Stories about
Theresa May


Theresa Mary May (/təˈriːzə/; née Brasier /ˈbreɪʒər/; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since 2016. She served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016. May was first elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidenhead in 1997. Ideologically, she identifies herself as a one-nation conservative.

the Guardian

Published  2 days ago

Justine Greening and Dominic Grieve say they would not be able to support government under no deal

The Independent

Published  2 days ago

The government’s use of controversial powers to remove British citizenship has soared by more than 600 per cent in a year. Shamima Begum is one of more than 150 people subjected to the measure since

thetimes

Published  2 days ago

The American fund manager that employs Theresa May’s husband has said that it intends to use market uncertainty after Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a “buying opportunity”, raising a potential conflict of interest.

Philip May, the prime minister’s husband of 36 years, is a client relationship manager at Capital International, part of Capital Group.

Rob Lovelace, president of Capital and grandson of its founder, has said that the referendum result is “the beginning of a process” rather than a “bimodal event” and that the uncertainty could create investment opportunities.

Capital primarily invests pension savings in companies quoted on stock exchanges and it is Mr May’s job to liaise with the pension funds that are Capital’s clients. He does not manage funds.

In a…

The Telegraph

Published  2 days ago

The Independent Group can no longer be dismissed as a home for disgruntled anti-Corbynite Labour MPs, as three Tories have joined them: Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston.

Brexit has driven them out, they confirmed in a joint statement, blaming Theresa May's "dismal failure to stand up to the hard-line ERG" and accusing the party of being "in the grip" of Jacob Rees-Mogg's group. Mr Rees-Mogg could only wish he and his fellow Tory Brexiteers had such control over the Prime Minister given the way she has handled Brexit.

Ironically, Ms Allen, Ms Soubry and Dr Wollaston's departure will help the ERG to tighten its grip. It also makes life easier for Tory Brexiteers in general. These three...

Westmonster

Published  2 days ago

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major has made yet another anti-Brexit intervention, describing some European Research Group MPs within the Conservative Party as being “extreme” and labelling them “zealots” whilst speaking out on former UKIP members joining the party. Just like Tony Blair, Sir John increasingly comes across as an out-of-touch figure trying to cling on to the past.

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Speaking at a lecture delivered in Glasgow yesterday, he said of the new influx of pro-Brexit members in the Tory Party: “The rationale for extremists joining mainstream parties is logical: from within them, they can influence policy; from without, they very rarely can.

“At the moment, there are people who – for now – may have their boots within the Conservative or Labour parties – but not in their minds, nor their hearts.

“The Conservative Party membership appears to be ‘hollowing out’ traditional Conservatives, while former UKIP members strengthen the anti-European Right of the party.”

When it comes to pro-Brexit MPs in Parliament such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker, Sir John clearly isn’t a fan: “In Parliament, the European Research Group has become a party within a party, with its own whips, its own funding and its own priorities.

“Some of its more extreme members have little or no affinity to moderate, pragmatic and tolerant Conservatism.

“The ERG does not represent a majority view but – with a minority government, as now – can determine policy simply by being intransigent: which is precisely what it is doing.

“Some – who can fairly be called zealots – seem incapable of looking beyond the one issue of Europe.

“It’s not just that it dominates their thinking – it seems to obsess them.”

And he spoke positively of the second referendum-supporting MPs who have quit Labour: “Yesterday, seven moderate MPs left the Labour Party. I admire their courage and their conviction. But I hope they have not cut themselves adrift forever.

“Labour needs moderate MPs, and the country needs a moderate Labour Party.”

The Conservative grassroots are not overwhelmingly pro-Brexit, with two-thirds preferring a WTO Brexit to the deal Theresa May brought back from the table.

Instead, Sir John Major spoke out in favour of revoking Article 50 completely. Popular Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has previously accused the former PM of making “cheap comments and propaganda”.

Most sensible Conservatives must surely be happy to have an influx of new members and MPs representing the mainstream pro-Brexit view. Sir John Major, as with Tony Blair, needs to accept that British politics has moved on.

You can rely on Westmonster to battle for Brexit day in, day out. If you support what we do, please help secure our future.

Westmonster

Published  3 days ago

European Union officials are expecting Theresa May to request an extension of Article 50 that pushes back Brexit by months.

The officials spoke to Bloomberg, with a rumoured delay set to span three months. One of the officials said that an even longer push back could be on the table. Brexiteers will be up in arms and rightly so.

The rumour comes as some Tory MPs are pushing for a WTO Brexit to be blocked, which would mean a delay.

It is expected that any delay would still seek to avoid the UK taking part in European Elections – which Nigel Farage has confirmed he would stand in under the banner of his new Brexit Party. The establishment would take an absolute drubbing.

Theresa May and the government have, time and time again, promised that the UK will leave on the 29th March 2019. For Brexit to be cancelled on that date would be shatter authority and trust in politicians. Deal or No Deal, it is time to leave.

You can help Westmonster keep the pressure up for Brexit to be delivered, on time, by supporting us.

Evening Standard

Published  3 days ago

John McDonnell today said Labour is “moving towards” a second referendum on Brexit that would give Britons the chance to stay in the European Union.

In an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, the shadow chancellor also called on Labour to move “quicker and fiercer” against anti-Semitism, and expressed regret for “not enough action” in the past.

A ninth Labour MP quit the party today, citing disgust over the failure to crack down on anti-Semitism and intolerance” under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Ian Austin, a former close aide to Gordon Brown, said the party was being “tougher on the people complaining about anti-Semitism than it is on the anti-Semites”.

With Labour reeling from a week of turmoil, Mr McDonnell held out olive branches on the two big issues that the defectors complained about: Brexit and anti-Semitism.

He gave his strongest indication yet that Labour is close to backing a second public vote and said he would campaign for Remain if one is held.

“On the people’s vote, we’ve kept it on the table and we’re moving towards that,” he said.

He said an amendment calling for a public vote which is being tabled for debate next week by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson “could be a solution”.

The amendment, which was reportedly endorsed by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer at a planning meeting this week, would offer Theresa May’s deal an easy ride in the Commons if she put it to a binding yes-no vote of the public.

Mr McDonnell revealed the two backbenchers had been asked to redraft the amendment. And he said that if the Prime Minister’s deal was rejected by the public, Britain would remain in the EU by default.

“If we were going on a people’s vote based on a deal that has gone through Parliament in some form, if that got voted down then you’d have status quo, and that would be Remain,” he said.

His words clashed with those of Unite union leader Len McCluskey who said on Wednesday Remain should not be on the ballot paper as it was “not the best option for our nation”.

Mr Corbyn was reported in the Guardian to be edging closer to backing a referendum, while The Times said Labour faced mass defections to The Independent Group of former Labour and Tory MPs if he refused.

Mr McDonnell said Remain should be an option in a referendum and said Labour was “moving into implementation stages around our conference decision, around the People’s Vote”.

Asked how would he vote, he said firmly: “I’ve said all along if there was another one I’d campaign for Remain and I’d vote for Remain.”

In the same interview, Mr McDonnell criticised his party for moving too slowly and softly against anti-Semitism. “We’ve got to be quicker, and we’ve got to be fiercer,” he said. “I think there’s been a lot of listening but not enough action. That’s the problem.”

Speaking of the criticisms made by eight Labour MPs who formed The Independent Group this week, Mr McDonnell agreed that clear-cut cases of anti-Semitism had not led to enough swift punishment.

His response contrasts starkly with hostility from Mr Corbyn’s office which accused the eight defectors of defending “austerity [and] corporate tax cuts”, while Mr McCluskey dismissed the anti-Semitism row as “contrived”.

Mail Online

Published  3 days ago

The Labour leader said that the teenager, who gave birth to a baby boy in a refugee camp on Sunday, had 'a right to return' after fleeing the country to support IS.

Westmonster

Published  3 days ago

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed that a lengthy delay to Brexit – and the UK participating in European Elections – cannot be ruled out.

In an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung that Politico have picked up, Juncker said of a Brexit delay beyond May: “That to my mind would be an irony of history. Yet I cannot rule it out.”

He insists that “any decision to ask for more time lies with the UK. If such a request were to be made, no one in Europe would oppose it.”

The EU chief apparently has no deadline in mind if the can is kicked down the road: “If you are asking for how long the withdrawal can be postponed, I have no time frame in mind. With Brexit so many timetables have already gone by the wayside.”

And Juncker described the situation as “like being before the courts or on the high seas; we are in God’s hands. And we can never quite be sure when God will take the matter in hand”.

It would be beyond farcical for Brexit to not only be delayed beyond 29th March 2019 but for British voters to elect MEPs to the European Parliament. Time and time again Theresa May has pledged that the UK will leave on time and it is time for her government to deliver.

If the political class sell out the British people on this, they can expect an absolute thumping from Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

17.4 million Brits voted for independence and they expect it to be delivered on time. Help Westmonster fight for Brexiteers by supporting us with a donation. Thank you!

the Guardian

Published  3 days ago

Speaking at NFU conference, Gove says tariffs would be put in place to protect UK farmers

openDemocracy

Published  3 days ago

As Tory MPs resign in protest at the malign influence of hardline Brexiters, documents show the “unfettered” access to ministers and senior politicians enjoyed by secretive think tanks such as the IEA that are “marching the country” to a no-deal Brexit.

BBC News

Published  4 days ago

Three MPs - Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry - leave the Tory party to join Labour breakaway group

The Independent

Published  4 days ago

Three Conservative MPs have announced they are resigning from their party to join ex-Labour members in the new Independent Group in the House of Commons.

Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry left Theresa May's Tories after being heavily critical of her approach to Brexit and the growing influence of eurosceptics in the party.

It means the Independent Group now has eleven members, more than the Liberal Democrats, including the eight MPs who have walked out of Jeremy Corbyn's party in recent days.

More follows…

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Westmonster

Published  4 days ago

Several Tory MPs who have pushed for a second referendum are facing a backlash from pro-Brexit local Conservatives across the country.

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The likes of Dominic Grieve, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston are all facing a local backlash with some members pushing for them to be ousted.

Pro-Brexit group Leave.EU have highlighted the absurd nature of some anti-Brexit MPs, many of whom have previously said they would honour the referendum result. So what changed?

WATCH | Remoaner MPs told voters they'd accept the referendum result. Now they're doing their best to subvert our vote and keep us chained to Brussels. Join our huge campaign to deselect them at https://t.co/B2MbfTNOkT@Anna_Soubry @NickBoles @heidiallen75 @sarahwollaston pic.twitter.com/eBDIrJE1VJ

— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) February 17, 2019

Described as a ‘purple Momentum’, Brexiteers are seeking to take back control. The Telegraph report that today a letter signed by more than 50 Tory members in Wollaston’s constituency will call for a meeting to deselect her.

The letter apparently hits out at her for having “reneged on the clear and unambiguous Conservative manifesto pledge to leave the EU: a manifesto on which she was elected”.

One of the local activists, Rupert Hanmer Grant, is quoted as saying: “We are calling for this vote of no-confidence in Dr. Wollaston because we feel she is playing fast and loose with our constitutional arrangements and making a nonsense of the democratic process simply because she didn’t like the result of the first referendum.”

Leave.EU’s Arron Banks has said: “In the coming weeks these new members will have a direct say in adoption of these MPs or not – stop Brexit and we will do everything to stop you, now or at the next General Election.”

The move has clearly rattled hardline Tory Remainers. Sarah Wollaston wrote: “Blukip has been busy taking over the Tory Party alongside the ERG. Soon there will be nothing left at all to appeal to moderate centre ground voters.”

She then added: “Tory leadership has taken zero interest in this blatant entryism & will only wake up to the reality of the ‘purple momentum’ destroying their Party when it’s too late.”

Whilst Heidi Allen hit back at Leave.EU by saying: “You’re not democratically elected, don’t represent my constituents, are not in a position to make informed economic assessments nor are responsible for the livelihoods and well being of every citizen in this country – get off my timeline.” Hit a nerve?

Two-thirds of Conservative members prefer No Deal to Theresa May’s rejected deal. Little wonder those seeking to frustrate a proper Brexit are facing anger from grassroots Conservatives.

Mail Online

Published  5 days ago

The 19-year-old, who left east London to marry an ISIS fighter in Syria, gave birth to a baby boy in a Syrian refugee camp yesterday. Today her family's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee appeared on TV.

Breitbart

Published  5 days ago

Rep. Ilhan Omar is an antisemite and hating Jews is a perfectly acceptable position in today’s Democratic Party.

Sky News

Published  5 days ago

The Japanese car maker is expected to disclose plans to close its Swindon plant in 2022, Sky News can reveal.

Express.co.uk

Published  5 days ago

Simon Birmingham has taken to preparing for all eventualities should the UK leave the EU without a trade deal in a bid to reduce disruption on both sides of the globe. He also sought to silence a cluster of groups Down Under that have registered their alarm at the prospect of a no-deal scenario with the EU. One such group includes IFM Investors, who warned they could “re-evaluate” their £500million investment into Stansted Airport should a no-deal take place. But Mr Birmingham told the Financial Times: “If we face a no-deal scenario then we would be urging and encouraging the UK to negotiate and finalise an agreement as quickly as possible.

“I would absolutely hope that we would conclude negotiations this year.”

The helping hand comes after news an informal British-Australian working group has been meeting in secret for around 18 months to bolster as much preparations for a Brexit no-deal in the weeks left before the March 29 deadline.

But insiders say a trade deal between Australia and the UK cannot be drawn up until Britain officially leaves the bloc.

A deal between the two allies could also prove tricky with regards to agriculture due to the Aussies wanting as much access to the British market as possible.

An Australia-UK trade deal would be the new beginning a post-Brexit Britain is seeking, but could also depend on what kind of relationship the UK is seeking with Brussels in the long term.

Mr Birmingham added: “Businesses around the world would like to know what is going to transpire for the future — especially those who use the UK as a hub for business into Europe.”

He did however warn that the UK’s ambition to sign up to the the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership could take longer than expected due to Britain’s distant geographical location.

The Partnership is a multilateral trade deal that involves 11 Pacific nations, including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam to name a few.

International trade secretary Liam Fox has often spoke of the UK’s goal to join the Partnership.

Mr Birmingham said: “Obviously it’s a statement of fact that the UK is not within the Pacific.

“Some of the other TPP members would think that there are some nations within the Asia Pacific region who might be earlier starters in terms of coming in.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May is scrambling to get an agreement with Brussels in place before the end of March deadline.

She has continually refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Sky News

Published  5 days ago

Latest updates as the PM writes to all Conservative MPs ahead of fresh Brexit talks with the EU.

the Guardian

Published  6 days ago

Campaigners against Theresa May’s “my deal or no deal” Brexit strategy are planning to mobilise the public and politicians for a showdown over the UK’s future in Europe in the final six days before Britain is due to leave the EU, the Observer can reveal.

The plans will involve a huge march in London on Saturday, 23 March, aimed at demonstrating the scale of public anxiety about the two Brexit options May is offering, which will conclude with speeches outside the Palace of Westminster. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend. Then on 25 and 26 March, MPs of all parties say they will be ready to rally behind a “lethal” amendment that will allow May’s deal to be passed, but only on condition that it is first ratified and approved by the British people in a referendum. Such a referendum would require article 50 to be delayed.

If the British people reject May’s deal in that second public vote, the UK would in all probability stay in the EU on its current terms.

MPs who backed Remain in the 2016 referendum – and who are appalled by May’s attempts to “run down the clock” in the hope of forcing parliament to vote for her hugely unpopular deal – believe that the two-pronged approach of involving the public and politicians has a good chance of averting a disastrous Brexit outcome, albeit at the 11th hour.

While some at Westminster believe the chances of securing a second referendum have faded, supporters of the latest plans say the Commons will be most likely to back another public vote at the moment when a nervous nation will be on the brink of the biggest decision in its postwar history, one that will affect the futures of millions of British people. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March.

On Saturday one of the strategists behind the planned amendment, the Labour MP Peter Kyle, said that the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, and the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, were enthusiastic about the plan and looking at whether Labour could whip for his amendment.

“I know they are both warm to the idea,” Kyle said. “In the next few days they will be testing how wide support for this amendment is in the party.”

Another senior Labour MP involved in talks about what is being called parliament’s “final showdown” said: “By that stage, at one minute before midnight, Labour will have no option but to back the Kyle amendment as a route to a second referendum, as they will have run out of alternatives. There should also be enough Tories who will see the sense in allowing the public either to sign off on, or reject, May’s deal. This is clearly the best way to end this argument for good.”

The shadow Scotland minister, Paul Sweeney, threw his support behind the strategy at a meeting of Labour MPs last week on Thursday entitled “Love Socialism, Hate Brexit”. He said: “It’s not about a people’s vote. It is not about overturning any view.”

Florists: Fresh blooms could become preserve of the rich in no-deal Brexit

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Sweeney added that, if May was so confident her deal was the best one available, she should be willing to test it against public opinion, in the same way that the Irish peace process was subject to ratification by the people of Northern Ireland and the Republic in 1998. “If Theresa May is not willing to compromise on her deal, then if she’s that confident in it she should approach it the same way as the Good Friday agreement, so there was a ratification … We give the people a final say.”

Most MPs believe the prime minister will try to leave a final crucial Commons vote on her deal until the last possible moment, probably early in the week after she returns from an EU summit in Brussels on 21 and 22 March. But that eventual “meaningful vote” – likely on 25 or 26 March – would be amendable, giving those MPs who believe the issue must be put back to the people their opportunity to strike.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Conservative Oliver Letwin plan to table an amendment in the next fortnight that would force May to apply to the EU to extend article 50 for an unspecified period beyond 29 March if the prime minister has not secured parliamentary backing for a deal by the middle of March. But supporters of another referendum say the final piece of the jigsaw will be to get MPs to support another public vote during the extension period.

This week May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – both facing splits within their own parties and possible resignations over Brexit – will hold talks with European leaders in an attempt to find a breakthrough. But hopes that the two leaders can agree on a cross-party way forward are fading, not least because of the prime minister’s refusal to accept Labour’s central demand for a UK-wide customs union and her opposition to taking the option of no deal off the table.

In October an estimated 700,000 people from all over the UK marched peacefully on parliament to demand a second referendum on Brexit. The event was the biggest outpouring of public opposition to government policy since the anti-Iraq-war protest in 2003.

The event on 23 March will be entitled “Put It to the People”, and the organisers say it will be for all those people who want to stop a disastrous Brexit, not just dyed-in-the-wool Remainers who have always been wedded to the idea of reversing the referendum decision.

The Sun

Published  6 days ago

BREXIT scaremongers were exposed as hoaxers last night after their warnings of No Deal chaos were finally demolished. EU chiefs have secretly agreed measures to ensure transport links with Britain …

Westmonster

Published  6 days ago

The DUP’s Westminster Leader, Nigel Dodds, has reiterated his party’s belief that No Deal is better than a bad EU deal. Brexiteer MPs are still refusing to roll over.

Speaking at the DUP’s Spring Conference on Saturday, Dodds was clear: “We want a Brexit deal, but we are very clear that a No Deal is better than a bad deal.”

He added that: “As we leave the EU – for us the guiding star is the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“We will do nothing to undermine that Union.

Updating DUP members on the latest Brexit developments.

The Union of the United Kingdom remains non-negotiable. pic.twitter.com/mlglYBYm2I

— Nigel Dodds (@NigelDoddsDUP) February 16, 2019

“The only way to a majority in the House of Commons is with DUP votes. With necessary changes to the backstop, the Prime Minister will have our support.”

Theresa May either needs to get significant changes to her deal or the UK must leave with No Deal.

Westmonster

Published  6 days ago

Anti-No Deal Conservative MP Nick Boles is clearly feeling the pressure as his local Association kicks off over his total opposition to a WTO Brexit, and he has accused pro-Brexit group Leave.EU of a cardinal sin: recruiting Leave voters into the Tory Party!

