Jess Phillips criticises selection of mayoral candidates on merit because they are men

The selection of Labour’s candidates for the 2017 mayoral elections has been criticised by Jess Phillips MP, because they are filled by prominent local politicians who happen to be men.

Jess Phillips was not her constituency’s first choice of parliamentary candidate, as she only got selected for Birmingham Yardley because an all-women shortlist was imposed on local members.

Jess Phillips MP
ALTERNATE: Jess Phillips MP only became an MP because men were barred from standing for nomination as Labour candidates. Courtesy: Birmingham Mail.

Now Jess Phillips is criticising Jeremy Corbyn for not allowing other incompetent people to have the same chances she has had to get elected for the only reason being that they are women. “He told me he was a feminist. I suppose feminism is out of the window when your brothers in arms want the jobs,” she raged about Jeremy Corbyn. “The Labour party is becoming a movement of words not deeds,” she said in anger about the fact that preferred candidates were being chosen on merit rather than alternates like herself being imposed.

The Liverpool mayoral candidate is Steve Rotheram, who is a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool and current Member of Parliament for Liverpool Walton. Andy Burnham is the Member of Parliament for Leigh in Manchester with a distinguished ministerial career in government and opposition, and will be Labour’s candidate for mayor of Greater Manchester.

The Labour Party has used all-women-shortlists as a crude way to get more women into public office. This has meant that women who lack the ability to perform in public office have got in by the back door. Some have questioned Labour’s approach, especially following the appointment of Theresa May as the second woman prime minister, chosen on merit by her fellow MPs after a distinguished career in both opposition and government. Theresa May is a Conservative, meaning the only women Prime Ministers in the United Kingdom have been members of the Conservative Party, with the first being Margaret Thatcher.

Have your say on how fire and rescue service information is accessed

Last month, Home Secretary Theresa May set out her vision for the fire and rescue service in England.

One element is to bring greater transparency to the fire and rescue sector by publishing more service information to the public online, just as the Home Office has done with policing.

By making information more accessible, the public can compare fire and rescue services in England on issues such as performance, value for money and diversity, monitor trends over time and hold elected leaders to account.

The Home Office is currently considering how it can deliver this commitment and is keen to work with the public to develop proposals further.

It has opened an online survey which aims to understand what fire and rescue service material is currently viewed online, why it is viewed, and where this information is currently obtained from.

Additionally, the survey asks what other information could be published, and how it could be made more accessible.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is keen to help publicise this survey and would like to encourage as many people as possible across Merseyside to take part. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, and it is open until 5pm on Friday, July 8.

You can take the survey here: http://www.homeofficesurveys.homeoffice.gov.uk/s/onlinefrspublic_scmiu_kc/

Any information you provide will be stored on secure government networks and will not be processed outside those networks. It will be kept for a maximum of one year from the closing date.

The Home Office will only use the information for internal purposes and it will not be shared with anyone from outside government.

Investigatory Powers Bill has mixed reception

The UK Government introduced the Investigatory Powers Bill to Parliament today. The Bill has had a mixed reception.

The Investigatory Powers Bill sets out the powers available to the police, security and intelligence services to gather and access communications and communications data in the digital age, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight arrangements.

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Originally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May introduced the Bill. “This is vital legislation and we are determined to get it right,” she said. “Our proposals have been studied in detail by a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament established to provide rigorous scrutiny, and 2 further committees.
The revised Bill we introduced today reflects the majority of the committees’ recommendations – we have strengthened safeguards, enhanced privacy protections and bolstered oversight arrangements – and will now be examined by Parliament before passing into law by the end of 2016.
This timetable was agreed by Parliament when we introduced the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act in summer 2014.

Andy Burnham is the Shadow Home Secretary.
HOME ALONE: Andy Burnham is the Shadow Home Secretary. Courtesy: NHS Confederation

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham was more critical. “Labour has taken a responsible and constructive approach to working with the Government on this important legislation and we will continue to do so,” he said. “However, it has major implications for privacy and how we are governed and policed.
We will therefore take time to get this legislation right and will not be rushed into reaching our judgement on it.

