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Westlake Legal Group > Sajid Javid MP

Potemkin legislation

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-04-17-at-07.25.35 Potemkin legislation Work Women and equality Women wages Treasury ToryDiary Stella Creasy MP sport Sam Coates (The Times) Sajid Javid MP rent Public Sector Northern Ireland NHS Local government and local elections Local Elections (general) Liz Truss MP Julian Assange jobs James Brokenshire MP immigration housing Home and family Highlights healthcare Health football Family and relationships exports employment Elizabeth Truss MP Economy DUP divorce disability Diane Abbott MP David Gauke MP David Blanchflower Conservatives Abortion

The ten most recent subjects covered by the Conservative Party’s Twitter feed are as follows: record employment, the provision of free sanitary products in primary schools, Conservative councils recycling more than Labour ones, more statistics about work and wages, record women’s employment, workers’ rights, an exports increase, more disabled people in employment, an end to no fault evictions, Conservative councils fixing more potholes than Labour ones, banning upskirting, funding more toilets at motorway service areas to help people living with complex disabilities, Sajid Javid criticising Diane Abbott over Julian Assange, kicking out racism in football, and a new law to protect service animals.

One might pick out three main themes, local election campaigning aside.

The first is the vibrancy of Britain’s jobs market and the country’s robust recent record on employment.  The aftermath of the Crash and the Coalition’s slowing of public spending growth, a.k.aa “austerity”, didn’t bring the five million unemployed that David Blanchflower believed possible.  The Government has to keep shouting about our employment rates because people have got used to them.  A generation is growing up that cannot remember the mass unemployment of the 1980s.

Then there are a battery of announcements aimed disproportionately at younger women voters, who were more likely to switch to Labour at the last election.  Those of a certain disposition will argue that some of these are trivial, and that women and men both want government to get on with addressing big issues: Brexit, health, the economy, immigration, education and so on.  But part of the point of banning upskirting, say, or providing more free sanitary products is gaining “permission to be heard”, in order to make some voters, in this case younger female ones, more receptive to what Conservatives are doing more broadly and widely.

Which takes us, third, to law-making – not admitttedly the only means, or even necessarily the main one, by which government can act, but indispensable none the less.  Under which category we find a new law to protect service animals and the proposed end to no fault evictions, about which James Brokenshire wrote on this site recently.  The two may seem to have nothing in common but, on closer inspection, tell part of the same story.

Namely that, as Sam Coates keeps pointing out, the Government can’t get any plan which is remotely contentious through the Commons.  Only the most uncontested ideas, such as providing police and other service dogs with more protections, can make it through the House. And this new service animals measure isn’t even Government leglislation.  It came about through a Private Members Bill tabled by Oliver Heald and then backed by Ministers.

Meanwhile, the proposal to end no fault evictions isn’t contained in a Bill at all.  The headline on gov.uk about the plan refers to an “end to unfair evictions” and “the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation”.  But the text of the announcement refers to “plans to consult on new legislation” and refers to an earlier consultation, on Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector, to which it has now published a response.

As with housing, so with divorce.  On ConservativeHome today, Frank Young makes the point, in his article on the Government’s plans to ensure that no fault divorce can take place more frequently, that “it remains to be seen if the Justice Department’s enthusiasm for new legislation will be matched by government business managers and the ability of the current government to get any legislation through”.  For David Gauke has unfurled not a new Bill, but a White Paper.

Ditto Liz Truss’s announcment on a £95,000 cap on exit payments when public sector workers leave their jobs. “Six-figure taxpayer-funded public sector exit payments to end,” gov.uk’s headline declares.  The sub-heading is more candid than the one beneath the housing headline.  “A consultation has been launched outlining how the government will introduce a £95,000 cap to stop huge exit payments when public sector workers leave their jobs,” it says.  The Treasury confirms that legislation will be required.

Now think on.  As Sam goes on to say, Theresa May’s successor may take against these ideas or indeed all of them.  In which case, they will doubtless be quietly put to sleep.  And that successor may be in place soon.  (Regretfully, we have to add: as soon as possible after European Parliament elections, assuming these happen, please.)

Conservative MPs don’t want a general election.  Nor do we.  But the more one ponders the state of this Parliament, the more one sees why one is the natural solution to this impasse – and would be knocking on the door, were it not for the Fixed Terms Parliament Act.  These recent announcements are Potemkin Legislation.  They cannot be put to the Commons without risk of them being amended out of their original intention.

Nor can the Government legislate easily elsewhere.  Consider any proposals affecting women – to take us back to near where we started.  Up would pop Stella Creasy, looking for a means of changing the abortion laws in Northern Ireland.  Which would further strain the Conservatives’ relationship with the DUP, such as it is.  Prepare, when Brexit isn’t before the Commons, for many more Opposition Days.

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

Potemkin legislation

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-04-17-at-07.25.35 Potemkin legislation Work Women and equality Women wages Treasury ToryDiary Stella Creasy MP sport Sam Coates (The Times) Sajid Javid MP rent Public Sector Northern Ireland NHS Local government and local elections Local Elections (general) Liz Truss MP Julian Assange jobs James Brokenshire MP immigration housing Home and family Highlights healthcare Health football Family and relationships exports employment Elizabeth Truss MP Economy DUP divorce disability Diane Abbott MP David Gauke MP David Blanchflower Conservatives Abortion

The ten most recent subjects covered by the Conservative Party’s Twitter feed are as follows: record employment, the provision of free sanitary products in primary schools, Conservative councils recycling more than Labour ones, more statistics about work and wages, record women’s employment, workers’ rights, an exports increase, more disabled people in employment, an end to no fault evictions, Conservative councils fixing more potholes than Labour ones, banning upskirting, funding more toilets at motorway service areas to help people living with complex disabilities, Sajid Javid criticising Diane Abbott over Julian Assange, kicking out racism in football, and a new law to protect service animals.

One might pick out three main themes, local election campaigning aside.