Westmonster has previously reported how local Tories in the Grantham and Stamford area were growing furious with the behaviour of Boles.

He has previously said: “If at any point between now and 29 March the government were to announce that No Deal Brexit had become its policy, I would immediately resign the Conservative whip and vote in any way necessary to stop it from happening.”

This led to local Tory Vice-Chairman, Councillor Adam Stokes, pointing out: “The constituency voted to Leave. He’s putting some blocks in the way by agreeing with the amendments. I’m extremely disappointed he’s taking this action.

“We are going to start the selection process. I am sure it’s going to be very tough for Nick to be reselected. My own personal view is I won’t vote for reselecting him.”

Councillor Robert Foulkes, Chairman of Stamford Welland Conservatives, said: “If I was the opposition, I would say ‘Can you trust the Tories?’ If they are going to renege on it (Brexit), what can be more fundamental?

“We need to make a show where we will not have Nick Boles and deselect him and re-establish the trust with the electorate.”

Boles has now claimed that the Tory Party is full of, shock horror, Brexiteers. He has told The Times: “There has been a systematic operation of infiltration of the Conservative Party by UKIP and UKIP sympathisers. I had 400 members until 12 months ago and I now have 500…hey have coalesced with those in my party who already had these views. Among the more right-wing and reactionary members there has never been a total acceptance of my brand of politics; they were quite grumpy about gay marriage.”

The Remainer MP claimed that others are being targeted as well: “What has happened to me and I think is in the process of happening to others like Dominic Grieve, Antoinette Sandbach, Anna Soubry, Mark Pawsey and George Freeman is a sudden influx of ex-UKIP members or ex-UKIP voters actively recruited by the organisations Leave.EU and Leave Means Leave.”

You would have thought most Tories would welcome new members and blood into the party to take the fight to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. 17.4 million Brexiteers voted Leave and now they expect the Conservative government to deliver. 64% of Tory members prefer No Deal to Theresa May’s deal – it is Nick Boles who now represents the fringe of his party.

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BBC News

Published  6 days ago

The prime minister tells Conservative parliamentarians "history will judge us all" over the handling of Britain's exit from the EU.

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

MPs have voted against including the European Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law after Brexit. A Labour amendment, tabled in the name of Jeremy Corbyn, sought to retain the provisions in the

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

The Manchester Arena attack was “justified” because of airstrikes that have killed civilians in Syria, Shamima Begum has claimed. The 19-year-old, who is pleading to be repatriated from a detention

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

Britain could slash environmental and safety regulations on imported products after it leaves the EU, a Tory MP has suggested.

Jacob Rees-Mogg said regulations that were “good enough for India” could be good enough for the UK – arguing that the UK could go “a very long way” to rolling back high EU standards.

The idea, floated at a hearing of the Treasury Select Committee, was immediately rejected by an economist, who said such a move would likely cause “quite considerable” difficulties.

Government quietly privatises the NHS's in-house agency staff provider

“We could, if we wanted, accept emissions standards from India, America, and Europe. There’d be no contradiction with that,” Mr Rees-Mogg said.

“We could say, if it’s good enough in India, it’s good enough for here. There’s nothing to stop that.

“We could take it a very long way. American emission standards are fine – probably in some cases higher.

“I accept that we’re not going to allow dangerous toys to come in from China, we don’t want to see those kind of risks. But there’s a very long way you can go.”

The MP's comments came in the context of a discussion about trade deals with other countries following Brexit.

Jonathan Portes, a research fellow of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research however said the approach could cause “complications”.

Created with Sketch. Supreme Court Brexit Challenge

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Created with Sketch. Supreme Court Brexit Challenge

“If we simply said we would not impose any regulatory constraints on any goods coming to this country I think the risk of negative spill-over that would reduce productivity as well as many other things that we care about would be very high,” he said.

“We could certainly go a fair way but I think we would find the complications and the difficulties that mounted up would quickly become quite considerable.”

The Government has said all EU regulations will be enshrined into British law by a Great Repeal Bill. Changes can then be made on a case-by-case basis after Brexit.

Ministers have declined to back a Labour bill that would enshrine workers' rights in to EU law, though Theresa May has said the rules protecting workers will be safe.

We’ll tell you what’s true.

You can form your own view.

At The Independent, no one tells us what to write. That’s why, in an era of political lies and Brexit bias, more readers are turning to an independent source. Please support us and enjoy extra exclusives, events, ebooks – all with no ads.

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of betraying the party’s Brexit policy by the delegates who wrote it, as they demand he finally backs a Final Say referendum on Brexit. The delegates from around the

mirror

Published  1 week ago

Michael Gove's daughter went to today's school strike climate change protest.

The Environment Secretary's wife, Sarah Vine revealed their daughter was planning to attend the protest in a newspaper column yesterday.

The protest, which is currently blocking the road outside the Palace of Wesminster, has seen children chanting "F**k Theresa May " and "Where the f**k is the Government" as they protest against global warming.

In her Daily Mail column, Mrs Vine wrote: "Presumably, like 99.9 per cent of those taking part, they see it less as a political protest than as an excellent opportunity to get out of doing any work.

"That's how my daughter and her friends view it. I did point out that since her father is the actual Environment Secretary, she could theoretically petition him directly.

"'That's all right,' she said. 'I'd rather go to the park.'"

Theresa May slammed the youngsters who missed lessons today to take part in the demonstration.

She said: "Everybody wants young people to be engaged in the issues that affect them most so that we can build a brighter future for all of us.

"But it is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers' workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for.

"That time is crucial for young people, precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem."

Mail Online

Published  1 week ago

Tasnime Akunjee first appeared in the public eye when he represented the families of three girls who fled to join ISIS in Syria in 2015.

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

Theresa May must launch an independent investigation into “foreign influence and voter manipulation” in the Brexit vote, a committee of MPs says today, amid growing evidence of lawbreaking by Leave

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

Campaigners for a fresh Brexit referendum will pour onto the streets for another huge demonstration next month, with the decision poised to “go down to the wire”. The Put It To The People march –

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

Theresa May has left the door open for the greater involvement of US corporations in British healthcare as she arrives in America to lay the groundwork for a future trade deal.

Ms May would only say that she was committed to a health service that is free at the point of delivery, but made no comment on whether the NHS would be off the table in any future talks.

Trade and the UK’s economic relationship with the US will be one of the key pillars of the Prime Minister’s visit to Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Asked whether health services might form a part of a potential deal, she said: “We're at the start of the process of talking about a trade deal. We're both very clear that we want a trade deal.

“It will be in the interests of the UK from my point of view, that's what I'm going to be taking in, into the trade discussions that take place in due course.

“Obviously he will have the interests of the US. I believe we can come to an agreement that is in the interests of both.”

Created with Sketch. The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued

Show all 9 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch. The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued

Asked again whether the NHS would be off the table she said: “As regards the NHS, we're very clear as a Government that we're committed to an NHS that is free at the point of use.”

The statement left open the possibility of the greater involvement of US firms in healthcare, as long as people do not have to pay for the services they provide at the moment they are received.

A Number 10 spokesman said later: “The NHS will never be part of a trade deal and will always remain free at the point of delivery.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said: “The public were told Brexit would mean another £350m a week for the NHS, not that our health service would be opened up to US firms.

“Theresa May must immediately clarify that the NHS will not be up for sale in any future negotiations with Trump. Hollowing out our health service in the name of a trade deal with the US would be an utter betrayal of most of those who voted to leave the EU.”

One of the key factors that led to opposition to the TTIP trade deal between the US and EU was fear over whether it would open up the NHS to vast multi-national corporations who might put the profits ahead of patient care.

Ms May faced repeated questions in the Commons on Wednesday, with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn urging her to rule out any deal that would give US giants a toehold in British healthcare.

The SNP also raised concerns that a deal could see UK supermarkets stocked with foods that do not meet current safety standards.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Westmonster

Published  1 week ago

The Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has this morning described the prospect of a delay to Brexit as “very difficult” and “very odd” after a the UK’s Chief Negotiator Olly Robbins reportedly talked of a lengthy delay of MPs don’t back Theresa May’s deal.

Asked about such a delay this morning, Barclay told Sky News that it would send a “very odd message to say to the British public three years after they voted to leave they should consider voting for Members of the European Parliament”.

He added that: “I think that would go back on what many people voted for.

“It’s worth reminding ourselves this vote was the biggest vote in our country’s history.

“And that Parliament voted to trigger Article 50 and that both of the main parties stood on manifestos to deliver on that vote.”

Brexit Secretary @SteveBarclay is asked about the possibility of a long Article 50 extension.

It would send a "very odd message," he says.

For the latest on #Brexit go here: https://t.co/i5Wz56hOpB pic.twitter.com/hkjOMhvBQi

— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 13, 2019

Barclay also reiterated that the “default option” is that the UK will leave the EU with No Deal.

The clock is ticking towards the #Brexit deadline. @skysarahjane asked @SteveBarclay what the options are if a deal isn't agreed.

Meanwhile, MPs have revealed two plans to stop no-deal: https://t.co/sAfDhTP9cB pic.twitter.com/SikRR1Cj3b

— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 13, 2019

A delay beyond 29th March would shatter faith in the government. Voters have already waited years for the UK to exit the European Union and now just want it to be delivered.

BrexitCentral

Published  1 week ago

Written by

A few honourable MPs aside, the Labour Party has now dumped its manifesto commitment on Brexit to respect the referendum result. It is now calling for Britain to stay in the EU’s customs union forever – which would effectively mean being locked into the EU forever while having no say at all over how it works.

Say what you like about Theresa May’s negotiating skills, her task would anyway have been nigh on impossible given the continual attempts at sabotage from politicians and others in Britain.

One example: when May went to Brussels last week, she was told by Donald Tusk that Jeremy Corbyn’s proposals for a permanent customs union represented “a promising way out” of the current impasse on Brexit.

Another form of sabotage is the constant exhortations from the establishment calling for the EU to give no ground to the Government.

Brexit is in danger. A clean Brexit is still the default position, leaving on 29th March to trade on WTO terms. Yet despite the defeat in parliament on 29th January of every binding amendment to block or delay Brexit – including Labour’s permanent customs union – Theresa May’s so-called Withdrawal Agreement is still on the table.

Even though MPs voted against it on 24th January, May still wants MPs to vote again on it, once again using No Deal as a threat not as an opportunity.

Her current deal with the EU is not a Withdrawal Agreement – it is a Remainer Agreement, in every clause on every one of its 585 pages. It is No Brexit. It would bind us forever into a United States of Europe.

It is meant to be permanent, inescapable. The Attorney General told the Cabinet that there was no legal escape route from the backstop Protocol and that it would “endure indefinitely”.

Her deal would give the EU tariff-free access to our market and control of our trade policy, force us to fund the EU’s defence programme, give EU fishing vessels free access to our waters, give the EU control of our farms, and allow free movement of labour through clauses about “mobility”. In sum, it would bind us into the EU in perpetuity.

No surprise, then, that Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, boasted that the EU got “almost everything” it wanted with the deal.

MPs rejected May’s deal – almost the only thing they can agree on – then voted to tell her to go yet again to Brussels with her faithful lieutenant Oliver Robbins, to beg the EU to drop the Irish backstop.

But the EU will not give up the huge advantages they gain under the backstop. As Robbins observed, renegotiating the backstop with the EU is “for the birds”.

We do not need to beg the EU to change its position – that would be fruitless, as all experience from Harold Macmillan 50 years ago to David Cameron has proven. We do not need to beg the EU for a new deal, as Boris Johnson has suggested. We do not need to pay the EU £39 billion for the privilege of leaving, nor even the £20 billion that Johnson proposed.

We can and should just declare our policies on trade, fishing, the Irish border, immigration and everything else. We do not need to ask the EU’s permission. We declare our independence and then, if we wish, we can negotiate with the EU.

BrexitCentral

Published  1 week ago

Written by

A big row is brewing this morning over the motion that the Government has tabled for tomorrow’s full day of debate on Brexit in the Commons, which the eurosceptic MPs in the European Research Group have told government whips they cannot support.

With MPs having expected a neutral, anodyne (albeit amendable) motion to be tabled, instead the Government yesterday tabled a motion that endorses the approach to Brexit as agreed by amendments passed by the Commons on 29th January.

Whilst welcoming Theresa May’s statement delivered in the Commons yesterday and noting that “discussions between the UK and the EU on the Northern Ireland backstop are ongoing”, the motion states that the House:

“reiterates its support for the approach to leaving the EU expressed by this House on 29 January 2019”

Far from being neutral, this means that MPs are being called upon to back a motion that would not only be endorsing the demand of Sir Graham Brady’s amendment for the backstop to be replaced, but also the other successful amendment of two weeks ago – from Dame Caroline Spelman – that states opposition to leaving the EU without a deal.

I gather that there was a fiery meeting in the Government Whips’ Office yesterday involving leading lights of the ERG during which the Tory eurosceptics indicated that they could not support a motion that ruled out the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. The ERG suggested that it be pulled and a new version tabled today. But the government whips did not acquiesce to their entreaties and ministers therefore face the prospect of potentially losing the vote tomorrow if they refuse to table an alternative motion and Labour and other opposition parties then whip their MPs to oppose the motion as currently tabled.

While the motion would not be legally binding, its being voted down on Valentine’s Day would create embarrassing and unnecessary “Government defeated again on Brexit” headlines, spoiling the peace, love and unity that had broken out on the government benches over the successful Brady amendment last month.

A senior ERG source tells me:

“This is clearly not a neutral motion, as it effectively endorses the Spelman amendment – which ruled out No Deal – which is explicitly contrary to the Government’s own policy and which would completely destroy our leverage in the critical negotiations with the EU. If they supported this motion on Thursday, the Government would effectively be voting against their own expressed policy, as repeated in the House, including by the Prime Minister, on numerous occasions. This is utterly chaotic, bordering on farce.

“We told the Government very clearly last night that we will not support this motion and in fact we urged them, indeed pleaded with them at senior level, to withdraw it yesterday – but they took absolutely no notice. Frankly, we despair.”

BBC News

Published  1 week ago

The defeat by 45 votes has no legal force but No 10 had warned it would make the PM's EU talks more difficult.

the Guardian

Published  1 week ago

I clearly remember pondering, on 24 June 2016, why there was not more public and political outrage at the idea of a British government putting itself above the law, and using the royal prerogative to execute the referendum result. I find myself in exactly the same mindset in terms of the potential undermining of our democracy, government and sovereignty by a hostile foreign power – Russia – in what appears to be a secretive coup.

As a transparency campaigner and a passionate believer in our British values, as well as political and democratic systems, I am worried. People were told that walking out of the EU would liberate us from the clutches of unaccountable bureaucrats and would allow us to “take back control”. Auberon Waugh’s “junta of Belgian ticket inspectors” would be sent packing, the British people would reclaim sovereignty and British courts would decide British law for British people. The fog of bureaucracy would be blown away by the accountability and transparency that we supposedly enjoyed in the days before 1973.

Who paid for the leave vote? Brexit should be halted until we know | George Monbiot

Read more

It is turning out very differently. Think of Brexit as a matryoshka, or a Russian nesting doll, with voting to leave the EU as the outer doll, representing all the various things we were sold: free trade, prosperity, sovereignty, transparency, increased control over borders, and less money sent to Brussels. Pulling off the outer doll reveals another doll that represents something much more worrying.

Over the last two months, on an almost weekly basis, we have heard allegations of unidentified sources of money being used in the leave campaigns, which may have circumvented rules designed to uphold the integrity of our democratic process, which said campaigns purported to want to reclaim. The mysterious Constitutional Research Council (CRC) is reported to have routed £425,000 into pro-Brexit ads in London via the Democratic Unionist party. Conveniently, Northern Irish political donations are treated as confidential, a legacy from the Troubles. The same CRC gave the Tory MP Steve Baker £6,500 in 2016. At the time Baker was chairman of a Tory hard-Brexit caucus, the European Research Group (ERG), which was behind the sinister Boris Johnson and Michael Gove letter exposed by the Mail on Sunday. And what is Baker doing now? He is junior minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU).

The Electoral Commission is investigating the funding of Leave.eu and its largest donor, Arron Banks. These allegations focus on whether donations were permissible and on whether Banks or his company acted as an agent for other donors. Banks denies all the allegations against him. Meanwhile, Vote Leave, the official campaign to quit the EU, last week also came under investigation for potentially breaching the rules by giving £625,000 to a 23-year-old fashion student in connection with his campaign to get young voters to back leave.

The third doll in the matryoshka, fittingly, is Russian. All 17 of the US intelligence agencies agree that the Kremlin interfered in the US presidential election – the only debate is to what extent the Trump campaign colluded. Now it seems that Russia weighed in on the Brexit referendum for exactly the same reasons: to divide the west by breaking up Nato and the EU – and excluding the effective and influential US and UK from continental European affairs as far as possible. We now know that thousands of Russian bots were active in pushing the Brexit message on social media, as were workers in the St Petersburg “troll factory”.

Russia’s free pass to undermine British democracy | Nick Cohen

Read more

The big question now is to what extent Russian money came into the leave campaigns, and is in effect funding a cold war. How deep does foreign interference from a hostile power go in undermining our democratic systems? When leave campaigners try to write off the foreign interference as a ploy by remainers, they fall into a trap set by the Russians, which is to set us against each other. In all of this, we should remember that we are all British citizens and even if we voted on different sides in June 2016, we all value our democracy and fear foreign corruption of our way of life and country. That means standing firm against foreign powers that wish to see our institutions undermined.

Which brings me to the innermost doll: illiberalism. Of the 52% who cast their vote for leave, how many were voting for Britain to become a deregulated, super-low-tax, small-state country? The Vote Leave bus message that told voters “We send the EU £350m a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead” has been widely discredited. But what if the people who have grabbed the Brexit steering wheel were hostile to the very idea of the NHS?

Gove and Johnson are pushing for hard deregulation under the cover of hard Brexit. With the ERG and the highly influential Legatum Institute on their side, the duo have demanded that the prime minister drop taxes and make a bonfire of the regulations that protect us. As Marie Antoinette said of the poor, “let them eat cake” – the modern equivalent being “let them eat chlorinated chicken”. The extremely successful vacuum-cleaner magnate James Dyson has been more open than Johnson and Gove in describing the post-Brexit country he wants: one that sees an end to corporation tax, and a slashing of protection for workers’ rights. In the secret “bullying” Gove and Johnson letter, for Theresa May’s eyes only, they talked about circumventing normal cabinet protocols, getting rid of moderate ministers and parachuting in a Brexit “implementation taskforce” to overrule Whitehall and our civil service.

There is every likelihood that this taskforce would involve Matthew Elliott, the lead Vote Leave campaigner who now works for the Legatum Institute, as well as other Legatum staff, none of them elected by anyone, or loyal to anything other than their employer. The Legatum Institute is a handsomely funded extreme free-market thinktank fuelled by offshore cash from the Caribbean and Dubai. Behind it stand the Chandler brothers, who made their billions in Russia’s most turbulent years, and once owned 4% of Gazprom.

DExEU, of all ministries, has not responded to multiple freedom of information requests about its relationship with Legatum. The Mail on Sunday now has photographic evidence of Shanker Singham, director of economic policy at Legatum, and Gove at a behind-closed-doors Commons seminar on Brexit last Friday, which was also attended by No 10 and officials from the US embassy.

The things being smuggled in under the cover of Brexit will damage so much of what we hold dear. A cabal of tycoons would see their wealth and influence turbocharged, while the mass of the population would see their prosperity, their security and, ultimately, their liberty dwindle away. And this is the dark nature of the inner doll: the end of the western model of capitalism married to liberal democracy. The turbulence caused by crashing out of the EU would just be another opportunity for these individuals.

The matryoshka dolls have only started to come apart and reveal the inner truths in the last six weeks. But this is just the beginning, not the end, of the process. The more people glimpse the inner doll, the more I am convinced that an overwhelming majority of the electorate – irrespective of how they voted in the referendum – will understand the deception that is being perpetrated. They will demand that our democracy be defended.

