Five Candidates in Labour Deputy Leadership Contest

Five candidates have received the 35 nominations necessary to stand in the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party contest. The role was held by Harriet Harman who stood down after the 2015 General Election defeat and the five remaining candidates are Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy, Angela Eagle, Caroline Flint and Tom Watson.

Real Wages show average increase of 2.7% over last year

Annual real wage growth has increased to 2.7% over the last year which is the highest increase since 2007. Annual private sector wage increases are an average of 3.3% and the Government figures show an extra 400,000 people in work compared to a year ago.

Priti Patel, the Employment Minister, said:

“Today’s figures confirm that our long-term economic plan is already starting to deliver a better, more prosperous future for the whole of the country, with wages rising, more people finding jobs and more women in work than ever before.

As the government for working people, we want to go further and create one nation that is based on security and opportunity. We will continue to help businesses create jobs and support those who want to work hard and get on as part of our ambition to achieve full employment”.

 

Ed Balls to teach at Harvard University

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Ed Balls, the former Shadow Chancellor, is set to move to a teaching role at Harvard University after losing his Morley and Outwood seat at the 2015 General Election. The Evening Standard reported that his role is expected to be in the economic department and temporary to allow him to help his wife, Yvette Cooper, with her bid to win the 2015 Labour leadership election.

Mary Creagh has withdrawn from Labour leadership race

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Mary Creagh has withdrawn from the Labour leadership race to allow more candidates to be able to achieve the 35 nominations required. Her withdrawal means that there are four candidates left in the race which include Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall.

In an article for the Guardian she wrote:

“I am withdrawing from the race to be the leader of the Labour party. I will not be nominating any other candidate, but I am announcing my withdrawal now so that the MPs who have supported me have the opportunity to nominate another candidate, should they wish to do so.

I’m grateful to the people who told me I inspired them to begin their own leadership journeys. My “bootstrap Britain” story resonated with many who have overcome disadvantage to achieve their goals. I am proud to have played my part in opening up the debate about why Labour lost, and I look forward to working with the next leader to build a society where hope, compassion and economic competence exist side by side”.

She added in the article that:

“Labour lost the election because – while people trust us to run their schools their councils, their hospitals – they do not trust us to run the economy. Tackling inequality is why the party exists. It’s in our DNA. But the next Labour leader will have to show that Labour understands the problems facing the UK’s five million self-employed people, sole traders and small businesses. That understanding must also run through our party’s DNA like a golden thread if Labour is to win in 2020”.

Creagh had gained the support of a total of ten MPs with Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall already reaching the required 35 nominations. The only candidate yet to receive the total of 35 is Jeremy Corbyn and numerous MPs are expected to change support solely to allow Corbyn to progress in the elections.

John Biggs becomes new Tower Hamlets Mayor

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John Biggs has been elected as the new Mayor of Tower Hamlets after the election was rerun. The previous election had taken place in 2014 and was won by Lutfur Rahman who has since been convicted of electoral fraud.

Following his victory Biggs said:

“Tower Hamlets is quite a magical place. Historically it’s a place people come to from across the world. Most people in this country have an ancestor who came through East London.

“It’s a magical place where people traditionally come with very little and build their dreams. I think that is still the case”.

John Biggs has served as a Member of the London Assembly for City and East since 2000 and stood in the Mayoral elections in 2014 coming second.

In April 2015 at a hearing at the High Court an Election Commissioner found that Rahman had breached electoral rules. The Judge in the case said that Rahman had “driven a coach and horses through election law and didn’t care”. The election result was cancelled and these new elections ordered to take place and Rahman was banned from standing as a candidate. Rahman was also ordered to pay £250,000 in costs in what was one of the largest cases of electoral fraud in recent history.

After the April court verdict John Biggs said:

“He robbed the people of Tower Hamlets of the free and fair mayoral election they deserved and betrayed everyone in our community who trusted and voted for him”.

Rabina Khan came a close second and she stood as an independent but with the support of the disgraced Lutfur Rahman. Electoral officers held the count at the ExCel centre which is outside of the borough because of fears of intimidation which had been alleged in previous Mayoral elections.

The final result including second preference votes was:

John Biggs – Labour Party (32,754 votes)

Rabina Khan – Independent (26,384 votes)

Peter Golds – Conservative Party (5,940 votes)

John Foster – Green Party (2,678 votes)

Elaine Bagshaw – Liberal Democrats (2,152 votes)

Andy Erlam – Red Flag Anti Corruption (1,768 votes)

Nicholas McQueen – UKIP (1,669 votes)

Hafiz Abdul Kadir – Independent (316 votes)

Vanessa Helen Hudson – Animal Welfare Party (305 votes)

Md. Motiur Rahman Nanu – Independent (292 votes)

John Healey has withdrawn from Labour deputy leadership race

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John Healey, the former Minister of State for Housing and Planning, has withdrawn from the race to become the deputy leader of the Labour Party. Healey had 20 nominations of the 35 he needed to stand but he said that he had withdrawn to give other candidates a chance to stand.

The only two candidates to get the required 35 nominations are Caroline Flint and Tom Watson and Healey is thought to have been critical that Watson has continued to try to get more nominations beyond the minimum he needed.

Healey has represented the constituency of Wentworth (Wentworth and Deane since 2010) since 1997 and was the Shadow Health Secretary from 2010 until 2011 before he stood down.

The remaining candidates for the deputy leadership are Rushanara Ali, Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasey, Angela Eagle, Caroline Flint and Tom Watson. The result of the leadership election will be announced on 12 September 2015.

