David Lidington, until recently the Deputy Prime Minister in Theresa May’s Government, has condemned the decision to prorogue Parliament.
Lidington said in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme:
“If this had been done by Labour government, Jacob Rees-Mogg would have been leading the denunciations of it. Some of my Tory colleagues, who are cheering at the moment, would have been turning purple with rage.
It sets a very bad precedent for future governments. It’s a pretty good rule that if you are tempted to play around with parliamentary and constitutional procedure, is don’t do something that you wouldn’t want a government of a different party to do to you.”
Philip Hammond, David Lidington, Rory Stewart and David Gauke have all confirmed that they will be leaving the Cabinet. All four had made their announcement in advance of Boris Johnson becoming the next Prime Minister.
Hammond was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lidington was the Deputy Prime Minister, Stewart was the Secretary of State for International Development and Gauke was the Secretary of State for Justice.
David Lidington, the de facto Deputy Prime Minister, has unexpectedly given his support to Rory Stewart in the Conservative leadership contest. The move is expected to give a boost to Stewart’s campaign in the day before the second round of voting starts amongst MPs. Boris Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary, won the first round by a large margin and is still the favourite to win the contest.
David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has confirmed that the UK Government has reached agreement with the Welsh Government on the European Union Withdrawal Bill. The Government has though still to reach agreement with the Scottish Government on the bill, although talks are expected to continue.
Lidington said in a statement:
“I am very pleased that the many months of detailed negotiation have got us to a point where we have now reached an agreement with the Welsh Government on changes to the Bill. This is a significant achievement that will provide legal certainty, increase the powers of the devolved governments and also respect the devolution settlements. The UK Government has made considerable changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill to address issues that have been raised in Parliament and by the devolved administrations
It is disappointing that the Scottish Government have not yet felt able to add their agreement to the new amendments that Ministers and officials on all sides have been working on very hard over recent weeks. I thank them for that effort and hope that they may still reconsider their position. All governments agree that it would be best for all parts of the UK if we had an agreed way forward on the EU Withdrawal Bill”.
The Government has announced that £2.5 million of funding will be provided to the city of Salisbury to help it recover from the recent attack which has been attributed to the Russians. The Government said that the Ministerial Recovery Group had agreed to the money which will aid tourism and local businesses.
David Lidington, the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement:
“The people of Salisbury have shown great strength and resilience in the face of a cowardly and indiscriminate act. The Government is committed to supporting this historic British city as it recovers and we will continue to do everything possible to help Salisbury moving forward. The message is clear: the city is safe and its shops, restaurants and beautiful sites remain open for business”.
Money will be given to Wiltshire County Council to help fund their operations with money also being made available to local businesses and a funding package will be given to the local tourism industry.
David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales, have discussed the progress being made with the Brexit talks, with Lidington saying that progress has been made. The talks were also attended by Alun Cairns, the Secretary of State for Wales, and Mark Drakeford, a Welsh Government Minister.
Lidington said in a statement:
“I would like to thank Carwyn and the Welsh Government for their constructive approach on the EU Withdrawal Bill. We both agree it is absolutely essential that all parts of the UK are ready for the day that we leave the EU. We need to protect the benefits of the UK internal market, making sure that there are no new barriers to living and doing business for people in Wales and other parts of the UK on the day we leave the EU. And as we’ve always been clear on, we expect that as powers are returned from the EU a substantial number will transfer directly to the Welsh Government.
We want to do all of this in a way that takes account of the concerns that have been expressed by the Welsh Government. We have had a helpful discussion today and I am encouraged that we can make progress in trying to find an agreed way forward on the EU Withdrawal Bill. Ministers and officials from both Governments will continue to work closely on these issues over the coming weeks”.
Jones said on Twitter:
“Continued to press UK Government on flawed EU Withdrawal Bill – helpful signals today from David Lidington but we still need firm action”.
The Government has said that it will attempt to minimise disruption following the announcement that Carillion is to enter insolvency. The Cabinet Office has confirmed that all public sector services operated by the now insolvent company will continue and measures will be introduced to protect workers and their pensions.
David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement:
“It is regrettable that Carillion has not been able to find suitable financing options with its lenders but taxpayers cannot be expected to bail out a private sector company.
Since profit warnings were first issued in July, the government has been closely monitoring the situation and has been in constructive discussion with Carillion while it sought to refinance its business. We remained hopeful that a solution could be found while putting robust contingency plans in place to prepare for every eventuality. It is of course disappointing that Carillion has become insolvent, but our primary responsibility has always been keep our essential public services running safely.
We understand that some members of the public will be concerned by recent news reports. For clarity – All employees should keep coming to work, you will continue to get paid. Staff that are engaged on public sector contracts still have important work to do.
Since its inception in the 1990s private finance has helped to deliver around £60 billion of much-needed capital investment in infrastructure in the UK across a range of projects and we will continue to maintain partnerships with responsible firms in future”.
Jon Trickett, the Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said that there should be an investigation into why Carillion were awarded more Government contracts. He said:
“Alarm bells have been ringing for over six months about the state of Carillion’s finances, so the government must come forward and answer questions on exactly what due diligence measures were undertaken before awarding contracts to Carillion worth billions of taxpayers’ money”.
David Lidington, the Secretary of State for Justice and the Lord Chancellor, has issued a statement on the release of convicted rapist John Worboys. His release was confirmed by the Parole Board but has been questioned by victims given the severity of the crimes.
Lidington said in his statement:
“John Worboys was convicted of horrific crimes. My thoughts and unreserved sympathy are with his victims for whom news of the Parole Board’s decision to order Worboys’ release must have reawakened the most appalling memories.
It is a priority for this government that victims of rape and sexual assault have full confidence in the criminal justice system. While sentence lengths for these horrific crimes have increased by over 30% since 2010 and more victims are coming forward, there is still more to do.
While it is right that the Parole Board should remain an independent body, I believe that there is a strong case to review how to allow greater openness about the decision-making process. We also need to make sure arrangements across the criminal justice system ensure victims are both heard and, if they wish, kept informed about their case.
I have talked to the Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, and the Chair of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, about what changes we could make to help victims of crime and provide greater transparency about the Board’s work. I want to make sure we consult victims groups and others, and to start this work now so that decisions can be taken before Easter”.
David Lidington, the Foreign Office Minister, has welcomed the release of Khadija Ismayilova from a prison in Azerbaijan. Ismayilova is an investigative journalist who was sentenced to over seven years in jail last year.
The imprisonment had been condemned as a human rights crime but the country’s supreme court this week commuted the sentence to three years which was to be suspended, meaning Ismayilova was immediately released. She is to continue to fight for a full acquittal from the allegations.
Lidington said in a statement:
“I welcome Khadija Ismayilova’s release from prison. This is a further positive step for human rights in Azerbaijan following the release of other high profile figures in March this year. The UK calls on Azerbaijan to uphold its international human rights commitments and we remain ready to engage with the Government of Azerbaijan to support further improvements to human rights and democracy”.
Ismayilova said on her release:
“I will continue my journalist work with renewed energy. I feel younger and more energetic, and I will fight until the end”.
David Lidington, the Minister of State for Europe, has welcomed the conditional release of Intigam Aliyev. The journalist and human rights activist was released yesterday from prison in Azerbaijan. He had been sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment in April 2015.
Lidington said in a statement:
“I welcome the decision by the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan to conditionally release leading human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev. I urge the Government of Azerbaijan to build on the momentum created by this positive step and the pardons of 17 March. The United Kingdom is ready to assist the Government’s efforts to further strengthen democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan”.