Home Secretary Theresa May disagreed. “[T]he Government has also published an operational case for bulk powers as set out by the security and intelligence agencies – giving unprecedented detail on why they need their existing powers and how they are used,” she said. “Terrorists and criminals are operating online and we need to ensure the police and security services can keep pace with the modern world and continue to protect the British public from the many serious threats we face.

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham conceded the Bill was an improvement on the Draft Bill. “It is clear that the Government has made a number of changes to their original proposals,” he said. “We welcome that and the stronger safeguards they have incorporated into the Bill.

A spokesperson for the The Worker Revolutionary Party UK added: “May’s bill is nothing more than an attempt to put this illegal mass surveillance on a legal footing – to put into law the right of the state to monitor and hack into every phone, tablet and computer in the country. It will legalise the use of already existing facilities on these devices that enable them to be hacked and taken over.

The Investigatory Powers Bill is scheduled to pass into law before the end of 2016, addressing themes which were the focus of the Joint Committee, Intelligence and Security Committee and Science and Technology Committee reports.

Theresa May welcomes naming of Crossrail

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Originally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May has welcomed the news that Crossrail will be named the Elizabeth Line in honour of Her Majesty The Queen.

Theresa May recently met the Chief Executive of Crossrail Ltd to discuss the progress of the project and how it can best work for local residents in Maidenhead and Twyford. It is Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Construction for the new railway is now over 70 per cent complete and is being delivered on time and within budget. “I am delighted that this new service will be known as the Elizabeth Line in honour of the Queen,” she said. “The Elizabeth Line will be an important addition to the train services on offer in Maidenhead and Twyford, and will be an important part of the South East’s transport infrastructure for generations to come.
It is fitting that the line will be named after our longest-serving monarch.

The Elizabeth Line will serve Maidenhead and Twyford from 2019 and provide a through-service from Paddington to central London and Canary Wharf. The announcement was made at a ceremony at Bond Street station, where the Queen was presented with a commemorative Elizabeth roundel.

Home Secretary launches new joint fraud taskforce

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Originally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.
Home Secretary Theresa May today announced a new taskforce to crack down on fraud in the UK, saying that “fraud shames our financial system”.

The Joint Fraud Taskforce will be made up of made up of key representatives from government, law enforcement and the banking sector. The Taskforce will create a new era of collaboration, resulting in shared intelligence, a unified response and greater awareness of the risk of fraud among consumers.

The Taskforce will include the City of London Police, National Crime Agency, Financial Fraud Action UK, the Bank of England, Cifas and CEOs of the major banks.

At a roundtable attended by key sector bodies and co-chaired by the Lord Mayor and the Home Secretary, members came together to sign a declaration of their commitment to tackling fraud and reducing its devastating impact.

The Home Secretary set out the work for the new Taskforce. “Our economy relies on the financial system and everyone in this country benefits from its global success,” she said. “But the scale and volume of financial activity also brings serious risks of economic crime and real opportunities for criminals to defraud hardworking taxpayers of their savings and earnings.

The work of the Taskforce will include: understanding the threat – working to identify key priorities for the Taskforce and spot intelligence gaps and vulnerabilities; collective response – fast-tracking intelligence sharing between banks and law enforcement for a more coordinated approach to serious and organised crime gangs, including the creation of a new top ten most-wanted fraudsters victims and vulnerability – more efficient identification of victims and potential victims, including national roll-out of intervention training for bank staff behaviour change – finding out why victims fall prey to fraud and helping to raise awareness of the steps they can take to protect themselves tackling systemic vulnerabilities – removing the weak links in systems and processes, which fraudsters can exploit

This new Taskforce will build on ongoing work across the financial sector and law enforcement to protect consumers, such as the Dedicated Card and Payments Crime Unit, where police work alongside industry fraud investigators to disrupt fraudsters and secure convictions, which the Home Secretary visited this morning. She also met officers from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, operated by the City of London Police, and heard about their work identifying established and emerging frauds and those who are committing them.

