Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen
In the Commons Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow solicitor general, asked Geoffrey Cox about the Tory manifesto commitment to stop judicial review being abused in such a way as to create “needless delays”. (See 9.44am.) He challenged Cox to give examples of this happening.
Cox refused to give any examples. He insisted that the govenrment did not want to weaken judicial review. But it did want to make the process more efficient and more streamlined, he said. He went on to say there was “no question of backtracking upon the fundamental principle of the independence of the judiciary”.
In the Commons Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, is taking questions.
In response to a question from the shadow Home Office minister Afzal Khan, Cox said that the government was completely committed to remaining signed up to the European convention on human rights (ECHR). And he said the government would continue to participate vigorously in the Council of Europe (which upholds the convention).
Rebecca Long Bailey - 42%
Keir Starmer - 37%
Jess Phillips - 9%
Lisa Nandy - 5%
Emily Thornberry - 1%https://t.co/1o2YN8xyFO
1) This is very early in the campaign:
*the first hustings only happens Saturday
*we don't yet know which of these candidates will get through 2nd nomination phase (CLPs/affiliates)
*only 22% of respondents are sure they won't change
But, a big boost for Long Bailey's campaign
2) Be very sceptical about this poll. @YouGov polled a few weeks ago and found Starmer on 31%, Long Bailey on 20%, Phillips on 11%, Lewis on 7%, Cooper on 7%, Thornberry on 6% and Nandy on 5%.@YouGov has polled before in Labour leadership contests and been very accurate
Is there a shift to Long Bailey? Wait for YouGov to be sure... but bear in mind, Long Bailey hadn't even declared when that YouGov poll was done
4) And please bear in mind point 1), but early indications suggest a two-horse race between Starmer and Long Bailey.
(Then again most betting at this point in 2015 put it as a two-horse race between Burnham and Cooper)
Angela Rayner 60%
Richard Burgon 19%
Ian Murray 9%
Dawn Butler 8%
Rosena Allin-Khan 5%
But again, please note 1) ...
The number of knife crimes being dealt with by the police and courts are the highest in a decade, official figures show. As the Press Association reports, there were 22,286 knife and offensive weapon offences formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019, according to Ministry of Justice statistics (pdf). This is a 3% rise on the previous year and the highest since September 2009 (26,364). The figures follow Tuesday’s announcement that the prime minister ordered all Whitehall departments to take action on tackling crime.
Among the many unknowns attached to Boris Johnson’s government is what it will do about constitutional reform. In the Conservative manifesto (pdf) there is a notorious “page 48” passage implying that Johnson will somehow curtail the powers of the supreme court. It says:
After Brexit we also need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between the government, parliament and the courts; the functioning of the royal prerogative; the role of the House of Lords; and access to justice for ordinary people ... We will ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays. In our first year we will set up a Constitution, Democracy & Rights Commission that will examine these issues in depth, and come up with proposals to restore trust in our institutions and in how our democracy operates.
I don’t think there is any question of revenge or hitting back ...
This is all about taking a calm and considered approach to what has been a very febrile time in our constitutional history. I think it would be a missed opportunity for us as a government not to look carefully at the issues and to get that outside expert opinion as well that can help inform policy and allow us to do a bit of constitutional plumbing in a way that I think is in the best traditions of Conservative governments.
I don’t think the judges choose the cases that they get before them. What I am clear about, and I think this view is shared by many senior judges and retired judges, is that we do not want a constitutional court in the UK such as we have in the US. A constitutional court means that that is a court that by its own definition is going to be involved in politics, and that of course means in the US congressional hearings to appoint judges. That is not something that I favour at all.
I think colleagues are responding to the fact that they see politics coming into the traditional arena more and more, and therefore they are seeking for a solution to deal with that.
Now, I think it is absolutely right to have that debate. But I do think at the end of it all we must preserve the independence of our judiciary, we must protect judges from ending up increasingly getting into a political arena, because I don’t believe that they want to be there. And I think it is the job of politicians to actually make those decisions. And I think we therefore need to look at ourselves as well, and the way in which government over the years has increasingly contracted out some of the political decision making, created a vacuum, and into that vacuum we have seen unfortunately in some cases the judiciary having to make decisions. I don’t think that is desirable for anybody. This is all about getting the balance right. But it is about looking at ourselves in the mirror as much as looking at the wider system as well.
Good morning. It looks relatively quiet today in terms of government/Westminster politics, but the Labour leadership contest is warming up and overnight there were developments boosting two of the leading candidates.
If the election took place today, the results of the poll suggest that Long-Bailey would win 42% of first preferences while Starmer would receive 37%. Jess Phillips is far behind on 9%, Lisa Nandy on 7% and Emily Thornberry on just 1%.
Although Starmer receives the majority of second preferences from all candidates in the race, they are not enough to eliminate Long-Bailey’s first round lead, with Long-Bailey leading 51% to 49% after second preferences are taken into account.
The reviews are in: And lefty journos and commentators are gushing in their praise. “She did tremendously well,” the Guardian’s Peter Walker wrote. “Direct, engaging, and handled [Neil] brilliantly. Sets the bar for the other candidates.” The New Statesman’s Ailbhe Rea said Nandy was “brilliant … Unflappable, warm and totally on top of detailed policy.” Politics.co.uk Editor Ian Dunt called it “seriously impressive.” HuffPost’s Paul Waugh said Nandy “handled Neil’s questions better than most politicians I’ve seen.” And in his sketch for the Indy, Tom Peck deems her “bright, articulate, honest and tenacious … A serious person, running for a serious job.” (“But of course,” Peck adds gloomily, “the party doesn’t want that.”)
And it’s not just the lefties: “Dare I say it, she’s bossing this,” the Sun’s Political Editor Tom Newton Dunn wrote as he watched the interview last night. Evening Standard Deputy Editor Charlotte Ross was equally impressed. “Nandy will have helped her cause,” the Spectator’s Political Editor James Forsyth noted cautiously, while rightly pointing out she was “visibly nervous” at the start and that some arguments did not quite stand up to scrutiny. He adds: “We wait to see if the frontrunners Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey are confident enough to subject themselves to the same treatment.” Let’s hope so.
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