Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May’s speech on the NHS and the Lords debate on the EU withdrawal bill
- New Lords defeat for government on Brexit ‘meaningful vote’ amendment
- Jeremy Hunt’s morning interviews – Summary
- Afternoon summary
We’re going to close down our live coverage for the evening. Thanks for reading.
If you would like to read more on tonight’s government defeat in the Lords, my colleague Jessica Elgot has the full story:
The House of Lords leader, Natalie Evans, urged peers to reject the amendment. “It is not right that your lordships’ house could have a veto on the deal simply by refusing to consider a motion,” she said, saying the alternative amendment by Hailsham contained “major flaws”.
Several former Tory cabinet ministers also spoke out against the amendment. The former leader, Michael Howard, said it “would be to confer upon parliament a negotiation power which has always resided in the hands of the executive in our country”.
“Wake up and smell the coffee”. That’s the message the Liberal Democrats have sent to Theresa May, via the medium of press release, after the government’s Lords defeat. The party’s leader in the House of Lords, Dick Newby, said:
Theresa May is making a mess of Brexit. It is time for her to wake up and smell the coffee. This latest defeat shows she can no longer avoid the issue of a meaningful vote.
Parliament must be given a meaningful vote on all possible outcomes of Brexit, and this must be guaranteed in writing, in the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Matthew Pennycook, Labour’s shadow Brexit minister, responding to the House of Lords’ vote on the terms of parliament’s meaningful vote, has said:
The Lords have been forced to act to ensure Theresa May upholds the promise she made to Tory MPs.
Labour has always maintained that parliament should have the right to a genuinely meaningful vote on the terms of our exit from the EU. If the prime minister’s final Brexit deal is voted down, that cannot give her licence to crash the UK out of the EU without an agreement.
The 22 Tory peers who rebelled and backed the meaningful vote amendment included Michael Heseltine, Chris Patten and Sayeeda Warsi.
Before voting, they heard Lord Hailsham say at issue was the deal Dominic Grieve, who originally devised the amendment, “believes was agreed with the government” when the bill was before the Commons.
I said at the weekend that the law should change to criminalise upskirting. I am delighted we are introducing a bill in Government time In the Commons to do just that this Thursday.
Tomorrow, Labour will seek to force a vote of no confidence in Chris Grayling, who has failed to fulfil his basic duty to manage our railways. It’s time Parliament steps in to hold him to account – @AndyMcDonaldMP https://t.co/bwVa6TDSO6
Here are the voting figures showing how peers voted on the “meaningful vote” amendment.
Some 22 Tory peers rebelled. And the crossbenchers divided more than three to one in favour of the Hailsham amendment.
Peers have still not finished debating the Commons amendments to the EU withdrawal bill. But no further votes are expected tonight.
The bill goes back to the Commons on Wednesday, when the goverment will try to vote down the Hailsham amendment, or “Grieve II”, as he called it.
Peers have voted for the new “meaningful vote” amendment by 354 votes to 235 – a majority of 119.
Last time when peers defeated the government on the “meaningful vote” issue 335 peers backed Viscount Hailsham, while 244 didn’t, and the majority was 91. Now it is significantly bigger.
Two former diplomats are rowing about the EU withdrawal bill on Twitter.
This is from Lord Ricketts, former head of the Foreign Office.
Debate in the Lords in the last lap on the EU withdrawal bill now under way. The Lords is doing what it exists for: to help improve legislation. Nb the Govt has made 150 changes as a result of Lords debates. Division on the meaningful vote issue probably between 6 and 8pm
“The Lords is doing what it exists for: to help improve legislation”. Peter, you may wrap yourself in the cloak of Bagehot and Dicey, but you can’t hide what you are really about: the reversal of Brexit. Why not have the courage to say so? That’s the British democratic tradition.
Viscount Hailsham is winding up now. He puts his amendment to a vote.
Peers are voting now.
Lord True is winding up now. He says it would be a mistake for the Lords to align itself with “a faction in the House of Commons with an axe to grind”.
Natalie Evans, the leader of the Lords, is winding up for the government now.
She says the Lords have a reputation for high quality scrutiny. But this amendment is a hastily drawn up amendment, she says.
Hayter says that, if the government were to reject the Hailsham amendment, parliament would get less say over the withdrawal agreement than the European parliament.