• Gina Miller was the lead claimant in the successful legal fight to allow parliament to vote on whether the UK could start the process of leaving the EU

Breitbart

Published  1 week ago

The European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has suggested that Tory Brexiteers who reject a soft Brexit deal will be sent to the guillotine like the leaders of the French revolution.

“Within the Tory Party, the hard Brexiteers are compared to the leaders of the French Revolution,” Mr Vehofstadt said during a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday.

“I think Gove is Brissot, Boris Johnson is Danton, and Rees-Mogg is compared to Robespierre.

“But we should not forget that the efforts of these men were not appreciated by the Common Man they claimed to represent because they all ended up on the guillotine.

“So that’s important to remind [them].”

https://twitter.com/Channel4News/status/1095283830234189825

The Europhile made the comparison ahead of a meeting with the UK’s Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, part of the minister’s tour to gain support for changes to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement after Conservative MPs said they would not back it unless the Irish backstop is removed.

Verhofstadt’s comments come a week after President of the European Council Donald Tusk said he wondered whether there was “a special place in hell” for Brexiteers who promoted leaving the European Union.

The threat of damnation for those daring to support leaving the EU was raised again on Tuesday by the staunch Remainer and Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) MP Stewart M. McDonald during the prime minister’s Brexit statement, when he asked whether Brexit campaigners would be sent to Dante’s Inferno.

“I’m sure, Mr Speaker, that the prime minister is ferociously well-read and would have read the 14th-century masterpiece Divine Comedy, which is home to Dante’s Inferno, the nine circles of hell,” Mr McDonald said in the House of Commons.

“The eighth circle was reserved for fraudsters. Is that where we will find those from the referendum campaign who broke electoral law, deployed all kinds of political sorcery and false promise in order to win the referendum and is where… her own Withdrawal Agreement is going?”

To which Mrs May returned to the Despatch Box and replied, “No.”

‘Devilish Euro Maniac’ Tusk Declares ‘Special Place in Hell’ for Brexiteers https://t.co/RSSWRDjMtq

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 6, 2019

TruePublica

Published  1 week ago

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was forced into an embarrassing admission - his plan to quickly normalize the U.K.’s WTO commitments had failed

InFacts

Published  1 week ago

Again and again PM fails to take action on Brexit, preferring to run down clock in hope of a better hand. Meanwhile the country suffers.

Westmonster

Published  1 week ago

Theresa May’s Chief Negotiator in Brussels, Olly Robbins, has embarrassingly been overheard talking about MPs having a choice ahead of backing a Brexit deal or there being a significant delay to the UK exiting the European Union.

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ITV News heard Robbins talking in a bar, apparently “speaking in such a manner that you didn’t have to listen hard to hear him”, Pretty Mickey Mouse stuff, unless the intention was for journalists to hear him of course.

Angus Walker, who was listening in, heard Robbins claim that the options set to be put on the table amount to either Theresa May’s deal being supported or talks being extended.

This effectively would mean the British government ruling out No Deal and destroying the UK’s hand in negotiations or the incentive for the European Union to grant concessions.

“In the end they will probably just give us an extension,” he was heard saying. This goes against what May has said publicly, promising time and time again that the UK will leave the EU on 29th March.

Robbins has been a controversial character, seen as being far too pro-EU. The Sunday Times reported in October that “Robbins appeared ready to sign the UK up to a deal that would have seen Britain agree to join a Customs Union with no end date”, What a joke.

Brexiteers responded last night, with Nigel Farage saying: “As I have said before, Olly Robbins represents the civil service fifth column in our country. He should be sacked immediately for a combination of treachery and incompetence.”

Former Brexit Minister Steve Baker had his say too: “As a consummate civil servant, Olly Robbins is likely to be appalled by this story. Officials advise. Ministers decide. What matters ultimately is the policy of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

“If the PM decides we are leaving on 29th March, deal or No Deal, that will happen.”

If May is to secure any significant changes to her deal, she must now make clear that she will oversee a WTO Brexit if Brussels refuse to budge. The clock is ticking and a delay to Brexit would shatter trust in what the Prime Minister and government have long promised: the UK leaving on 29th March.

Westmonster

Published  1 week ago

It has been claimed that the German government have been spoon-fed rubbish by anti-Brexit former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been briefing about a second referendum.

Yesterday on BBC’s Newsnight, Nick Watt explained the German position: “They think there are the signs of change in Berlin, because over there they’ve been listening to Tony Blair who’s been telling them ‘there will be a second referendum’.

“That is now much less likely, so they are now beginning to contemplate No Deal.”

He went on to say that Angela Merkel is clearly “absolutely decisive” when it comes to the EU side of negotiations but that when it comes to advice “they’ve basically been listening to Tony Blair and there’s a question mark about how credible he is”.

Is it any wonder the EU offered us such a bad deal, when Tony Blair has been telling EU leaders all along that Brexit would be stopped? pic.twitter.com/FsmoH6pMpA

— Change Britain (@Change_Britain) February 13, 2019

Most Brits would agree. The Birmingham Post’s Jonathan Walker responded by tweeting: “Fascinating and kind of scary from Nick Watt on Newsnight who says Berlin, and therefore Brussels, have based their Brexit negotiating strategy on the assumption we’ll have a second referendum, because that’s what Tony Blair told them.”

It has previously been reported that Blair has been telling EU leaders that another referendum is on the way. What a disgraceful way to behave from a former PM who is already totally discredited.

Theresa May has been enraged after reports Tony Blair has been saying to EU leaders that another referendum is on the way – says our political editor Nicholas Watt #newsnight | @Maitlis | @NicholasWatt pic.twitter.com/CBroA1zRzm

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) January 21, 2019

Shameful that British politicians have been briefing against Brexit behind the scenes.

Westmonster

Published  1 week ago

The prospect of a No Deal Brexit is becoming more likely as the clock ticks down towards 29th March 2019 and the European Union refuse to make any substantial changes to Theresa May’s rejected the deal.

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In an interesting piece for the Huffington Post, Paul Waugh says that “internal party polling and warnings from her Chief Whip and Party Chairman have forced her to ‘think the unthinkable'”.

His tweet is even clearer: “Theresa May is now seriously contemplating a No Deal Brexit.”

Private polls apparently reflect what we’ve seen in numerous public versions, Brits now just want out: “The message from a large chunk of Leave voters is that they want a ‘clean Brexit’.”

Waugh also quotes a source as saying of Brexiteer MPs: “She’s been told – ‘You need to understand prime minister, it’s very simple maths – the ERG (European Research Group) will fuck you, fuck the Conservative Party and they will throw themselves over a cliff. Your Remainer colleagues will not’. It’s who’s got the biggest balls.”

ITV’s Robert Peston has also given his assessment: “Most MPs tell me they believe a No Deal Brexit is a remote prospect.

“They are wrong.

“I would argue it is the most likely outcome – unless evasive action is taken much sooner than anyone expects.”

Time and time again, Theresa May has insisted that she will deliver Brexit on time, come the 29th March. To fail in that duty now would damage public trust massively and mean the return of Nigel Farage with the new Brexit Party.

With Brussels still refusing to make any meaningful changes to her heavily rejected deal, the UK must be prepared to walk away. No Deal is still better than a bad deal and the UK can thrive after a WTO Brexit that delivers full independence.

If you would like to help Westmonster fight for Brexit please support us with a donation to help secure our future. Thank you!

HuffPost UK

Published  1 week ago

Internal party polling and warnings from her chief whip and party chairman have forced her to 'think the unthinkable'

Westmonster

Published  1 week ago

In a dramatic intervention, Business Minister Richard Harrington has claimed that pro-Brexit Tory MPs that form the European Research Group should join Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

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Harrington, who is dead-set against a No Deal Brexit, has told PoliticsHome: “The Prime Minister has done a pretty good job of standing up to the ERG until now, but they were drinking champagne to celebrate her losing her deal and I regard that as being treachery.

“I read that Nigel Farage is setting up a new party called Brexit and if I were them I’d be looking at that, because that seems to reflect their views more than the Conservative Party. In my view, they’re not Conservatives.

“There are people who are very solid and stringent in their views and if I were them I would be looking at a party that seems designed for them – Nigel Farage’s party.”

The UK’s Brexit negotiator is talking about a long delay to Article 50. The establishment are betraying Brexit.

I am now sitting as an MEP for The Brexit Party in the European Parliament.

Sign up to https://t.co/ltkoaDnHUx below!

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 13, 2019

It comes on the evening that many ERG MPs abstained on, with a few voting against, the government’s way forward on Brexit that included avoiding No Deal.

As senior ERG MP Mark Francois stated before the vote: “We cannot vote for this as it is currently configured because it rules out No Deal and removes our negotiating leverage in Brussels.

“The Prime Minister, if she went through the lobbies for this tomorrow night, would be voting against the guarantees she has given in the Commons for months (No Deal still on table). It is madness.”

Why would a Conservative Minister urge pro-Brexit MPs to join another party? What the hell is going on at the top of Theresa May’s government?

Westmonster

Published  1 week ago

Pro-Brexit MPs are furious with the government, as they look set to rebel against a motion that would effectively go against the possibility of a No Deal Brexit.

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Theresa May looks set to back a motion that “reiterates its support for the approach to leaving the EU” endorsed by MPs, but this included an amendment that sought to rule out leaving the EU without a deal.

The European Research Group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs are therefore likely to abstain, with Labour voting against. That could mean a messy defeat for the government on Valentine’s Day evening.

Conservative Brexiteer Mark Francois has told The Telegraph: “We cannot vote for this as it is currently configured because it rules out No Deal and removes our negotiating leverage in Brussels.

“The Prime Minister, if she went through the lobbies for this tomorrow night, would be voting against the guarantees she has given in the Commons for months (No Deal still on table). It is madness.”

May’s Spokesman insists that walking away is still a possibility: “No Deal is an eventuality we wish to avoid, but one we continue to plan for. Does No Deal remain on the table? The answer is yes.”

Why is May herself so reluctant to say she is prepared to walk away from the EU without a deal?

the Guardian

Published  1 week ago

Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion and its people need to wake up before it is too late. If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991. Neither our leaders nor ordinary citizens seem to understand that we are experiencing a revolutionary moment, that the range of possibilities is very broad, and that the eventual outcome is thus highly uncertain.

Most of us assume the future will more or less resemble the present, but this is not necessarily so. In a long and eventful life, I have witnessed many periods of what I call radical disequilibrium. We are living in such a period today.

The next inflection point will be the elections for the European parliament, in May 2019. Unfortunately, anti-EU forces will enjoy a competitive advantage. There are several reasons for this, including the outdated party system in most European countries, the practical impossibility of treaty change and the lack of legal tools for disciplining member states that violate the principles on which the EU was founded. The EU can impose its laws on applicant countries but it lacks sufficient capacity to enforce member states’ compliance.

The antiquated party system hampers those who want to preserve the values on which the EU was founded, but it helps those who want to replace those values with something radically different. This is true in individual countries and even more so in trans-European alliances. The party system of individual states reflects the divisions that mattered in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the conflict between capital and labour. But the cleavage that matters most today is between pro- and anti-European forces.

The many voters who remain pro-European have no party to vote for

The EU’s dominant country is Germany, whose dominant political alliance – between the Christian Democratic Union and the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union – has become unsustainable. The alliance worked as long as there was no significant party in Bavaria to the right of the CSU. That changed with the rise of the extremist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). In last September’s länder elections, the CSU’s result was its worst in more than six decades, and the AfD entered the Bavarian parliament for the first time.

The AfD’s rise removed the raison d’etre of the CDU-CSU alliance. But that alliance cannot be broken up without triggering new elections that neither Germany nor Europe can afford. And the ruling coalition cannot be robustly pro-European while facing the AfD threat.

The situation is far from hopeless. The German Greens have emerged as the only consistently pro-European party in the country, and they continue to rise in opinion polls, whereas the AfD seems to have reached its high point (except in the former East Germany). But now CDU/CSU voters are represented by a party whose commitment to European values is ambivalent.

In the United Kingdom too an antiquated party structure prevents the popular will from finding proper expression. Both Labour and the Conservatives are internally divided, but their leaders, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May, respectively, are determined to deliver Brexit. The situation is so complicated that most Britons just want to get it over with, although it will be the defining event for the country for decades to come.

Collusion between Corbyn and May has aroused opposition in both parties, which in the case of Labour is bordering on rebellion. May has announced a programme to aid impoverished pro-Brexit Labour constituencies in the north of England. And Corbyn is accused of betraying the pledge he made at Labour’s last party conference to back a second Brexit referendum if he can’t trigger a general election.

The chances that May’s deal will again be rejected by MPs are growing by the day. That could set in motion a groundswell of support for a referendum – or, even better, for revoking Britain’s article 50 notification.

Italy finds itself in a similar predicament. The EU made a fatal mistake in 2017 by strictly enforcing the Dublin agreement, which unfairly burdens countries, such as Italy, where migrants first enter the EU. This drove its predominantly pro-European and pro-immigration electorate into the arms of the anti-European League party and Five Star Movement in last year’s election. The previously dominant Democratic party is in disarray. As a result, the many voters who remain pro-European have no party to vote for. There is, however, an attempt to organise a united pro-European list. A similar reordering of party systems is happening in France, Poland and Sweden.

How rising populism could shake up European elections

Read more

When it comes to trans-European alliances, the situation is even worse. National parties at least have some roots in the past, but these alliances are entirely dictated by party leaders’ self-interest. The European People’s party (EPP) alliance is the worst offender – almost entirely devoid of principles, as demonstrated by its willingness to embrace Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party in order to preserve its majority and control the allocation of top EU jobs. Anti-European forces may look good in comparison: at least they have some principles, even if they are odious.

It is difficult to see how the pro-EU parties can emerge victorious from the May elections unless they put Europe’s interests ahead of their own. One can still make a case for preserving the EU in order radically to reinvent it. But that would require a change of heart within the EU. The current leadership is reminiscent of the politburo when the Soviet Union collapsed – continuing to issue edicts as if they were still relevant.

The first step to defending Europe from its enemies, both internal and external, is to recognise the magnitude of the threat they present. The second is to awaken the sleeping pro-European majority and mobilise it to defend the values on which the EU was founded. Otherwise, the dream of a united Europe could become a 21st-century nightmare.

• George Soros is the chairman of Soros Fund Management and of the Open Society Foundations

A version of this article has also appeared on Project Syndicate

The Sun

Published  1 week ago

THERESA May is preparing to resign as PM this summer so she can influence who succeeds her, Cabinet ministers now believe. Under the suspected plan, Mrs May would call time on her Premiership short…

BrexitCentral

Published  1 week ago

Written by

Let’s make no mistake – with the clock ticking down to 29th March, we have finally arrived at an existential turning point for both the United Kingdom and the European Union. Talk of compromises and cross-party consensus and some kind of semantic fudge that will make the Brexit-negating Withdrawal Agreement pass the Commons at the third attempt is a painful distraction from harsh political and historic realities.

Both the UK and the EU still face a stark binary choice, whether all parties acknowledge it or not. Leave or Remain. Double or quits. In or out. Sitting on the Brexit fence while making the right noises to the right people, in the hope that this decision can be delayed or permanently taken off the political agenda, is an abdication of responsibility that will soon no longer be an option.

For the UK, the choice can be summarised as one between democracy and permanent second-class statehood; freedom to hire and fire the people who make the laws we have to obey and pay for, or the triumph of pessimism due to the mistaken and craven belief that we aren’t mature and sensible enough to run our own affairs, and must cleave to a supranational body with minimal democratic legitimacy because we are too insignificant to defend our right to democratic self-government.

Remainers trying to subvert the referendum result by locking the UK into the EU, even as we are supposedly leaving it, have completely missed the point of the Leave vote. It was a vote of confidence in Great Britain and its institutions, flawed or otherwise. It was a vote by optimists, by people who believe in the regenerative, sometimes messy but always liberating, principle of democracy – which is that you make your own mistakes, and if you don’t like the way the ship of state is run, you chuck out the government and give someone else a turn at the wheel. There are ups and downs, but you always have a choice. And that choice is precious.

People across the world have died in countless wars to be able to have such a choice. It is sad indeed that many of the guardians of this ancient, disruptive, rambunctious democracy of ours are so afraid of it that they dare not stand up for it. Indeed, they would rather abolish it and have us ruled by an unelected European Commission, which continues to assume with Ancien Régime arrogance that the British people can be made to vote as many times as necessary until they sign up to the European Project. One might say when hell freezes over, but one hates to employ such clichés. Except when they are true.

Staying in a customs union with the EU, accepting close regulatory alignment with the EU, joining an EU army with imperial ambitions (as outlined recently by the French), allowing the EU to decide on vast areas of policy-making – as the Withdrawal Agreement does – is not only not Brexit and a failure to deliver on the referendum result. It is to collude in the death of functioning, open, plural democracy, which is the only safeguard against dictatorship.

So the choice is clear: a Brexit that restores supreme law-making powers to the UK, or the triumph of technocracy and the enforcement by a foreign court of perpetual protectionist mediocrity, to ensure that no member state of the EU is ever independent enough to question the power exercised by an unelected Politburo in Brussels, whose mission is to create the United States of Europe, by fair means or foul.

One country’s upsurge of democracy, of course, can be another’s constitutional catastrophe. For the EU, Brexit is no less of an existential issue. That the second largest financial contributor and the oldest democracy in the EU voted to leave is a damning indictment of the political failure that has marked the European Project in the last twenty years. The fury and insults heaped upon Britain after the referendum testify to the total incomprehension of the EU’s political class when confronted with legitimate dissent.

And that nothing has changed since 23rd June 2016 is evidenced by the ludicrous stories peddled by Project Fear in recent days… Apparently the Queen is to be evacuated if we leave the EU on WTO terms. Given that Her Majesty produces much of her own food on her own land, one wonders where she might go to avoid “the cliff-edge” if the Roquefort doesn’t show up in time for the cheese course.

We hear that a third of UK businesses are thinking of relocating to the EU, only to see that the poll conducted by the IoD was of a tiny percentage of its members. Another headline claims that a majority of Chief Finance Officers believe that the UK will be worse off after Brexit – a majority of just one hundred CFOs surveyed by Deloitte. None of these surveys takes into account that a sovereign Britain can take whatever legislative and fiscal measures it deems fit to ensure that goods flow into this country unfettered and that our economy continues not only to function normally, but to thrive.

This acceleration of Project Fear in the media strengthens the belief that there will be no meaningful concessions on the Withdrawal Agreement before the next debate in the Commons. Indeed, EU leaders have repeatedly said that they will not reopen the legal text. Michel Barnier therefore has no mandate other than to listen politely to the Prime Minister and say no.

The EU will try until the bitter end to ram its appalling deal down our throats, because the slightest sign that it is willing to agree a pragmatic, mutually beneficial trade relationship with a former member state will be seen as a green light for other eurosceptic members to flex their muscles and stand up to the Franco-German juggernaut that intends to sweep them up in its imperial embrace.

The ‘Malthouse Compromise’ recently floated by a group of Tory MPs is likely to be shot down in flames – if indeed it is even tabled for discussion by Theresa May. Whatever she may propose to break the impasse, negotiators in Brussels must cling to their position – that a centralised technocratic EU superstate is the ineluctable future.

It is, of course, the past: an attempt to create by red tape and judicial takeover what has not been possible to achieve through centuries of warfare. But it is hard-wired into the EU’s DNA, and it is a question of survival. For them a no-deal Brexit will be preferable to any ‘deal’ that fails to put Britain on the naughty step and keep it there until it begs to be let back into the nursery.

To EU or not to EU, that remains the question.

