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David Cameron holds first all Tory Cabinet meeting in 18 years

First Conservative cabinet meeting in 18 years.  Image: Screen grab from Downing Street video

First Conservative cabinet meeting in 18 years. Image: Screen grab from Downing Street video

David Cameron told the first all-Tory cabinet meeting for 18 years that they must focus on ‘bread and butter’ ways of improving people’s lives.

The Prime Minister address to his cabinet for the first team has been filmed and released online by Downing Street.

The Conservatives won a 12-seat majority in the House of Commons in Thursday’s election, taking 331 of the 650 seats.

At the start of the first cabinet meeting since the election, Mr Cameron urged his ministers to focus on ‘down-to-earth’ ways of ‘giving everyone in our country the chance to live a good and fulfilled life and make the most of their talents.’

He also insisted all changes to public services must be rooted in ‘genuine social justice and compassion.’

The Prime Minister said the Conservatives will offer:

the chance to get on, with the dignity of a job, the pride of a pay cheque, a home of their own and the security and peace of mind that comes from being able to support a family.

New members in the Cabinet

  • Amber Rudd is Energy and Climate Change Secretary, while Anna Soubry and Priti Patel will attend cabinet as small business and employment ministers
  • Robert Halfon is deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister Without Portfolio
  • Grant Shapps has moved from party chairman to International Development Minister
  • Boris Johnson is not a minister but will attend separate Tory ‘political cabinet’ meeting

Full list of the Cabinet ministers found here

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Plans put in place by the new Conservative Cabinet

The Conservatives say measures on work and childcare will be at the heart of their first legislative programme.

This is due to be announced on 27th May, and it’s been suggested this legislation will be ‘fast-tracked’ through Parliament.

During the party’s election campaign, Mr Cameron said that UK citizens should aspire to full time employment.

The new employment bill will push for two million jobs and three million apprenticeships to be created over the next five years.

It will also lower the annual household welfare cap – the maximum amount that any household can receive in benefits – from £26,000 to £23,000.

Downing Street said this would ‘ensure people are always better off in work and there is an end to the something-for-nothing culture.’

A second bill the new cabinet intends to put through Parliament has a focus on childcare.

Currently, all three and four-year olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year, which works out as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year.

During the election campaign, the Conservatives promised 30 hours from 2017.

The PM also said his government would introduce tax-free childcare for every child.

He said:

The government would also press ahead with changes to the rules on trade union strike ballots, so industrial action in essential public services would only be lawful if 40% of employees entitled to take part in a ballot actually voted.

We have not hidden away from the changes we want to make… I think it is essential we make these changes

The cabinet discussed the UK’s future in Europe.

Mr Javid said:

a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU would definitely be held before the end of 2017 and the government would ‘provide more information over the coming weeks and months.’

Media reports have suggested this could be brought forward to 2016 if the legislation needed to also be fast-tracked through Parliament and if  other EU leaders conclude thier position on reform earlier than expected.

Mr Cameron is putting the finishing touches to his government, by filling the ranks of junior ministerial positions.

His plans can be found here.

Among those to be given jobs include:

  • Rory Stewart (the former diplomat who was chair of the Commons defence select committee, is to become a junior minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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News that the Human Rights Act is being scrapepd

The Conservative party is moving ahead with its controversial plans to scrap the Human Rights Act.

Michael Gove will lead the process in his role as justice secretary in the new conservative cabinet.

The former education secretary’s appointment came as a surprise, given that he has no legal training and has previously argued that Britain was ‘wrong to abolish hanging.’

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty said:

Mr Gove will have a hard time persuading Britain’s senior judges he respects the Rule of Law

The Conservatives say scrapping the act will break the formal link between the British courts and the European Court of Human Rights and stop the act being ‘misinterpreted.’

They argue that foreign nationals who have committed serious crimes are able to use the freedoms guaranteed under the Human Rights Acts to justify remaining in the UK.

They have also expressed ‘mounting concern’ at Strasbourg’s attempt to overrule decisions made by parliament and the courts, such as lifting the ban on prisoners voting rights or banning whole life sentences for the most serious crime.

The plan to replace it with ‘British Bill of Rights’ that is rooted in ‘British values.’

In social media opinion is divided on this controversial plan.

 

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