The first is the vibrancy of Britain’s jobs market and the country’s robust recent record on employment.  The aftermath of the Crash and the Coalition’s slowing of public spending growth, a.k.aa “austerity”, didn’t bring the five million unemployed that David Blanchflower believed possible.  The Government has to keep shouting about our employment rates because people have got used to them.  A generation is growing up that cannot remember the mass unemployment of the 1980s.

Then there are a battery of announcements aimed disproportionately at younger women voters, who were more likely to switch to Labour at the last election.  Those of a certain disposition will argue that some of these are trivial, and that women and men both want government to get on with addressing big issues: Brexit, health, the economy, immigration, education and so on.  But part of the point of banning upskirting, say, or providing more free sanitary products is gaining “permission to be heard”, in order to make some voters, in this case younger female ones, more receptive to what Conservatives are doing more broadly and widely.

Which takes us, third, to law-making – not admitttedly the only means, or even necessarily the main one, by which government can act, but indispensable none the less.  Under which category we find a new law to protect service animals and the proposed end to no fault evictions, about which James Brokenshire wrote on this site recently.  The two may seem to have nothing in common but, on closer inspection, tell part of the same story.

Namely that, as Sam Coates keeps pointing out, the Government can’t get any plan which is remotely contentious through the Commons.  Only the most uncontested ideas, such as providing police and other service dogs with more protections, can make it through the House. And this new service animals measure isn’t even Government leglislation.  It came about through a Private Members Bill tabled by Oliver Heald and then backed by Ministers.

Meanwhile, the proposal to end no fault evictions isn’t contained in a Bill at all.  The headline on gov.uk about the plan refers to an “end to unfair evictions” and “the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation”.  But the text of the announcement refers to “plans to consult on new legislation” and refers to an earlier consultation, on Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector, to which it has now published a response.

As with housing, so with divorce.  On ConservativeHome today, Frank Young makes the point, in his article on the Government’s plans to ensure that no fault divorce can take place more frequently, that “it remains to be seen if the Justice Department’s enthusiasm for new legislation will be matched by government business managers and the ability of the current government to get any legislation through”.  For David Gauke has unfurled not a new Bill, but a White Paper.

Ditto Liz Truss’s announcment on a £95,000 cap on exit payments when public sector workers leave their jobs. “Six-figure taxpayer-funded public sector exit payments to end,” gov.uk’s headline declares.  The sub-heading is more candid than the one beneath the housing headline.  “A consultation has been launched outlining how the government will introduce a £95,000 cap to stop huge exit payments when public sector workers leave their jobs,” it says.  The Treasury confirms that legislation will be required.

Now think on.  As Sam goes on to say, Theresa May’s successor may take against these ideas or indeed all of them.  In which case, they will doubtless be quietly put to sleep.  And that successor may be in place soon.  (Regretfully, we have to add: as soon as possible after European Parliament elections, assuming these happen, please.)

Conservative MPs don’t want a general election.  Nor do we.  But the more one ponders the state of this Parliament, the more one sees why one is the natural solution to this impasse – and would be knocking on the door, were it not for the Fixed Terms Parliament Act.  These recent announcements are Potemkin Legislation.  They cannot be put to the Commons without risk of them being amended out of their original intention.

Nor can the Government legislate easily elsewhere.  Consider any proposals affecting women – to take us back to near where we started.  Up would pop Stella Creasy, looking for a means of changing the abortion laws in Northern Ireland.  Which would further strain the Conservatives’ relationship with the DUP, such as it is.  Prepare, when Brexit isn’t before the Commons, for many more Opposition Days.

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

Henry Newman: By now we could have been out of the EU, controlling our own borders, fisheries and trade deals

Henry Newman is Director of Open Europe.

A counterfactual thought experiment: on 29th March, the Conservative Party almost all voted together for the Prime Minister’s deal. Despite their heart-felt concerns, the remaining members of the ERG were persuaded by Jacob Rees-Mogg to back the Government. On the other end of the Brexit divide, Conservative critics on the Remain side accepted that the indicative votes had shown no majority for a second referendum, and agreed to allow the country to move on. With a few additional Labour rebels, the Withdrawal Agreement just scraped a Commons majority.

Speaking in Downing Street on Friday evening, the Prime Minister set out a timetable for her departure. She reassured MPs that there was no need to hold European elections, to the delight of Daniel Hannan. The weekend’s papers showed a poll bounce towards the Conservatives, putting them in a good position to hold council seats in forthcoming local elections.

At the European Council last week, the EU agreed a short technical extension to complete ratification of the Withdrawal Bill. Brexit day was set for Friday 24th May, with an extra bank holiday on Tuesday. All European Ambassadors were invited to a service in Westminster Abbey to mark the end of 46 years of British membership. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, are guests of honour at a gala dinner.

With Brexit secured, the People’s Vote campaign collapsed. Formal negotiations with the EU will resume after the summer, following the formation of a new European Commission and with a new British Prime Minister in place. The Labour Party has continued to press for a softer Brexit deal, but has yet to clarify its policy. Meanwhile, Heidi Allen’s Change UK advocates British re-accession to the European Union, and a new referendum. Several new defectors have joined the party from the Liberal Democrats, who had not yet committed to re-joining the EU.

The ‘Alternative Arrangements’ UK-EU Irish border working group has set out an ambitious timetable of fortnightly meetings, with an expanded cast list of relevant experts. Meanwhile, an anonymous philanthropist has donated a £100,000 prize for the most creative approach to resolving the border question. Several Californian tech companies are also hard at work on possible solutions.

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, has published his proposed post-Brexit immigration system. With Free Movement ending by 2021, the new policy will prioritise those coming to work in education, universities or the health service, and those likely to contribute the most to our economy or society. A fast-track work visa scheme will help ensure British companies access to necessary foreign labour, but those companies doing so will need to pay a levy to support UK skills training.

The Fisheries Bill is due back in the Commons shortly. The Environment Secretary has already announced that from 2021 the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone, extending across around a third of a million square miles of sea, will be under British control. Michael Gove has invited fishing ministers from European coastal states to a new annual fishing summit, to be held on Tyneside in early 2020. The French are threatening to boycott the summit in protest at the British refusal to grant them continued access to our fishing waters on the same basis as before.