She urges peers to pass the amendment. It will then be up to MPs to decide, she says.
There is a kefuffle in the Lords because more backbenchers want to speak. But lots of peers shout “front bench” (meaning they’ve had enough and want to move on to the fronbench wind-up speeches) and, after a bit of a stand-off, Lady Hayter, the Labour Brexit spokeswoman goes next.
(That is how they organise the schedule in the Lords. It’s a bit odd, but it seems to work.)
Lady Ludford, the Lib Dem Brexit spokeswoman, is speaking now. She says, if the Commons were to reject the withdrawal agreement, that would provoke a crisis. She says the Hailsham amendment will provide a guide as to what would happen next in those circumstances.
Like Hailsham, she says the attacks on Dominic Grieve in the Daily Mail last week were a disgrace. She goes on:
It shows the degradation of our political and media culture and discourse.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a former Ukip leader, is speaking now. He is opposing the Hailsham amendment, but peers don’t seem very keen to hear from him and the background rumbling suggests they are eager for him to finish. He wraps up quite quickly, having argued that blocking the referendum result would be undemocratic.
Lamont says it is objectionable to suggest that parliament should direct the government in the Brexit talks. And how would it direct the government?
He says parliament can already express its views.
At times Brexit just feels like a Tory family feud. Lord Lamont, the Conservative former chancellor, is speaking now. He says he is due to have Sunday lunch with Viscount Hailsham in the next few day, but he will be sitting at the far end of the table because Hailsham is so strident, he says.
This is from the ITV’s Robert Peston.
I reckon Betty Boothroyd, ex Commons speaker, has just killed off any chance that Hailsham’s “meaningful vote” amendment will be defeated in Lords – by undermining claim by Howard that Lords can reject Hailsham and still allow MPs to resuscitate spirit of what he wants Wednesday
Michael Howard, the former Conservative leader, is speaking now.
He says Hailsham said he was proposing his amendment so the Commons would get the chance to vote on “Grieve II”. But the government has tabled its own amendment. That will be debated in the Commons, he says, and at that point someone can table a Grieve II-style amendment, he says.
Once a Speaker, always a Speaker – Betty Boothroyd gets up to put Michael Howard right about some House of Commons procedure… pic.twitter.com/Ki94uCzQyv
Lord True, a Conservative, is speaking now. He says the public are getting fed up with the parliamentary debates on this.
People outside this house and outside Parliament are getting a little bit tired of the parliamentary games and the archane language of these parliamentary discussions. They actually want to know when they are going to get Brexit, when it will be delivered and when it will be done.
Hailsham says the government’s amendment on a “meaningful vote” said that, in the event of the Commons not agreeing a withdrawal agreement by February 15 next year, there must be a vote in the Commons on a motion “in neutral terms”.
But a motion “in neutral terms” cannot be amended. That means the Commons will not be able to propose an alternative course of action, he says.
Was it wise, was it prudent, was it responsible to start the article 50 negotiations without a firm collective agreement as to where we wanted to go or how we were to get there.
Was it perhaps a serious error of judgment to trigger the article 50 procedure without there being a firm policy on these matters.
“You are an idiot” shouts a Lord at Lord Robathan when asking Hailsham after he asks him whether he is planning to blow up Brexit. And Hailsham tells Robathan that Lords are “not party hacks”
“You are an idiot…”
Brexit debate in the House of Lords gets tasty as peer heckles Lord Robathan pic.twitter.com/PJphNt1rXc
Hailsham says he has known Dominic Grieve for years. Grieve is a man of integrity, he says.
Hailsham says the attacks on Grieve in the Daily Mail last week were “disgraceful”. The authors should be ashamed of themselves, he says.
Viscount Hailsham (better known as Douglas Hogg, the former Conservative MP) is speaking now.
He says he is proposing F3, which he says he will describe as “Grieve II”.
In the House of Lords peers are now debating motion F, relating to the “meaningful vote” amendments.
Natalie Evans, the leader of the Lords, says it would be wrong to have parliament taking charge of the Brexit negotiations.
Turning back to Theresa May’s health spending announcment, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a note by Carl Emmerson and Thomas Pope about what the government is planning. It includes this passage explaining why a “Brexit dividend” will not fund the increase.