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

In a new book, Dangerous Hero, outlining the myriad ways in which Jeremy is unfit for office – cleverly flagged up by The Mail on Sunday’s screamer “UNFIT FOR OFFICE” – the charge list is so long

BBC News

Published  1 week ago

The Labour leader had written to the prime minister, setting out his conditions to supporting a deal.

The Independent

Published  1 week ago

The politicians pushing Brexit should be careful not follow in the footsteps of revolutionary leaders who “ended up on the guillotine”, the European Parliament’s Brexit chief has said.

At a press conference in Strasbourg Guy Verhofstadt compared Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg to Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre – leading figures in the French revolution who were ultimately executed by their former comrades.

He said it was “important to remind” the senior Conservatives that their historical counterparts had ended up losing their heads.

“I know that within the Tory party the hard Brexiteers are compared to the leaders of the French revolution. I think Gove is Brissot, and Boris Johnson is Danton, and Rees-Mogg is compared to Robespierre,” Mr Verhofstadt told a press conference in Strasbourg.

“We should not forget that the efforts of these men were not appreciated by the common man they claimed to represent – because they all ended up on the guillotine. So that’s important to remind [them].”

Created with Sketch. "Brexit betrayal" march in London

Show all 41 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch. "Brexit betrayal" march in London

Mr Verhofstadt was speaking ahead of a meeting with Stephen Barclay at the European Parliament – part of the UK Brexit Secretary’s tour of the EU to gauge support for changes to the withdrawal agreement.

He urged Brexiteers to compromise, adding: “I think it’s completely irresponsible of the hardliners to reject such cross-party cooperation because a no-deal scenario is a disaster for everybody and especially for the UK.

“I hope that such cross party cooperation will now lead to a new proposal or in any way further proposals by the British side.”

The Brexit coordinator said that the government and opposition were not as far apart as some believed, adding: “In my opinion it would surprise me that a country that has shown so much political creativity in its long history would not be able to overcome these differences and find a broad majority in the House of Commons.”

Tory MPs have said they will not support the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May as long as it includes the Irish backstop she negotiated with Brussels to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland.

Many Brexiteers are also opposed to a close economic relationship with the EU, preferring to be outside the customs union and not aligned with single market rules.

We’ll tell you what’s true.

You can form your own view.

At The Independent, no one tells us what to write. That’s why, in an era of political lies and Brexit bias, more readers are turning to an independent source. Please support us and enjoy extra exclusives, events, ebooks – all with no ads.

Sky News

Published  1 week ago

A no-deal Brexit would lead to "potentially devastating" consequences for the peace process in Northern Ireland, according to former prime minister Tony Blair.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sky News' Sophy Ridge, the ex-Labour Party leader warned of a hard border if the UK leaves the EU without agreements in place for what the future relationship will look like.

He dismissed Brexiteer claims that leaving with no deal would not be detrimental to Britain's economy.

Mr Blair told Sky News: "No one could responsibly propose this [a no-deal Brexit]. It would be economically very, very dangerous for Britain and for the peace process in Northern Ireland, it would potentially be devastating.

"We would have a hard border, a very hard border, no-deal Brexit means a really hard border between the north and south of Ireland, contrary to the Good Friday Agreement and it would cause an enormous fissure within the United Kingdom."

He accused politicians of behaving recklessly over the issue of the Northern Ireland peace process.

He said: "They've been playing fast and loose with it from the beginning.

"There's people who cheerfully say you can put the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in a completely different relationship with Europe, in trading terms, and it makes no difference to the economy of Northern Ireland - I don't know on what basis they would possibly say that."

The former politician, who has called for a second referendum on Brexit, said the country needed to decide whether it wanted a soft or hard departure from the bloc.

"I've never thought you could get to another referendum going directly to it - you'll get to it when the people see what the true Brexit alternatives are and the truth is there are two," he said.

"You can have the soft Brexit, which is really what Jeremy Corbyn is suggesting, or you could have the hard Brexit that Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and other people want.

"And what I've really been saying all the way through this process is you've got to decide which of those Brexits you want before we leave - otherwise, we're going to leave without clarity."

He said leaving without clarity meant "no closure" for the country, leaving the argument to rage on long after the UK leaves the EU.

"By then you'll have left paid your money up front and you'll have given up your negotiating leverage," he said. "For the country to do that, as Theresa May wants to do - to leave without knowing what Brexit you get - this would be, in my view, an incredibly foolish thing for the country to do.

"It's got to know where we're heading before we leave."

He later turned to the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party and admitted there were "parts of the left that do have a problem with antisemitism".

"You see this in their attitudes to the state of Israel," said Mr Blair. "You can make all sorts of criticisms about the state of Israel but with their continual focusing on Israel, all the time over a long period, you're left with the feeling that they're in a sense targeting it because it is a Jewish state."

He said Labour leadership had "not been robust enough on this".

"Can you imagine when I was leader of the Labour Party having a conversation with me about whether antisemitism was in the Labour Party or not?" he asked. "We wouldn't even have that conversation and there is, I'm afraid, a nascent alliance between what I would call bits of the sort of Islamist type of politics and the left.

"And you can see this not just here in the UK, you can see it across Europe and yes, it gives rise to antisemitism... it's not your traditional antisemitism of the right-wing nature but it's every bit as pernicious."

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

Fresh off the back of the revelation yesterday that 15,000 people had subscribed to the Brexit Party in 24 hours, Nigel Farage has updated the numbers to 35,000 registrations in 48 hours.

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The architect of UKIP’s astonishing rise in British politics has warned that any Article 50 extension and delay to the UK’s EU exit would see him battling for the newly registered Brexit Party in May’s European Elections. The Conservatives and Labour would have to be insane to allow that to happen.

Tweeting this morning, Nigel revealed that: “An astonishing 35,000 people have registered as supporters of The Brexit Party in the first 48 hours, our politicians had better listen. Visit http://thebrexitparty.org to sign up.”

An astonishing 35,000 people have registered as supporters of The Brexit Party in the first 48 hours, our politicians had better listen.

Visit https://t.co/QXOkndZhtj to sign up.

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 11, 2019

Theresa May better stick to her promise of an EU exit on 29th March…

You can help Westmonster battle for Brexit by supporting us with a donation. Thanks for your support!

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

If the establishment don't want Nigel Farage to return to the frontline, they need to deliver Brexit on 29th March as promised. In an absolute missile of

The Telegraph

Published  2 weeks ago

Theresa May is to urge MPs to give her another fortnight to seek changes to her Brexit agreement, as pro-Remain rebels prepare a second attempt to remove the option of leaving without a deal.

This week the Prime Minister is expected to pledge to MPs that she will return to the Commons later this month to update MPs on her plans and give them an opportunity to vote on what should happen next.

The move is intended to buy time to continue negotiating with EU leaders, who have so far refused to make any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, after it was rejected by the Commons in its current form.

A Downing Street source said Mrs May and ministers were attempting to secure the "legally binding changes"...

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

Theresa May suppressed up to nine studies that found immigration does not hit the wages or jobs of UK workers, Vince Cable has alleged.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly defended plans to impose tough curbs on EU workers after Brexit by arguing they are needed to protect Britons in lower-paid jobs.

But, the Liberal Democrat leader said: “When I was Business Secretary, there were up to nine studies that we looked at that took in all the academic evidence.

“It showed that immigration had very little impact on wages or employment. But this was suppressed by the Home Office under Theresa May, because the results were inconvenient.”

The claims come after the leak of draconian Home Office proposals for post-Brexit curbs on immigration, triggering a major political row.

The plans would strip all newly-arrived EU migrants of their rights to live permanently in Britain, imposing permits of between two and five years.

Last year, Ms May told the Conservative party conference: “I know a lot of people don't like to admit this. For someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn't seem fair.”

But the claim was rejected by experts including at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which argued immigrants also create jobs, expanding the opportunities for British workers.

Business leaders, defending the need for immigration, have argued that employment is at record levels, creating shortages in the UK workforce.

Meanwhile, a Bank of England analysis of higher migration found there was some evidence of lower pay, but of less than two per cent over eight years.

This was widely seen as a tiny impact in comparison with the other reasons behind wage stagnation in the decade since the economic crash.

Sir Vince added: “I remember it vividly. Overwhelmingly it has been the case that overseas workers have been complementary rather than competitive to British workers.

“The exodus of trades people, NHS staff and tech industry workers shows the potential damage of an extreme Brexit.”

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

A majority of the country want Theresa May to delay Brexit, according to a new poll released ahead of a fresh Commons showdown over her exit strategy. With less than seven weeks until exit day, the

BrexitCentral

Published  2 weeks ago

From various quarters, whispers or even open calls are growing for an extension to the UK’s Article 50 period which finishes, unless extended, on 29th March 2019. Most of those talking about an Arti

The Telegraph

Published  2 weeks ago

If Theresa May were given to Donald Tusk-style outbursts, she might have had a thing or two to say on Thursday when she came back from Brussels.

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

The young will “neither forget nor forgive” the politicians responsible for Brexit if they end up being its biggest victims, John Major has warned. The former Conservative prime minister issued a

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

Theresa May is returning to Westminster facing ministerial resignations after she left talks with EU leaders over her Brexit deal empty-handed. With another vote in the Commons due next week, a

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

As the Brexit negotiations stagger on, a large swathe of Labour voters will be bitterly disappointed this week by the party leadership. In particular, younger voters who flocked to the party in 2017 in the expectation that the party would fight this Tory disaster will feel they have been sold down the river. Worse still, many think Labour is complicit.

Today, Richard Brooks, one of the co-founders of anti-Brexit youth group, For our Future’s Sake, spelt out how young Labour voters feel: “The Liberal Democrats went onto campuses and promised young people to not increase tuition fees. When they trebled them, only months later, young people and students mobilised – and in 2015 the Liberal Democrats were all but wiped out. The Labour Party now has the same existential threat before it. Does it enable a Tory Brexit, which will disproportionately harm young and working class people, or does Labour follow the wishes of hundreds of thousands of members like me, and support a People’s Vote.” He is absolutely right.

In a letter to Theresa May last night, Jeremy Corbyn said he would help facilitate Brexit and support her deal if May meets five key tests. One of Labour’s original tests, which demanded the exact same economic benefits outside the EU as we have within it, has been dropped. It was never realistic – at least he has realised this much. There was also the mantra that Labour would seek a “jobs first” Brexit. But Brexit, in the terms that the British people voted for originally, is impossible to deliver and there is no point pretending that anything short of keeping the current deal as an EU member is going to be good for the economy. In fact it will be the opposite, especially for jobs.

Whether May meets these five tests or not, they are not credible, nor do they take us any closer to a Final Say on the deal. Let’s go through them briefly.

“A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union” with “a UK say on future EU trade deals” is the first demand. You cannot have a say on EU trade policy because EU treaties grant the EU sole competence over its common commercial policy. Seeking to participate in a customs union and expecting influence and a say on trade deals is not on the table – just ask Turkey which participates in the customs union but has no say over trade deals.

Created with Sketch. Brexit and travel: all you need to know

Show all 14 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch. Brexit and travel: all you need to know

Second, Labour seeks “close alignment with the single market” which should be “underpinned by shared institutions and obligations”. This is a weakening of the Labour Party conference motion which talked about “full participation in the single market”, something which is only possible if you continue to participate in the single market through membership of the European Economic Area, which Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, made very clear in the House of Commons last July that the Labour front bench was opposed to.

Third, the letter demands a “dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum”. How on earth can you expect that from a Conservative prime minister when she, a member of cabinet for the last eight years, has sponsored the weakening of unfair dismissal protections, imposed employment tribunal fees which were ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court and overseen the watering down of the statutory remit of the Equality and Human Rights Commission?

Finally, the fourth and fifth points ask for clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, as well as unambiguous agreements on the details of future security arrangements. The truth is that everything in the political declaration is an aspiration – all of it is ambiguous, whether on security arrangements or otherwise, because it is not binding and subject to a future trading agreement being signed off in several years’ time. The prime minister is unlikely still to be in place when the future trading arrangement is finalised, and neither will the main EU leaders. Any promises involving these people, therefore, aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, as others will be in charge when the time comes.

In short, these tests are nonsense and Labour’s policy is all over the place.

Above all, the letter makes no mention of referring this back to the people. The spirit of Labour’s conference policy was that if we couldn’t get an election, Labour would commit to referring this issue back to the people.

The leader and those around him have made it is clear they have no interest in going there at all. He has also tacitly given a green light to those who not only won’t support a people’s vote but are also happy to thwart the House of Commons’ ability to stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal in 50 days. That is the harsh reality of what we have learned these last couple of weeks and the party won’t be forgiven by the next generation.

Chuka Umunna is Labour MP for Streatham

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

thetimes

Published  2 weeks ago

If anyone knows what Theresa May is going through it is Sir John Major. He fought the Eurosceptic “bastards” throughout his time at No 10, struggled with a small parliamentary majority and engaged...

The Telegraph

Published  2 weeks ago

It seems increasingly clear that Theresa May’s appalling Withdrawal Agreement, the worst deal in history, will not pass through the House of Commons. Perhaps the only way in which it could is if the Government repeats Edward Heath’s tactics in 1972, when he forced the original European Communities Act through with the support of Labour. Mrs May’s problem is that she knows doing the same now would irreparably split her own party.

I have thought for many months that the most likely outcome is the can getting kicked down the road. I still passionately hope and pray that we will leave the EU on March 29, but be in no doubt that, if Article 50 does get extended, I am ready to act.

That’s why the Electoral...

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

Jeremy Corbyn’s personal approval ratings have gone through the floor. The bad news comes as he calls for a permanent EU Customs Union and ‘close alignment’ with the Single Market. That isn’t what 17.4 million voted for, Jezza.

An Ipsos Mori poll today finds that the Labour Leader has a -55 net satisfaction rating. That is astonishingly bad, with Theresa May on -25.

Just 17% of voters are now satisfied with Corbyn, and an incredible 72% of voters are dissatisfied with him. Only 44% of Labour voters are happy with him. Ouch.

This is a historically dire level of popularity and comes after Corbyn opportunistically sought to cause maximum disruption on Brexit rather than honouring the referendum result.

NEW @IpsosMORI: just 17% are now satisfied with Jeremy Corbyn – dangerously close to the 13% Michael Foot recorded in 1982 https://t.co/eL0RkQWuX5

— Simon Atkinson (@SimonMAtkinson) February 8, 2019

YouGov also recently found that his popularity has hit an all-time low. As they explain: “In most cases it wasn’t due to his position being too far towards Remain (just 3% thought this) or too far towards Leave (just 6% said this), but rather the fact that he doesn’t seem to have any position at all.”

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

Florian Philippot is a French MEP and President of Les Patriotes.

A few weeks before Brexit, ‘Project Fear’ is at its highest. It is no surprise: the fake May deal has been rejected and only fear can now stop Brexit.

The risk is real because the fear is real. Oh yes, there is a fear. But what is it? They say Brexit will cause chaos and ruin. They lie. That’s not what they really fear. They shudder because they know the whole world – and all the people in Europe – will soon see you can leave the European Union and live on, and even live better. Nothing could worry more the Eurocrats.

They are willing to sacrifice trade, businesses, whole economic sectors, even people to save their European dream. They don’t care if their dream is a horrible nightmare for most. They don’t care if they destroy lives in a vain attempt to save the illusion. They don’t care if they use blackmail, intimidation, or fake news to scare. They are fanatics. Whatever power they have, they use it to serve the EU and not the people. This is literally anti-democratic. That’s why I fear them, not Brexit.

But my fear is overcome by a great hope and the trust I have in the British people. Solutions will be found, agreements will be made where they are needed. No one will let their own business go down when they can save it. The Eurocrats will be furious but common sense shall prevail. It is impossible to deal anything decent with the European Union, it will be easy and quick between States or between firms because common interests make them pragmatic.

In France, the “Gilets jaunes” (Yellow Vests) have just shown the strength of the people. In the United Kingdom, I know the people is as strong and resilient. They have chosen freedom and they will make a success of Brexit.

I want the same freedom for my own people. Almost every French politician is resigned to stay in the European Union. Even Marine Le Pen and the Front National have lost the will to defend national sovereignty and submitted to the requirements of the system.

I launched a new political movement, Les Patriotes, in 2017 in order to fight on, because I can not bring myself to give up the freedom of my country. We have a 40 years old ‘Project Fear’ to fight. It is not simple. It is not the easy way. But it is the right one. I will never deny my most intimate conviction in order to please the establishment.

Every day, I see how the single currency we share with Germany and other countries is destroying French industry. Every day, I see how my compatriots are suffering because of the austerity and the European rules. There is no European debate here. Politicians just say some things in Europe are dysfunctional and they propose to change the EU. I can’t bear anymore their false pretences of another Europe. There isn’t another Europe. Neither David Cameron nor Theresa May could obtain anything significant. The EU doesn’t give anything. It takes it all. You have to submit – or to leave.

When I look at history, I can see that no one has been able to change Europe. Even de Gaulle – whom I admire greatly – couldn’t change the little EEC in 1961. In the big EU with its 27 members, any promise of change is a pure lie.

Since 1979, all campaigns for the European Elections are absolutely identical. Some speak of a mythic social Europe, others want a strong Europe able to stand up to the US, China, and Russia, others are focused on one single subject such as environment or immigration. It’s a very bad play, with the same roles, the same text, and even sometimes the same actors, on stage for forty years. We have to break with this travesty of democracy.

My hope for the future is that our two peoples will help each other. The British are the first one to take back control and freedom, I think the French could be next. President Macron himself said to the BBC he believed the French could vote for the Frexit if they had the chance. And, of course, he doesn’t want to ask them, he doesn’t want a serious debate.

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In France, every talk about Europe is but hollow words without ever tackling the basic issues. The French just need some politicians brave enough to speak the truth. People are angry, they know things could be different and should be different. When they will see a way out, their anger will turn into a promising project. To fight 40 years of European propaganda, only reality can be efficient. Brexit will be a success and it will give courage and strength to all the people still locked in the European shackles. It’s no surprise the Eurocrats are living in fear!

And then, we will work together. Freed from the absurd red tape of the European administration, the British and the French will do great things. We already cooperate in the field of defence, space, energy, etc. We don’t need the EU and it would be foolish to let down these projects because of Brexit.

Brexit is a wonderful opportunity for the United Kingdom but I think Frexit will be even better for France. We are suffering from the Schengen agreements and the effects of the Euro, a currency unsuited to our economy. Our society is hit by mass unemployment, due in great part to the Posted Workers Directive and offshoring.

Our democracy is in shambles because the ones who really decide are not elected and the elected ones are but hot air merchants. We need Frexit as soon as possible and I won’t have a moment’s rest until my country is free again.

the Guardian

Published  2 weeks ago

Letter offers Labour’s support if PM makes five binding commitments – including joining a customs union

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

Labour has issued its first official call for Brexit to be delayed, with a request that Theresa May temporarily extends Article 50.

More follows…

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

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BBC News

Published  2 weeks ago

The prime minister is returning to Brussels to press for legally binding changes to her Brexit deal.

BBC News

Published  2 weeks ago

The PM is due to promise MPs another vote if she has not secured a revised deal by the end of February.

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

Senior voices in the Tory Party are warning of the potential electoral damage that would be done if the Conservative government fails to deliver Brexit on time as promised.

With Theresa May this week having promised once again to deliver “on time” and less than 50 days to go, Conservative voices are warning against any delay to the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The seats up at the set of local elections to be held on 2nd May this year are largely Conservative: they won 5,521 last time compared to just 2,278 for Labour. A Brexit backlash in May could be catastrophic for thousands of local Conservatives.

The most senior Tory Councillor, Lord Porter, told The Sun: “If we’re not out by the time of the elections, we’re going to get kicked.

“It won’t be good for us.

“It will also hit turnout, as people will be put off politics altogether.

“Brandon Lewis (Party Chairman) has been made very aware of this.”

And when it comes to a delay that leads to European Elections, a Cabinet Minister is quoted as saying: “The new European Parliament takes it seats on July 2nd, so if we’re not out by then we’ll have to blow £100m on holding new elections here for it.

