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These are official documents that include details of deep cuts to police numbers published too late to be scrutinised by MPs.
• We have fewer police officers. A drop of 0.7% to 123,142 police officers across all ranks in England and Wales at the end of March this year. This is the lowest number at the end of a financial year since comparable records began in 1996.
• We have fewer soldiers. The number of full-time soldiers has fallen by 7,000 in the last three years. Across the Army, Air Force and the Navy there are currently 570 fewer service personnel than in June 2016.
• Britain has sold £3.3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia in the past two years alone, including licences for aircraft, drones, grenades, and missiles. The Foreign Office report said the UK is “deeply concerned about the application of the death penalty” in Saudi Arabia and restrictions on freedom of expression, as well as women’s rights.
• Decision to scrap the electrification of train lines, which had been heralded as a way of making the rail network faster, greener and cleaner, after massive budget overruns of billions of pounds. The pledge was made by David Cameron in 2012 but has proven to be a waste of time and money.
• A statement showing UK plans to opt into new Brussels regulations allowing for more cross-border police cooperation in cases where children are at risk of parental abduction.
• A report showing that schools and colleges do not currently have the capacity to teach all pupils maths until they are 18, with about a decade needed to expand capacity.
“The Government is lying to the public”, he adds.
“Extra” officers on the streets were actually officers putting in 16-hour shifts or working on “rare leave days”.
Former Met Police chief Peter Kirkham has accused the government of “lying” about the number of armed officers on the streets, during an interview in the wake of the London terror attack.
“The Met is in crisis”
“We haven’t got enough cops to actually put people on the street, that’s the main problem really, the streets have been lost. And I would put it as strongly as that,” he said.
Statistics published by the Metropolitan Police show that:
- gun crime increased by more than two fifths (42 per cent) year-on-year with 2,544 offences recorded in 2016/17;
- knife crime jumped by almost a quarter (24 per cent), with more than 4,000 offences involving blades resulting in an injury;
- the total number of offences recorded by the force rose by nearly 4.6 per cent from 740,933 to 774,737;
- violence against the person crimes were up by 4.7 per cent while there were also increases in robberies (12 per cent), sex offences (9 per cent) and theft (7 per cent);
Theresa May was Home Secretary under Cameron and Osborne when she made drastic cuts to front line emergency services.
Accident and Emergency
Buried in the 84-page document, you’ll find a number of nasty surprises on the way from the Tories that you might not have spotted.
Here’s what you’ll find if you check the small print.
1. You’re going to need ID to vote
In a bid to combat in-person voter fraud the Tories are going to change the law so you have to take ID with you when you vote.
The problem is, there’s little evidence that in-person voter fraud actually happens.
Of 51.5 million votes cast in elections in 2015, there were 481 cases of alleged electoral fraud.
Of these, the vast majority were not voting offences. More than half were campaigning offences – such as complaints about candidates making false statements about opponents, expenses offences or issues to do with campaign posters or flyers.
Just 123 alleged cases related to voter fraud, with 26 cases of impersonating another voter, 27 cases of improper postal voting and 25 cases of ‘undue influence’ over a voter.
Of these 123, all but 22 were dismissed – mostly because it was clear no offence had been committed or due to lack of evidence.
Of the remaining 22 cases, six resulted in police cautions.
It’s a solution that doesn’t have a problem.
On the other hand, 3.5 million voters don’t have photo ID – and they tend to be women, people from ethnic minorities and young people.
2. The Vote Leave bus pledge is officially not happening
Before the referendum, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove toured the country in a big red bus, emblazoned on which was the claim: “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead”
Theresa May has other ideas.
Buried in the manifesto is a reference to a “Shared Prosperity Fund” which will “redistribute money coming back as we leave the EU to the four nations.”
So no, the NHS won’t be getting £350 million a week extra under the Tories.
3. They’ve left the door open to more welfare cuts
Note “..we will continue to strive for full employment.” shrugging their shoulders over those they’ve pushed to death (ref the statements from three separate coroners). If they get into power you can expect more Tory voters complaining when they fall ill. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
A subtle change in language in Theresa May’s manifesto, launched this morning, opens the door for more cuts to benefits for the sick, disabled and working poor.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb said in March 2016: “We have no further plans to make welfare savings”
And his replacement, Damian Green, said in February: “We are not going to have any new welfare cuts in this Parliament apart from those that have already been legislated for.”
But here’s what it says in today’s manifesto – buried on page 54
“We have no plans for further radical welfare reform in this parliament and will continue the roll-out of Universal Credit, to ensure that it always pays to be in work.”
See the difference?
4. Remember all those civil service jobs David Cameron moved to London? They’re moving out again
5. The Commitment to halve the disability employment gap has been scrapped
The 2015 manifesto promised to cut the difference in employment figures between disabled and non-disabled people in half.
That’s been replaced by a commitment to getting a million more disabled people into employment, which the Social Market Foundation say is “weaker”.
6. There might be a hard border with Northern Ireland after all
Theresa May has previously insisted there would be “no return to the hard borders of the past” between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit .
But today’s document says they’re aiming for “as frictionless a border as possible.”
7. The Immigration health surcharge is going to TRIPLE
Migrant workers who use the NHS are currently charged £200. That’s going up to £600.
International students still get a discount, but their charges are tripling too, from £150 to £450.