The Home Secretary said the taskforce is essential. “Fraud shames our financial system,” she said. “It undermines the credibility of the economy, ruins businesses and causes untold distress to people of all walks of life.
For too long, there has been too little understanding of the problem and too great a reluctance to take steps to tackle it.
I am delighted to officially launch the Joint Fraud Taskforce, which will bring the collective powers, systems and resources of banks, payment providers, police, wider law enforcement and regulators to bear on this threat.

Theresa May seeks assurances on Maidenhead Post Office

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Iriginally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.

Theresa May is seeking assurances on the future of local Post Office services, following the news that Maidenhead Post Office has been identified for franchising. Theresa has written to Post Office Ltd to ask for further information about their announcement to ensure that the services people rely on will still be available in the future.

She has asked for confirmation that there will be safeguards in place to ensure that the current services and facilities will be maintained, including those used by local businesses, regardless of the future set-up of the branch – and that the current opening hours would be maintained in a franchised branch.

Post Office Ltd confirmed last week that it would be looking for a potential franchising partner for the Maidenhead Crown Post Office, but did not provide specific information on why this was necessary, or what would happen if a franchise partner cannot be found. Theresa has asked for further information on these points so local residents can have greater confidence in the process.

In the event of a suitable partner being found, any changes to Maidenhead Post Office would be subject to a public consultation. Theresa May commented on the situation. “It is important that the Post Office services people rely on are protected, and that local residents and businesses continue to have full access to the facilities they need,” she said. “I would like more information from the Post Office as to the safeguards that will be in place to protect our services in the long-term if the franchising option goes ahead.
At a time when Maidenhead town centre is moving forward, we must not lose an important local service.

Calls to ban ‘fascist’ Donald Trump from the UK

US Presidential candidate hopeful, Donald Trump, is facing calls to be banned from the UK, as claims of fascist behaviour at his rallies dog his campaign.

A petition, calling for Donald Trump to face a ban from entry to the UK on the same basis as others preaching hate, has over half a million signatures, and was considered by the UK Parliament at Westminster Hall on 18 January 2016.

Donald Trump has protesters thrown out of his rallies amid calls he should be banned from the UK.
FASCIST?: Donald Trump has protesters thrown out of his rallies amid calls he should be banned from the UK. Courtesy: Reuters / L.E. Baskow / Las Vegas Sun.

The debate comes as reports of fascist behaviour at Donald Trump’s rallies in the United States become even more severe. Donald Trump has been captured on camera at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, Vermont, throwing out dissident voices, and others, from among those attending. “We will get more and more angry as we go along,” Donald Trump was heard saying as protesters were escorted out. “And by the end I will say, ‘get the hell out of here,’” he continued. “And then by the way, by that time, security will be so tough and so nasty, and you know what is going to happen when that happens?” he asked. “You’re not going to have any more problems, you’re not going to have not going to have any problems,” he concluded.

Paul Flynn MP, who lead the debate in the UK Parliament, described the sort of people banned from the UK in the past. “A leader of a violent gang that beat migrants and posted films of the attacks on the internet,” was one person who was banned because they were “considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by fomenting serious criminal activity and seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts.” Another was banned because they were considered to “be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by fomenting terrorist violence in furtherance of his political beliefs.” A further person was banned because they were considered to be engaged in “unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop is the parish councillor for Lower Cam in England, and a prospective candidate in this year’s Welsh Assembly elections. As an Internet trolling expert, he has long argued for free speech over censorship, but says he believes Donald Trump is over-stepping the mark. “It is one thing to call someone offensive names, or to post threats that lack any credibility to Twitter,” he said. “It is a totally different thing to be relying on others’ stupidity to further fascist behaviour that destroys free speech,” he continued. “The sort of behaviour Donald Trump shows at his rallies is not that one might expect to see from someone who wants to be the leader of the so-called free world,” he concluded.

Prime Minister David Cameron has made clear that he completely disagrees with Donald Trump’s hate speech and Home Secretary Theresa May has said that Donald Trump’s remarks in relation to Muslims are divisive, unhelpful and wrong. “The Government recognises the strength of feeling against the remarks and will continue to speak out against comments which have the potential to divide our communities, regardless of who makes them,” a UK Government statement said. “We reject any attempts to create division and marginalisation amongst those we endeavour to protect.