“Our Councillors are telling us that voters would punish us hard at the ballot box in May for this.

“So extending that long is untenable.”

With Nigel Farage promising a comeback if Brexit is delayed, minds should clearly be focused in Westminster. 29th March 2019 is the day that the UK must leave the EU.

We believe the UK must leave the EU on 29th March 2019, as promised. If you do too then please consider donating to Westmonster so that we can keep the pressure up. Thank you!

BBC News

Published  2 weeks ago

The European Council president slams "those who promoted Brexit" with no plan for it would be delivered.

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sounded less hardline than some in Brussels yesterday, talking of the need to be “creative” to reach an agreement with the UK as the Article 50 clock ticks down.

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With some in the European Union disgracefully refusing to even negotiate with Theresa May following votes in Parliament, Merkel said in Japan yesterday that: “There are definitely options for preserving the integrity of the Single Market even when Northern Ireland isn’t part of it because it is part of Britain while at the same time meeting the desire to have, if possible, no border controls.

“To solve this point you have to be creative and listen to each other, and such discussions can and must be conducted.”

And she said: “We can still use the time to perhaps reach an agreement if everyone shows good will.”

Merkel's call for 'creativity' at her presser in Tokyo will clinch all tomorrow's headlines, but I can't help thinking on reflection the first sentence is far more significant in the long run. She is suggesting you can leave the Single Market and still have a frictionless border. pic.twitter.com/pk0OG5EplR

— Nick Gutteridge (@nick_gutteridge) February 4, 2019

With German industry breathing down her neck, Merkel is facing increasing internal pressure for the EU to secure a trade deal with the UK. Last week, the German government slashed the country’s growth forecast for 2019 by almost half. With Italy now in recession, European economies are increasingly anxious and know that they need to secure a deal.

Express.co.uk

Published  2 weeks ago

Mlle Le Pen, head of the populist Rassemblement national (RN) party, told the news channel BFMTV: “The European Union, in truth, is looking to recreate a form of civil war in Ireland … to reignite the existing conflict there. “I can confirm this, I know this, and it is very dangerous and reveals the EU’s tactics.” Asked by her interviewer how a conflict-torn Ireland would serve the EU’s interests, she said: “Why would Europe do this? “Well, to punish the British people for Brexit. They need to be punished, and Brussels wants the divorce to be as painful as possible. “The divorce is likely to be very painful, but it will be a lot more painful for Europe than for the UK.” Once a fierce advocate for a “Frexit,” or French exit from the EU, Mlle Le Pen was forced to tone down her anti-Europe rhetoric after her crushing defeat to liberal europhile Emmanuel Macron in the May 2017 presidential elections.

With less than two months until Britain is due by law to leave the Brussels bloc on March 29, there is no agreement yet in London on how the UK will leave the world’s largest trading bloc after Parliament defeated Theresa May’s deal last month by a huge margin.

Lawmakers instructed her to return to Brussels to renegotiate the arrangements for the post-Brexit border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

The backstop is an insurance policy that aims to prevent the reintroduction of a hard border, a key part of a 1998 peace deal that ended decades of lethal sectarian conflict, and preserve frictionless trade.

The withdrawal agreement Mrs May struck in November with the bloc’s remaining 27 members says the UK will remain in a customs union “unless and until” “alternative arrangements” are found to avoid a hard border by the end of the transition period, which could last between 21 months and four years.

But critics and Brexiteers argue that the backstop mechanism could handcuff the UK to the EU’s customs union indefinitely and prevent Britain from striking its own international trade deals.

Lawmakers in Mrs May’s party want her to drop the backstop and replace it with something else, a request bluntly rejected by Brussels.

Speaking immediately after the vote, a spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk said the backstop was part of the withdrawal deal and not up for negotiation.

Mr Tusk said via his spokesman: “The withdrawal agreement is and remains the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

The bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, for his part, said that the backstop provision could not be time-limited, since that would defeat its purpose of guaranteeing there is no physical border between the two neighbours.

Mr Barnier told Germany’s DLF public radio: “We have to maintain the credibility of this reassurance.

“It cannot be time-limited. It’s not just about Ireland.”

The European stance was echoed by the Irish government.

Irish European Affairs minister Helen McEntee said: “This is a deal which was negotiated with the UK, signed off by the UK and the prime minister – and now it looks as though … there is a row-back and a reneging on the commitments that were made.”

Brussels said last month it would consider such a customs union to be a “suboptimal” trading relationship if it is triggered.

Should it come about, it pledged to have six-monthly summits to check on progress on an alternative arrangement to replace it, such as a comprehensive trade deal.

If Parliament cannot find a majority for a way forward, Britain will leave the EU without a deal, a scenario that could bring economic disorder and create chaos at the borders.

mirror

Published  2 weeks ago

A Tory who joined Theresa May on the campaign trail glassed a wedding guest, scarring him for life.

Cllr Jean-Jacques Ellis, 31, was handed a suspended prison sentence after admitting the unprovoked attack last August.

He was caught on CCTV swinging a punch and launching a glass at his victim on a packed dance floor.

Luke Drinkwater needed stitches to his face after the attacks.

Luc Chignell, prosecuting, told Derby crown court the motive for the attack at West Mill in Darley Abbey, Derby, is a mystery.

“It seemed there was some discussion and someone said something wrong,” he said. “The result was serious injury.”

Drea Becker, defending, said it was “out of character” for Ellis, of Reading, Berks.

Judge Myles Watkins said he had caused “significant injury”.

Ellis, a councillor in Woodley, Berks, admitted GBH. He has a previous conviction for battery.

Ellis has posted on social media a picture of him with PM Theresa May on the day of council elections last May near Reading.

In court he was given 12 months suspended and 200 hours unpaid work.

He was also told to pay his victim £1,500 in compensation and court costs of £425.

Woodley Town Council said it was not aware of the offence.

The Telegraph

Published  2 weeks ago

Hours after last week’s so-called ‘Brady Amendment’ passed through the House of Commons, I addressed the EU parliament in Brussels.

the Guardian

Published  2 weeks ago

In Belfast, PM says changing Brexit agreement is only way to get it through Commons

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

The letter the Government sent to Nissan to convince it to stay in the UK, contained no figure relating to how much the company might be compensated, The Independent has learnt.

Whitehall sources revealed the controversial message which led the car manufacturer to commit to the UK, was based solely on reassurances that it would not lose out from Brexit.

It emerged as Nissan said it would review the competitiveness of its car plant in Sunderland once the final outcome of Brexit negotiations becomes clear, after stating last year that it was investing in new models at the factory.

A Whitehall source told The Independent: “There was no specific promise of money. It was a gentleman’s agreement, a case of doing whatever it took to keep Nissan happy.”

They denied that Theresa May offered a “blank cheque” from taxpayers to compensate the firm for Brexit-related costs, which could increase following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the UK will leave the single European market.

After Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, visited Tokyo for talks with Nissan bosses, the company announced in October that its Qashqai and X-Trail SUV ranges would be built at its Sunderland plant, a move that was in jeopardy after the referendum vote.

Ministers’ refusal to publish the letter for reasons of commercial sensitivity fuelled speculation that it included a specific pledge of public money for the private firm.

Sources insisted that taxpayers would not lose out overall. For example, if the Government compensated Nissan for any tariffs paid to the EU after Brexit, they could be outweighed by the tariffs paid by German car makers to the UK.

They suggested that Nissan could get Government aid “in kind”, possibly through grants for skills training and apprentices, and funding infrastructure projects, such as new roads.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: “As the Business Secretary told the House on 31 October, there were four reassurances that were important in securing this investment for Britain.

“That the Government would continue its longstanding programme of support for the competitiveness of the automotive sector; that the Government would continue to work with the automotive sector to ensure more of the supply chain can locate in the UK; that the Government will maintain a strong commitment to the research and development, and take up of ultra-low emission vehicles [and] that the Government in its negotiations to leave the EU will emphasise the common ground that exists between ourselves and EU member states to ensure that trade between us can be free and unencumbered.”

Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the company trusted the Prime Minister’s assurance, but added that the firm would want to “re-evaluate the situation” once the final Brexit deal is concluded.

According to Reuters, Mr Ghosn said: “Obviously when the package comes, you are going to have to re-evaluate the situation, and say, ‘Okay, is the competitiveness of your plant preserved or not?’

“We are going to have to make decisions on investment within the next two to three years, so obviously the faster the Brexit results come, the better it is.”

The Wall Street Journal reported him as adding: “In the meantime, we are going to continue to run Sunderland with the assumption that Sunderland will remain competitive no matter what is the outcome of Brexit.”

Ms May and Mr Clark may face questions over Nissan and other foreign manufacturers when they unveil the Government’s “modern industrial strategy” on Monday.

After the Prime Minister’s announcement on the single market, Toyota said it was considering “how to survive” in the UK.

Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of the company, said that his firm would have to ramp up its competitiveness in order to weather the effects of Brexit.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Mail Online

Published  2 weeks ago

European human rights chiefs have told the British press it must not report when terrorists are Muslim.

The recommendations came as part of a list of 23 meddling demands to Theresa May’s government on how to run the media in an alarming threat to freedom speech.

The report, drawn up by the Council of Europe's human rights watchdog, blamed the recent increase in hate crimes and racism in the UK on the 'worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians', although the research was done before the EU referendum campaign had even begun.

The suggestions sent to Downing Street urging the UK Government to reform criminal law and freedom of the press and in a brutal criticism of the British press, the report recommends ministers 'give more rigorous training' to journalists.

But UK ministers firmly rebutted the remarkable demands, telling the body: 'The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law.'

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), chaired by Christian Ahlund (file picture) said discussions over immigration had caused increasing 'xenophobia'.

The report, from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) body, said there had been an increase in hate speech and racist violence in Britain between March 2009 and March 2016.

In an audacious move, the report recommends the British media be barred from reporting the Muslim background of terrorists.

And it comes after multiple terror atrocities by Muslim extremists across Paris, Brussels, Munich and other German cities over the last year.

Over the same period, there have been no major terror attacks in Britain.

The 83-page report states: 'ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.

'In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators' motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.'

Theresa May's government firmly rebutted the remarkable demands, telling Brussels: 'The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law'

The aftermath of the referendum has raised tensions on both sides of the divide but the report today warned of a rise of in racism

The ECRI regularly assesses incidents of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance across the EU's 28 member states.

It bases its analysis on 'a great deal of information gathered from a wide variety of sources'.

ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund, said: 'It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.'

The report also claimed that June's Brexit vote 'seems to have led to a further rise in 'anti-foreigner' sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.'

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

The launch of Turning Point UK, a youth movement for conservatism that started off in America, has caused left-wingers to go into a full meltdown in

thetimes

Published  2 weeks ago

A police chief who had to apologise for her role in one of the worst child sex slavery scandals in British history is set to be appointed the government’s new anti-slavery head.

Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), will become Theresa May’s independent anti-slavery commissioner later this year. She will be charged with leading the fight against slavery and sex trafficking across the UK.

Thornton, 56, was chief constable of Thames Valley police in 2007 to 2015. The force failed to help up to 373 children, mostly girls, who were groomed, plied with drugs and alcohol and sexually abused in Oxford.

In 2013, seven men in a paedophile gang were convicted of offences including the rape, trafficking and prostitution of girls…

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

Former Conservative deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine has warned the electoral base is dying off at a rate of 2 per cent a year and has called for a new party leader.

Lord Heseltine, who worked with Margaret Thatcher and was deputy to John Major, said the party needs to work hard to “restore its electoral forturnes” and that Theresa May should step down after a “matter of months”.

The 84-year-old’s comments come weeks after the Tory party failed to achieve an overall majority in Parliament while Labour enjoyed a gain of more than 30 seats, defying the polls and commentators.

“One thing which is just worth having in mind, and you can't do anything about it, 2 per cent of the older part of the electorate die every year - they are 70 per cent Conservative,” Lord Heseltine told Sky News.

”Another 2 per cent come in at the young end of the electorate - they are about 70 per cent Labour. That's about 2 per cent change each year. There isn't that much time.“

Lord Heseltine said it would be “dangerous” for the Conservatives if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn remained a “credible candidate” for prime minister.

Created with Sketch. UK Election Day 2017

Show all 38 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch. UK Election Day 2017

The Brexit sceptic claimed that Ms May could “do the party a service by holding on a little” but should ultimately step down to make way for a new leader and a new party policy in a few months.

Ms May is facing increasing pressure to resign after a bungled initial Brexit meeting with EU counterparts and is being criticised for her efforts to strike a deal with the DUP, a socially conservative Northern Irish party. Repeated terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Finsbury Park have pushed back the Queen’s speech as well as talks with the DUP.

The prime minister has also been accused of “hiding” from the electorate during the campaign, on the scene of terrorist incidents and during the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

Days before a fire swept through a tower block, killing at least 79 people, Ms May’s government had vowed that “austerity was over” and that the electorate wanted to be offered hope and better living standards after years of cuts to public services.

It signalled a major U-turn after almost a decade of austerity and Conservative government since the financial crisis of 2008.

Another turnaround was witnessed with the opposition.

On 8 June, seven weeks after Ms May changed her mind and called for the snap election, Labour gained 34 seats, including Tory strongholds such as Canterbury and Kensington.

It was a coup for Mr Corbyn, whose MPs had fled his shadow cabinet and vowed he would not become a leader just months before.

Mr Corbyn was given a standing ovation by his party colleagues when Parliament resumed.

Fox News

Published  2 weeks ago

Continue Reading Below

A Cold War-era emergency plan to relocate the royal family has been revived in case riots break out in London in the event of a no-deal Brexit next month, two British newspapers reported Sunday.

The plans, originally intended to be used in case of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union, have since been "repurposed" in recent weeks, The Sunday Times reported. The newspaper quoted an unnamed source in the government’s Cabinet Office, which handles sensitive administrative issues.

“These emergency evacuation plans have been in existence since the Cold War, but have now been repurposed in the event of civil disorder following a no-deal Brexit,” the Cabinet Office source told The Sunday Times.

UK PARLIAMENT SHOOTS DOWN BID TO DELAY BREXIT, SAYS IT COULD BACK MAY’S DEAL WITH CHANGES

The plans would include Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh moved out of London to a secret location, which The Sunday Times said it has agreed not to disclose.

Continue Reading Below

The Mail on Sunday also reported on the plans for the "worst case" scenarios to move the Royals to safe locations outside of London.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative lawmaker and Brexiteer, told the Mail that the revival of the plan was a "wartime fantasy," adding that as senior royals had remained in London during the bombings of World War II.

"The over-excited officials who have dreamt up this nonsense are clearly more students of fantasy than of history," he told the Mail.

News of the reported plans for the royals comes amid uncertainty over Britain's looming departure from the European Union. Britain is scheduled to leave the E.U. on March 29, but U.K. politicians are divided over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

U.K. lawmakers voted last week to seek changes to the agreement but the EU is adamant that it cannot be renegotiated. How to handle the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is one of the Brexit dilemmas.

On Sunday, Nissan canceled plans to make its X-Trail SUV in the UK. Nissan's Europe division boss wrote to factory staff in the English city of Sunderland, telling them the model will continue to be made in Japan.

Gianluca de Ficchy said the decision was a mixture of investment needed for emissions regulations and reduced sales forecasts but added uncertainty over Brexit had also played a part, Sky News reported.

He said the announcement would be "interpreted by a lot of people as a decision related to Brexit" and that "uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future."

May’s withdrawal agreement, negotiated with Brussels last year, was overwhelmingly voted down last month by the House of Commons, leaving the U.K. on track to leave with no such deal and therefore revert to World Trade Organization terms -- something that those in favor of remaining in the E.U., business groups, and even some in May’s government have said would be unacceptable and lead to chaos throughout Britain.

Hardline Brexiteers, however, have dismissed predictions of long lines at borders and food and medicine shortages as exaggerated talk designed to delay and ultimately overturn the 2016 referendum, in which more than 17 million Brits voted to leave the bloc.

Fox News' Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Jewish Chronicle

Published  2 weeks ago

More than 85 per cent of British Jews think Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic, according to polling carried out for the JC. A similar percentage believe there are significant levels of antisemitism at all levels of the Labour Party.

The survey, undertaken by polling company Survation between August 12 and September 4, shows that 85.9 per cent of British Jews regard the Labour leader as antisemitic, while just 8.3 per cent believe he is not.

In a recent Survation poll among the general public, 39 per cent said Mr Corbyn was antisemitic.

Among British Jews, only 1.7 per cent believe Prime Minister Theresa May to be antisemitic, with 89.9 per cent saying she is not. Just 6.1 per cent say that Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable is antisemitic.

Survation also asked British Jews for their views on the main parties. Respondents were asked to rank Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP on a scale of 1-5, where 1 corresponds to the statement hat “there are very low levels of antisemitism among the political party’s members and elected representatives”, 4 to the belief that “there are high levels of antisemitism with the party’s members and elected representatives” and 5 to “very high” levels.

According to the survey, 85.6 per cent of British Jews rated Labour at either 4 or 5, suggesting they see antisemitism as having significantly infiltrated all levels of the party.

A similar survey of British Jews by Survation in 2017 found that 69 per cent believed there were “high” to “very high” levels of antisemitism in the Labour Party, meaning there has been a marked increase over the past year in the number of British Jews who believe there are “high” to “very high” levels of antisemitism in Labour.

In this latest survey, only 6.1 per cent ranked the Conservatives at 4 or 5 on the same scale, with 11.2 per cent ranking the Liberal Democrats in one of these two categories. Only UKIP came anywhere close to Labour’s rating, with 56.9 per cent of Jews ranking the party at four or five on the scale.

In a poll earlier this month among the general public, 43 per cent said there were “high” to “very high” levels of antisemitism within Labour.

The poll was conducted after the Labour leader was at the centre of further rows. In July, photos of Mr Corbyn surfaced from a 2014 event in Tunis, where he laid a wreath commemorating the terrorists behind the Munich massacre of the Israeli Olympic team in 1972. In August, a video emerged of him speaking at a 2013 event, during which he said of British “Zionists”.

“They clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either.”

Breitbart

Published  2 weeks ago

Half of all knife crime in London is carried out by people aged 19 and under, and three quarters of offenders are from minority ethnic groups, the latest figures show.

Statistics from the London Metropolitan Police revealed that 49 per cent of knife crime perpetrators in the capital are teenaged or younger, with 41 per cent of offenders aged between 15 and 19 and eight per cent aged between ten and 14.

Chief Superintendent Ade Adelekan, head of the Met’s Violent Crime Task Force, said the figures illustrate how “more and more young” people were getting caught up in knife crime.

“Violence is top of the agenda for the Met and knife crime injury victims under 25 are 15 per cent down,” he said, telling an event held by policy debate forum Westminster Insight that figures were “heading in the right direction”.

“Part of our success around this has been down to increasing our use of stop and search,” he explained, reporting a “significant” boost in the use of the tactic in recent months.

The police chief admitted officers have needed to “re-educate” themselves on the correct way to conduct a stop and search, with many losing the “art and skill” in the years since Theresa May, then home secretary, demanded drastic cuts to their use of the power, which she alleged was “unfair, especially to young black men”.

Soros Group Brags About Pushing Racist Police Agenda In Europe, Undermining Stop And Search https://t.co/YOgdN50EYb pic.twitter.com/Myox4V14bG

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 16, 2016

Regarding the ethnic profile of people involved in knife crime, Mr Adelekan said that 73 per cent of offenders and 53 per cent of victims were from a black or ethnic minority background, the Evening Standard reports.

Knife crime in the capital reached a record high last year under London mayor Sadiq Khan, rising 15 per cent to reach 14,987 offences in total — a figure representing 38 per cent of all blade-related crime across England and Wales.

While the Labour mayor performed a U-turn on his campaign promise to slash the use of stop and search, other figures in his party remain fiercely opposed to the policing tactic, insisting the only solution to spiralling violence in the capital is further “investment” in youth activity centres and social work.