Liam Fox spent Easter week jetting across the Pacific. Australia and New Zealand have launched working groups to develop a series of trade deals with the UK which they hope to fast-track over coming months. At a joint press conference, ministers announced they will prioritise a services trade deal, which provides unprecedented access for financial services, including retail banking and insurance, as well as new agreements on investor protection. This is designed to come into effect in 2021, whether or not the UK enters the backstop, but can be upgraded to a fuller comprehensive trade deal.

Also on the plane was Matt Hancock. The Health Secretary is pressing for a new mutual recognition of qualifications deal. The proposal is to allow Australian and New Zealand doctors and nurses to work in Britain, without having to re-qualify. At present, only doctors qualifying in the European Economic Area – from Latvia to Lichtenstein – have that automatic right.

The DUP were concerned by the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement, which they had voted against. However, they have agreed to work with the Government to implement a Stormont Lock which will come into effect if the UK enters the backstop. The Prime Minister has confirmed that the existing goods rules will be maintained in Great Britain, as well as in the Northern Ireland, for the foreseeable future. As a result, the Business Secretary has confirmed that there will be no regulatory checks required on industrial or manufactured goods moving across the Irish Sea. The Brexit Secretary has also informed Michel Barnier that, if the UK enters the backstop, the UK will by default veto all new goods regulations, only accepting those new rules it determines are in its core national interest. There was some significant protest at this decision, but the Commission’s legal team reluctantly admitted that this was the UK’s right under the Treaty.

***

Unfortunately this happy picture is a fantasy. What actually happened (of course) is that, although around 90 per cent of Tory MPs voted for the Withdrawal Agreement, about three dozen Conservatives refused to do so. As a result Brexit is profoundly at risk, and the Conservatives are taking an acute hammering in the opinion polls.

Some of the Prime Minister’s critics continue to believe they can reach their No Deal nirvana. But the last few months have shown how elusive that mirage can be. The plan seems to entail forcing the Prime Minister out, and then securing a new Conservative Leader committed to scrapping the backstop.

Advocates of this path tend to argue that Theresa May has never really tried to scrap the backstop, and if somehow [insert name of a potential Brexity party leader] just went to Brussels and told them we would not have the backstop, the EU would agree to take it out. Sadly, this is as fantastical as my thought experiment above.

Anyone promising to scrap the backstop might as well promise to take the country to No Deal. With this Parliament certain to try to block No Deal, a new leader would need to win a General Election. But even assuming that the Conservatives could secure a narrow majority – which seems a stretch at present – it’s not clear that No Deal would then be plausible. At least a couple of dozen Conservative MPs, and possibly considerably more, would resist No Deal at almost any cost.

Unless a path through can be found for the Withdrawal Agreement in the coming weeks and months, the chances of Brexit being lost entirely will only rise. So the best option, barring a rethink from the Prime Minister’s backbench critics, seems to be to broker some agreement with Labour, however unpalatable that is for many Conservatives.

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

Javid’s speech on knife crime: “We cannot afford to leave anyone behind.”

This is the full text of a speech delivered today by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary.

Today, we’re standing here on the site of a disused pickle factory, next to a very attractive gasworks. In 2013 after a brief spell as a medical storage facility, new life was given to this old unloved warehouse now converted to a trendy events venue.

What we see here today is a thriving business, a cultural asset and a pillar of the local community.

A testament to the Olympic legacy of London 2012, this building speaks to the optimism of those games and the story of regeneration across East London.

We have seen the undoubted benefits of this legacy. Investment, jobs, prosperity – all necessary to changing people’s life chances.

But the story doesn’t end here. In a way, I wish it did.

Economic prosperity can create the building blocks to stronger communities but that alone is not enough.

A closer look at those streets that are surrounding us will show you that our job is not yet done.

There are still too many places where that longed for prosperity has not reached, streets like the ones surrounding us, up and down the country that are instead dangerous and sometimes deadly.

On an almost weekly basis, we wake up to the news that another person has been stabbed, that robbery is on the rise, that serious violent crime is on the up.

This is not just a concern for those communities who are directly affected by that crime. It rightly causes national alarm.

A recent YouGov poll showed that for the first time, crime was a more important issue to the public than health. Last year saw a 14 per cent increase in homicides, a 15 per cent increase in hospital admissions for assaults involving a sharp instrument, a 17 per cent increase in recorded robberies.

This does not make for easy reading and that is exactly why it cannot be ignored. In my job as Home Secretary it is my duty to protect the public. And at the Home Office we work tirelessly to find the right policy solutions to tackle all types of crime. But what affects me more is my job as a father.

Take knife crime. Like everyone else I see the reports on young people feeling the need to carry weapons; it makes me worry about my teenage children.

Will they be hurt if they’re out in the wrong place at the wrong time on a night out? What if they get into an argument that then escalates?

I may be the Home Secretary but I’m not ashamed to confess; I have stayed up late at night waiting to hear the key turning in the door. And only then going to bed knowing that they have come home safe and sound. And like any other dad, when I watch the news and see the faces of all those young victims of knife crime I despair at the waste of those lives.

Many of those lost were of similar ages to my own children. So sometimes I cannot help but see the faces of my own children in the pictures of those victims.

I find it hard to detach the personal from the policy.

So I know that if we don’t feel safe on our own streets, if I don’t think they are safe enough for my children, or if we see our communities being torn apart by crime then something has gone terribly wrong.

Dealing with this scourge is not a simple question of turning around the statistics. The reasons for this rise in violent crime are many. Changes in illicit drugs market and the drive for profit has made criminal gangs take bigger risks and exploit even more vulnerable people. Alcohol abuse and the escalation of violence through social media are other factors that contribute to this picture.

The serious violence strategy the Government set out a year ago, has been a major focus of mine, especially trying to understand how we got to this point, and focusing on the immediate that are steps required to bring the situation under control.

