BEST FOR BRITAIN'S
A very mixed bag of emotions this week.
government suffered important defeats in TWO by-elections, bringing
Johnson’s continued leadership into question.
BUT NO! The
government published its replacement for the Human Rights Act in which
it keeps the rights the same, but makes it harder (in some cases
almost impossible) to enforce them.
My advice is to take inspiration
from the by-election wins (congratulations go to the brand new MPs,
Labour’s Simon Lightwood and the Lib Dem’s Richard Foord, and to all
the voters and activists who campaigned and voted tactically!) and
don’t lose hope on the rest.
Naomi asked you yesterday to
support Best for Britain’s campaign financially, and I know times are
hard but if you can, please do donate to the Better Democracy
Fund. This government is on
the ropes and your support will mean we can bring progressive parties
together, fight undemocratic changes to our elections, and campaign
for a change in our voting system to make all votes count.
The leaders of Labour and the
Liberal Democrats made it widely known that they would each be
targeting just one of the two seats on offer on 23rd June and that
constituents should vote tactically. As a tactic, it worked but Labour
and the Lib Dems mustn’t rest on their laurels, repeating this success
will be much more difficult in a General Election. Our polling proves they will need to collaborate to defeat the
And we said bye bye to Conservative
Party Chairman, Oliver Dowden, early this morning as he resigned
saying “someone must take responsibility”.
Wakefield is a so-called ‘Red Wall’
constituency, held by Labour from 1932 to 2019 and one of the key
Northern England seats lost to the Conservatives at the last election
that Labour need to win back at the next one. The by-election was
called after the Conservative MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, was convicted of
sexually assaulting a child.
Labour emerged victorious with 48%
of the vote and a majority of 4,925 over the Conservative candidate.
It’s proof that Johnson is not the vote-winner his supporters say he
is. Labour can’t rest easy though, 2019 Tory voters seem to have just
stayed at home in silent protest at Johnson and his government -
instead of switching to Labour this time.
Knockin’ on Devon’s
Tiverton & Honiton has been
represented by the Conservatives for at least 100 years, and some
parts of it since before Queen Victoria came to the throne. The
historically non-conformist West Country, though, has traditionally
been more open to voting Liberal or Liberal Democrat than many other
parts of the UK. The by-election was triggered by the resignation of
the former Conservative MP, Neil Parish, who admitted he had looked at
porn on his phone in the House of Commons chamber. The tractor guy,
you remember - he said he was looking up tractors and accidentally
ended up on hardcore porn instead.
It’s hard to say that Tiverton
& Honiton is part of the ‘Blue Wall’ of mainly South East English
Conservative-held seats that may go yellow, but the fact that such a
true-blue constituency gave the Tories a massive kicking will be
giving Conservative HQ plenty to worry about.
The Lib Dems faced a 24,000 Tory
majority which they managed to turn into a very respectable 6,144 Lib
Dem majority. Apparently, this is the biggest majority to have been
overturned in a by-election ever. And tactical voting really was the
star of the show with Labour getting just 3.7% of the vote this time
compared to 19.5 in 2019 as Labour voters switched to the Lib Dems
Ahead of the by-elections we
looked at how the government’s replacement of the European
Regional Development fund with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund has
When we were an EU member state,
Devon received €67 (£57.60) per capita funding but under the new UK
Shared Prosperity Fund, introduced in April 2022, the region is now
expected to receive just £28.65 (€33.32) per capita funding. In West
Yorkshire €139 (£119.53) of per capita funding from the EU will become
£97.90 (€113.89) per head from the UK Government.
It looks like voters have
The Times they are
Last weekend, a story appeared in The Times’s earliest Saturday edition
that was swiftly pulled from all later editions. The story didn’t
appear online either.
The story, written by Simon
Walters, claimed Boris Johnson attempted to appoint his now-wife
Carrie to a £100,000 a year Government role back in 2018 when he was
Foreign Secretary and she was Conservative press chief. At the time,
Johnson was still married to Barrister Marina Wheeler. The story says
Johnson was blocked from doing this after his closest advisers found
Intrigue about the vanishing story
rumbled on over the weekend, with Number 10 finally admitting on Monday that it had intervened to have
the story dropped. Number 10 insists the story was
Our CEO Naomi Smith was quoted in
the Independent on this this week. She said: “A free press is a fundamental part of a
functioning democracy. It must be protected from the influence of
those in power.”
