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  Press Cycle 10 - Repeal of Section 28
Posted by: Morgan - 10-23-2018, 09:54 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (17)

Following the introduction of legislation to repeal section 28 of the Local Government Act by the Liberal Democrats, do you believe it is time for society to change in how we treat homosexuality?

Press Cycle will close at 11.59 (BST) on Saturday 27th October. Contributions after that time will not be counted.

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  Con SP: Cabinet Reshuffle
Posted by: Nicholas Wandsworth (CON) - 10-23-2018, 03:17 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - No Replies

The Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, Nicholas Wandsworth, has a brief announcement regarding the Shadow Cabinet:

"I must inform the public that I have accepted the resignation of George Mountstuart as Shadow Home Secretary and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party.  Mr. Mountstuart has a very different vision of what it means to be Conservative as the 21st century approaches.  Certain ideas of his are ones I consider to be unsuited for a party that, while seeking to conserve the best of our past, we also have the need to look forward.  George was unwilling to do so.

And, while as Leader I welcome different views around the table of the Shadow Cabinet, at the end of the day the Conservative Party chose me as Leader, and as such I am primarily responsible for setting the policy of the Opposition. 

It is my determination to continue to develop and present policies that are designed to meet the needs of a country that is proud of its ancient heritage, but also is confronting an ever changing world.  At our best, the Conservative and Unionist Party has represented both tradition and progress.  As long as I have the confidence of our members of Parliament to do so, I will continue my efforts to lead our party in a similar direction.

I will be shortly announcing a reorganization of the Shadow Cabinet.  Thank you all.

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  Lab SP: National Union of Teachers
Posted by: Janet Marshall (LAB) - 10-21-2018, 04:50 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - No Replies

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My admiration for those of you in this room before me is enormous. The work you do for our country, for our children, is utterly fundamental to everything we hold dear in society. Were it not for the best efforts of teachers in schools up and down our country, we would have no future to look forward to. Even in the best of circumstances, I realise teaching is a difficult job - one which is not valued as much as it ought to, one where the support is not what it could be and one which demands so much of your passion and energy every day. For all your effort, I do not have sufficient gratitude to give you.

Teaching is a tough career in the best of conditions, but I cannot even imagine what it is like in the most difficult conditions. I can't contemplate what it would be like to be teaching at a time where those at the very top, responsible for ensuring our schools have the resources and staff they require, continuously fail to meet their obligations to our teachers, children and parents. You in this room don't need to imagine such a situation, of course. You have been living through such a time, one where the government for 13 years showed its contempt for education, schools and teachers consistently. Over their time in office, we saw the stagnation of the education budget, significant rises in class size for the first time in decades and the absence of the resources needed to support teaching and learning. It was a lost decade for progress in education, delivered by a government which was very clear in its disinterest for providing real support to any of our great public services or those who deliver them on the front lines.

At this year's election, the people of this country said: no more.

This year's election was a stark clash of values, a battle for the future direction of our country. The people saw the path the Tories had led us down for 13 years, the harm they had done to our schools and the damage they had done to opportunity. They made clear that a fresh start was needed - a fresh start which we in the Labour party hoped to deliver. Promising change is one thing - I am sure all of you here are uninterested in hearing what a politician wants to promise you. What you want, what you need, is someone who will deliver. I can assure you now that this government isn't just promising, but already we want to deliver for you and reverse the Tory years of famine into years of progress for our schools, for our pupils and for you as teachers.