The police told me that more powers, more tools and, yes, resources were needed to make a difference. That’s why I secured nearly a billion pounds more funding, including council tax, for police forces, in this year’s Police Financial Settlement.

That means more money to stamp out drug dealing for tackling serious and organised crime and for local police forces. It means that Police and Crime Commissioners are already planning to recruit 3,500 extra police officers and police staff. And that’s not all.

We are supporting the police by changing the law through the Offensive Weapons Bill, making it more difficult for young people to buy bladed weapons and corrosive substances. We know that acid is becoming a new weapon of choice for violent criminals. Now, if you are going to buy or carry acid, you’re having to have a very good reason.

We are changing the law in other ways too.I am trialling reforms that return authority to the police and give them the discretion that they need to effectively carry out stop-and-search. I know this is not universally welcome. I know that.

There is concern that in enforcing these powers, BAME communities will be affected disproportionately, but we must acknowledge that violence disproportionately impacts BAME communities too. And if stop and search rates drop too low, it does perhaps create a culture of immunity amongst those who carry knives. Stop-and-search saves lives. There are people alive today because of stop and search. I can’t say that clearly enough.

The Funding settlement and powers went a long way to supporting our forces, but senior officers told me that they needed more. More support and more funding.

They asked for £50 million to be immediately released to tackle the rise in serious violence. I doubled it. There is now £100 million extra. – £20 million from the Home Office, and £80 million in new funding from the Treasury. The forces facing the highest levels of serious violent crime will receive this additional funding for surge capacity so they can tackle knife crime in real-time, and not at half-speed.

And while all these efforts will make a big difference to our immediate efforts, the lasting solutions are not short-term. We know that crime doesn’t just appear. It has taken several years for the rise in violent crime to take hold, so we know that the answers cannot be a quick fix.

Before a young person ever picks up a knife, they have been the victim of a string of lost opportunities and missed chances. Any youth worker can tell you that gangs recruit the most vulnerable young people.That drug runners who travel over county lines coerce them into committing crimes.

These children are at risk, and we can detect early on who they are. We can do that. The kid that plays truant. The ones that get into fights. The pupils who struggle at school. And even though we can see the path to criminality, somehow, we still expect these children to make good life choices all on their own.

The sad fact is that many feel that they can’t lose the opportunities that they never had in the first place. What they and their families need is our help. It is exactly why I have launched a £200 million Youth Endowment Fund, to invest in the futures of this country’s most vulnerable youngsters. This fund helps steer them away from violence and offers them a better future.

This is not a one-off pot of money, the funding is spread over ten years, enabling long-term planning and interventions through a child’s most important years. But to address the root causes of serious violence we do need to go much further. We need to tackle adverse childhood experiences in the round, and better identify those children who are most at risk.

Children who grow up with substance abuse, with parental criminality, with perhaps domestic violence. I was lucky enough to realise the dream of every parent – to give your children a better start in life than the one you had yourself, but it could have been very different.

I grew up on what was dubbed by one tabloid as ‘the most dangerous street in Britain’. It’s not so difficult to see how instead of being Cabinet, I could have been taken in to a life of crime. There were the pupils at school that shoplifted, and asked if I wanted to help. The drug dealers who stood near the school gates and told you by joining in you could make easy money.But I was lucky. I had loving and supporting parents, who despite their own circumstances gave me security. I had some brilliant teachers who motivated me to go further than what was expected of me. I even had a girlfriend who believed in me and supported me despite my lack of prospects and went onto to become my wife. Thanks to them all I have built a better life for myself and my family. With their help, I suppose, I made it.

But I do not look back at my upbringing and see it as something in the distant past. The lessons of my childhood help shape the decisions I make every day. Shaping what I want to see for other kids who are just like me. That’s why I know the problems we face are not within the remit of any one government department. By the time a person becomes a problem for the police, it is often too late.

If we are to deliver meaningful change, and stop the violence before it begins, then the mind-set of government needs to shift. We need to instigate a sense of shared responsibility.

Take the frontline professionals, the teachers and nurses, the social and youth workers, all of them already working tirelessly to protect vulnerable young people and enhance the life chances of young people.

I have met teachers who have watched helplessly as one of their students falls under the influence of a gang. Nurses who, night after night, have seen teenagers brought into hospital with knife wounds. So I asked myself, what more can I do to help the people who work on the frontline?

That is why we have planned a public health approach to tackle violent crime. In practice, this means bringing together education, health, social services, housing, youth and social workers, to work them together coherently. It will enable those agencies to collaborate and share information. They will be able to jointly plan and target their support to help young people at risk, to prevent and stop violence altogether.

It is not about blaming those frontline staff for the violence, or asking them to do more. Far from it. It is about giving them the confidence to report their concerns, safe in the knowledge that everyone will close ranks to protect that child. A public health approach doesn’t mean passing the problem onto the NHS or a teacher. Rather, it means that serious violence is treated like the outbreak of some virulent disease. A national emergency.

Our legislation will place a legal duty on all parts of the government to work together not to apportion blame but to ensure there is no let up, until the violence itself is eradicated. We have already announced a new Serious Violence Implementation Task Force, the work of which will be driven by research and evidence starting with the review of drugs misuse led by Dame Carol Black. We already know that the drugs trade is a major catalyst of serious violence. That’s why we launched the National County Lines Coordination Centre in September. But the review will also bring home to middle-class drug users that they are part of the problem. They may never set foot in a deprived area. They may never see an act of serious violence, but their illicit habits are adding fuel to the fire that is engulfing our communities.

If we are to understand violence, we must also understand all its drivers and we in government are at the start of understanding how data can help us do that. Creating and understanding the causes and pathways to crime. Recent analysis by my own department found that the top 5 per cent of crime ‘hotspots’ accounted for some 17 per cent of the total volume of ‘acquisitive crime’. In plain English, crime such as burglaries and car thefts.

That is why the Home Office will be developing new proposals for a Crime Prevention Data Lab. We will be exploring how we can bring together information from the police and other agencies, to enhance our ability to make targeted and effective interventions.