Other than his flip on stop and search, however, Mayor Khan has largely rejected pleas for a return to a law and order-style policing to tackle the problem, instead launching a “public health approach” to violent crime, which he continues to insist is a matter of insufficient funding from central government.

London Crime Wave: City Hiring Hundreds of £150 a Day ‘Anti-Racist Police Monitors’ to ‘Promote Diversity’ https://t.co/4QCdgvszii

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 29, 2018

the Guardian

Published  2 weeks ago

Norway’s government is advising its citizens against studying in the UK because of Brexit, in a warning that will fuel concerns from universities about falling enrolment from Europe.

In blunt comments, Iselin Nybø, Norway’s minister responsible for higher education, urged students to avoid British universities.

Speaking to state broadcaster NRK, she said: “There’s so much uncertainty because of Brexit. If you’re a student and plan to travel out of Norway to study this autumn, I recommend you look at other countries than Great Britain.”

Last week, the European commission set out measures to protect the Erasmus international study programme in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It said it would honour the overseas placements of UK and EU27 students who were abroad at the time of a no-deal exit.

But Nybø said there were still concerns about the future of Erasmus for Norwegians, as Norway is not a member of the EU. She said: “We’re hoping we can make sure Norwegian students can both obtain degrees and take part in foreign exchange programmes.”

The Norway-based News in English website reported her as saying that there were no guarantees that Norwegian students would be able to finish their studies or take exams.

Dag Rune Olsen, the rector of the University of Bergen, tweeted that Nybø’s concerns were realistic and were shared among his colleagues in the UK.

But Britain’s ambassador to Norway, Richard Wood, said Nybø’s remarks were unfounded.

He insisted that even if the UK left the EU without a deal, the UK would underwrite funding for Erasmus students and other exchange programmes. In a tweet, he said: “UK remains an attractive place for Norwegians to study. I hope it always will.”

Under Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement Norwegian residents in the UK and British residents in Norway will have the same rights after Brexit. But there are no such guarantees if there is a no-deal exit.

Last month, university leaders said a no-deal Brexit would constitute one of the biggest threats faced by the further education sector. At the same time, the Russell Group of universities revealed a 9% decrease in the number of EU postgraduate research students enrolling at its institutions this academic year, after a similar decline the year before.

Overall, the number of EU students who enrolled for the 2018-19 academic year at Russell Group universities fell by 3%. Last year, there was a 1% increase in overall EU student numbers, after years of steady growth.

An adviser in Nybø’s department, has since pointed out that she was directing her remarks to students going on exchange next autumn via the Erasmus programme.

She said: “The uncertainty associated with the Erasmus programme is great.”

On those studying for a full degree in the UK she said: “If someone wants to start on a degree programme now, that will probably work out fine, but there is still some uncertainty concerning how much bureaucracy it will entail.”

• This article was amended on 5 February 2019 to clarify that Iselin Nybø was discussing students going on exchange this coming autumn via the Erasmus programme.

The Sun

Published  2 weeks ago

THERESA MAY was facing a bitter Brexit backlash last night as Tory MPs claimed she’s breaking her word on axing the Irish “backstop”. A fragile truce with hardline Eurosceptics shattered as they sa…

Tablet Magazine

Published  2 weeks ago

On June 8, the United Kingdom will hold its general election. Today, the London Jewish Chronicle released its polling on the Jewish vote in the upcoming contest, and the numbers are stark. 77 percent of British Jews say they will vote for Theresa May’s Conservatives, with just 13 percent voting for the opposition Labour party. For comparison, the 2016 exit poll by the Council on American-Islamic Relations showed that Donald Trump received 13 percent of the Muslim vote.

What has driven British Jews to flee Labour like minorities who fled the Republican party under Trump? As in the United States, this exodus is significantly attributable to the party’s radical leader, in this case, Jeremy Corbyn. In fact, a whopping 54 percent of Jews surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for Labour if Corbyn were not in charge. Who then is Corbyn, and why are British Jews so repelled by him?

To begin with, Corbyn has a long history of unsavory associations with anti-Semites. Among other exploits, he has:

— Donated to the organization of Paul Eisen, a Holocaust denier, and appeared at his events. He later claimed he was unaware of Eisen’s unsavory views, despite 15 years of association.

— Defended vicar Stephen Sizer, who disseminated materials arguing the Mossad did 9/11, after he was banned from social media by the Church of England for posting anti-Semitic material.

— Praised preacher Raed Salah and invited him to parliament. Salah claims that Jews make their Passover matzoh with gentile blood, that Jews had foreknowledge of 9/11, and that homosexuality is “a great crime.” He has been banned from the U.K. for anti-Semitic incitement.

— Invited activist Dyab Abou Jahjah to parliament and spoke alongside him. Abou Jahjah had called the 9/11 attacks “sweet revenge,” said Europe made “the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion,” and called gays “Aids-spreading faggots.” He is now banned in the U.K.

— Campaigned for the release of Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alami, who were convicted in Britain in 1996 for bombing the Israeli Embassy in London and one of the country’s largest Jewish charities.

Taken together, this pattern of behavior suggests a blind spot for anti-Jewish prejudice at best, and incredibly poor judgment in allies and associates at the very least. After all, it is entirely possible to campaign against imperialism and other Western ills without legitimizing anti-Jewish bigots in the halls of parliament. (Suffice to say, if Donald Trump had engaged in such conduct, it would be national news and rightly so.)

If British Jews have taken note of Corbyn’s dalliances with anti-Semites, so have British anti-Semites, many of whom have flocked to Corbyn’s banner. Under his leadership, scores of party officials have had to be suspended or expelled for anti-Semitic hate, in most cases only after media coverage forced the party’s hand. Some of these Corbyn supporters have been captured claiming Israel was behind ISIS or 9/11 or the Sandy Hook Massacre, or asserting that Jewish bankers control Britain.

Most damning for Corbyn, however, has been the anti-Jewish bigotry expressed by his key associates and backers. One such supporter is Jackie Walker, a leader of Momentum, the far-left activist group that forms the backbone of Corbyn’s base. Walker is a committed Corbyn backer. She also claims that Jews were the “chief financiers” of the African slave trade, a classic anti-Semitic canard long debunked by historians; has criticized Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day; and said she hasn’t “heard a definition of anti-Semitism that I can work with.” After her comment about the slave trade, she was suspended by the party, but by the end of the month, she was reinstated, even as she refused to apologize or retract her bigoted claim. Walker remained vice-chair of Momentum for months, until her remarks about anti-Semitism and Holocaust Memorial Day led her to be restricted to a less public role on the organization’s steering committee. If Corbyn has any problem with his support base being led by an anti-Semite, he has kept it to himself. He has not even criticized Walker’s slave trade slur. She remains a Labour party member in good standing.

Then there is former London mayor Ken Livingstone, whom Corbyn personally appointed to oversee a defense policy review. Livingstone had a long record of problematic entanglements with Jews, but this did not deter the Labour leader from selecting him. Predictably, Livingstone soon imploded in a blaze of anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust revisionism, asserting on live TV that Hitler was a “Zionist,” that Zionist Jews collaborated with Hitler—gross distortions of the historical record—and that “a real anti-Semite doesn’t just hate the Jews in Israel.” Corbyn initially waffled on whether to suspend Livingstone from Labour, and was captured on video running away from a reporter asking him about it. Ultimately, Livingstone received a slap on the wrist from the party, which barred him from holding office for one year, but didn’t suspend or expel him from membership. This led 100 of Labour’s MPs to publicly denounce their own party for failing to combat anti-Semitism.

This conduct of Corbyn’s confidants and base, often with his tacit approval, has contributed to a toxic environment for Jewish politicians and journalists during his tenure. In one famous instance, Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was publicly accused of being part of a media conspiracy against Corbyn by a Momentum activist at a party event, while Corbyn stood by and said nothing. Smeeth walked out and later issued an emotional statement: “Until today I had made no public comment about Jeremy’s ability to lead our party, but the fact that he failed to intervene is final proof for me that he is unfit to lead, and that a Labour Party under his stewardship cannot be a safe space for British Jews.” The vitriol has extended to non-Jewish critics of Corbyn as well. After Labour’s Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, endorsed a challenger to Corbyn’s leadership, he was hit with anti-Semitic abuse on social media insinuating that he was under Jewish control. (Khan had previously criticized Corbyn for failing to adequately confront anti-Semitism in the party ranks.)

Journalists, and particularly Jewish ones, have similarly been targeted by Corbyn’s most zealous supporters, not unlike U.S. journalists who critically covered Donald Trump’s campaign. This anti-media direction comes from the top. Much like Trump, Corbyn has often had harsher words for those in the press who have covered racists in his base than he has had for the racists themselves. Thus, after leftist Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, one of Britain’s most prominent Jewish journalists, criticized Corbyn’s associations with anti-Semitic individuals, Corbyn was caught on tape grousing, “The big negative today is Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian… Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism under Corbyn. Utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness, you know. He’s not a good guy at all. He seems kind of obsessed with me, you know?”

Just this week, Jewish journalist Emma Barnett was subject to a torrent of abuse on social media—anti-Semitic and otherwise—after she interviewed Corbyn about childcare on the BBC and he appeared unable to answer some of her questions. To his credit, Corbyn apologized for her treatment by his supporters. That he only publicly repudiated this conduct days before an impending election, however, does not inspire much confidence, though it is a testimony to how blatant the abuse has become that he was forced to do so.

— Jo Green (@jg_ccpress) May 30, 2017

Corbyn has thus left progressive Jews with a profoundly unpalatable choice, pinned between the party whose ideology they share and its disquieting leader and his most zealous supporters. One does not envy their decision.

Previous: ‘Not In My Name’: 100 Labour MPs Denounce Party For Failing to Confront Anti-SemitismJackie Walker Can’t Stop Saying Offensive Things About JewsJeremy Corbyn Slams Jewish Journalist for Writing About Anti-Semitism in Labour PartyLabour Officials Suspended After Claiming Jews Were Behind African Slave Trade, Israel Behind ISISLabour Party Suspends Three More Officials for Anti-Semitism

The Anti-Semitism Scandal Engulfing the Labour Party Was Entirely Predictable

Meet Jeremy Corbyn, the New Leader of Britain’s Labour Party

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

A police chief who was forced to apologise for her role in one of Britain’s worst child sex trafficking scandals is to lead the country’s fight against modern slavery.

Sara Thornton, who currently heads up the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), will become the Home Office’s independent anti-slavery commissioner later this year. Her appointment is set to be announced officially next week.

The senior officer was chief constable of Thames Valley police when the force failed to help up to 373 children, mostly female, who were groomed, given vast quantities of drugs and alcohol and sexually abused in Oxford.

Campaigners raised concerns that, having previously been described as David Cameron’s “favourite police officer”, Ms Thornton would lack independence from government.

The former Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, resigned from the post last May last year citing government interference in his work – saying independence was “vital” for the success of the role.

UK ‘lagging behind’ on efforts to tackle modern slavery, finds report

A former advisor to Mr Hyland, Emily Kenway, who is now a senior advisor at Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), told The Independent this independence risked being diminished further after the job specification was updated to state that the commissioner would be “appraised” by the Home Office.

“As an ex adviser to the previous commissioner, I know first-hand that our attitude of independence wasn’t always appreciated by the Home Office,” she said.

“It is right that there will be concerns about how independent Ms Thornton will be able to be, particularly as she will now have her performance appraised by Home Office officials which seems to fly in the face of genuine scrutiny.”

The fact that a police officer is being appointed to the role also provoked criticism, as ministers have been accused of placing too much focus on law enforcement when dealing with modern slavery rather than looking at wider factors such as immigration.

In a recent hearing conducted by the Home Affairs Select Committe, Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police Shaun Sawyer said the UK was failing to transform its approach to modern slavery “other than in law enforcement”, adding: “To me that is not a transformation; that is a sticking plaster.”

Ms Kenway said it was “concerning” that Ms Thornoton was from a police background, adding: “Modern slavery is a crime but we cannot arrest and prosecute our way out of it.

“Its causes are systemic; we have an economy which relies on cheap exploitable labour and a hostile environment which makes undocumented people unable to work for anyone but those willing to flout the law, pushing them into abuse.

UK's anti-slavery commissioner resigns citing government interference

“I hope she will address these deeper causes, highlighting that a Britain without modern slavery means a country where people are put before profit and the wellbeing of all, regardless of immigration status, is put above anti-immigrant policy.“

The government is facing mounting criticism over its efforts to tackle modern slavery. It has taken ministers eight months to appoint a new commissioner, a delay campaigners say has hindered Theresa May's bid to become world leader in fighting the crime.

The High Court ruled in November that a government decision to slash weekly subsistence benefits for suspected trafficking victims was unlawful, and the Home Office this week admitted more than 1,200 inidviduals had been deprived of support.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Tackling human trafficking and modern slavery remains a top priority for this government and we are committed to stamping out this abhorrent crime.

“The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner (IASC) plays a crucial role in providing scrutiny of the Government’s response to modern slavery.

“We are currently undertaking the recruitment process to appoint a candidate, which will be announced shortly.”

Westmonster

Published  2 weeks ago

Brexiteer Esther McVey yesterday reminded the country that leaving the European Union without a deal remains the default government policy if the EU fail to secure a deal with the UK.

Speaking to Nigel Farage on LBC McVey, who resigned from the Cabinet to oppose Theresa May’s deal, said: “The plan has always been to Leave, as we always said, without a deal if we cannot agree on a deal, and that is why it was so important that we did all the planning and preparations around it.”

Whilst the government have played down the prospect of No Deal, McVey revealed that “lots of planning has been done” by the civil service to prepare for such an outcome already.

She also pointed out that May is surrounded by Remainers and that the “make-up of the Cabinet” consisted of people who “all voted for Remain” including the likes of the Chancellor Philip Hammond and the PM’s deputy, David Lidington.

On top of that she highlighted out the influence of Olly Robbins, who she described as May’s “key adviser” who had been “very much about staying in”.

.@EstherMcVey1 explains we have a remainer Cabinet and Olly Robbins frustrating the negotiations.

It's time to leave with No Deal and walk away from the Brussels bullies.

Help save Brexit @ https://t.co/7va4JFnv8y pic.twitter.com/SIRlcfdecS

— Leave Means Leave (@LeaveMnsLeave) February 3, 2019

MPs voted to trigger Article 50 and the British people voted for Brexit. As May and others keep promising, that means Brexit on 29th March. Deal or No Deal, that must be delivered.

BBC News

Published  2 weeks ago

The Brexit secretary will host a new working group after MPs voted to replace the Irish border plan.

the Guardian

Published  2 weeks ago

Growing discontent over policy on Brexit, anti-Semitism and Venezuela spur breakaway movement

The Independent

Published  2 weeks ago

Jacob Rees-Mogg and several Conservative MPs have been criticised for supporting a new right-wing group vowing to target British students.

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

The Conservative Party has suffered a collapse in the income it draws from membership fees, official data has revealed.

The party’s accounts show money the Tories earn from their membership plummeted by more than 40 per cent in 2017.

By contrast, membership income for the Labour Party grew by around 12 per cent, while the Liberal Democrats saw theirs rise by almost a third.

The drop in fees comes amid ongoing concern within the Conservatives about the party’s dwindling activist base, not to mention a new entryism threat from supporters of the Brexit-backing Leave.EU group.

Accounts filed with the Electoral Commission and published on Wednesday shine a light on the size of the Conservatives’ rank and file.

The papers produced by the party’s campaign headquarters show that in 2016 the Tories received slightly less than £1.5m from its membership, but that this figure dropped by some 43 per cent to just £835,000 in 2017 – the year Theresa May lost the party’s majority at an election.

The bulk of the Conservatives’ £45.9m income came instead from more than £34m worth of donations – a large increase of more than 80 per cent in the election year – with chunks coming from wealthy backers. Legacies that the party received from people leaving money in wills also rose, from £300,000 to £1.7m in 2017.

The Labour Party’s account showed that it took just over £14m from its membership in 2016, rising to more than £16m in 2017 – an increase of 12 per cent.

The figures also saw the money it gained from donations increase by about 25 per cent to more than £18m in 2017.

The Liberal Democrats’ accounts showed money the party makes from its membership jump by some 32 per cent to almost £1.3m, with donations jumping 16 per cent to £6.1m.

Ukip membership income also plummeted 39 per cent to £560,000, the SNP’s fell marginally by a little over nine per cent, and the Green Party’s grew by about three per cent.

At the start of 2018 former Tory chairman Grant Shapps said that his party’s refusal to admit to its plunging membership was “embarrassing”.

He urged the prime minister to “come clean” about how few people are paid-up members, after one campaigner suggested the figure is as low as 70,000 though most estimates put it around 100,000.

In stark contrast, Labour membership is growing and has now surpassed some 560,000.

The pro-Brexit Leave.EU group, founded by Arron Banks, recently began encouraging its members to join the Tories ahead of any future leadership contest, and amid speculation that Boris Johnson is preparing for a bid at the top job on a pro-Brexit platform.

The group claims to have 88,000 supporters, and is urging them to “flood” the Tory Party to elect a “true Brexiteer” such as Mr Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg.

On Wednesday morning Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns said her party should not be “closing our doors to potential friends”, as she called for the Tories to allow new Brexit-backing members to join up.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Mail Online

Published  3 weeks ago

Dozens of peers and MPs received millions in EU subsidies for their estates, according to a new survey by Friends of the Earth, which estimates that almost 50 politicians have cashed in.

Neon Nettle

Published  3 weeks ago

Claims blocking adoption for child abusers is a 'breach of their human rights'

the Guardian

Published  3 weeks ago

For nearly a decade my constituents have been told to put up with austerity in the name of the national interest. We were told the nation was broke, so grandmothers had to be forced out of their family homes by the bedroom tax, council workers had to lose their jobs, crimes had to go unsolved, disabled people had to lose financial support, NHS walk-in centres had to close, wages had to flatline with workers reliant on Redcar’s new food banks, and our steelworks had to close with no government bailout. These measures alone are enough to make us angry and resentful, particularly while other areas seemed to prosper and government investment continued to flow elsewhere.

Labour MPs split over backing Theresa May in return for investment

Read more

Yet we learned yesterday that there is, after all, money magically available for a “programme of national renewal” for areas like mine – on the condition I vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal. It’s amazing how much money, which should have been distributed on the basis of need and fairness, can suddenly be found to bribe MPs to vote for a deal that was dismissed by the largest parliamentary margin in history.

Considering the oft-levelled Tory charge that Labour likes to “throw money at a problem”, the prime minister seems to have become reliant on using bungs to get herself out of a fix. First the £1bn to the DUP to buy their support after an unnecessary election. Then billions of pounds thrown at preparing for a “no-deal” scenario. Now she has found money to bribe areas like mine, too. This government is not just lost and in a mess over Brexit; it is totally bereft of a moral compass.

It also confirms what many of us knew all along. That austerity was not an economic necessity but a political choice, and that those areas and communities that suffered the most were the ones that were the lowest priority for this Tory government. Offering MPs a few baubles for future election leaflets after a decade which saw £6bn taken from public spending in the north is grotesque, and no self-respecting MP with any integrity should allow this offer to influence their vote.

Resentful in Redcar: ‘We made the finest steel in the world – now we make lattes’

Read more

It’s quite common in countries such as the US for “pork-barrel” politics like this to have a role – but we don’t do that sort of thing here. If Brexit is about Britain taking back control and a return of our great democracy and sovereignty, then I’m afraid this is not what British democracy should look like. It’s squalid and grubby and demeans our politics. For the prime minister to have the audacity to say another referendum – a means by which to check whether the public really want to go through with the greatest economic and constitutional change this country has faced since the war – would undermine democracy is especially laughable when she treats our democracy as something that can be bought and sold.