Already, we have presented our first budget - a budget where I ensured it was a government priority to invest in education and make up for the lost years under the previous government. In our budget we have put an extra £2billion into education - into supporting you in delivering a high quality education to our children. One key focus for us has been on class sizes. Classes of over 40 in primary schools are a travesty - a failure of the previous government and a huge barrier to effective learning. We have not only made enough investment to ensure these obscenely large classes are consigned to history, but we have provided a budget which will hire more teachers and invest more in facilities to bring class sizes down across the board. We are hiring 5,000 new primary school teachers, 3,000 more primary teaching assistants, 5,000 secondary school teachers and 3,000 secondary teaching assistants. 10,000 teachers and 6,000 teaching assistants in total - coupled with investments of over £150million into facilities - this is the kind of support which has been missing and the kind of support we want to make a reality. With smaller classes, the opportunity for you to teach every pupil to the highest standards becomes so much greater. You still need the resources to teach too - we have increased the teaching grant budget by almost £700million to make sure those resources are available.

Raising these key budget items is one important element of what we are doing to improve support for schools. Another, though, is creating targeted investments where they are really needed. Two key areas for investment have been included in our budget which hit two urgent needs in our schools. £30million is going into school repairs, and specifically the elimination of outside lavatories, a total anachronism within our school system. On top of that, £20million is going into a new National Reading Recovery programme to give greater resources for boosting literacy levels of those pupils who struggle the most - enabling every pupil to succeed in this critical area of their learning. This budget is not a one-off, a false dawn. This government is committed to maintaining high levels of support for our education system and will continue to provide the support you need financially throughout our time in office.

We intend to do much more than just provide financial support. I can tell you today that the government is imminently introducing a Teaching and Education bill into parliament which will make key reforms which will increase support for teachers and for our state schools across the country.

In this legislation, we will be creating General Teaching Councils for both England and Wales. These councils, which will have an in-built majority of qualified teachers driving them, will set out best practice in teaching and support every teacher in reaching the highest standards. They will provide a dedicated advisory body that will give expert opinion directly into the formulation of policy related to teaching. More importantly, though, they will serve as a hub of support for teachers across their jurisdictions, helping teachers to raise the bar even further every day in every classroom. Our government want to express our total support for teachers - the General Teaching Councils are one way of offering more support to the work you do.

This is about more than forming bodies, though, but about what they will accomplish. One key function of the General Teaching Councils will be in raising the standards of training offered to teachers - both in the initial training and in-service training. Under the General Teaching Councils, a new structure for teacher qualification will come into effect, where the Councils will put in place new standards to ensure trainee teachers get the highest standards of education themselves and a new induction period for newly qualified teachers which will ensure they can be properly supported during this critical early stage in their career. The Councils will also act as providers of funding for in-service training - making more accessible the development opportunities which will enable every teacher to stay at the very top of their game throughout their career. This government will ensure sufficient funding is provided to ensure this training is widely available and of the highest quality. Quality will also be assured by inspections of teacher training being introduced, to ensure it meets the standards which are expected of it. Training is critical in every job - teaching is no exception and through the Teaching Councils we will ensure that training is both available and of the highest standards.

Our new legislation will also put in place a new statutory restriction on class sizes in primary schools. I have already spoken about the terrible reality of primary school classes with over 40 pupils in them. Providing the resources to eliminate classes of this sort is critical, but we are taking a step further. Our government is going to create a legal limit on the size of classes in primary schools, with 40 as the absolute maximum allowed and different limits being able to be put in place for different ages. These limits will be set in consultation with the new Teaching Councils and ensure teachers are not put in classes with more pupils than they can be reasonably expected to teach. These limits alongside providing adequate resources will put teachers in the best position to teach and pupils in the best possible position to learn.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I said earlier that this government intended to do more than make promises to you but to deliver on them. The legislation I have been talking about will be presented imminently to Parliament. Our budget has already been presented. This government is making education, schools and teachers a top priority. But we deserve no praise compared to the praise all of you deserve. Without your efforts, our future would be nowhere near as bright. We just want to do what we can to back you up - whilst we are in government that is exactly what we will do.

Thank you.


Permission from Roberts

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  Press Cycle 10 - IRA informants
Posted by: Dan - 10-18-2018, 04:02 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (6)

Following the murder of three individuals, the IRA have alleged they were Mi5 informants. What must be done to ensure peace ?
Press Cycle will close on Monday 23rd at 11.59 BST. Press contributions after this will not be marked.