And just as technology can help us prevent crimes, so too can it help criminals. Identities can be stolen online. Credit cards cloned from fake machines. Keyless entry systems tricked to gain access to your car. Criminals are smart, so businesses need to get smarter. I ask myself, if we can do this, what more can business do to help us?

Products and services must be designed to make crime harder to commit. The tech might be new, but the principle is not. In the 1980s, vehicle manufacturers and government came to the conclusion that you could design products to make it more difficult to commit a crime.

It is the reason a modern car comes with central locking, an alarm, steering locks and an immobilizer in all cars as standard. So I will be chairing a meeting with industry leaders, and asking them how they will help us in the fight against acquisitive crime.

Preventing crime can be as simple as fitting locks, alarm systems, and proper street lighting. This may seem like common sense, and in some ways it is, but it works. One trial in Nottingham saw the windows in council houses replaced with more secure versions. Their evaluation showed this intervention yielded a remarkable 42 per cent reduction in burglary from those properties. We have applied the same ideas to moped-enabled crime including a new standard of anti-theft devices on the mopeds themselves. And working with the Metropolitan Police to target hotspot areas, and design more secure two-wheeled vehicle parking.

This work led to a decrease of over 40 per cent of moped crime in a single year. So, we are now looking to apply this similar approach to a wider set of crimes. Just as we can design products to prevent crime, we can also design policy to shape the lives of young people to prevent criminality.

Changing the lives of young people will not be an easy task. Crime has a way of drawing in those who feel a little bit worthless. But when you belong to something greater than yourself, when you have something to lose, it’s not as easy to throw your life away.

Undoubtedly, of course there must be strong ramifications for those who commit crime – there must be. I do not shirk from my responsibility, as Home Secretary, to keep the public safe, whatever that takes.

I want us to be able to come back to this venue and know that, for these communities, something has changed. But to do that, we need to change how we see our young people.

No life is less important than another.

No future should be pre-determined by where you’re born, or how you’re brought up.

We cannot afford to leave anyone behind.

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

Nabil Najjar and Luke Springthorpe: How Conservative Progress aims to revive the Tory grassroots

Nabil Najjar and Luke Springthorpe are the founders and directors of Conservative Progress.

If the Conservative Party is going to win the next election, it desperately needs to re-energise its grassroots.

Part of this is, of course, about numbers. It’s no secret that Labour now outnumber the Conservatives heavily in terms of paid up members by about 4 to 1 (c. 540,000 vs c. 124,000).

But it’s also about the existing membership feeling empowered and a part of a vibrant movement that listens to them, provides them with a platform for debate, and actually values them enough to invest in developing their skills through training.

If members don’t feel like they are an active part of the Conservative movement by having a chance to actively participate in the debate, it stands to reason that their enthusiasm to go out and campaign to help the party win will wane. What’s more, if we don’t continually train our activists and share best practice from our best campaigners, how are we going to stay one step ahead of our opponents?

Some of this can be done centrally, but it’s also clear that a lot of this needs a certain degree of freedom and absence of a filter that only a third-party organisation can bring. It’s also true that a smaller third-party organisation can be nimble and react to demand for training, as well as current affairs, in a quick and timely fashion.

Which is why we set up Conservative Progress.

It all started with a simple idea back towards the end of 2016: bridge the gap between the grassroots and the Parliamentary party and provide an open platform for Conservative grassroots to hear from the brightest and the best, as well as sharing their own ideas. We recognised an underlying urge to bring some vibrancy back to the Conservative movement and to build capacity within the grassroots through providing training in the areas where we were being left behind – specifically, digital campaigning.

But more than that, in order for Conservatism to progress as a movement, we need to have a vibrancy that facilitates an open debate of meaningful policy ideas – the big ideas that will shape the direction of the country as well as the party. There also needs to be a platform for members to step forward and get noticed, as well as to gain the skills they need to be successful if they want to go on to bigger things.

It was from this basic concept from which Conservative Progress was born. As the name suggests, we believe that Conservatism has the true claim to ‘progress’, and we believe that Conservatives should shout about our achievements from the rooftops rather than conceding that space to left-wing self proclaimed ‘progressives’, who actually leave the country in ruins whenever they get anywhere near the levers of power.

True to our mantra, the organisation has been led and guided by the grassroots. The concept of our first major events were discussed and organised in a pub with no major financial backing from a wealthy benefactor, bankrolled entirely from our own pockets and (thankfully!) recouped by the generosity of attendees and the goodwill of speakers who took a chance that our new organisation would deliver something that was worthwhile.

Two years ago, we hosted our first conference. We unpacked over a tonne of food and wine ourselves from a delivery truck as we prepared to host over two hundred guests to hear from the likes of Lord Michael Howard, Peter Lilley, Andrew Mitchell, James Cleverly, Scott Mann and Dr Ruth Lea, who presented a positive post-Brexit vision.

But we knew that what the conservative movement needed wasn’t just another event with a parade of speakers and members sitting back as passive attendees. We didn’t just want members to sit and be lectured at – there was enough of that already. Every speaker agreed to take questions from the audience, and a lively but good-hearted debate ensued after each speech. We also hosted a members debate where attendees took to the stage and presented their own thoughts, actively shaping the debate of the day.

Two years on, and our annual conference has grown spectacularly. This June we will be hosting Jeremy Hunt (our keynote speaker), Andrea Leadsom, Sajid Javid, Brandon Lewis, Priti Patel, Damian Hinds, and James Cleverly, with over 400 guests expected.

But despite the growth, we’re staying true to our original objective. Members will still get their chance to put their questions to the speakers, and we will have a Members Motion that will be specifically selected by members and chaired by Chris Philp MP, the Vice Chair for Policy.

We’ve also delivered on our promise to help train and upskill our activists. Since 2016, we have trained over 800 Conservative activists, not just in London, but also in Exeter, Plymouth and Birmingham. The Friday before our annual conference, we will be holding an activist training day, where we hope to reach even more activists.