We couldn’t agree more.
This week, the APPG on Coronavirus
held a live evidence session on global vaccine access. There were strong
words from witnesses at the session, one of whom - WHO special envoy
Dr Ayoade Alakija - strongly
condemned the UK Government’s narrative and leadership on
The APPG heard that the UK must
adopt a more internationalist approach to the Covid-19 pandemic and
that pandemic preparedness is not simply a matter of making vaccine
donations (many of which may be close to their expiry date). Witnesses
urged the UK to support research efforts into pandemics across the
globe and to work collaboratively with international partner
The session also touched on the
worrying news that the UK is likely to be at the start of
a new Covid wave and discussions centred around how prepared the UK
might be for a potential summer of disruption as a result.
This week, the Government unveiled
its new flagship ‘Bill of Rights’ - which has, as expected, very little to do
with protecting people’s human rights.
As anticipated, the Bill is focused
on allowing the UK Government to deport people faster - something that
surely clashes with the sentiments of Refugee Week.
The Bill will make it harder for
individuals to seek judicial review against public bodies and will
require courts to consider totally unrelated past behaviour when
awarding damages - threatening to take protections away from people
with criminal records. This is not how rights work - they are not
meant to be contingent on a person’s past behaviour. They are meant to
be universal and unconditional.
Human rights are not privileges -
they are what everyone ought to have granted to them as a condition of
being a human. But the Government doesn’t want you to believe that for
If you want to get involved in our
campaign for more compassion in politics, why not sign our petition
From Brexit to
A new report out this week from the Resolution Foundation has highlighted
just how much worse Brexit is making the cost of living crisis. The
report finds the average UK worker is on course to
suffer over £470 in lost pay each year when rising living costs are
taken into account compared with the financial outcome if we hadn’t
left the EU.
This is, understandably, hugely
depressing, coming as it does on top of bleak news about soaring
inflation. What is more
depressing, however, is the feeling that no matter how bad things seem
to get, we can always count on this Government and its disastrous
policies to make things worse.
This week we learned just 1 in 4 applicants to the Windrush compensation scheme have
received the payments due to them. This is despite the Government
promising to right the wrongs done to the Windrush
A moving article in the Guardian this week profiled Cuthbert
Prospere, who had arrived in the UK from St Lucia as a four year old
in 1967. Throughout his adult life, Cuthbert had repeatedly found
himself blocked from obtaining employment because he couldn’t prove he
was in the UK legally. Cuthbert is seeking compensation for lost
earnings throughout his life, but the Home Office refuses to accept
his lack of legal status prevented him from being
In many ways, we’re still stuck in
the same place we were when the scandal broke in 2018. Many Windrush
victims remain uncompensated for the losses and hardships they
suffered and not enough proactive action is being taken to adequately
make reparations for those affected.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has this week
unveiled a brand new digital dashboard. The white heat of technological
innovation, it is not.
Last week he announced a plan to axe all retained EU laws - well over
2000 pieces of legislation, many of which are critical for our
political and social operations. How exactly he plans to do that while
cutting the number of civil servants is unclear.
He said the dashboard unveiled this
week would allow members of the public to take a look at all the
individual pieces of legislation and decide which ones need to go. I’m
not sure offloading this task to members of the public is really the
solution he says it is, and looking at the dashboard itself I can’t
imagine people will be flocking to take part. It's….not very good.
Take a look.
Thursday 23rd June was the 6-year
anniversary of the EU Referendum. No, I can’t quite believe that
either, but there it is.
Best for Britain’s Lauren Tavriger blogged in celebration of the date, looking at the
top six promises made by the Vote Leave campaign and what has happened
to them. Remembering of course that the Boris Johnson who spearheaded
the Vote Leave campaign and made all these promises is actually the
same Boris Johnson who holds the office of Prime
So surely he will have made sure
those promises all came true. Right?
And that’s it, have a great weekend
and we’ll be back next week for more.
Director of Operations, Best for Britain
PS. Please do support the campaign
with either a one-off
donation to the Better Democracy Fund, or by becoming
a regular supporter. Your
support will mean we can bring progressive parties together, fight
undemocratic changes to our elections, and campaign for a change in
our voting system to make all votes count.