as we move beyond Brexit. There’s one thing that people are saying, time and time again, and that’s that they want us to stop the cutting the amount of money we give to our police and schools.

The Conservatives have already made changes in education that have been transformational, but we are now risking all that by under-funding our schools. Classrooms are creaking at the seams and, whilst more money is not the answer to everything, it will make a real difference to teachers.

And our police are becoming increasingly stretched as well. There’s nothing officers in my constituency want more than to be able to do the best possible job in keeping our streets safe and stemming the tide of rising violent crime. But we have cut their budgets to the bone.

So Esther has pledged an extra £7 billion for our police and schools, allowing our public servants and communities the chance to breathe. £4 billion will go towards making up for shortfalls in the education budget and £3 billion a year extra will go our police. This works out as a huge 25 per cent boost on the current funding we are giving to the police, and nine times what the Home Secretary has promised. This debate shouldn’t involve politicians setting headline-grabbing, arbitrary numbers of police officer numbers. It should be about making a transformative shift in priorities so that the police, themselves, can develop a force that’s fit to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

And Esther has now gone further than this. She wants to enshrine the nation’s thanks to the police – for all the tireless work they do to keep us safe and to protect us – in a new Police Covenant, similar to the one we developed for our Armed Forces. We expect so much from our police and it’s time we treated them with some respect. The Police Covenant will support officers during their service and in their retirement and, importantly, part of the £3 billion will be used to ensure that officers’ pay rises in line with inflation.

This is what Blue Collar Conservatism is all about: practical, Conservative policies that will make a real difference to the lives of our hard-working communities. And it’s exactly the direction our Party needs to take, under Esther’s leadership, if we are to become a fighting force at the next election.

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