First, and most importantly, according to the official forecasts (accepted by the government), Brexit worsens rather than improves the public finances. In November 2016, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR, the government’s official forecaster) estimated that, due to economic growth being forecast to be lower than it would otherwise have been, the Brexit vote reduced tax forecast tax revenues to the tune of £15 billion in 2020–21. This outweighs the UK’s net contribution to the EU by a substantial margin, and means less, rather than more money for the NHS and other services.
Second, the OBR assesses that in the short- to medium-term the UK will continue to make large payments as a result of the ‘divorce settlement’. After taking this into account, the amount left over for spending elsewhere is relatively small (calculated to be £5.8 billion in 2022–23).
The deal was concluded late on Friday afternoon by Mrs May, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England. However, sources said that the meeting broke up without agreement on where significant chunks of cash would come from. “By the end of the meeting, some sources of funding had been more heavily pencilled in than others,” a ministerial source said.
Plans to raise money from freezing all personal allowance and national insurance thresholds at the end of the parliament, revealed in The Times last week, remain leading options and would raise nearly £4bn. Borrowing could account for £8bn to £10bn.
The UK government will this week unveil the first details of the “settled status” immigration scheme that will apply to Britain’s 3.4 million EU citizens if they want to stay in the country after Brexit, my colleague Lisa O’Carroll reports.
The European commission has published a paper (pdf) on its proposals for police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters after Brexit.
Here are three slides illustrating EU objections to the UK’s offer.
Dan Poulter, a Conservative former health minister who has supported the Caldwell family, just told me:
Given the strong evidence supporting the medicinal use of cannabis, there is no reason why it should not be available for doctors to prescribe, as may be appropriate to our patients. Children like Billy Caldwell have suffered long enough and the only humane thing to do is recognise that property prescribed medicinal cannabis is a medicine just like any other.
Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, has written an open letter to Sajid Javid, the home secretary, saying he lost a son to intractable epilepsy and that he thinks doctors should be able to prescribe cannabis oil for use by patients with this condition.
I’ve written to the Home Secretary urging him to allow legal prescriptions of cannabis oil for medical purposes.
As a parent who lost a son to intractable epilepsy, I’m speaking out in the hope that further deaths can be avoided & families are spared the pain of losing a child. pic.twitter.com/KXee732n1W
In the Commons Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, says the current rules on medicinal cannabis are “not fit for purpose”.
Earlier she released a statement saying:
A number of recent heart breaking cases have highlighted a failure of government policy. Children have been put at risk and experienced extraordinary suffering because this government drags its heels and refuses to grant cannabis oil licences.
This must not continue. Labour in government will allow the legal prescription of cannabis oil for medical purposes. We will also review drugs policy to address all issues of public health. The government should stop being so heavy-handed and bureaucratic and put the welfare of children first.
Chris Leslie said he had “not given up on the Labour party” as he spoke at the lunchtime launch of his pamphlet Common Ground at a Social Market Foundation event also attended by Chuka Umunna and Liz Kendall.
The former shadow chancellor and Corbyn critic said that he was spelling out the “values that the Labour party needs to adopt if it wants to get back into government” in a 25,000 word document that was clearly ranged against the party’s leadership.
In the Commons the Home Office minister Nick Hurd is answering an urgent question about medical cannabis and the Billy Caldwell case.
He has just announced the establishment of an expert panel to advise ministers on when medicinal cannabis products should be allowed.
Home office minister Nick Hurd responds to UQ on cannabis oil in Commons: “I can announce the gvt is establishing an expert panel of clinicians to advise ministers on any individual applications to prescribe cannabis-based medicine.”
In the Commons Janet Daby, the new Labour MP for Lewisham East, has just taken her seat.
Peers have just started their debate on the EU withdrawal bill. They are debating the Commons amendments to the bill passed last week.
Stephen Pound, the shadow Northern Ireland minister, filmed a message at the weekend backing a “people’s vote” Brexit. This is taken as referring to a second referendum, which is what the People’s Vote campaign is calling for. But Labour does not favour a second referendum and, as PoliticsHome reports, Pound has now issued a clarification, saying what he actually wants is a “meaningful vote” in parliament.
Last month Preet Gill, a shadow international development minister, experienced a similar rethink after speaking out in favour of a second referendum.