The critical argument against accepting her bribe is that a short-term bung will not fix the structural and economic problems in areas like mine. The solutions require long-term investment in economic development, skills, industry and manufacturing. Yet the government’s own impact assessment showed that it was areas like mine, and the north-east region in general, which would be the hardest hit by Brexit. Accepting Theresa May’s deal will actually mean selling out the areas that we represent as well as the wider national interest. No one should do that for the vague promise of a short-term fix.

It is clear that austerity was not a necessity but a political choice. MPs now have to decide whether to make it worse with a Tory Brexit or go back to the people and ask them to put an end to this madness.

• Anna Turley is the Labour and Co-operative MP for Redcar

thenational

Published  3 weeks ago

EU bosses fear Theresa May is leading the UK towards a no-deal Brexit at the end of June because she will not ask for enough extra time they believe she needs.

Senior officials believe a delay to the UK’s exit date of March 29 is now inevitable.

But they fear that the PM's strategy of seeking simply to survive from day to day will lead to her requesting an inadequate short three-month extension for fear of enraging Tory Brexiteers.

This afternoon Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, became the first cabinet minister to admit that the two years of negotiations allowed under article 50 may have to be prolonged, describing the current Brexit impasse as “a very challenging situation”.

EU sources suggested that it was unlikely that the heads of state and government of the 27 member states would reject such a request given the pressure that would be applied from the business community.

The EU's deputy chief negotiator, Sabine Weyand, said on Monday that the EU’s heads of state and government would need information on “the purpose of an extension”, adding: “The idea of going into serial extensions really isn’t very popular in the EU27.”

Mujtaba Rahman, a former Treasury and European commission official, who is head of Europe for the Eurasia Group risk consultancy, said: “There’s a growing realisation in the EU that the UK might need longer to get its house in order than the UK itself realises.

“The bar to extending article 50 for the EU will be quite low - leaders love to kick the can. If there is a contentious issue, it’s more about the length of any article 50 extension as opposed to the principle of whether there should be one.”

May is getting ready to head back to Brussels in an attempt to reopen the Brexit deal after parliament voted to replace the Irish backstop in the withdrawal agreement with an “alternative arrangement”.

Brexiteers fear that the backstop, which would keep the UK in a customs union unless an alternative solution can similarly avoid a hard border on Ireland, will stand in the way of the forging of an independent trade policy.

In a call with Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, yesterday May was asked to come up with “concrete proposals”.

Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, tweeted, following a phonecall with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker that Brexit was “now in final phase”.

“The EU is united; the withdrawal agreement is the best and only deal on the table. Awaiting proposal from UK that is acceptable to EU and will enable ratification in the UK,” he said.

Spoke with @JunckerEU. #Brexit now in final fase. The EU is united; the Withdrawal Agreement is the best and only deal on the table. Awaiting proposal from UK that is acceptable to EU and will enable ratfication in the UK.

— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) January 31, 2019

Time

Published  3 weeks ago

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s renewed attacks on the U.S. intelligence community this week, senior intelligence briefers are breaking two years of silence to warn that the President is endangering American security with what they say is a stubborn disregard for their assessments.

Citing multiple in-person episodes, these intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called “willful ignorance” when presented with analyses generated by America’s $81 billion-a-year intelligence services. The officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump’s briefs and the briefers themselves, describe futile attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible.

What is most troubling, say these officials and others in government and on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on the episodes, are Trump’s angry reactions when he is given information that contradicts positions he has taken or beliefs he holds. Two intelligence officers even reported that they have been warned to avoid giving the President intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public.

From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Robert Ashley, National Security Agency Director Gen. Paul Nakasone and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee on worldwide threats on Jan. 29, 2019.

Salwan Georges—The Washington Post/Getty Images

That reaction was on display this week. At a Congressional hearing on national security threats, the leaders of all the major intelligence agencies, including the Directors of National Intelligence, the CIA and the FBI contradicted Trump on issues relating to North Korea, Russia, the Islamic State, and Iran. In response, Trump said the intelligence chiefs were “passive and naïve” and suggested they “should go back to school.”

The intelligence officials criticizing Trump requested anonymity because the briefings they described, including the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB, are classified. The PDB is one of the most highly restricted products produced by U.S. intelligence analysts. A select group of intelligence officials is involved in preparing these briefings. A small number of senior officials, often including the Director of Central Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence or the heads of other agencies depending on the topic, usually deliver it.

The reporting for this story is based on interviews with multiple officials who have first hand knowledge of the episodes they describe, and multiple others who have been briefed on them. Asked in detail about the officials’ concerns, senior White House and National Security Council officials declined to comment.

The problem has existed since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, the intelligence officials say, and for a time they tried to respond to the President’s behavior in briefings with dark humor. After a briefing in preparation for a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, for example, the subject turned to the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia. The island is home to an important airbase and a U.S. Naval Support Facility that are central to America’s ability to project power in the region, including in the war in Afghanistan.

The President, officials familiar with the briefing said, asked two questions: Are the people nice, and are the beaches good? “Some of us wondered if he was thinking about our alliance with the Brits and the security issues in an important area where the Chinese have been increasingly active, or whether he was thinking like a real estate developer,” one of the officials said wryly.

In another briefing on South Asia, Trump’s advisors brought a map of the region from Afghanistan to Bangladesh, according to intelligence officers with knowledge of the meeting and congressional officials who were briefed on it. Trump, they said, pointed at the map and said he knew that Nepal was part of India, only to be told that it is an independent nation. When said he was familiar with Bhutan and knew it, too, was part of India, his briefers told him that Bhutan was an independent kingdom. Last August, Politico reported on president’s mispronunciation of the names of the two countries during the same briefing.

But the disconnect between Trump and his intelligence briefers is no joke, the officials say. Several pointed to concerns regarding Trump’s assessment of the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. After Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un last summer, the North claimed to have destroyed its major underground nuclear testing facility at Punggye-ri, and Trump has gone out of his way to credit the claim.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGIA), which oversees the spy satellites that map and photograph key areas, had tried to impress upon Trump the size and complexity of the North Korean site. In preparing one briefing for the President on the issue early in his administration, the NGIA built a model of the facility with a removable roof, according to two officials. To help Trump grasp the size of the facility, the NGIA briefers built a miniature version New York’s Statue of Liberty to scale and put it inside the model.

Intelligence officials from multiple agencies later warned Trump that entrances at the facility that had been closed after the summit could still be reopened. But the president has ignored the agencies’ warnings and has exaggerated the steps North Korea has taken to shutter the facility, those officials and two others say. That is a particular concern now, ahead of a possible second summit with the Kim Jong-Un later this month.

The briefers’ concerns are spread across multiple areas of expertise. Two briefers worry that a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping could produce a trade agreement that the President can trumpet but that fails to address China’s espionage, its theft of intellectual property that ranges from circuit boards to soybean hybrids, its military buildup, and its geopolitical ambition.

Three other officials worry about what one of them calls “precipitous troop withdrawals” from Syria and Afghanistan and a peace deal with the Taliban that in time would leave the extremist Islamic group back in charge and wipe out the gains made in education, women’s rights and governance since the U.S. invaded the country more than 17 years ago.

For now, the briefers are heartened by the intelligence community leaders who risked Trump’s ire by contradicting him in public testimony this week.

The danger, one former intelligence official said, is that those leaders and other intelligence briefers may eventually stop taking such risks in laying out the facts for the President.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

The Irish Times

Published  3 weeks ago

Illegal fund activity linked to Brexit being ignored in belief ‘the people have spoken’

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

Leading Conservative Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg has signalled he may be prepared to accept a “short” delay to Brexit if it is required to finalise legislation around a deal.

His intervention follows several government ministers raising the same prospect in recent days as the legal deadline for Britain’s departure for leaving the EU, on 29 March, rapidly approaches.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who chairs the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs, used an article to outline how a brief extension to Article 50 “is not impossible”.

But he made clear in The Daily Telegraph that any delay must not be used for further “vacuous negotiations” with Brussels.

"Attempts to postpone the date of departure from the European Union beyond March 29 are little more than ploys to keep the United Kingdom as a member state in spite of the referendum and subsequent Acts of Parliament," Mr Rees-Mogg said.

However he accepted that, with 55 days left till Brexit day, the timetable is "tight" and if a deal is struck and laws of such magnitude will demand proper scrutiny.

He continued: “The EU is an expert at deciding matters just before the deadline as it focuses the mind. Parliament can also legislate with considerable speed but a law of this kind will need proper scrutiny.

"Thus, if the agreement were made but a little parliamentary time were needed, as long as the second reading had taken place a short extension is not impossible," he said.

"Equally, to delay for the purpose of vacuous discussions would be solely to thwart Brexit. It must not be for that purpose and should be opposed if negotiations are incomplete."

Earlier this week, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government may need “extra time” to pass critical legislation needed for Britain’s exit from the bloc if Theresa May receives MPs’ support for her deal at the eleventh-hour.

Pressed on the scheduled departure date, Mr Hunt told the BBC: “I think that depends on how long this process takes.

“I think it is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before 29 March then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation. But if we are able to make progress sooner, then that might not be necessary.

“We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.”

His cabinet colleague, the chancellor Philip Hammond, echoed his comments, adding the government may need a “little bit of more time” in order to get crucial Bills through the House of Commons.

Questioned on comments from ministers in recent days, a spokesperson for the prime minister told reporters this week: “We are still leaving the European Union on 29 March and we remain committed to ensuring all the necessary legislation is in place by then.”

“It is a challenging timetable but we are making good progress,” they added.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

mirror

Published  3 weeks ago

A no-deal Brexit could end up unleashing a plague of rats as waste exports are halted and our landfills overflow.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove wrote to the European Energy and Environment subcommittee to set out planning for what would happen in the event of us crashing out of the bloc on March 29.

And his note confirms waste sites in the south-east of England would be allowed to overflow with waste on a “case-by-case basis”.

Best for Britain supporter Virendra Sharma said: “This shows once and for all Brexit is rubbish. We are now facing the facts that tips will fill up, rats on our streets and bins overflowing. You have to ask, was it worth it?”

There are particular worries about the south-east as it will be hit hardest if waste exports are delayed at Dover.

Mr Gove wrote: “The Environment Agency is ready to respond to requests from industry for additional storage of waste and will process any such requests as promptly as it can.

“In the event of a no-deal causing stockpiling, the Environment Agency is able to issue an ‘enforcement

position’ to allow waste sites to go over the permitted levels on a temporary case-by-case basis.”

The news comes after reports emerged that environment officials fear we would struggle to export waste as well as livestock, leading to growing mounds of rubbish and slurry.

An internal memo said: “Odours will obviously be an issue as the stockpiled waste putrefies.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said a process was in place to ensure waste could still be exported after a no-deal Brexit.

Tory Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen insisted: “This is people worrying over nothing. The day we leave the EU – even with no deal – our rules will still be the same.”

Earlier this week, Theresa May secured Parliament’s backing to re-open talks with Brussels.

The PM hopes to strike a deal that does not include the Irish border backstop – and could finally win a majority in a Commons vote. She reports back to Parliament on February 13.

Meanwhile, Mrs May today begged MPs to stop trying to force a second EU referendum, insisting there will never be a Commons majority for it.

She wrote in an article: “Put your efforts behind securing a better Brexit for all of us.”

Breitbart

Published  3 weeks ago

Theresa May and her Remainer civil servants secretly sabotaged an offer made by the EU Council President Donald Tusk of a free trade deal exit from the EU because all they ever really wanted was Brexit In Name Only.

Of the many things I’ve heard about the Establishment’s outrageous scheming to scupper Brexit this is by far the most damning – and it deserves much wider coverage.

It was Martin Durkin (director of Brexit: the Movie) who drew my attention to it.

It beggars belief that May and her snake-like Remainer civil servants are still in power after Steve Baker’s revelation that they secretly turned down an EU offer of a free trade deal.

— Martin Durkin (@Martin_Durkin) February 11, 2019

Steve Baker MP is a member of the (ardently pro-Brexit) European Research Group. He was also – till he resigned in protest at Mrs May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations – a minister in the government’s Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXU). Baker made his revelation at the end of last month while appearing before an MP committee, in which he criticised the “governing class” for its deliberate attempts to thwart Brexit in defiance of the Referendum vote.

Baker told the committee hearing: [my bold]

“The entire approach is suffused by a reluctance to deliver what the public wanted, which is us controlling our laws in our parliament with all that that means.

So the relationship between Number 10 [Downing Street] and the DEXU ministers was always one of instinctive tension because I think the DEXU ministers believed overwhelmingly in exiting the European Union. Whereas, overwhelmingly, the staff of Number 10 seemed not to be people with a heart for it. And I think that that tension suffused the entire process. We were regularly overruled.

For example, after President [of the EU Council] Donald Tusk made his offer of security co-operation, participation in institutions of research, innovation, education and culture, dealing with absurdities – flights we’ve already mentioned, driving licences data and so on. He also made an advanced free trade agreement – all sectors, no tariffs, you know what he offered. Once he’d made that offer I was very pleased because it matched the policy which DEXU ministers had decided. And I wanted to start putting it in my speeches. And one speech in particular, I remember, was edited by Number 10 to remove references to that offer because it was not the offer that the system as a whole wanted.”

I gather from other sources that Britain’s trade negotiating team – led by Liam Fox – is under orders from Number 10 to ensure that nothing is done to change the post-Brexit status quo. That is, when – as has happened in at least one case – a country negotiating a new bilateral, post-Brexit deal with the UK proposes to make it as tax- and regulation-lite as possible, Britain turns down the offer flat. Despite Brexit, Mrs May is absolutely set on keeping Britain’s trading relationship with the world the same as it was while Britain was a member of the European Union.

No longer, I think, can there be any doubt that the failure of the Brexit negotiations has nothing to do with Brexiteer intransigence and everything to do with Mrs May and the Remainer Deep State.

We’re not going to get Brexit because Theresa May and her Remainer cronies won’t allow us to have Brexit.

I don’t think this betrayal is going to be forgiven or forgotten. Do you?

expressandstar

Published  3 weeks ago

The agreement reached after years of negotiations is forecast to boost trade by more than £30 billion a year.

Sky News

Published  3 weeks ago

The Japanese car-maker will say next week that it is abandoning plans to build the X-Trail in Sunderland, Sky News learns.

Westmonster

Published  3 weeks ago

Whilst the well-funded Loser’s Vote, anti-Brexit brigade continue to delude themselves, the country is moving on. The vast majority of Brits now accept that the UK will be leaving the European Union.

New polling by YouGov has analysed both Remain and Leave voters as to their current positions. They find that amongst Remain voters, the majority would now accept a so-called ‘soft’ Brexit or a deal with the European Union that resembled what Theresa May is currently seeking to renegotiate.

Great @yougov analysis of what Brexit outcomes different voters would accept.

Striking stats:

• Only 18% of Remain voters would not tolerate any form of Brexit (fewer than the 19% who could live with May’s deal)

• 74% Remainers would accept soft Brexit https://t.co/7sCiipAI4Y pic.twitter.com/nMsMa30BJE

— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) February 1, 2019

As YouGov themselves explain overall, “74% of Remain voters belong to a group that would countenance some form of Brexit”.

The numbers who refuse to contemplate Brexit at all have dwindled massively: “18% of Remain voters are members of Die Hard Remainers group who will accept nothing less than staying in the EU”.

Interestingly when it comes to Leave voters, the largest faction comprise of those who now demand a No Deal Brexit, which is also the most populous group amongst Conservative voters. That speaks volumes.

The idea that there is a huge public mood against Brexit or for remaining in the EU is a complete fantasy. The people’s vote of 2016 must now be implemented, as the government promised.

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

Whitehall officials have begun “serious work” on the UK staying in a permanent EU customs union as a route to rescuing the Brexit deal, despite Theresa May ruling out the move, The Independent can

Fox News

Published  3 weeks ago

A Cold War-era emergency plan to relocate the royal family has been revived in case riots break out in London in the event of a no-deal Brexit next month, two British newspapers reported Sunday.

The plans, originally intended to be used in case of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union, have since been "repurposed" in recent weeks, The Sunday Times reported. The newspaper quoted an unnamed source in the government’s Cabinet Office, which handles sensitive administrative issues.

“These emergency evacuation plans have been in existence since the Cold War, but have now been repurposed in the event of civil disorder following a no-deal Brexit,” the Cabinet Office source told The Sunday Times.

UK PARLIAMENT SHOOTS DOWN BID TO DELAY BREXIT, SAYS IT COULD BACK MAY’S DEAL WITH CHANGES

The plans would include Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh moved out of London to a secret location, which The Sunday Times said it has agreed not to disclose.

The Mail on Sunday also reported on the plans for the "worst case" scenarios to move the Royals to safe locations outside of London.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative lawmaker and Brexiteer, told the Mail that the revival of the plan was a "wartime fantasy," adding that as senior royals had remained in London during the bombings of World War II.

"The over-excited officials who have dreamt up this nonsense are clearly more students of fantasy than of history," he told the Mail.

News of the reported plans for the royals comes amid uncertainty over Britain's looming departure from the European Union. Britain is scheduled to leave the E.U. on March 29, but U.K. politicians are divided over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY TO RECEIVE SURPRISING NEW GIFT FROM QUEEN ELIZABETH

U.K. lawmakers voted last week to seek changes to the agreement but the EU is adamant that it cannot be renegotiated. How to handle the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is one of the Brexit dilemmas.

On Sunday, Nissan canceled plans to make its X-Trail SUV in the UK. Nissan's Europe division boss wrote to factory staff in the English city of Sunderland, telling them the model will continue to be made in Japan.

Gianluca de Ficchy said the decision was a mixture of investment needed for emissions regulations and reduced sales forecasts but added uncertainty over Brexit had also played a part, Sky News reported.

He said the announcement would be "interpreted by a lot of people as a decision related to Brexit" and that "uncertainty around the UK's future relationship with the EU is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future."

May’s withdrawal agreement, negotiated with Brussels last year, was overwhelmingly voted down last month by the House of Commons, leaving the U.K. on track to leave with no such deal and therefore revert to World Trade Organization terms -- something that those in favor of remaining in the E.U., business groups, and even some in May’s government have said would be unacceptable and lead to chaos throughout Britain.

Hardline Brexiteers, however, have dismissed predictions of long lines at borders and food and medicine shortages as exaggerated talk designed to delay and ultimately overturn the 2016 referendum, in which more than 17 million Brits voted to leave the bloc.

Fox News' Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Express.co.uk

Published  3 weeks ago

THE BBC has faced backlash from Twitter users after “shamefully” broadcasting a speech by Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt but failing to show a “patriotic” speech by Brexiteer Nigel Farage who was also speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

The Telegraph

Published  3 weeks ago

Sajid Javid warned a Cabinet colleague that Brexit is likely to be delayed, a source told The Telegraph as it emerged that nearly a third of the Cabinet now believe Article 50 may have to be extended.

The Home Secretary is said to have raised concerns with another minister during the last fortnight that Theresa May will run out of time to pass legislation needed for Brexit.

One source claimed that during the conversation Mr Javid questioned the Prime Minister's strategy of publicly insisting the UK will leave on March 29.

The Telegraph understands that nine Cabinet ministers believe Brexit may have to be delayed if extra time is needed to finalise the terms of a deal.

Andrea Leadsom, the Leader...

LBC

Published  3 weeks ago

Across platforms, the video has racked up over four million views and counting.

Earlier this week, Nigel Farage delivered a speech in the European Parliament on Wednesday, where he stated that no country would have agreed to sign Theresa May's Brexit deal with the EU unless they had just been "defeated in war".

Addressing the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the LBC presenter and LeaveMeansLeave.eu campaign founder claimed that Theresa May had made a terrible mistake in agreeing to the Irish backstop.

The prominent Brexiteer said that the prospect of a no-deal Brexit had increased because of the attitude of Brussels "fanatics" who refused to compromise.