John Prescott criticises David Miliband and Ed Miliband

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John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister, has criticised both David Miliband and Ed Miliband on BBC’s Daily Politics.

He said that David Miliband should “shut up” and “get on with his international job” and criticised Ed Miliband for “running away” rather than remaining on as the party leader.

Theresa May makes Government statement on Anderson Report

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Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has made a statement in the House of Commons following the publishing of the Anderson Report. The report was a comprehensive investigation into the powers of the law enforcements agencies in the UK. It is not yet known whether the Government will implement all of the report’s recommendations.

The text of the statement is below:

“Mr Speaker, with permission, I would like to make a statement on the publication of the Anderson Report and the parliamentary consideration of investigatory powers.

As the House will know, it is this Government’s intention to bring forward legislation relating to the Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies’ use of investigatory powers and to have that legislation enacted before the sunset provision in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 takes effect on 31 December 2016.

In 2014 the Government asked the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, to conduct a review into the operation and regulation of law enforcement and agency investigatory powers, with specific reference to the interception of communications and the separate issue of communications data.

David Anderson has completed that review and this morning My Rt. Hon Friend the Prime Minister made a Written Ministerial Statement to lay that report before the House. The report makes 124 recommendations, covering sensitive intelligence capabilities, and it extends to over 300 pages. Following careful consideration by the Government and Security and Intelligence Agencies, I can confirm that no redactions have been made to the report prior to publication.

And I would like to put on record my – and the Government’s – thanks to David Anderson for his thoroughness and dedication in undertaking this important work.

As the report highlights, there are a range of threats against the UK and its interests, from terrorism, both at home and overseas, to cyber attacks from criminals. Many groups, not just the Government, have a role to play in ensuring the right capabilities are in place to tackle those threats. We will continue to work closely with all partners, including the intelligence agencies, law enforcement and industry, to take all these issues forward and continue to keep us safe from those that would do us harm.

David Anderson’s report is complemented by two further independent reviews in this area. In March, the Intelligence and Security Committee published their Privacy and Security report. This set out a comprehensive review of the intelligence agencies’ capabilities, and the legal and privacy frameworks that govern their use.

And later this summer, a panel coordinated by the Royal United Services Institute, and established by the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Member for Sheffield Hallam, will report on the legality, effectiveness and privacy implications of the UK’s surveillance programmes, and assess how law enforcement and intelligence capability can be maintained in the face of technological change.

These independent reviews are each important and valuable contributions to the continuing debate about the role of our Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies, their use of investigatory powers and their oversight. The Government will need to give proper consideration to their recommendations, but collectively I believe they provide a firm basis for consultation on legislation.

Mr Speaker, I would now like to turn to the Parliamentary handling of this legislation.

The operation and regulation of the investigatory powers used by the police and the intelligence and security agencies is a matter of great importance to the security of this country and I know an issue of great interest to many Members of this House. As David Anderson makes clear, it is imperative that the use of sensitive powers are all overseen and fully declared under arrangements set by Parliament. It is therefore entirely right that Parliament should have the opportunity to debate those arrangements in full.

The Anderson review was undertaken with cross-party support and I believe it provides a sound basis to take this issue forward in the same manner.

In order to ensure that this is the case, the Government will publish a draft bill in the Autumn for pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of Parliament, with the intention of introducing a Bill early in the New Year. Given the sunset clause in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, the new legislation will need to be in place by the end of December 2016.

I have said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security – including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them – without also considering the threats that we face as a country. Those threats remain considerable, and they are evolving. They include not just terrorism – from overseas and homegrown in the UK – but also industrial, military and state espionage. They include not just organised criminality, but also the proliferation of once-physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation, and the technological challenges that brings. In the face of such threats, we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job.

And I would like to finish, Mr Speaker, by paying tribute to the vital work of the men and women of the intelligence and law enforcement community, whose work is not always known, whose successes often go unrecognised, and whose efforts day in and day out are fundamental to keeping everyone in this country safe”.

Chancellor Confirms Government to sell RBS Stake

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George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has confirmed that the Government will sell off its stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

The Government purchased the RBS at 502p per share following the banking crisis and has admitted that it is unlikely to recover the investment which was made. Although a sale could mean a loss of £13 billion on the price paid George Osborne said that a sale now was the right thing to do.

In a speech at the Mansion House in London, the Chancellor said:

“I was not responsible for the bailout of RBS or the price paid then for shares bought by the taxpayer: but I am responsible for getting the best deal now for the taxpayer and doing whatever I can to support the British economy.

There is no doubt that starting to sell the government’s stake in RBS is the right thing to do on both counts”.

Baroness Anelay appointed Prime Minister’s Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

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Baroness Anelay has today been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The appointment comes a year after the summit which brought together 120 countries to prevent rape and sexual violence being used in war. The role had previously been co-ordinated by William Hague who retired from the House of Commons at the 2015 General Election. In a statement Baroness Anelay said:

“I am honoured to have been asked to take over from Mr Hague in leading this vital work across government. I look forward to taking our efforts to end the appalling scourge of sexual violence in conflict to the next level.

I am proud of everything the Initiative has achieved in the last three years including the launch of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, our support for conflict-affected countries such as the DRC, Iraq and Bosnia and of course the enormously successful Summit last June.

There is still much more to do. I am looking forward to working with civil society, governments, international organisations and survivors to ensure that we drive forward the campaign to end sexual violence in conflict once and for all”.