A Tory MP exposed himself and his party live on Question Time

A Tory minister’s response to a Labour MP’s criticism of his government’s handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic was damning. Because he inadvertently exposed the problem at the heart of his government’s approach over the last ten months. And he did it on BBC Question Time. Question Time: flailing? The programme saw its viewing figures plummet last year. But even so, there are sometimes important moments that Question Time throws up. Parliamentary under-secretary Vicky Ford’s controversial comments about free school meals on 14 January was one such occasion. And the show on Thursday 21 January was another. Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Louise Haigh was criticising the government’s handling…

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University staff protest Tory attempt to undermine academic freedom and stifle criticism of Israel

The Tory government is trying to force UK universities to adopt a “flawed” definition of antisemitism. The Canary wrote in December 2020: Conservative education secretary Gavin Williamson is reportedly trying to force universities to sign up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism by the end of the year, or face funding cuts. But student opponents of the colonisation of Palestine are worried that it will silence criticism of Israel. An alternative definition of antisemitism has been put forward by Independent Jewish Voices. 48 out of 133 UK universities – including Oxford and Cambridge – have bowed under government pressure and adopted the IHRA…

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The divisive nature of Tory rhetoric about the ‘left behind white working-class’ The Canary

In recent months, we’ve seen a return to right-wing rhetoric that suggests white working-class boys are being left behind. This is allegedly because the nation is “preoccupied” with issues around race and gender. When asked to confront the very real evidence of structural racism in Britain during a House of Commons questions session on 13 January, equalities minister Liz Truss dismissively framed inequality in individualistic terms. In another response, she pitted disadvantaged white pupils against BAME pupils from low-income backgrounds. This came after a speech in December in which she said the current equality debate is led by “fashion”, not by “facts”. In the context of disproportionate BAME coronavirus (Covid-19)…

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A Tory MP seems to think vaccinating a high-risk population is ‘woke’

A Tory MP seems to think vaccinating high-risk populations is an act of wokeness. At least if her response to Labour’s Zarah Sultana is anything to go by. Sultana, who represents Coventry South, told parliament on Wednesday 13 January that prisoners were a high risk “disenfranchised” population who need to be considered for vaccination as a matter of public health: Prisons are a high risk setting for transmission as well as hospitals, nursing homes and school. There would be considerable challenges if there was an outbreak in this setting and vaccinating detainees is both good for public health and a humane approach to a completely disenfranchised population. In…

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The Tory government just made a mockery of a second Brexit-related promise

The UK has barely left the EU and already the Tory government has effectively backtracked on two promises it made in relation to Brexit. Never Bee-lieve a Tory government First, it authorised the use of neonicotinoids in England within days of leaving the bloc. There’s an EU-wide ban on the pesticides, with a mechanism for “emergency authorisations” for their use in limited circumstances. In 2017, then environment secretary Michael Gove promised that: Unless the evidence base changes again, the government will keep these restrictions in place after we have left the EU. The UK’s greenlighting of the pesticide caused a hefty public backlash because neonicotinoids are harmful to…

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Top Tory repeatedly clusterf*cks live on air over cancelling Christmas

A senior government minister made an absolute shambles of his breakfast media appearances on Wednesday 23 December. He also showed the Tories still don’t appear to know what they’re doing over the coronavirus (Covid-19) “mutant” strain. Moreover, they don’t seem to care about the anxiety and stress they are causing the public. Mutants everywhere Secretary of state for housing, communities and local government Robert Jenrick appeared on various breakfast TV shows. The message he was delivering, and the answers to hosts’ questions, was a clusterfuck, at best. Several hosts asked him about the new coronavirus strain. As The Canary‘s Tom Coburg previously reported, this new strain was first…

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Johnson in cronyism row after defying Lords committee to make Tory donor a peer

Boris Johnson is facing a cronyism row after appointing a Tory donor as a life peer.The prime minister ignored objections from the House of Lords Appointments Committee to elevate the Tory former treasurer Peter Cruddas to the upper house.Meanwhile Lord Speaker Lord Fowler also voiced concerns about the number of peers Johnson has appointed.Lord Fowler (Jonathan Brady/PA) He said:Mr Johnson has added 16 to his list of appointments bringing the total for the year up to 52 new peers over two lists. This list will bring the total in the House of Lords to over 830 – almost 200 more than the House of Commons.On the appointment of…

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A Guardian writer just summed up this whole Tory mess perfectly

A Guardian columnist just gave perhaps the most withering assessment of the Tory government and the past few days of chaos. It’s hard not to be somewhat overwhelmed by this mess. But Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty managed to sum it up in a nutshell: Kent a giant lorry parkFamilies unable to see each other at Christmas The pound in a nosediveSchools in chaos You know if this were a Labour government they’d be calling this the winter of discontent — Aditya Chakrabortty (@chakrabortty) December 21, 2020 Mutant UK Where to begin? Well, it appears the UK could be heading into freefall. The Tories have forced huge parts of…

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Senior Tory MP says Johnson should quit as PM if he doesn’t get a trade deal

A veteran Tory MP has called for Boris Johnson to stand down as prime minister if he fails to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.Thanet North MP Roger Gale made the dramatic intervention as last ditch negotiations continued between London and Brussels on the issue. If Mr Johnson fails to reach an acceptable trade agreement with the EU the Prime Minister will also have failed the people of the United Kingdom. As a lifelong member of the Conservative Party, I believe that Mr Johnson’s position as Prime Minister would be untenable. 1/2 — Sir Roger Gale MP (@SirRogerGale) December 14, 2020 Gale told the PA news…

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Police drop probe into Tory MP accused of rape who’s been conducting parliamentary duties from home

Police have reportedly dropped their investigation into a Conservative MP and ex-minister who was arrested after a woman accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercive control. rape The Metropolitan Police had said they received allegations on 31 July of sexual offences and assault. The allegations related to four separate incidents at addresses in London, including in Westminster, between July 2019 and January 2020. Police arrested the Conservative MP on 1 August on suspicion of rape and took him into custody at an east London police station. They later released him on bail, the force added. But the Sunday Times quoted a police spokesperson as saying: Following a…

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