And this is from Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary,
The money announced today by the prime minister is not enough to save our NHS after eight years of Conservative austerity.
Although she confirmed the current situation is not sustainable, today’s figures represent little more than a standstill in funding, according to experts.
This is from my colleague Heather Stewart, who was in the audience where Theresa May was delivering her speech.
One member of May’s audience I met on way to station not tremendously impressed. “It’s not enough – she’s giving us less money than Thatcher did”. What about all that stuff about making the NHS a more attractive career choice, I say? “Bollocks.”
In the comments Stanley Caleb asked about how Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could benefit from Theresa May’s NHS announcement. May was talking about plans for NHS England.
She addressed this in her speech. She said:
I have focused today on the NHS in England because that is the responsibility of the UK government. It is the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales – and when sitting again, Northern Ireland – which have responsibility for the NHS in their parts of the UK.
But because the UK government is increasing NHS spending in England, extra money will go to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Barnett formula, which ensures every part of the UK gets a fair share of public spending.
Here are the main points from Theresa May’s Q&A.
It is possible for medicinal cannabis to be used. But what we need to ensure is that we’re listening to clinicians, we are listening to people as we do that. Do we need to look at these cases and consider what we’ve got in place? Yes. But I think what needs to drive us in all of these cases is actually what clinicians are saying about these issues.
Of course, there’s a very good reason why we’ve got a set of rules around drugs, and around cannabis and other drugs – because of the impact of that they have on people’s lives. And we must never forget that. But we already have an ability for licences to be granted in relation to medicinal cannabis. Do we need to make sure that’s right and able to be dealing with cases when we need to? Yes we do.
We are looking at whether we have the right process for ensuring that we can licence these drugs when clinicians feel that they should be licensed.
I don’t think anyone who followed that story [the Billy Caldwell story] could sensibly say that we are getting the law on this kind of thing right.
On the “Brexit dividend”, look, it’s very simple. We are not going to be sending the vast amount of money every year to the EU that we spend at the moment on the EU as a member of the European Union. That money will be coming back, and we will be spending it on our priorities, and the NHS is our number one priority.
I said as a country we will need to contribute a bit more. Taxpayers will need to contribute a bit more. But we will do that in a fair and balanced way. And we want to listen to people about who we do that.
Q: When can patients expect to see an improvement as a result of this new money?
May says A&E was under significant pressure this winter. The government wants to see improvements here, and in other areas too.
According to the Spectator’s James Forsyth, Theresa May blocked a discussion on changing the rules on medicinal cannabis at this morning’s cabinet meeting.
Sajid Javid repeatedly tried to raise the Billy Caldwell case at Cabinet this morning. But Theresa May blocked him, saying it wasn’t on the agenda https://t.co/CDya3Gnh1J
Q: [From the Daily Mail] Will you scrap NHS car parking charges?
May says guidance has been issued to hospitals relating to car parking charges.
Q: Is there a review into the law on medicinal cannabis? And do you back changing the law?
May says it is currently possible for medicinal cannabis to be used. Do we need to look at these cases? Yes. But what should drive government is what clinicians are saying, she says. She says there are good reasons why there are laws around drugs, because of the impact they have on people’s lives.
May says the chancellor will set out all the details of how the increase will be funded in due course.
On the EU withdrawal bill, she says she hopes “everybody” will see that, as the government keeps faith with people who voted to leave the EU, it is important to ensure parliament cannot tie the hands of the government in negotiation and overturn the referendum.
Q: Are you telling people to pay more tax? And do you accept it is misleading to speak of a Brexit dividend when experts say there will be less money around?
May says taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more. She said that in the speech, she says.
These are from my colleague Heather Stewart.
Oh: May now saying parts of the regulatory framework around the NHS could hold back reform. “I do think it is a problem that a clinical commissioning group negotiates and monitors more than 200 legal contracts”. Too bureaucratic.
May also saying she’ll ask clinicians to “confirm” whether the government has the right targets. Increasingly sounding as though government is going to rip up key aspects of current NHS settlement, in all sorts of ways.
Theresa May is giving the green light for the NHS to rip up the Lansley reforms (the bit creating hundreds of clinical commissioning groups)
Obviously she doesn’t put it quite like that. But that’s what’s going on
(It’s a win for Simon Stevens and a win for HMT)
May is still speaking. She says the long-term plan for the NHS must include plans for mental health, which she says is a personal priority for her.