Our Party is on the cusp of a major change, but some facts will always remain. We need to beat Labour at the next general election, and to do that, we need a team of passionate, well-trained activists who can carry our message, and we need a platform of positive policies we can campaign on.

At Conservative Progress, we are doing our part to make that happen.

The 2019 Conservative Progress Conference will be held in London on June 21-22. Tickets available here.

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Iain Dale: Something has changed this week. Since May announced talks with Corbyn. I can smell it.

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

Listening to Today earlier this week, I thought I must be living in a parallel universe.

First up was Ken Clarke, blithely wittering on about the Customs Unions without seemingly understanding how it works. Perhaps, as he admitted with the Maastricht Treaty, he hasn’t actually probed the damned thing. When Nick Robinson explained that if we were outside the EU, but inside the Customs Union, Lithuania would have more influence over UK trade policy than we would, he brushed it away saying that our views “would be taken into account”. Well that’s alright then.

This is what I do not understand. Why is it that politicians of all parties are willing to cede this sort of control to a body which they would have no influence over? Not just that – but, in theory, the EU could do trade deals which were inimical to British interests, and there is nothing we could do about it.

It’s all very well for Geoffrey Cox to go on TV, and witter on about how it wouldn’t be all that bad, and people should really get a sense of perspective. He was then followed by putative leadership contender, Matt Hancock, who made it clear that he, too, doesn’t see membership of the Customs Union as a real problem. He wasn’t exactly categoric in ruling out a second referendum, either. His bid to succeed Theresa May has already got stuck in the EU quicksand.

– – – – – – – – – –

On Tuesday, there were two Cabinet meetings, which lasted more than seven hours between them. And the great conclusion these massive brains came up with? To hold cross party talks with Jeremy Corbyn.

From what we now know, less than half the cabinet supported the idea, with Gavin Williamson telling the Prime Minister the idea was “ridiculous”. At least one of them had the bollocks to say it. The rest of them did their usual supine thing and sat on their hands.

It’s as clear as night follows day that if these talks amount to anything, membership of the Customs Union will be the result. The other consequence is that the Prime Minister has pushed some MPs who support her on last week’s third “meaningful vote” back in the other direction. Way to go.

Maybe it doesn’t matter so much to her if she can win by securing Labour votes. For a woman whose primary loyalty was supposed to be to the Conservative Party, it is a shameful road to go down. It is already riven by split after split, but this move opened up a chasm. She will never recover from it, and doesn’t deserve to.

– – – – – – – – – –

Why are the likes of Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt and several others still in the Cabinet? You wonder what would have to happen for them to resign? They can argue until they are blue in the face that they have more influence inside than out. Really? Difficult to spot how that has manifested itself, isn’t it?

If they and at least six others don’t resign en bloc if there is a move by the Prime Minister actually to support membership of the Customs Union, they will become little more than clapping seals. Each of the possible leadership contenders in the Cabinet has masochistically damaged their chances by tacitly going along with the May’s talks with Corbyn.

Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and David Davis have clean hands, while Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Andrea Leadsom and the rest have dipped their hands in blood. As Williamson argued, how on earth can Tories now stick to their policy of painting Corbyn as some sort of dangerous Marxist who is not fit to govern, when the Prime Minister has now effectively invited him to join the government?

– – – – – – – – – –

A day of reckoning will come for the Conservative Party. We can be sure of that. Something has changed in the last week. I can sense it.

People’s patience has run out. The trickle of people who phone my radio show to say they’ve torn up their party membership cards has become a torrent. Tales from the doorstep demonstrate there are large numbers of people who say they’ll never vote Tory again are legion.

Theresa May could be trying to ensure that the same happens to Labour by holding these talks with Corbyn, but as she has never said: “something has changed”. And not for the better.

– – – – – – – – – –

I was very sad to see Nick Boles cross the floor of the Commons on Tuesday. He’s been a friend ever since he invited me to join the board of Policy Exchange at its inception. A man of ideas and very good company, he’s clearly reached the end of his tether both with his local party and with the Prime Minister.

On Wednesday night he went full tonto on Twitter, and laid into Robbie Gibb, the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications. Now that’s a job no one would want at the moment, isn’t it?

Boles accused him of being committed first to a hard Brexit rather than to May. That’s quite an accusation to make. In the days when Gibb used to speak to me, I have to say he was never anything other than professional, and very protective of the Prime Minister’s interests.

Perhaps, given my regular criticism of May over the last few months, he regards me as someone beyond redemption. But if Boles’s accusations were true, you’d have thought that Gibb would have been encouraging me in my criticism of the ever-softer Brexit policy that the Government has pursued. But he hasn’t. It’s a funny old world.

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Tim Bale: Johnson and Rees-Mogg are still in with a shout in the race to succeed May

Tim Bale is Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron, and co-runs the ESRC Party Members Project (PMP), which aims to study party membership in the six largest British parties.

In order to stay in office, the Prime Minister had to promise her party that she would be gone before the next election.  But there’s little agreement among Conservative members – and even less agreement among Conservative voters – as to who should replace her.

The ESRC-funded Party Members Project, run out of Queen Mary University of London and Sussex University, surveyed 1215 Conservative Party members between 17th and 22nd December, and a total of 1675 voters between 18-19 December, including 473 individuals who were intending to vote Conservative. The fieldwork was conducted by YouGov.

Respondents were asked the following question: Theresa May has said she will stand down as Conservative Party leader before the next scheduled general election in 2022.  Who would you most like to see replace her as Conservative Leader?  Neither group was presented with a pre-determined list of candidates but was instead asked to write in a name, and they were of course free to say that they didn’t know or weren’t sure, et cetera.

The table below gives the results, leaving out all those names that received only a handful or so of mentions – a group of people which included some relatively high-profile figures who are sometimes mentioned as potential candidates: Esther McVey is one example, since her name was suggested by only four Tory members (out of the 1162 who answered the leadership question) and no Tory voters. The table also contains a column allowing comparison with the results published by ConservativeHome on 31 December 2018, although their survey, unlike ours, gives respondents a list of names to choose from.

