Week 17 - 07/05/2021

Published on 7 May 2021 at 13:33

Conservatives win Hartlepool bye-election.

The conservatives have won a bye-election in Hartlepool for the first time in 62 years. A historic Labour stronghold voted 15,529 Tory and 8,589 Labour according to results announced on Friday morning.


The bye-election was called after Mike Hill, who was elected an MP in  2017 stepped down, after sexual harassment allegations were made against him which he denies.


Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer defeated the Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams by 6,940.The constituency swung from Labour by 16%, it is just the second time in forty years that a government party won a seat from the opposition.


 The winning Tory MP Jill Mortimer spoke to the media saying; “I’m just overwhelmed by the support of the people of Hartlepool. It confirms what I heard on the doorstep - they just want positive change, and that’s what we’re going to bring them.” The Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams did not make any comment to reporters.


The bye-election has called into question the strength of Labour leader Keir Starmer. The results from the British elections will continue over the next number of hours and days.


Closure of Pharmaceutical plant in Dublin

The Pharmaceutical company Teva is to close its Sudocrem plant in Baldoyle. The production plant is to move to Bulgaria and is expected to be complete by January of 2023, with the loss of 110 Irish jobs. 


Teva said in a statement; “Yesterday we met with employees at our Baldoyle plant to inform them of the proposed closure of the site, as part of a wider programme to optimise our global manufacturing network.”


The company also said that it is still “ committed to the Irish market.” The plant in Baldoyle was set up in 1984 to meet the extra demand for the product.


The company also has a respiratory manufacturing plant in Waterford and will continue to have a strong presence in Ireland.


The United States supports vaccine patent waiver.

The US has backed a move by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to temporarily lift patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines.


There has been a campaign for this for the past six months and advocates say it will increase vaccine supply around the world. Joe Biden did promise this waiver in the 2020 presidential election campaign. US trade representative Katherine Tai announced the new policy saying; “extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures”.


Of 164 World Trade Organisation members 100 hundred have indicated their support in some way and a panel on intellectual property is expected to discuss the issue next month.


Supporters say that it will make vaccines available at lower prices for lower income countries especially in the global south while others say that it would limit innovation.


Coronavirus in India

 India has been experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks.Global records were broken on Thursday recording 412,784 new cases and 3,980 deaths over 24 hours. It is believed that the true figure is much higher. 


Experts say that India will experience a third wave as new variants emerge from the devastating second wave.The world health organization said that last week India accounted for 46% of the world's new coronavirus cases.


The Indian government has declared victory over the virus earlier in the year. A new variant B1617 is believed by experts to be more transmissible. This has led many countries to place restrictions or bans on people travelling from India.


Kate O’Connell will not run in the Dublin Bay South Bye-Election.

Former Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell has stated that she will not be running in the upcoming Dublin Bay South Bye-Election. The by-election will be held as former Fine Gael housing minister Eoghan Murphy has resigned from Politics.


In the 2020 general election she came within 1,000 votes of winning a seat.She said that she has considered running and made this clear through various channels.


It became clear to her that there was;"a movement towards the replacement of me with someone else" by some people in the party and she felt that she could not fight against this.Ms O’Connell also accused some party members of personalised attacks since her criticism of the party leader Leo Varadkar.


She said that she has no problem with Leo Varadkar and has supported him since his election as leader. This statement adds further to the drama of the Dublin Bay South By-election.

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