Brutal question to Keir Starmer on LBC from woman in Enfield whose business selling to EU has been scuppered by Brexit trade deal. Were you aware of all this when you voted for the deal, she asks? Starmer says the deal was “much narrower than it should have been".
Starmer repeats the line that Labour backed the deal only because no deal was a worse option. He also denies yesterday's Observer story that Labour MPs have been ordered to not talk about Brexit.
Dave from Portsmouth asks Starmer on LBC why he made "his major speech" last week, three years before an election, by which point everyone will have forgotten it. Starmer resists the obvious temptation to reply: I am allowed to make more than one speech, you realise.
Deft culture war answer from Starmer when asked about statues etc. He says it's fine to have conversations about this, and people are entitled to express a view about local monuments/streets. He adds: “I’m not sure I see it as a priority in terms of what we’re living through.”

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More from @peterwalker99

21 Jan

Rather than just exhorting people to buy my book – though do feel free to – I thought I’d briefly explain how on earth a political journalist ended up writing a book about the global crisis of physical inactivity.

It almost happened by accident. Writing an earlier book about cycling I researched the public health arguments and stumbled across this normalised health crisis that few people talked about – inactivity. 100,000 deaths a year in the UK alone – one in six of the total.

Some of the stats are genuinely jaw-dropping. 80% of UK kids are so inactive they risk their long-term health. 25% of adults barely move at all. About 20% of adults say they *never* walk for 20 minutes or longer at a time. Globally, a third of adults move too little.

Read 14 tweets
18 Jan
Opening the opposition day motion on the £20 universal credit uplift, Labour's Jonathan Reynolds starts by saying he's not there to argue that Tory MPs are heartless, and that any abuse of them is wrong, thus fairly easily derailing No 10's main pre-debate attack line.
2019-intake Tory MP Sarah Dines tells the UC debate that in her Derbyshire Dales constituency “many people have impressed on me how pleased they have been with the government's support" over Covid. I wonder how much work in that sentence the word "many" might be doing.
The government has very clearly lined up lots of 2019-intake Tory MPs to speak loyally in this UC debate, stressing the cost of extending it & condemning Labour for tabling the motion. There's a lot of political digging in going on, making an obvious U-turn all the more tricky.
Read 5 tweets
6 Dec 20
While it's not new Nigel Farage has opened a new front in his personal culture war against bike lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods, this pledge – that his Reform Party will stand against *any* local election candidates which support them – seems a bit odd.

mini thread 1/
Firstly, cycle lanes/LTNs aren't some niche idea. Lots of Labour and Tory councils back them, at least in theory. That means Farage standing candidates in thousands of wards. Much harder than finding a few hundred GE candidates. I'd be hugely surprised if it ever happened.

Second, in local terms, cycle lanes/LTNs are barely an issue in the vast majority of areas, mainly because cycling barely exists – it makes up, at most, 2% of all trips nationally. A council might commit vaguely to a lane, but I can't see it being a deciding factor.

Read 7 tweets
27 Nov 20
Motor traffic on residential streets, and why it matters: a brief thread, inspired by a just-finished 20-min local ride to do some chores.

First the ride: all on small-ish local roads. And almost all were awash with cars, motorbikes and trucks. In 20 mins I had two cars close pass me - one a deliberate punishment pass - and a moped cut left without indicating. Yes, bit worse than normal, but not hugely so.

I’m about as gung ho a city rider as you get. I’m spent several years as a courier. If I was a newcomer, or basically a normal person, I’d try that a couple of times and go, ‘Sod this’. It’s why so few trips are cycled. Not weather, not hills, not culture. Perceived danger.

Read 5 tweets
18 Nov 20
Does @ParamedicsUK oppose low-traffic neighbourhoods and/or separated cycle lanes, as per the Mail on Sunday article below? They say not – and they're very annoyed at the way their views have been presented. It's all slightly complex (mini-thread)…
The Mail article is a bit confusing, as it only quotes @Richardwebber99 their head of comms. I asked @ParamedicsUK whether these were his views, or theirs, and they would not say. Which is a bit curious, but *shrug emoji*.

I pressed @ParamedicsUK and they sent me the long statement below, in two screenshots. In brief, it says they're not against cycles lanes, and have yet to see convincing evidence either way about LTNs, but are, more generally, confident about working with councils about them.
Read 5 tweets
17 Nov 20
Mark Sedwill, the ex-cabinet secretary, has told public administration committee he was not forced out by No 10, was "voluntary by agreement". Sedwill said he did not want to stay on as national security adviser, as he worried he'd be "haunting the attic" for his successor.
Mark Sedwill tells MPs he was briefed against anonymously as cabinet secretary, unlike any predecessor. Such wider anonymous briefings not new, he says, but for civil servants to “find ourselves in the firing line in such a personal way” was unprecedented. Says this damages trust
Sedwill says briefings against civil servants will lead to poorer decision-making, as officials will be less frank. It shows a "lack of discipline", he says, adding: "People do indulge themselves." Says it tends to be worse amid cultural/identity political differences, eg Brexit.
Read 4 tweets

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