In her speech May repeated a claim she made yesterday, about how much of the Labour extra spending on health allegedly did not benefit patients. (See 12.57pm.)
Tony Blair has responded with a lengthy statement saying that May’s claim shows she does not know who the NHS works. He said:
The prime minister said today that nearly half of Labour’s record increase in investment in the NHS during the last Labour government was not spent on patients. I simply don’t know what she means by that. But if the implication is that, because significant investment went on increased numbers of staff, including nurses and doctors, better pay and a huge uplift in hospital building and NHS facilities, this is not money spent on patients, it shows how little this government understands the NHS and its challenges.
This investment was absolutely necessary to deliver the significant cuts we saw in waiting lists and waiting times and the dramatically improved results in cancer and cardiac care the new Labour government oversaw, resulting in some of the highest patient satisfaction levels ever seen. All of which, of course, have slid into reverse under this Conservative government.
TB: If the implication is that because significant investment went on increased numbers of staff, better pay & a huge uplift in hospital building & facilities this isn’t spent on patients, it shows how little this Govt understands the NHS & its challenges https://t.co/8iRRQIpPsr
May says she wants to the UK to be at the forefront of the revolution on how AI (artificial intelligence) can transform healthcare.
She has set a target for increasing the number of people diagnosed with cancer by AI.
May says the 10-year plan for the NHS must involve a comprehensive plan for the workforce.
The workforce needs to be more flexible, she says.
May says up to one third of people in hospital stay longer than necessary because the right care is not available for them at home.
But, for someone aged 80, 10 days of bed rest in hospital has the same affect as 10 years of ageing, she says.
May says at its best the NHS is world class.
But it has been a challenge to spread that best practice, he says.
May says the NHS must produce a plan to improve efficiency.
This must be a plan that ensures every penny is well spent. It must be a plan that tackles waste, reduces bureaucracy and eliminates unacceptable variation, with all these efficiency savings reinvested back into patient care.
It must be a plan that makes better use of capital investment to modernise its buildings and invest in technology to drive productivity improvements. It must be a plan that enjoys the support of NHS staff across the country – not something dreamt up in Whitehall and centrally imposed. But NHS leaders at national and local level must then be held to account for their role in delivering this plan.
May says the government must get more efficiency from the NHS in return for the extra funding.
She says that, when Labour put more money into the NHS after raising national insurance in 2002, too much of that money did not go on patient care.
May says the government will also come forward with plans to put social care on a sustainable footing.
May says some of the money will come from no longer having to pay the annual subscription payment to the EU. That is the Brexit dividend, she says.
But she says that taxpayers will also have to pay more.
May turns to funding.
It is clear more money is needed, she says.
May says care has improved. The number of staff recommending their service for their own family has never been higher. And it has been described as the best in the world.
But the demands facing the NHS are growing. People are living longer, she says. More treatments are available. And problems like malnutrition, and loneliness, which is bad for health, are growing.
May says she wants to talk about how the NHS preserves the values of fairness embedded in it.
It was the crowning achievement of the post-war Attlee government, she says.
May says she has also seen what the NHS has done for others, and she talks about visiting a hospital in Manchester after the bombing at the Manchester Arena last year.
I will never forget visiting the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena attack. There, in the face of the very worst that humanity can do, I witnessed first-hand, the very best.
Doctors and nurses working 24 hour shifts to treat the injured. Surgeons who were off-shift, dropping everything to come in and perform life-saving operations.
Theresa May is speaking now.
She says people know the NHS is there for them when they need it.
From life-saving treatment to managing a life-changing condition – whoever we are, whatever our means, we know the NHS is there for us when we need it.
It was there for me when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I will never forget the support – not just of my GP and consultants – but also the clinical nurse specialists attached to my local hospital. Their advice was critical: enabling me to adjust to the new treatment regime, to manage my condition, and minimise the impact it has on my life.
Theresa May is about to start her speech.
This is from my colleague Heather Stewart.
Awaiting Theresa May’s NHS speech at the Royal Free hospital in London – Jeremy Hunt glad-handing the audience… pic.twitter.com/PVBZYrNIiA
Downing Street released some excerpts from Theresa May’s speech overnight. Here is an extract from their news release.