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  Press Cycle #9 - Euthanasia
Posted by: Dan - 10-18-2018, 08:55 AM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (9)

Following the decision by the high court to allow Tony Bland to die, should euthanasia be legalised?

Press Cycle will close on Sunday 21st at 11.59 BST. Contributions after that will not be counted

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  Press Cycle 8 - Women Priests
Posted by: Dan - 10-18-2018, 08:45 AM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (13)

Following the news that the Church of England have voted for Women Priests, did the Church make the right decision and should the Government legislate the change?

Press Cycle will close on Sunday 21st at 11.59 BST. Contributions after this will not be counted

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  Con SP: Dartmouth House Speech
Posted by: James Yates (CON) - 10-17-2018, 04:52 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - No Replies

Ladies, gentlemen and... journalists,

We are gathered here today in the salubrious surroundings of Dartmouth House to talk just a little about what the Conservatives want for Britain. Specifically, what we want for Britain in the world.

And no, I don't just mean taking your kids to church, going on holidays to the Scottish highlands, drinking more real British ales and supporting us in making British Rail a plc. Those are all things we want, but not things that will make Britain stronger.

Making Britain stronger is about our nation showing leadership on the world stage. It's about the United Kingdom taking the helm, taking the lead - taking control. It's about British diplomats leading the world in building new free trade agreements, new mutual defence agreements, expanding the bounds of NATO and the European Economic Community. It's about being an advocate for progress: unyieldingly, unflinchingly behind our people and the people of the world. It's about supporting businesses to export in a climate where the pound is very strong. it's about supporting importers to get the best deals, with low tariffs and barriers to entry. Most of all, it's about ensuring our defence - and the defence of our values on the world stage.

Let me start with Europe. People have a misconception that the Conservatives are divided on Europe; the truth is that we're not. We all want the same things for Britain in Europe and for Europe itself. We believe in and value the European idea, the partnership which has kept our continent peaceful and prosperous since the second world war. We believe in further integration, bringing our market economies together and reducing the barriers to trade which keep our people from fulfilling their full potential. And we believe in a common defence, supplementing rather than sidelining NATO, encouraging European countries to contribute more towards their own defence and to join us in a partnership to ensure that the horrors of the mid 20th century can never be re-perpetrated in the 21st. But we oppose ratifying the Maastricht Treaty in its present state. 
We are not keen on any governmental, let alone European, interference in workplace self-regulation. That we regard as being for negotiation between workers and employers. The Social Chapter would represent the socialist nightmare of regulation and corporatism from which Margaret Thatcher liberated Britain. So we will oppose the Social Chapter. Whilst we support a common defence action, as long as it is supportive of rather than reductive of NATO, we would not wish to be committed in relation to union citizenship, which would see Britain lose vital control of her borders and immigration policy. We would refuse to accept the transfer of sovereignty in the area of justice and police affairs. 

I, personally, believe in a single currency as the end goal. We are supportive of the introduction of free movement of capital between Member States, and of increased cooperation between national central banks. We however believe that the aim of economic union in the medium term should be realised through the creation of a common, not a single currency. We support the proposals made by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1990 for a 'hard ECU' and reject the central proposal of Maastricht in a single currency for member states as too much, too soon. A single currency will, eventually, support businesses and consumers in reducing barriers to trade and producing price transparency. But there is too much to lose from proceeding too quickly down this path, and I am glad that the Government has seen the light in declining to commit immediately to single currency membership. They must accept, however, that such membership is mandated by Maastricht: we must oppose the Treaty in its present form.

