Frank Field to Stand as a Social Justice Candidate

Frank Field, the former Labour MP who has represented Birkenhead since 1979, has confirmed that he will contest the next General Election as a Social Justice candidate. Field quit the Labour Party in 2018 and said that the party now had a “culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation”.

The manifesto for The Birkenhead Social Justice Party are listed on their web-site as:

  • Abolish child poverty in Birkenhead
  • Eliminate youth unemployment and deliver Birkenhead’s homegrown strategies for local industry and the environment
  • Build the safe, secure, and affordable housing that Birkenhead needs
  • Fight back against crime and antisocial behaviour in Birkenhead
  • Gain the public transport network that Birkenhead deserves
  • Protect every worker in Birkenhead against low pay and insecure work
  • Introduce a more compassionate benefits system for disabled people in Birkenhead that protects their dignity, while ensuring the system protects Birkenhead’s pensioners
  • Defend the living standards of Birkenhead’s pensioners
  • Strengthen Birkenhead’s health and social care services

Jeremy Corbyn Refuses to Condemn Venezuelan Leader

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has been criticised for failing to condemn the Venezuelan leadership after recent violence. Corbyn, who had previously supported the leadership of President Nicolas Maduro said that he was “very sad” at the violence.

Corbyn said at a Labour Party meeting:

“I’m very sad at the lives that have been lost in Venezuela. The people who have died, either those on the streets or security forces that have been attacked by people on the street – all of those lives are terrible for the loss of them”.

Graham Jones, the Labour MP for Hyndburn, said:

“Mr Maduro and his predecessor Mr Chavez have destroyed an economy despite being oil rich, abused human rights and replaced democracy with authoritarianism backed by military might”.

Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead, urged Corbyn to condemn the leadership, saying:

“I think how he responds on this is crucial. And I think what’s going on in Venezuela is desperate”.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, last week said that the Venezuelan leadership was “acting like the dictator of an evil regime”.

MPs Publish Devastating Report on Sir Philip Green

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Sir Philip Green is facing renewed calls to give up his knighthood, or be stripped of it, after a devastating report on his behaviour and integrity by a select committee of MPs.

The report, which has left Green fighting for his reputation, was damning about his behaviour. The report concluded:

“The evidence we have received over the course of this inquiry has at times resembled a circular firing squad. Witnesses appeared to harbour the misconception that they could be absolved from responsibility by blaming others. The worst example was Sir Philip Green, despite his protestations to the contrary. Sir Philip adopted a scattergun approach, liberally firing blame to all angles except his own, though he began his evidence by saying he would do the opposite. The truth is that a large proportion of those who have got rich or richer off the back of BHS are to blame. Sir Philip Green, Dominic Chappell and their respective directors, advisers and hangers-on are all culpable. The tragedy is that those who have lost out are the ordinary employees and pensioners. This is the unacceptable face of capitalism”.

Green, who led BHS into collapse with the loss of thousands of jobs, was accused of driving the deal to sell the company cheaply. The report said:

“Sir Philip Green drove the deal forward. He sought to sell a chain that had become a financial millstone and threatened his reputation. He knew that Dominic Chappell was a wholly unsuitable purchaser but overlooked or made good each of Chappell’s shortcomings and proceeded with a rushed sale regardless”.

MPs also queried whether Green should have ever been given a knighthood following his behaviour when in charge of BHS, saying:

“The Green family benefited significantly from BHS. In his early years of ownership, Sir Philip cut costs, sold assets and paid substantial dividends offshore to the ultimate benefit of his wife. He failed, however, to invest sufficiently in stores or reinvent the business to beat the prevailing high street competition. We found little evidence to support the reputation for retail business acumen for which he received his knighthood”.

Frank Field, who was the co-chairman of the inquiry said that Sir Philip Green needed to pay a sum of at least £571 million to restore the NHS pension fund. Speaking to BBC Radio, Frank Field said that he felt that Green had acted in a worse manner than Robert Maxwell. Field said:

“I’ve always thought Maxwell meant to pay the money back, he was just going all over the place borrowing money to keep his companies going. When the music stopped he had no money. Sir Philip Green has a huge amount of money – unlike Robert Maxwell – if he wishes now to make good the pension deficit to those 22,000 pensioners he could do it. He keeps talking about it, but doesn’t do it. He just needs to get his chequebook out and start writing a cheque to cover the huge pension deficit. He has wealth beyond the dreams of avarice and should act”.

A spokesman for Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said:

“This case shows why the government is determined to tackle corporate irresponsibility and reform capitalism so it works for everyone – not just the privileged few. Today’s report is very concerning, and the Insolvency Service is now carrying out an accelerated investigation. Jobcentres are also standing by to provide support and advice to those who were affected. But in the long run we need to do more to prevent this kind of irresponsible and reckless behaviour”.

Green has yet to respond to the report, but he had already promised money to help cover the pension fund liabilities.

Sir Philip Green, Former Owner of the Failed BHS Company, Demands the Resignation of Frank Field

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Sir Philip Green, the former owner of BHS, has called on Frank Field to resign from his position as the chairman of the Work and Pensions select committee. BHS collapsed with the loss of over 11,000 jobs and questions have been asked about Green’s involvement in the process.

Green said:

“I am not prepared to participate in a process which has not even the pretence of fairness and objectivity and which has as its primary objective the destruction of my reputation”.

Field said that he hadn’t received a letter from Green but said:

“The House of Commons decides who chairs these committees, not Sir Philip Green. It’s in his interest to turn up”.

The committee has been hearing evidence from the former management of BHS, where senior managers admitted that there was serious division at the top of the organisation. The committee is likely to ask Green about why his organisation took money out of the business whilst the pensions deficit was growing in size.

Labour Party division over Syria worsens

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Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, is facing mounting criticism over his handling of the Syrian airstrikes question. For the first time a number of Labour MPs have called on Corbyn to stand down as party leader.

John Spellar, the Labour MP for Warley, said:

“It is no good just saying ‘this number of people voted for me as though this takes a trick in every discussion. These issues need to be discussed properly. This is not the way to go about behaving, to walk out of a meeting and… to try and do a lightning strike and a coup against your shadow cabinet. It is pretty extraordinary behaviour”.

A number of Labour MPs have also said that Jeremy Corbyn should consider his resignation. Fiona MacTaggart, the Labour MP for Slough, said that his leadership was “unsustainable”. John Spellar added “If anyone should resign after this incident, it should be Jeremy Corbyn”. Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead, has said that the party “should consider an alternative leader”.

Green Party hit by more damaging headlines

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The Green Party has been drawn in a second investigation into actions of their party representatives today.

Earlier today Jenny Ross mocked Nigel Farage’s cancer and the party leadership has confirmed that a party inquiry will take place into allegations that a Green Party councillor took photographs of Frank Field, a Labour Party MP for Birkenhead, when he was having a heart attack. Field was attending a meeting to debate the sell-off of land of the former Rock Ferry High School at the time that the alleged incidents took place.

Field called on Natalie Bennett, the party leader, to investigate and he said:

“To take a photo of someone who has just had a heart attack would be a despicable thing to do”

Colin Dow, a Green Party councillor, has reported by Labour List to have said that photographs weren’t taken by him but that “had I been closer, I would have taken a picture”.

The Green Party said that an investigation would take place into the allegations.