On funding, the prime minister will say that the government’s investment is about making sure the NHS can plan for the future with ambition and confidence, setting out that funding will grow on average by 3.4% in real terms each year from 2019/20 to 2023/24.
The government’s commitment to making sure this money goes to the frontline and to improve patient care is illustrated by the fact the PM has set aside an additional £1.25bn each year to cover specific pensions pressure on top of the settlement.
The Press Association has snapped this.
Legislation to ban upskirting is to be adopted as a government bill, with a second reading in the Commons before the summer break in July, Downing Street said.
The government will introduce its own bill to ban upskirting, Downing Street said today.
No10: Cabinet agreed this morning that @Wera_Hobhouse’s failed upskirting bill will now be adopted by the Govt, with 2nd reading of it before summer recess.
This is from the Conservative MP Neil O’Brien, a former Treasury special adviser. There is speculation that freezing tax allowances will be the tax increase (it amounts to a tax increase, because people pay more as a result) that funds the extra money for the NHS.
A couple of months ago I got some info out of HMT on how much freezing Income Tax thresholds after we meet our manifesto commitment might raise for the NHS
Having increased frm £6,475 in 2010 to £12,500 in 2020/21- a 2 yr pause would raise about £4bn p/ahttps://t.co/xDzhHvGzcQ
Theresa May is about to deliver her NHS speech.
There is a live feed at the top of the blog.
There will be a statement from Jeremy Hunt in the Commons today after 3.30pm about health spending.
The Green MP Caroline Lucas has tweeted a pictures of the knickers outside Sir Christopher Chope’s door. (See 11.51am.)
Good to see some redecorating happening in my corridor over the weekend. Christopher Chope’s door looking much better. pic.twitter.com/oPn27UCAN3
My colleague Peter Walker says the Conservative MP Sir Chrisopher Chope has a surprise waiting for him when he arrives at his Commons office today.
Can confirm: when upskirting-bill-delayer Tory MP Christopher Chope gets into work he will find a string of lacy knickers taped across the door to his Commons office in apparent protest at his action.
Would post pic but we’re not allowed to tweet photos from inside parliament
I shall describe it instead: three pairs of frilly ladies’ pants pinned together to make a sort of mini-bunting, taped to the door. There’s also what looks like a suspended belt on the floor. Not sure if that fell off or was left there on purpose.
Chope and his staff not around. On Mondays MPs usually travel back from their constituencies in the morning. Parliament not sitting till 2.30pm. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the protest …
The family of a politician found dead following groping allegations are considering a High Court challenge to the independent inquiry into his sacking, the Press Association reports. Welsh Assembly member Carl Sargeant, 49, was found dead at his home in Connah’s Quay, North Wales, on November 7 last year. His death came four days after he was removed from his role as cabinet secretary for communities and children by Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones. The father-of-two was suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of “unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping”. He was not told the details of what he was accused of and was unable to properly defend himself, his family said.
An independent inquiry into the handling of Mr Sargeant’s sacking is still to be held by the Welsh Government in Cardiff. But today’s Sargeant’s family said they have been excluded and will challenge the process in court if they have to, the Press Association reports. The family say the procedures and rules, or operational protocol, set by civil servants in the Welsh Government with inquiry chairman Paul Bowen QC, are “deeply unsatisfactory”. Neil Hudgell, representing the Sargeant family, said:
The grieving Sargeant family are losing patience and faith in the inquiry and are hurt and upset that everything they have asked for has been ignored.
While the family take at face value Mr Bowen’s assurances that he will carry out a fair and independent investigation, they do not believe the protocol allows for it.
In an interview on the Today programme this morning Nick Clegg, the former Lib Dem deputy prime minister, criticised Theresa May for refusing to relax the law on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes when she was home secretary and they were in government together in the coalition. He told the programme:
It is pathetic – and I saw it for myself in government – this bone-headed triumph of prejudice over evidence. The active substance in these cannabis-derived medicines is less harmful than stuff you can get across the counter from a chemist.
When I was in government, I certainly couldn’t get Theresa May and the Home Office and indeed other parts of the government to just address the evidence.
In the comments BTL some people have been asking for more information about the supposed “Brexit dividend”. Here are three articles explaining some of the context.