Police brutality victim in hunger strike victory

A woman who fell victim to the attacks of a rogue police officer has had hope of a reprieve after her MP, Nia Griffiths, took up her case after she collapsed due to taking part in a hunger strike.

Yolande Rees-Hopkins is on hunger strike following no action being taken after she was attacked by a police officer.
HUNGER STRIKE: Yolande Rees-Hopkins is on hunger strike following no action being taken after she was attacked by a police officer. Courtesy: Llanelli Star.

Yolande Rees-Hopkins is believed to be one of a number of people subject to violence from Dyfed-Powys police officer, PC Stuart Mann 553. Last year a court was told that model and care worker, Graham Gareth Edwards, was a victim of brutality from PC Stuart Mann, following Edwards whistleblowing on the actions of a former colleague at Hywel Dda Health Board, namely Lyn Carter.

Yolande Rees-Hopkins was speaking following requiring medical help for the hunger strike. “It is with pride that I announce today that after my collapse last night and refusal for any medical attention that today both myself and Graham Edwards have received some uplifting news,” she said. “Nia (Griffith MP) has written a letter to Theresa May & Graham has an important meeting on Friday in Cardiff,” she continued. “I will stick to my hunger strike, but in light of today’s events I will accept antibiotics and I will celebrate with a cup of milky tea but this is only for today and only one cup.

Home Secretary publishes stop and search data

An overview of how fairly and effectively stop and search powers are being used by Nottinghamshire Police has today been published.

It is the latest in a series of measures from the UK’s homeland security department, the Home Office, which aim to reform police use of stop and search. It means for the first time people can see details like the number of stop and searches, the outcomes and the proportion of these outcomes that were linked to the purpose of the search in their area. It also provides a breakdown of the ethnicity and age of people stopped and searched and the time of day stops are carried out on a monthly basis.

This data, provided by 40 forces, including the British Transport Police, will sit alongside and provide context to stop and search maps currently produced by 25 forces including Nottinghamshire Police. Using geo-mapping technology, these maps allow the public to see where stop and searches took place in their local area, the reason for the stop and outcome of the search.

Theresa May is the UK’s Home Secretary .”Stop and search is undoubtedly an important police power, but when it is misused it can be counter-productive and an enormous waste of police time,” she said. “If it is not operated in a targeted and proportionate way and if innocent people are stopped and searched for no good reason, it is hugely damaging to the relationship between the police and the public.
Designed in partnership with police forces, community groups and young people, the summary pages provide the public with a visual representation of how fairly and effectively stop and search is being used in individual police forces.
This is a further step forward in the Government’s commitment to increasing the transparency of the police and ensuring the public can hold their force to account.

Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock is the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead on Stop and Search. “It is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that, on a daily basis, officers utilising the stop and search power are finding weapons, stolen property and drugs,” he said. “The people committing a criminal act by carrying these items are the same people who can make communities less safe, and police must have appropriate powers at their disposal to find and deal with them.
It is, however, very important that this power is used with great care and precision, acting on intelligence and reasonable suspicion that a suspect is in possession of something they should not be.

Data Retention Needed – May

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Originally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May has defended government snooping on data communications between the UK and other countries. May, who was speaking to a parliamentary inquiry, said that the UK government is doing nothing that is not being done by mega corporations like Google. “If you are searching for the needle in the haystack, you have to have a haystack in the first place,” she said. “I think there is – not a contract entered into – but an unwritten agreement between the individual and the state that the state is going to do everything they can to keep them safe and secure.

Internet trolling expert, Jonathan Bishop, says that data retention is important, but technology needs to advance to protect civil liberties. “It is not unreasonable for the government to seek to find the ‘needles in a haystack’ referred to by the Home Secretary,” he said. “But there needs to be technology developed that will ensure only the data of suspects is accessed and not those who abide by the law.
The concept of a national DNA database is not undesirable, for instance, but database technology needs to advance so that instead of treating everyone as a suspect by searching through database entries, only the record for the suspect concerned is accessed.