Government Announces £25 Million Fund for Hospices

The Government has today announced a £25 million fund for hospices and palliative care services to help those near the end of their lives.

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

“End of life is vitally important, and our NHS is committed to caring for you from cradle to grave. This cash boost will protect our precious hospices and palliative care services so people across the country will have the best, most personalised and dignified choices when they die. We should expect the highest quality support, so we can spend the last days of our life with our loved ones, dying with dignity in the way that we want to.”

Robert Peston, the chair of Hospice UK, said in a statement:

“Many hospices and palliative care providers are facing acute financial pressures and are struggling to meet the growing need for their desperately important services. This injection of new funds by the Government could not have come at a more critical time. It will help many, but it will not completely alleviate the serious funding problems facing a swelling number of charitable hospices.”

Matt Hancock Withdraws from Conservative Leadership Contest

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health, has withdrawn from the 2019 Conservative Party leadership contest. Hancock, who is the youngest candidate, came sixth in the first round and secured 20 votes. There are now six candidates remaining in the race to become leader of the party, with the second round of voting taking place on 18 June 2019.

Hancock said to the BBC:

“I’ve been incredibly encouraged and humbled by the amount of support that I’ve had in this campaign. I’ve tried to make the argument about the values that the Conservative Party needs to hold dear, of free enterprise and support for a free society and being open and optimistic and enthusiastic about the future.”

Dominic Raab Says he Would Shut Parliament if it Opposed Brexit

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab, one of the candidates for the Conservative leadership, has said that he would shut down Parliament if it opposed his Brexit plans. The move was fiercely criticised by John Bercow, the current Speaker of the House of Commons, and Betty Boothroyd, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, as well as other senior Conservatives.

John Bercow, the current Speaker, rejected any move to prevent the House of Commons from stating its will on any Brexit deal saying:

“Parliament will not be evacuated from the centre stage of the decision-making process.”

Boothroyd said:

“I have a message for this ambitious young man: you don’t treat our Parliament, our democracy or our people that way. If you even try to impose your No Deal Brexit on us by cancelling Parliamentary proceedings, you won’t survive as Prime Minister for five minutes, you will be booted out of office and you are not worthy of your seat in Parliament which should be reserved for those who deserve the title of democrats.”

Other candidates criticised Raab’s plan, with Matt Hancock saying that it would “undermine parliamentary democracy and risk a general election” and Rory Stewart posted on Twitter:

“We live in a parliamentary democracy. You can try to lock the gates of parliament. But to do so for this purpose would be unlawful. This plan is unlawful, undemocratic, and unachievable. And the idea itself is profoundly offensive to our liberty constitution and traditions.”

Raab’s threat was also criticised by Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who said that “I think it’s outrageous to consider proroguing Parliament. We are not Stuart kings.”

Mel Stride, the Leader of the House of Commons, also rejected Raab’s suggestion, saying that “I do think Her Majesty should be kept out of the politics of our Parliament.”

Mark Harper Becomes Latest Conservative to Stand for Leadership

Mark Harper, the Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean, has become the twelfth candidate to put his name forwards for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

The current candidates are now:

James Cleverley
Michael Gove
Matt Hancock
Mark Harper
Jeremy Hunt
Sajid Javid
Boris Johnson
Andrea Leadsom
Kit Malthouse
Esther McVey
Dominic Raab
Rory Stewart

Three More Candidates Join Conservative Leadership Contest

Three more candidates have joined the contest to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, bringing the current number of candidates to eight.

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Andrea Leadsom, the former Leader of the House of Commons, and Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary, have declared their candidacies over the last day. The five already announced candidates were:

Rory Stewart – the Secretary of State for International Development

Jeremy Hunt – the Foreign Secretary

Matt Hancock – the Secretary of State for Health

Boris Johnson – the former Foreign Secretary

Esther McVey – the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Five Candidates Join Race to Become Next Conservative Leader

Five candidates have so far joined the Conservative Party leadership contest, following yesterday’s resignation announcement by Theresa May, the Prime Minister.

Although more candidates are expected to announce their intentions to stand, the current five who have confirmed their plans include:

Rory Stewart – the Secretary of State for International Development

Jeremy Hunt – the Foreign Secretary

Matt Hancock – the Secretary of State for Health

Boris Johnson – the former Foreign Secretary

Esther McVey – the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

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.

Dame Frances Cairncross to Lead Review on Press Sustainability

The Government has confirmed that Dame Frances Cairncross is to lead a review on press sustainability and investigating the media market. It comes against the backdrop of UK newspaper circulation falling in half since 2001 and the closure of over 200 local newspapers since 2005.

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said in a statement:

“Although the internet has been an immense force for good, it has torn apart the established order and raised real questions about the sustainability and profitability of traditional journalism.

Dame Frances Cairncross will bring her experience in journalism and academia to tackle these issues with a view to examine the press and protect the future of high quality journalism”.

Dames Frances said:

“Having spent much of my working life as a journalist, and seen how the digital revolution has changed both the fortunes of newspapers and the opportunities for distributing news, I am excited to be undertaking this review.

This is both a challenging and an exciting time for the press, both locally and nationally, and I hope the review will clarify both ways to ensure the future of high quality journalism and the options for public policy”.

Matt Hancock Announces that Government will Strengthen Data Protection

Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital, has said that the Government is looking to strengthen the rights of the individual with a new Data Protection Bill. The bill will aim to make it easier for individuals to request data about them be deleted, for parents and guardians to have more control over data relating to their children and for explicit consent to be needed before processing sensitive personal data.

Hancock said in a statement:

“Our measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.

The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive”.

Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, said in a statement:

“We are pleased the government recognises the importance of data protection, its central role in increasing trust and confidence in the digital economy and the benefits the enhanced protections will bring to the public”.

Former Tory Cabinet Minister William Waldegrave Criticises Education Plan

Lord Waldegrave, a former Conservative MP who served as a Minister for both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, has criticised a Government plan to ask job applicants if parents paid for their education.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph Waldegrave, who is now the Provost of Eton College, said:

“Fundamentally, I think it quite wrong to punish children for decisions taken by their parents, and to run the risk of choosing crucial public service jobs not on the basis of merit but of social engineering. The ablest candidates come from all possible backgrounds”.

Waldegrave also said that he would consider leaving the Conservative Party if the matter was forced on employers, saying:

“I have told the chief whip in the Lords that I do not see how I could continue to accept the whip if I believed that the government was actively seeking to damage the charitable school of which I am a trustee, and the many other schools like it which are meeting the justifiable demands of the Charity Commission to help the wider community”.

He added:

“Good employers must of course get behind what Mr Hancock calls ‘polish’. But I do not think we should have turned down Churchill in 1940 because the postcode would have revealed that he was born in Blenheim Palace, nor because he went to a great public school. He and Ernie Bevin won us the war, and both were the best men for the job”.

Waldegrave’s comments came after Matt Hancock, a Cabinet Office Minister, had raised the issued of equality of opportunity. Hancock had said:

“We are tackling the last workplace taboo. We British don’t always like to discuss things like our parents’ background, particularly at work. But you can’t manage what you can’t measure”.

A spokesman for the Government said that Hancock’s comments were not compulsory, saying:

“The proposals we have outlined to measure social background are part of a broad consultation and no legislation is being put forward”.