Parliament is taking back control, but without Neil Parish and Hugo Swire (they backed Theresa May’s crumbling administration as it went down to defeat)

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Our MP Neil Parish, together with Hugo Swire, supported Theresa May’s crumbling administration in trying to defeat the crucial amendment which will allow Parliament control of the Brexit situation after May’s deal is (as seems almost certain) voted down. This amendment makes a ‘No Deal’ disaster less likely, but both MPs opposed it all the same. They also opposed the motion to indict the Government for its contempt of Parliament over its failure to disclose its legal advice. Parliament is ‘taking back control’, but without Parish and Swire.

I don’t support the Government’s extra funding for grammar schools, including Colyton – especially while non-selective local schools are under acute funding pressure

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Colyton Parish Council has asked me for my views on the report that Colyton Grammar School is one of 16 grammar schools which will share £50 million money to expand, and I’ve replied as follows:

Colyton Grammar School is an excellent school and as County Councillor for Seaton and Colyton, I support its case for improved funding for its ongoing activities, as I do for all local schools. However I do not support the Government’s £50 million extra funding to expand grammar schools and I am disappointed that Colyton Grammar School put itself forward for this controversial scheme. Additional capital funding should benefit the education of all children, rather than being used to expand a small number of selective schools. It is not right that Colyton Grammar School should benefit from millions of additional funding purely because it is a selective school, when under-pressure local schools which are open to all children receive no funding boost. I also share residents’ concerns that expansion of the school would exacerbate the traffic problems which bussing pupils to and from the school already cause in Colyford, and to which no solutions have yet been found.

Independent group leader to raise questions over County Council’s ‘staggering’ £2 million spend in last 5 years on settlement agreements with confidentiality clauses (‘gagging orders’)

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The Exmouth Journal has exposed this through a Freedom of Information Request.

My colleague Frank Biederman, leader of the Independent Group at DCC, said the figure was ‘staggering, especially when you consider the cuts to front line services, that impact on our most vulnerable residents’. He will be raising questions about the agreements at the next full council meeting, ‘to understand better why this is happening, as a public body, we clearly should not have anything to hide’.

Shouldn’t we be looking again at community hospital beds, to support care-at-home model? Devon Conservatives squash recommendations of review chaired by Claire Wright

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Claire Wright writes: A recommendation urging no further community hospital bed closures in Devon has been voted down by Conservative councillors on Devon County Council’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee.

The recommendation, which was debated on Thursday (22 November) was part of a set of measures set out in a scrutiny spotlight review aimed at supporting the care at home service (or rapid response) to be more effective.

Highlighted in particular as a challenging area were services for end of life care, which have been put under considerable pressure, especially since the loss of community hospital beds. … read on at Claire’s blog

Flybe crisis and Plymouth factory closure show the harm that Brexit is causing to Devon’s economy – I will be asking the County Council to support a People’s Vote to choose between Theresa May’s miserable deal and remaining in the EU

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skynews-flybe-plane-aircraft_4480710Just in the last week, Brexit has brought two big threats to Devon’s economy and jobs: Flybe faces insolvency and has had to put itself up for sale, and the German company Schaeffler, which makes parts for the car industry, has announced the closure of its Plymouth factory which employs 350 people.

It’s time to call a halt to this accelerating self-harm, which also threatens our farming, health, university and small business sectors – and has already seen living standards decline. I shall be asking the County Council on 6th December to support a new referendum in which voters can choose between accepting the miserable deal the Government has negotiated or remaining in the European Union.

@neil_parish completes his transformation from Remainer to Brexiteer, attacking the Northern Ireland backstop and calling for UK to default on its legal obligations

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Yesterday in Parliament, Neil Parish photoNeil Parish MP said: There is much in the withdrawal agreement that I agree with, especially on food and farming, but it is not good enough as it stands. The Northern Ireland backstop threatens the integrity of the United Kingdom and weakens our negotiating position, and my farming instincts tell me that we should not hand over £39 billion before we get the deal. Please will the Prime Minister listen to these concerns and renegotiate the deal before we put it before the House?

On 23 June 2016 Neil voted Remain. Two days later he backed Boris Johnson for PM, then Andrea Leadsom. Yesterday’s comments complete his transformation to a Gove-style Brexiteer, demanding a renegotiation which will make things even worse than May’s extremely poor deal.

His statement that the ‘Northern Ireland backstop threatens the integrity of the UK’ is totally misleading. The ‘hard border’, which would come into existence without the backstop, would risk the return of violence to Ireland, and the threat of a hard border has increased support in Northern Ireland for unity with the Irish republic – this is what threatens the unity of the United Kingdom. But who in the so-called Conservative and Unionist Party really cares about Ireland, North or South?

His remarks on the £39 billion payment are just plain stupid – as Theresa May replied, ‘this is about the United Kingdom’s legal obligations. I hope that every Member of this House will recognise that the United Kingdom is a country that meets its legal obligations.’

These elements of the Withdrawal Agreement are necessary if Brexit is to happen, unless Neil wants a car-crash, chaotic Brexit. But they remind us of the huge problems which even an agreed Brexit will bring. Neil was right first time – the UK should stop the gigantic self-harm of Brexit, and give the voters a chance to decide to stay in the EU.