The action in the Lords tonight is likely to squeak in just before the England game – with the key motion on the “meaningful vote” voted on around 6.30pm. There has been another last-minute amendment – one based on the compromise Tory rebels believed they had secured with the prime minister – before they say they were double-crossed.
Viscount Hailsham, the former Conservative cabinet minister Douglas Hogg, had already tabled Dominic Grieve’s original compromise amendment which he attempted, but failed, to get debated in the Commons last week.
Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, is in Geneva today. As the most prominent figure in the Vote Leave campaign, he has always been one of the main champions of the Vote Leave bus claim that leaving the EU could free up £350m per week for spending on the NHS and this morning he welcomed Theresa May’s claim about the existence of this “Brexit dividend”. As reported on Sky, he said:
Yes, I think it is, as the prime minister has rightly said, a downpayment on future receipts that will come to this country as a result of discontinuing payments to Brussels.
Some people may remember seeing a figure on the side of a bus a while back of £350million a week in cash. I can tell you that what I’m announcing will mean that in 2023-24 there will be about £600million a week, more in cash, going into the NHS.
Of course we’ve got to fund that. That will be through the Brexit dividend, the fact that we’re no longer sending vast amounts of money every year to the EU once we leave the EU. And we as a country will be contributing a bit more.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, gave various interviews this morning. Here are the main points he made.
There is debate between the thinktanks and the forecasters over what is going to happen with economic growth over the next five to 10 years. And one thing we should be clear about is those forecasts have often proved to be wrong …
In fact the British economy has been much more resilient over the last few years. Last week we had record employment figures.
This commitment that we’re making is not conditional on this or that outcome on economic growth. We are making a firm commitment to the NHS for the next five years.
A lot of thinking has gone on at the Treasury to make absolutely sure this can be afforded. We are clear that there will be an increased burden of taxation.
We will honour manifesto commitments. But we also recognise our number one priority as far as public services is concerned is the NHS.
We will be able to explain exactly where every penny is coming from but we will do that in the Budget. Why are we not doing it now? We do know – the Treasury has done its sums, it hasn’t made its final decisions but it is very clear this can be affordable.
The reason why we are not spelling it out now is because we want to give the NHS six months to come up with a really good 10-year plan.
We all need to make better provision for our own social care … than we do at the moment.
We are going to have to find a way of making it easy for people to do the right thing and to save for the long term, to make additional contributions so we have that security we need in the social care system.
I don’t think anyone who followed that story could sensibly say that we are getting the law on this kind of thing right. I think everyone feels for the lady concerned, and of course there are many, many other people in that situation.
We have to do something, we have to do it quickly. I think it is unfair to say Sajid [Javid, the home secretary] didn’t act quickly in the situation. He has released that oil for that child. We are going to go through this process as quickly as we possibly can, because, like everyone, we think these stories are totally heartbreaking.
The Home Office are not dragging their feet on this. The home secretary has said he will review this issue.
Here is my colleague Peter Walker’s morning story from Jeremy Hunt’s morning interviews. As he reports, Hunt conceded that having a Brexit dividend to partly finance an increase in NHS spending will depend on the economy outstripping forecasts, as he pledged the £20bn in extra annual funding would be provided even if this did not happen.
After Theresa May announced her £20bn spending increase for the NHS yesterday, Downing Street posted a series of infographics about it on Twitter, including this one. For those who believe that the “Brexit dividend” is about as real as the Loch Ness Monster (that’s most experts, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the leading public spending thinktank, and the Office for Budget Responsibility, the official forecasting body that provides the numbers that underpin government policy), this one was particularly provocative, implying, as it does that the “Brexit dividend” will cover most of the cost, and that any tax increases also needed will just be marginal.
One [of the sources of extra money for the NHS] … is the fact that we won’t be paying subscriptions to Brussels by the end of this period. But that alone won’t be anything like enough, so there will also be more resourcing through the taxation system, and also through economic growth.
How will the government fund extra money for the NHS? The cash we may, or may not, eventually save by not paying subscriptions to Brussels after #Brexit? Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told us on BBC Breakfast: “That alone won’t be anything like enough”. pic.twitter.com/atPpFbGu2C
This post was syndicated from Health | The Guardian. Click here to read the full text on the original website.