8. They’re going to ‘modernise’ the voting system by making it less fair
The Tories love the First Past the Post (FPTP) system. It’s outdated, unfair and benefits them massively in elections.
So they’ve decided to ‘modernise’ the voting system by replacing the current Single Transferable Vote (STV) system used in mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections with FPTP.
Because voters can cast a ‘second choice’ vote in STV, it ensures vastly fewer votes are wasted. It also remove some of the advantages big parties get from FPTP. Which is why the Tories don’t like it.
Theresa May claims there’s no connection between the Tories being in power since 2010 and NURSES having to use foodbanks!
It seems Theresa May’s rudeness and arrogance extends to members of her own constituency. This piece is about an encounter of a middle aged lifetime Tory voter with the nasty PM. We appreciate you may not agree with the opinion of this Tory voter but it’s the rudeness and arrogance from Theresa May we wish to focus on.
“I am a middle-aged family woman and lifetime Conservative voter – I have no history of political activism or agitation. Although after our meeting, I suspect I may find myself on some kind of blacklist. What is for certain is that I will not be voting for Theresa May ever again.
Things all started when I sent an initial email to her constituency office, expressing my concerns about Brexit. I received a reply from her which said: We’re going to bang the drum for Britain!
Yes, it really did say that. I wrote back to say that I considered this a somewhat unsatisfactory response. It was then that she invited me to meet her at her constituency surgery for a quarter of an hour, face-to-face meeting, during her constituency surgery. This is where it all kicked off.
Before our meeting, I did my research and gathered as much evidence as I could. After all, I was to have 15 minutes with the most powerful woman in Britain. For me, it was an excellent opportunity to put all my fears. I expected a strong debate. I thought I might get some answers, some clues as to what might happen next. I didn’t think she would be able to make me change my mind – as you can tell, I am pretty passionate on this subject. But I did expect her to try, and I did expect her to present some strong arguments that would counter my own.
I was shown into a room at her Maidenhead constituency office where she was already seated behind a small table. She did not smile or say “hello” – it felt like she was holding court. We did not even shake hands and the whole thing was a bit awkward.
I thanked her for seeing me and then asked if she had seen my email or whether she would like me to make my points again. She said she would like to hear what I had to say.
To make a point about how narrow the referendum question was I produced a copy of the ballot paper. “Where on here does it say we were voting to reduce the number of EU citizens in the UK?” I asked.
“Well it doesn’t,” she replied. “But the government has reports that the level of immigration is a concern.” I asked for proof which she couldn’t provide.
I swiftly moved on producing an info-graphic showing that EU workers added more to the economy than they cost. She didn’t like this and I could feel her start to get agitated. The mood changed quite quickly – there was an added aggression.
She emphasised, not just strongly but crossly, that “the British people have voted for Brexit and the government is committed to making it happen”. Then she started pointing at my face across the narrow desk.
I moved backwards slightly and to be honest, I was shocked. I had set out to tackle the Prime Minister but I hadn’t expected she would lose her temper and jab her finger at me.
Although taken aback I calmly asked her to stop pointing at my face because I considered it rude. I didn’t feel threatened. I was just astonished that she got so rattled, so quickly. She was very defensive.
I asked her again to stop and after that she put her hands beneath the desk – maybe to stop her from pointing again.
I was determined to carry on asking my questions and pressing her for answers so I showed her a pie chart with voting numbers showing that only 37% of the electorate voted for Brexit, which was not the majority of British people. She didn’t really have an answer for that in my opinion. She simply began to spout agreed media soundbites which say very little.
At one point I said “you’re not listening to me” and she replied: “I am listening, but I am just not saying what you want to hear.” It wasn’t long before she was looking over my shoulder and hoping for the next person I think.
We did then speak about my personal concerns around the vote to leave the EU. I emphasised my concerns about the increased costs of food and wine for my bistro following the fall in the value of the pound. She started talking about exports, but I replied that I couldn’t export our steak and frites. I needed assurances from the Prime Minister, “we will ensure a strong economy” was all she could say.
She did offer me some more spin though: “We’re going to get the best deal.” I replied: “That’s a hope, not an action.”
I gave the analogy that the Brexit “best deal” rhetoric was like me saying I want the “best holiday” without knowing where I was going, how much it would cost, how I’d get there or where I’d stay. Guess what? She replied that the government would not give details of their negotiations.
I reminded her that Donald Tusk, President of the EU Council, said there would be either “hard Brexit or no Brexit” and I was inclined to agree. Mrs May’s response: “I am sure I have more experience in negotiating in Europe than you do!” Mine: “I don’t think arrogance is helpful.”
By this point I knew we’d probably never be friends. I asked her that given Maidenhead had voted overwhelmingly for Remain, would she vote against Brexit should she lose in the Supreme Court case? She replied that she was a representative and not a “delegate” and was not obliged to be the voice of her constituents.
I told her the people of Maidenhead may find this interesting in the next election. She said anyone who didn’t understand this didn’t understand the role of an MP. I said I thought there were many who didn’t understand this.
Time was up. I finished by telling her there was a huge groundswell of opposition to Brexit. But I don’t think she’s listening.
The meeting did not leave me feeling any better about the process – in fact I am far more concerned now. If the Prime Minister is so easily angered how on earth is she going to be the best negotiator for Brexit? I fear she will lose her temper and start jabbing her finger at people.
She seemed petulant, defensive, tired and rattled.
What is so frustrating is that she has so little to say in response.”