Articles

Syrian Refugees, Assisted Dying and Labour

The big story across Europe continues to be the refugee crisis and will remain so for a long time to come. Only on Monday I was in Geneva addressing the UN Human Rights Council on issues including Syria. Please be assured we continue to be at the forefront of the international response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria - including as the second biggest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid, having already pledged £1 billion. Some £60 million of the additional funding will also help Syrians who are still in Syria.  Britain is a moral nation and we must and will fulfill our moral responsibilities. 

End of Term

Parliament shut down last week, with MPs mostly heading back to their constituencies. I meanwhile headed off on a ten day foreign office trip to South East Asia. It’s more difficult to travel as a foreign office minister these days as we only have a slim majority and it’s important to be on the ground to get our legislation through.

Equal Opportunities for Women

This month the Prime Minister set out his ambition to end the gender pay gap within a generation. He believes like the rest of his party that there should be equal opportunities for men and women in all aspects of their lives. There are now more women leading businesses than ever before, the gender pay gap is at an all-time low, and women now make up at least 25 per cent of all FTSE 100 company boards – but there is more to do.

Global Security

The world feels like a dangerous place all of a sudden. Greece first. We have continued to urge our euro area colleagues to act swiftly and responsibly to resolve current uncertainty and ensure economic and financial stability but given the present situation of a default and a potential exit from the euro, we have to be prepared for an impact on the stability of our own financial systems.

EU Referendum

Exmouth JournalThe EU Referendum Bill has now been introduced to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister has been racing around Europe to hold talks on the renegotiation. So it seems after years of wrangling it is actually going to happen as promised. This Bill is a concrete step towards settling the debate about the UK’s membership of the EU once and for all. It will pave the way for the British people to have their say for the first time in 40 years on our place in Europe and will offer an important choice about our country’s destiny. 

Post Election

Exmouth JournalElection over and now the real work begins. There is much to do. The deficit may be down by more than a half but we need to keep working through our long-term plan to make sure Britain lives within its means. 

Worst Case Scenario

Express & EchoCan I throw up a scenario? It’s May the 8th and the Conservatives have just won the election; 290 seats to Labour’s 260. But no-one is feeling particularly exhilarated, in fact there is an impending sense of doom and gloom. 

Budget

Express & EchoLast week Chancellor George Osborne unveiled his final Budget before the general election, telling MPs "Britain is walking tall again" after five years.He announced tax relief for savers and said a squeeze on public spending would end a year earlier than planned if the Conservatives win in May. There were no real gimmicks or surprises. 

Election

Express & EchoFor a while it all looked pretty simple, either the Conservatives would win the 2015 election or Labour would. But in the last four months the shape of British politics has become even more altered and unpredictable. First we had a split on the right (Tories/UKIP) then one on the left (Labour/SNP)  then there was the green surge (Lib Dems/Greens/Labour) which oddly enough was created by Downing Street with the Prime Minister threatening not to participate in the election debates unless Natalie Bennett was included. 

TTIP

Exmouth JournalThe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is causing a bit of a stir at the moment. If you have not heard about it yet, you soon will. Opponents say that our public services, environment and democracy are under threat from the biggest corporate power grab in a decade.