Tory Voters

(per cent)

Tory Members

(per cent)

ConHome

(per cent)

Boris Johnson 15 20 27
Jacob Rees-Mogg 7 15 4
Don’t Know 38 12 N/A
David Davis 4 8 7
Sajid Javid 2 8 13
Dominic Raab 3 7 12
Jeremy Hunt 2 6 9
Amber Rudd 4 5 5
Michael Gove 2 4 3
Penny Mordaunt 0 1 4

 

The results of the survey provide an insight into why Theresa May survived the confidence vote she was subjected to by some of her MPs just before Christmas. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to who might replace her – and that very uncertainty is bound to have worked to the PM’s advantage.

Clearly, Johnson and Rees-Mogg, both of them Brexiteers with high name-recognition, currently have the edge over other potential candidates to succeed May. Indeed, all the other candidates are beaten by ‘Don’t know’, even among Tory members. That said, when it comes to Tory voters, the same is true even of Johnson and Rees-Mogg.

Importantly, neither Johnson nor Rees-Mogg is so far ahead of the rest of the field as to be impossible to catch.  In any case, both are likely to find it hard to make it through the parliamentary round of voting that, according to the party’s rules, narrows the field to two candidates before grassroots members are given the final say.

Also striking is the dominance of men over women: at the moment it looks unlikely that the Conservatives will replace their second female leader with a third. Amber Rudd is almost certainly too much of a Remainer for a membership dominated not just by Brexiteers but by hard Brexiteers. Meanwhile Penny Mordaunt (mentioned by just 14 out of 1162 Tory members and by no Tory voters) clearly still has an awful lot to do.

The same looks to be true, however, of the three or four men likely to throw their hats into the ring – Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, and Jeremy Hunt, whose recent trip to Singapore has been widely interpreted as part of his ongoing leadership bid. And Michael Gove is not so far behind as to make a second crack at the top job a complete fool’s errand, in spite of the mess he made of the last leadership contest.

Perhaps the bookies are right in marking Gove at 10/1. This isn’t far off the 9/1 you’d get if you put your money on Hunt and the 8/1 you’d get on Raab, but still some way off the 6/1 offered for Johnson and, interestingly, Javid – who, like Hunt, many claim has been very much ‘on manoeuvres’ recently.

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Testing our survey against the latest polling of Party members. New evidence on Next Tory Leader.

Today’s Observer contains a brief summary of more polling of Conservative Party members for the ESCR Party Members Project.  It is squeezed into a larger story on Labour and Brexit, and the paper’s account doesn’t come with a table and full details.  None the less, it provides another opportunity to test Conservative Home’s monthly survey against a properly weighted opinion poll.  Mark Wallace looked at other recent evidence from the Project late last week.

Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis are “top of the party’s grassroots list” as preferred candidates to replace Theresa May, the Observer reports.  It says that Johnson “topped the poll” with 20 per cent, that Rees-Mogg “trailed in second on 15 per cent” and that  Davis “scored 8 per cent”.  We therefore presume that he came third.  Twelve per cent “said they did not know who should be the next leader”.  The paper adds that “Sajid Javid was the only figure who originally backed staying in the EU, among the top five names in the members’ wishlist”.

So if the Observer‘s summary is correct, the ESCR Project’s top five are –

  • Johnson – 20 per cent.
  • Rees-Mogg – 15 per cent.
  • Davis – 8 per cent.
  • Javid or a Conservative MP who backed Leave in the EU referendum.
  • Javid or a Conservative MP who backed Leave in the EU referendum.

And the top five candidates in our last Next Tory Leader survey were –

  • Johnson – 27 per cent.
  • Javid – 13 per cent.
  • Dominic Raab – 12 per cent.
  • Jeremy Hunt – 9 per cent.
  • Davis – 7 per cent.

As we write, we don’t know how many names, if any, the ESCR put to their sample of Party members – or which ones.  We currently offer no fewer than 19 names, all of whom have been spoken of as potential leadership candidates  None have asked us to remove them from the survey.  Without knowing more, it is impossible to draw precise conclusions, and the findings referred to in the Observer aren’t covered, as we write, in the latest relevant blog on the Project’s site.

None the less, a few points are obvious.  First, three of the ESCR’s top five overlap with three of our top five: Johnson, Davis, and Javid.  Jeremy Hunt was in our top five; if the Observer is correct, he isn’t in the ESCR’s.  Jacob-Rees Mogg is in the ESCR’s top five; he wasn’t in ours (he was seventh).  It is sometimes claimed that the ConHome panel is more Eurosceptic than Party membership as a whole.  That may be correct – but as matters stand this ESCR result actually finds the reverse, though it is of course only a single piece of evidence.

The ESCR Project is run out of Queen Mary University of London and Sussex University.  Its last blog on its latest polling of Party members says that it surveyed 1215 ordinary Conservative Party members.  YouGov conducted the polling.  More when we have it.

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Javid is right about illegal immigration across the Channel – and his critics help to underline his point

Speculation has abounded in recent days that some Conservative voices might not have been wholly without vested interest in hyping up the ‘crisis’ of illegal immigrants crossing the Channel. After all, the Home Secretary has managed to position himself in second place in the next Tory leader stakes, and a headline-grabbing problem in UK border control while he is on holiday might, cynics suggest, threaten to take the shine off him to the gratification of some of his rivals.

Maybe those theories are true, maybe they aren’t. Either way, complaining about such under-hand tactics – or, worse, complaining about the media’s keen interest in the story, regardless of its source – would hardly be productive for Sajid Javid. Instead, he has sought to do what any successful politician would in the circumstances: get a lid on the issue as fast as possible, and try to turn it to his advantage.

So it was that yesterday found the Home Secretary on the waterfront at Dover, in front of a television camera:

He’s right, of course.

Those fleeing murderous tyrants in Iran or Syria take large risks for good reasons. We should do our best to help defend their lives and liberty. Indeed, the UK has rightly done a huge amount to aid refugees in the Middle East – including granting asylum to some of the most vulnerable people, transported to this country directly from camps in the region.

One has to question the motivation to flee for asylum from France to this country, however. For all the disruption of the gilets jaunes protests against Emmanuel Macron’s plans for punitive green taxes, our neighbour remains a prosperous and largely liberal country. There is no sign that those claiming asylum in the coastal towns of Kent are doing so because of their status as oppressed French diesel drivers.

Admittedly, it is not always so simple as insisting refugees must stop in the first country they reach. Someone leaving Iran to avoid persecution for their race, sexuality or political beliefs might well have good reason not to feel safe in various neighbouring countries. It isn’t hard to see why many Kurds are not keen on seeking asylum in Turkey, for example. But there are a lot of safe countries between here and Turkey.

The awkward truth is that there is not always a clear distinction between refugees and economic migrants – and the two statuses can, and do, mingle as a journey progresses. Many people travel extremely long distances and take huge risks simply out of desperation, knowing that the alternative is death. Some aim to reach this country in particular for reasons consistent with their suffering in their land of origin – their religion, for example, or because they place particular faith in our rule of law.

But some who begin their journeys in search of refuge also choose their destinations with economic considerations in mind, rather than stop in the first safe country as Javid suggests. Why wouldn’t you try your best to go somewhere that you believe to offer a good chance of a decent job? Or where you already speak the language? In any circumstance, people will always aim for the best possible outcome for themselves. That’s human nature.

It’s also human nature that criminals are eternally ready to innovate in order to profit from the misery of others. The people-smuggling industry which flourished in the Mediterranean appears to have identified a new market opportunity in those seeking to cross the Channel.

Those Labour MPs and refugee campaigners who are frothing furiously at Javid’s comments are doubly wrong. For a start, if they think their comments are harming him they are mistaken – being under fire for a firm stance against illegal immigration across the Channel is not a bad place for a Conservative Home Secretary to find himself. If anything, their outrage aids him in reversing the reputational damage which the ‘crisis’ threatened in the first place.

More importantly, Javid’s critics seem to be speaking from a dangerous position of theory rather than practice. We already know what happens when politicians, no matter how well-intentioned, recklessly encourage refugees and other migrants to hand all their belongings to criminal gangs in order to risk their lives in perilous sea crossings. Angela Merkel sent just such an inviting message on the EU’s behalf, and tens of thousands of people then died in the Mediterranean and the Aegean. Had Germany taken the same approach to aiding Syrian refugees as the UK did, focused on results rather than appearances, the outcome might have been very different.

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Hunt seizes the top spot in our Cabinet League Table, but overall ratings continue to struggle

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-12-30-at-23.56.40 Hunt seizes the top spot in our Cabinet League Table, but overall ratings continue to struggle ToryDiary Theresa May MP Sajid Javid MP Philip Hammond MP John Bercow MP Jeremy Hunt MP Geoffrey Cox MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Andrea Leadsom MP

The above chart shows our final Cabinet League Table of 2018. Given that last month saw the worst ever approval ratings in the history of this question on ConservativeHome’s Party members survey, it is unsurprising that this month’s picture is still pretty grim.

In total, 14 members of the Cabinet have net negative ratings – only two of last month’s record tally of 16 have managed to escape minus figures.

Andrea Leadsom, presumably on the back of her remarkable question to the Speaker over allegations of sexism, leaps from -16.3 to +34.2, a dramatic change of fortunes that I suspect illustrates how deeply many Conservative members dislike John Bercow as much as anything else.

The second Cabinet minister who escaped from the reputational dungeon in the course of the last few weeks is Liam Fox, who registers a rise from -11.8 in our November survey to +7.7 this month. That will no doubt be welcome news for the International Trade Secretary, but it’s somewhat cold comfort when you consider that in January’s survey he was in fourth place with a mighty +60.6.

At the top of the table, Jeremy Hunt sees his rating improve from +41.7 to +60.6, and leapfrogs Geoffrey Cox to seize the top spot. The Foreign Secretary has certainly been active, and has evidently been impressing the grassroots with his performance. Further announcements since the survey closed – of a review of policy on the oppression of Christians, and of his proposals for post-Brexit economic reform – are unlikely to have hurt him, either.

Jumping from fifth place to third is Penny Mordaunt, who almost doubles her rating from +19.2 to +37.9. Reports that she is campaigning within Cabinet for a Managed No Deal will have aided her in regaining some of the points which she lost when the Prime Minister’s proposed deal was published.

And that’s really what this month’s story is about – for those in positive territory, at least. Some ministers in the upper third are managing to recover lost ground faster than others, while several of those in the bottom third are continuing to sink.

Chris Grayling loses another 11.4 points – on the back of the drone farce – to overtake the Chancellor at the very bottom of the table. Hammond manages to slip another 1.3. Theresa May is essentially bobbing level at -41.6 from last month’s -42.

Meanwhile, the Chief Whip has lost 13.5 points, falling to -34.4, I’d suggest due in no small part to reports he had been talking to Labour MPs to secure opposition votes for the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan. David Gauke, too, continues to suffer further damage by association with the proposed deal, losing 19.2 points to plumb -25.5, following high profile comments criticising No Deal proponents in Cabinet for selling “unicorns”, which he pledged to “slay”.

While last month’s Cabinet League Table was pretty dire all round, this month’s is a more complex picture. Some are clearly recovering better and faster from the harm done to them by May’s deal than others – and the table overall is diverging. The top ten ministers saw their combined score rise from +206.1 to +339, while the bottom ten saw their combined score fall from -302.7 to -351.2.

Overall, that means the Cabinet as a whole benefited from a small rise in its total rating, from -140.5 to -16. However, that still makes this the second time ever that our survey has delivered an overall negative approval rating for the Cabinet. Putting this month in the context of the last year is quite stark:

Westlake Legal Group League-Table-Totals-2018 Hunt seizes the top spot in our Cabinet League Table, but overall ratings continue to struggle ToryDiary Theresa May MP Sajid Javid MP Philip Hammond MP John Bercow MP Jeremy Hunt MP Geoffrey Cox MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Andrea Leadsom MP   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com