Government’s Media Round Silence Creates Anti-Zahawi Void

When The Mirror revealed the government was to reduce the number of ministerial appearances on the morning media round, senior government sources were quick to insist to Guido that it isn’t an anti-accountability move, and they’ll still send spokespeople out when there’s a story to “talk about or defend”. Today is the second day this week that the government have refused to offer anyone up for the media round…

While there’s obviously a lot to defend, the government could conceivably claim they have nothing to announce. Unfortunately, Guido’s seen the government grid for this week, and there’s more than enough government business happening today to justify a media round: there’s a big levelling up speech from Gove, a £30 million investment to decarbonise UK highways, a DWP occupational health innovation fund, and the UK Seafood Fund fleet modernisation scheme.

Instead, the absence of anyone fighting the government’s corner has created a void that’s been filled by Tory Peer Lord Hayward, who’s calling on Nadhim Zahawi to consider his position, and David Gauke predicting that Zahawi will have to resign.

Yesterday we saw Caroline Noakes – admittedly as much a Tory MP these days as David Gauke – call on Zahawi to quit, and the Telegraph has a slew of former anonymous Cabinet members calling on him to go. Avoiding the media en masse only gives the impression of a government running scared…

mdi-timer 25 January 2023 @ 09:01 25 Jan 2023 @ 09:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government Moves to Close Down So-Called Family Voting

For the first time in years, a Lords’ Private Members Bill has a very good chance of passing into legislation thanks to support from the government and opposition. Its aim? To close down so-called ‘family voting’.

Family voting is the practice whereby – not always but in the vast majority of cases – the patriarch of the family stands over his wife or teenage children in the ballot box, telling them how to vote. According to the UN, Family Voting:

“often stops women from casting a vote of their own choice. In many situations, while the woman physically casts her own vote, she is under a strong cultural expectation to obey her husband or father and vote for the candidate or party that she has been instructed to vote for.”

According to a Democracy Volunteers report of UK local elections in 2022, family voting occurred in 25% of all the polling stations they observed, with England seeing 21% and Northern Ireland a whopping 42%.

The Lords’ Private Members Bill is the brainchild of Lord Hayward, and less than an hour ago passed the final committee stages in the Lords. It will now head to the Commons with full government support.

According to a 2015 Manchester University paper for the Electoral Commission, they found evidence among interviewees in Pakistani and Bangladeshi-origin communities that more hierarchical family structures means women are often expected to “follow the lead of the head of the household,” creating additional Family Voting vulnerability among ethnic minority households.

When passed into law it will close up the current legal loophole and give presiding officers much more authority to demand individuals are able to stand alone while casting their votes in the ballot booths – with obvious exceptions for the disabled, blind and parents voting with young children. A long overdue reform…

mdi-timer 18 November 2022 @ 15:30 18 Nov 2022 @ 15:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory Analyst Predicts 800-Seat Loss at Local Elections

It’s not just the EU elections where the Conservatives are heading for a pasting, the Tories are bracing for a bloodbath in the local elections this Thursday as well. Analyst and Tory peer Robert Hayward came out with a new prediction yesterday that the Tories could lose over 800 seats of the 8,000 or so being contested this week. Hayward tips the Lib Dems to pick up 500 and Labour to pick up 300, the Brexit Party aren’t standing…

The Tories are firmly in expectation management mode, Boris uses his Monday Telegraph column to plead with voters to not “take out your Brexit frustrations on our hard-working Tory councillors”. The reality is that local Councillors are likely to take the hit for Theresa May’s failings…

mdi-timer 29 April 2019 @ 10:08 29 Apr 2019 @ 10:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments