Chris Williamson Suspended From Labour Party

Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the party after allegations that he made antisemitic comments. Williamson, who has denied the allegations, will be suspended until investigations are completed.

Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the party, condemned the words used by Williamson, saying:

“Chris Williamson has produced a long-winded and heavily caveated apology. It is not good enough. If it was in my gift I would have removed the whip from him already.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews also condemned Williamson, saying:

“We reject Chris Williamson’s half-hearted apology, which appears in any case to have been written by someone else.”

Ian Austin MP Resigns From Labour Party

Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, has quit the Labour Party and said that he is “ashamed” of the party. Austin has represented the constituency since 2005 and won by a majority of just 22 votes in 2017.

“I grew up listening to my dad, who was a refugee from the Holocaust, teaching me about the evils of hatred and prejudice. One of the main reasons I joined the Labour Party as a teenager here in Dudley more than 35 years ago was to fight racism and I could never have believed I would be leaving the Labour party because of racism too.”

Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, said that the news was “a serious blow” to the Labour Party. Austin said that he didn’t intend to join the new Independent Group of 11 MPs, who had left the Conservative and Labour parties, due to a difference of opinion on Brexit.

Joan Ryan Becomes Eighth MP to Join New Independent Group

Joan Ryan, the MP for Enfield North, has quit the Labour Party to join the seven other former MPs from the party to sit as an independent group.

Ryan announced her decision on Twitter, saying:

“After 4 decades, I have made the terribly difficult decision to resign from the Labour Party. It is the greatest honour of my life to represent the people of #EnfieldNorth. I will continue to represent and speak up for them as a member of the @TheIndGroup of MPs #ChangePolitics”

Honda Cut 3,500 Jobs in Swindon

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, has said that the announcement by Honda of 3,500 job losses is “devastating” and pledged Government help for the Swindon area. Honda said that the job losses weren’t Brexit related and was instead because of global market changes.

Clark said in a statement:

“Honda have announced, as part of a global restructuring, plans to close their Swindon plant in 2021; and instead manufacture and export the new Civic model into Europe from Japan. As Honda have said, this is a commercial decision based on unprecedented changes in the global market. Regardless, this is a devastating decision for Swindon and the UK.

This news is a particularly bitter blow to the thousands of skilled and dedicated staff who work at the factory, their families and all of those employed in the supply chain.

I will convene a taskforce in Swindon with local MPs, civic and business leaders as well as trade union representatives to ensure that the skills and expertise of the workforce is retained, and these highly valued employees move into new skilled employment.

The automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transition to new technology. The UK is one of the leaders in the development of these technologies and so it is deeply disappointing that this decision has been taken now.”

Rebecca Long Bailey, the Shadow Secretary for Business, said in a statement:

“This is devastating news, first and foremost for Honda employees and their families, but also for the jobs across the supply chain and the impact on the local economy in Swindon.

This government has failed to create an environment of business confidence. The Tories’ austerity programme has failed workers and businesses, and they continue to show a total lack of vision or plans for investment in our future.

With Honda saying Brexit was not a factor, this Tory government shoulders yet more responsibility for failing to create an environment of business confidence. Businesses have lost faith in the government’s austerity programme and total lack of vision or investment for our future.”

Seven Labour MPs Quit Party Over Brexit and Anti-Semitism

Seven Labour MPs have quit the party mentioning the leadership’s lack of support for remaining in the European Union and for not tackling anti-semitism. The MPs will sit as independents and are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.

Michael Portillo Criticises Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

Chris Grayling

Michael Portillo, the former Conservative Secretary of State for Defence and Shadow Chancellor, has criticised Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, who has refused to resign over the Brexit ferry contracts.

Speaking on BBC’s This Week programme, Portillo said:

“As Labour said in the chamber – the most incompetent minister of all time, probably. He is pro-Brexit and nearly all the other Eurosceptics have jumped ship now”.

Dame Sally Davies to Stand Down as Chief Medical Officer

The Government has confirmed that Professor Dame Sally Davies is to stand done as the Chief Medical Officer. Davies has held the role for nine years and will now become the Master of Trinity College at Cambridge University.

Davies said:

“I want to pay tribute to the outstanding clinicians, scientists and public servants who have supported me in this role – men and women who are working tirelessly to improve the health of the nation. It has been an honour to be the first female Chief Medical Officer. I have enjoyed it from the start, and I will continue to do so right up until I finish. I am delighted to be appointed as Master of Trinity College following a distinguished list of predecessors and as the first woman. I can assure everyone that I will continue contributing to the global fight against AMR from my new role.”

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said in a statement:

“Sally Davies has been a dedicated public servant and a driving force for improving the health of the nation. She has led the fight against antibiotic resistance and public health risks, and has pioneered world-leading action across a whole range of areas. She’s been not just England’s CMO but led thinking around the world. Sally has been an inspiration to us all and I’m sure has a huge amount still to contribute in the future”.

A replacement will be announced later in the year following a recruitment process for the role.

Liz Truss Apologies for Conduct of Sir Christopher Chope

Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has apologised for the conduct of Sir Christopher Chope in blocking the progress of an anti-FGM bill. In a fierce attack on the backbench MP she said:

“When I see one of my colleagues opposing a measure which could have saved girls’ lives, could have saved girls from that horrendous experience, I’m absolutely appalled.”

Referring to Chope’s behaviour, Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, also attacked the MP:

“Very disappointed by this. FGM is child abuse. I am determined to stamp out this despicable and medieval practice. We will do all we can protect girls at risk.”

James Brokenshire, the Communities Secretary, also condemned Chope, saying:

“I’m just hugely disappointed.”

The chairman of the Conservative Association for Christchurch, Chope’s constituency, confirmed that there will be a meeting held to discuss the MP’s behaviour.