We want to see reform in Europe. We believe that there should be an expansion in the number of policy areas over which unanimity is required in the Council of Europe, and oppose the extension of qualified majority voting. We also believe that there should be a rebalancing of the powers of the European institutions, with the Council becoming the clear leader of the Community, the Parliament being granted the right to propose its own legislation rather than acting simply as a talking shop, and the Commission losing power in favour of the Council. In Government, the Conservatives would fight for these reforms. So let me be clear: we oppose the Maastricht Treaty as it is presently tabled and will vote against its ratification, but remain committed to the European Economic Community and wish to see the British government leading clearly in the fight for an alternative proposition.

Let me turn now to Russia. There is a huge opportunity, with the cold war behind us, to re-engage with a new market economy and a new democracy on the eastern frontier of Europe. I would like to see, in the future, Russia as a fully committed member of NATO and of the European Economic Community. Boris Yeltsin has thus far done a sterling job of dismantling the former Soviet superstate and in reforming Russia's institutions, but he needs to be supported in going further. The supreme soviet has had its time and it is time for a new Russian constitution, which makes clear the value of individual and economic liberty, to be introduced. It is a shame that Agnes Hamstead has done almost nothing to build this new relationship which we can enjoy with Russia. The new Russia is a global power waiting to be released from its shackles, and one which can work in partnership with - rather than against - the west. It is time to welcome Russia into the folds of the international community, and time to ensure that we do more than ever before to engage with the administration in Moscow on areas of mutual interest. I propose that one immediate area for joint work would be the ascension of Russia - and the former eastern bloc countries - to NATO, ensuring our renewed mutual protection from the threat of rogue states such as Iraq, North Korea and Iran.

North Korea is a regime arming with missiles, whilst starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues weapons of mass destruction and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility towards the west and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop weapons of mass destruction for years. This is a regime that has already used poison to murder thousands of its own citizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilised world. States like these constitute an entente of evil, aiming to threaten the peace of the world. The government must take steps, alongside her allies and chiefly the United States, to ensure that the hostility and threat posed by these states is limited and that the situation on the ground is not allowed to deteriorate further.

I am keen that the Commonwealth should become a major player in the international arena once again. I believe that Commonwealth realms should be bound together in a free trade agreement with the European Economic Community, which Britain - as the only member of both organisations - should take the lead in attempting to negotiate on both parties' behalf. I call upon the government to do more to strengthen the role of the Commonwealth, and to bind the EEC and the Commonwealth together ever more closely.

In the former Yugoslavia, we see a very clear threat - the risk of ethnic cleansing, of genocide, of indiscriminate slaughter against the Bosnian muslim population. This crisis must be averted at all costs. And so the Conservatives are calling for UN-backed peacekeepers to be deployed, with the remit and authority to intervene with arms if civilian lives are threatened. In modern warfare, there can be no excuse for the deaths of civilians: and the international community must take action to ensure that such deaths are not possible.

Finally, let me turn to the United States. I am disappointed to read of almost no engagement between the new Prime Minister and President Bush. This is an outrage. The United States is Britain's closest and dearest ally, and we need to be very clear about the value of the special relationship which we enjoy with Washington. The Conservatives are today calling for the Prime Minister to invite President Bush on a new state visit to the United Kingdom, to acquaint himself with the new government and its new priorities.

Thank you.

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  Press Cycle 8- Scottish and Welsh Devolution
Posted by: Dan - 10-14-2018, 03:35 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (13)

Following the Governments introduction of the bill, what does this mean for Scotland and Wales.

Press Cycle will close Wednesday 17th at 11.59BST. Contributions after this will not be marked

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  Momentum
Posted by: Dan - 10-14-2018, 09:28 AM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (4)

Total

Labour: 135
Conservative : 104.5
Liberal Democrat: 83

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  Press Cycle 7 - Budget
Posted by: Dan - 10-13-2018, 05:02 PM - Forum: Press Cycles - Replies (19)

In light of the government's budget, what does this mean for Britain?

Press Cycle will close on Wednesday 17th October at 11.59 BST. Responses after wont be marked

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