He said that the Prime Minister had now realised the mistake made in agreeing to the backstop, adding: "She signed up to something that no country - unless it had been defeated in war - would have signed up to."

Nigel said there was an "appreciation in Britain that unelected bureaucrats in Brussels have been talking down to and humiliating the Prime Minister of our nation, and we don't like it".

Later sharing the video on twitter, Nigel wrote "The UK is dealing with fanatics who are not prepared to be reasonable. Unelected bureaucrats like @JunckerEU and @MichelBarnier have been humiliating @Theresa_May and the British public do not like it."

Across platforms including Twitter and Youtube, the video has had over four million views so far.

Westmonster

Published  3 weeks ago

A group of Cabinet Ministers are now considering a delay to Brexit that would mean the UK would not leave the European Union on 29th March, as has been promised repeatedly by everyone in government including Theresa May. This would break trust with the British people and lead to considerable anger.

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid has reportedly told one of his colleagues that he believes Article 50 may have to be extended and Brexit pushed back.

That’s according to The Telegraph who also estimate that around a third of the Cabinet now think that they may need more time to negotiate a deal with the EU. But the law is clear that the UK is leaving deal or No Deal on 29th March, so this would effectively be the government blocking a WTO Brexit.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also spoken publicly of the possibility of an extension of Article 50, saying: “It is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before the 29th March, then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation. But if we are able to make progress sooner then that might not be necessary.”

Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom has also mentioned the potential of a delay for a “couple of extra weeks” which she believes the European Union would agree to. Of course they would, Brussels want to keep the UK locked in as long as possible and any delay would boost the hopes of anti-Brexit hardliners.

To be fair Downing Street have sought to dismiss any such extension, saying: “There is no change to our position. We are not considering an extension to Article 50 and are committed to doing whatever it takes to have the statute books ready for when we leave the EU on March 29th this year.”

More recently the government line has been: “The Prime Minister’s position on this is unchanged. We will be leaving on 29th March.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s attempt to force the government into a Brexit delay has just been rejected by Parliament and a Sky News poll found 60% of the public in agreement that any postponement would appear as a move to stop the UK leaving the EU completely. That would be incredibly bad for faith in democracy and politicians who have already had years to sort this out.

Do you think most people who say we should delay Brexit by extending article 50 are or are not trying to stop Brexit entirely?

Are not 23%

Don't know 17%

— Sky Data (@SkyData) January 30, 2019

The British government need to get tougher in negotiations with Brussels, make clear the country is leaving on 29th March and prepare to do that without a deal if necessary.

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

Theresa May has become a master of the U-turn. No matter how tight the alleyways she drives herself down, she always manages to switch direction.

After a long journey down “no deal is better than a bad deal”, she swung around to “my [bad] deal is better than no deal”. And last night she shifted from “this deal is the only deal available”, to a promise to seek a “legally binding change to the withdrawal agreement”.

But in interviews this morning, the Brexit secretary was incapable of explaining exactly what “change” the government is seeking. I sense he knows we have run out of road.

The magical mystery tour that was last night’s debate proved the Tories can only unite in Neverland. The prime minister herself has now succumbed to collective Conservative Party amnesia and delusion – acting as if the last two months never happened, and as if some “alternative arrangement” or “technical solution” will save her dead deal.

Created with Sketch. Britain Before Brexit: Northeast England

Show all 12 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch. Britain Before Brexit: Northeast England

The EU rejected ministers’ reheated plans to change the Irish backstop just six minutes after MPs voted for them. In fact, the EU rejected a remarkably similar-sounding request to change the agreed deal before Christmas, and indeed has consistently refused to alter the backstop, not out of stubbornness – but out of respect for the Good Friday Agreement and recognition that peace in Northern Ireland is paramount.

By pursuing this doomed strategy, the prime minister is once again placing party unity above the future of our country. She’s pushing us out of a plane without a parachute, on the assurance that “alternative arrangements” will be made before we hit the ground.

Last night should be a wake-up call for those of us in opposition. The likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, who in 2016 promised that leaving the EU would restore parliamentary sovereignty, voted against every amendment that might give MPs a say on what happens next. We are living under martial rule by a monocle-wearing ERG elite.

Brexit isn’t about restoring our outdated democracy to health or empowering neglected communities. It’s about an ideological split in the Conservative Party, and May will adopt any policy that might hold her MPs together – regardless of what it means for our country.

Those of us who believe in workers’ rights, environmental protections and our NHS, those who want to build a fairer society, and those who want to stand up for the millions who rejected the status quo in 2016 must now work together.

We face new challenges today – from climate change and the refugee crisis to international terrorism. They cross borders and affect us all. Indeed, our very future depends on us co-operating with our neighbours. The peace, prosperity and freedom that the EU has delivered ought to be front and centre of the Brexit debate – so too the social and environmental protections secured across 27 countries, the remarkable gift of free movement, the good angel sitting on our shoulder when it comes to human rights, the friendships across borders, the cultural opportunities, the life without fear and the solidarity.

There was some hope last night when a majority of MPs rejected the dire prospect of a disastrous no-deal Brexit. Parliament will not allow mass job losses, chaos at ports or a breakdown of peace in Northern Ireland.

But as the Brexit timebomb ticks, we must urgently unite behind a new way forward. When May returns from Brussels empty-handed yet again, we must use our Valentine’s Day vote to reject her damaging deal and force her to extend Article 50.

These endless fantasy debates and repetitive votes can only be further undermining people’s faith in our political system. If we believe in democracy, MPs on all sides must stop blaming the EU, stop accusing each other and face up to our own failure to break this impasse. The best way to achieve consensus now – for the country, not just the Conservatives – is to put our faith in the public with a People's Vote and citizens' assemblies to start building our future.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

A British man and his family have been made homeless after being told they could not rent a property in the UK because his wife was not eligible to rent under Home Office rules – despite the fact that she has the right to live in Britain.

Rory McCormick, 55, put a deposit down on a house in Suffolk after receiving a job offer in the area. He, his Russian wife Anna, and their two daughters, aged four and seven months, had been due to move from Ireland into the property on Tuesday.

But days before the move-in date, Mr McCormick was told by his letting agency, William H Brown, that his wife’s Irish residency card would not be accepted because, while it established her right to reside in the UK, it did not qualify under the Home Office's “Right to Rent” guidance.

The case has prompted fresh criticism of the government's Right to Rent policy, a key branch of Theresa May's attempt to create a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, which requires landlords in England to check the immigration status of prospective tenants.

Campaigners said the case demonstrated how "bureaucratic incompetence" and "poorly explained and complex laws" which landlords and estate agents are required to follow under the policy were having "disastrous consequences" for families who risk homelessness as a result.

Having already moved out of their home in County Wexford in Ireland, but being unable to move into the new property, Mr McCormick and his family were currently staying with his sister in the east of England, sharing one bedroom between four of them.

Speaking to The Independent, Mr McCormick, who works for a tour operator, said: "It is incredibly stressful, as a husband and father, to realise that I may not be able to put a roof over my family’s head because of a pedantic and unlawful guide issued by the Home Office.

"My children do not deserve to be treated in this way, nor do I or my wife.

“I am an Englishman, I served for nine years in the Army, I have worked since I was 16 years old and it breaks my heart that my own government seems quite content to make a British citizen, his two British daughters and lawfully resident wife, homeless."

In an email to Mr McCormick, the letting agency William H Brown claimed that "Right to Rent isn’t the same as right to reside" and said they would risk facing legal action if they failed to abide by the Home Office rules.

Responding to the case, Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “The Home Secretary claims to have ended the ‘hostile environment’ but incidents like these show that is completely untrue.

“Instead, what we are actually witnessing is the extension of those terrible policies towards wider groups all the time, not just all the people from the Commonwealth. The hostile environment must go, and Labour in government will end it.”

Chai Patel, legal policy director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), accused ministers of, through the hostile environment, "enlisting ordinary people - from doctors to teachers to estate agents - in amateur border enforcement".

He added: “For a family of four moving back to the UK from another country is likely to be a stressful enough experience as it is. But for Rory and Anna, they face another level of uncertainty about whether they would ever be able to live together in the UK at all.

"This has disastrous consequences for families who risk homelessness owing to bureaucratic incompetence and poorly explained and complex laws. Landlords and estate agents are simply not qualified to carry out immigration checks, and Sajid Javid needs to stop trying to make them do so, particularly given the numbers of European nationals who are going to be unable to prove their status after Brexit."

The Right to Rent policy has previously come under fire from cross-party MPs, landlords and immigration lawyers warning that it risks putting people at risk of homelessness and exploitation.

It is currently being challenged in the High Court over claims that it “incentivises discrimination” in breach of the law.

The Home Office and William H Brown have been approached for comment.

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

Theresa May is considering a bid to win Labour MPs' support for her Brexit deal with a cash injection for areas that voted Leave at the 2016 referendum.

The proposal comes ahead of any second vote on the prime minister's deal and after Ms May secured parliamentary backing to seek alternatives to the Irish backstop.

A Downing Street source confirmed to The Independent the funds for Leave areas was a "possibility" but made clear it had not yet been agreed.

John Mann - the Labour MP for Bassetlaw - said: "Show us the money. A fund of sufficient size to transform our communities. Our areas voted Leave and it is time that we had the investment we need."

Mr Mann was one of 14 Labour MPs to vote against an amendment by his colleague Yvette Cooper on Tuesday which would have paved the way to delay Britain's exit from the EU by giving MPs the power to request an Article 50 extension.

Downing Street hope they can win the support of Labour MPs when Ms May returns to the Commons with a second "meaningful vote" on her deal next month as it is expected several Conservative MPs will still remain opposed to her plans.

In regards to the cash injection, a government source also told The Times: "There's a willingness to look again at coalfield communities and make good the promises that former Labour governments failed to deliver.

"It's about allowing Labour MPs representing Brexit communities to show that they have extracted something in return for their vote. And, frankly, it's not an unreasonable ask."

In a warning to colleagues tempted to support the prime minister's deal in the coming weeks, however, the Labour MP David Lammy said: "More fool them. Socialists my arse. Cowards and facilitators. History will be brutal."

It comes as Ms May prepares to spend the coming weeks attempting to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and the Irish backstop, despite the EU repeatedly rejecting such demands from the UK government.

On Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn held talks with Ms May on Wednesday in which he "set out the Labour case for a comprehensive customs union with the European Union".

But speaking to reporters in his parliamentary office after the meeting, he warned that he had suspicions about the government’s motives in holding the meetings with opposition parliamentarians.

The Labour leader said: “The whole process looks like it’s running down the clock by saying, well, it’s either the problems and the difficulties of no deal or support a deal that’s already been rejected by the House of Commons.

“I’m suspicious that there is a programme of running down the clock here.”

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

BrexitCentral

Published  3 weeks ago

Theresa May is going back to Brussels today following her visit to Northern Ireland, to meet Jean-Claude Juncker and seek changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.But we already know that the EU has sa

Westmonster

Published  3 weeks ago

A Sky Data poll has revealed that a clean, No Deal Brexit is now te most popular single option for leaving.

Sky News decided to split the question into three for some reason, offering two deal options and plus No Deal. They found 39% in favour of a No Deal, compared to 34% for Theresa May’s deal without the backstop and 27% with the backstop. It would have been interesting to see the numbers if they had kept it as a straight deal or No Deal question.

Asked to choose between 👇

📕Theresa May's initial #Brexit deal including the #backstop

📗A version of the same deal without the backstop

📘A #NoDealBrexit 👉 is the most popular single option.

Read the full @SkyData report here: https://t.co/5hxOuzpPkp pic.twitter.com/tDQ0OA6KOL

— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 30, 2019

In their studio debate in Sunderland, 78% said they didn’t believe the UK would strike a deal with the European Union and No Deal was the most popular option again, backed by 43% of the audience.

Meanwhile when asked if those who are seeking to delay Brexit are actually trying to stop it altogether, the British public won’t be conned: 60% say that those seeking to extend Article 50 are attempting to block the UK’s exit from the EU completely.

Do you think most people who say we should delay Brexit by extending article 50 are or are not trying to stop Brexit entirely?

Are not 23%

Don't know 17%

— Sky Data (@SkyData) January 30, 2019

Outside of the bubble, increasing numbers of voters back leaving the EU without a deal. The British public won’t be bullied.

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

Investment in the British car industry fell by 50 per cent in 2018 as firms held back spending due to Brexit-related uncertainty. Unveiling the figures, industry leaders are issuing a heartfelt plea:

Westmonster

Published  3 weeks ago

Yesterday’s speech in the European Parliament by Nigel Farage came just after both Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier stood up to dismiss any prospect of a renegotiation with the British government.

He used the speech, face to face with the Barnier and Juncker, to hit back at the EU and point out how there is now “an appreciation in Britain that unelected bureaucrats in Brussels have been talking down to and humiliating the Prime Minister of our nation, and we don’t like it”. He’s right.

Farage highlighted how the UK was “dealing with fanatics who are not prepared to be reasonable” despite “compromise after compromise” by Theresa May. This clearly leads the UK towards a No Deal Brexit.

Of course, if you’d have watched the mainstream media bulletins last night you will only have seen the EU speeches, because the increasingly Remoaner tone of the broadcast media froze out Farage’s speech As Martin Knight tweeted: “BBC News at 6 just showed Guy Verhofstadt slagging off UK At the European Parliament, but not Nigel Farage’s spirited defence of Theresa May.

“At this delicate time you’d have thought our state broadcaster would give equal billing to a patriotic point of view.”

BBC News at 6 just showed Guy Verhofstadt slagging off U.K At the European Parliament, but not Nigel Farage's spirited defence of #TheresaMay . At this delicate time you'd have thought our state broadcaster would give equal billing to a patriotic point of view. https://t.co/BYgUXZmoce

— Martin Knight (@MartinKnight_) January 30, 2019

Carole Malone also described the BBC’s decision to ignore Farage’s UK defence as “shameful”.

I just watched Farage’s defence of Britain and @theresa_may – it’s shameful the BBC didn’t run it. https://t.co/bsCpGNjzxG

— Carole Malone (@thecarolemalone) January 30, 2019

But the internet and social media are game-changers to thankfully counteract the blatant anti-Brexit bias we see deeply entrenched among much of the UK media class.

On Nigel Farage’s personal Facebook page, the speech has been shared by more than 36,000 people and clocked up 1.1 million views.

It has also clocked up an additional 435,000 views on his Twitter. Remember, this is a speech made less than 24 hours ago.

The UK is dealing with fanatics who are not prepared to be reasonable. Unelected bureaucrats like @JunckerEU and @MichelBarnier have been humiliating @Theresa_May and the British public do not like it. pic.twitter.com/lqPe57F9y0

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 30, 2019

Meanwhile on Leave.EU’s Facebook page another 19,000 people shared the speech, clocking up an additional 428,000 views. Leave.EU’s Twitter clocked up another 73,000 views as well.

On top of this there are other videos, including The Sun’s YouTube coverage that has already racked up another 230,000 views.

That’s well over 2 million views in less than 24 hours for a speech that the mainstream media totally ignored. Brexiteers won’t be silenced…

Westmonster

Published  3 weeks ago

There is further evidence that those who support Theresa May’s party strongly back walking away from the European Union without a deal if Brussels continue to take their current hardline stance.

A new Survation poll for the Daily Mail reveals that a whopping 60% of Conservative voters want the UK to leave the European Union without a deal if the EU refuse to change the deal on offer.

This follows on from another poll earlier this month that showed 64% of Tory members prefer a No Deal to the deal May brought back from Brussels.

When it comes to voters overall, 41% are in favour of leaving with No Deal compared to 44% who are against. Considering the wave of Project Fear and a reluctance still of many politicians to promote the benefits of walking away without a deal, those numbers are quite telling.

Interestingly when asked, the British public now think No Deal is the most likely outcome, with 36% of those asked predicting such an outcome compared to 25% who think the backstop will be binned and a further 20% who predict the Prime Minister will be lumbered with her current deal.

Outside of the bubble there is significant public support for leaving the EU with No Deal. The British government must stand firm and be prepared to walk away.

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

There will be yet more extraordinary events in the House of Commons tomorrow when we will vote on a series of amendments to a motion tabled by the prime minister Theresa May. In essence,her motion says that she will seek to make changes to the “deal” she has reached with the European Union in order to address the objections raised by Brexiters on her own side and by the DUP regarding the so-called “backstop.” She wants MPs to pass the motion to illustrate support for this as the way out of the mess.

The backstop aims to stop a hard border emerging on the island of Ireland, and the prime minister believes that with some tweak of the wording in the withdrawal agreement (or an appendix or side letter to it) she will potentially be able to persuade a majority in the Commons to support her deal when she brings it back for approval for a second time next month. That is quite unlikely and, if I am right and she is unsuccessful, she will need the Commons to then take the matter out of her hands thereafter. Her problem is that if she is seen to connive with either end of the Brexit debate in her party, the resulting fury on the other wing of her party may lead to her losing a future confidence vote leading to her departure. Parliament taking the matter out of May’s hands is really the only way we can move forward towards coming to a decision on what to do next – in private conversations, ministers readily concede this.

Numerous amendments to the prime minister’s motion have been tabled by backbenchers but two, if passed, will temporarily transfer control of part of the timetabling of Commons business – which in ordinary times is principally controlled by the government – to backbench MPs. This would enable us to hold votes to break the Brexit deadlock in parliament before the scheduled exit day of 29 March 2019, which the government will have to implement.

Hardline pro-Brexit champions in May’s party oppose this and continue to invoke the result of the 2016 EU referendum to justify pursuing Brexit at any cost, to the extent of leaving without reaching an agreement with the EU.

I was on ITV’sGood Morning Britain earlier today with one of them – the deputy chair of the Tory ERG, Mark Francois – who was very keen to talk about “the will of the people” in 2016, but less keen to take note of the will of the people in the 2017 general election where the pursuit of his agenda by May lost the Tories their majority. Unsurprisingly he did not want to take a rain check on what the will of the people is in 2019 – I wonder why? He also raged against the CEO of Airbus for daring to point out just how damaging to British jobs leaving the EU with no deal would be – something the ERG promotes. According to Francois, Airbus is trying to “bully” MPs, an absurd proposition.

The two key amendments are those tabled by my Labour colleague Yvette Cooper, and the one tabled by the former Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve. I am a signatory of both but Grieve’s amendment, in particular, is vital. Here’s why:

In short, Cooper’s amendment would clear the business of the Commons on 5 February to consider and vote on a bill she has drafted, which would force the government to apply for an extension of the Article 50 process if, on exit day, we have not reached an agreement with the EU. In herdraft bill she envisages an extension of up to nine months, but the EU is unlikely to agree to that given it would require new British MEPs to be elected in May/June.

An extension until the end of June, which would not require EU elections to be held in Britain, is more likely and MPs could amend the Bill accordingly. However, EU officials have told me that an extension will only be granted for a specific purpose like the holding of a second referendum. Cooper’s bill is silent on the purpose for which an application for an extension would be made but, again, that can be returned to later.

Even if all stages of the bill can be passed on 5 February in the Commons – a tall order – the danger is that it gets held up in the House of Lords where Brexiter peers will attempt to filibuster it. Nevertheless, it could work as a legal mechanism for preventing a no deal Brexit which is why I will vote for it regardless and I would be flabbergasted if all Labour MPs are not whipped to do so (a final decision on that has yet to be made).

For the avoidance of doubt, Cooper says her goal is to delay not stop Brexit. She was clear on this yesterday on BBC1’sAndrew Marr Show when she said: “If the prime minister runs out of time she may need some more time, and that is not about blocking Brexit, that is about being responsible and making sure you can try and get a Brexit deal.” She went on to declare that she wants the UK to leave the EU with a deal and said “that for me should include a customs union.”

Grieve’s amendment is complementary to hers. It simply provides for backbench MPs to take further control of Commons business – motions, votes, legislation etc – after 5 February on one day of every week the Commons is sitting between now and exit day. This is an important insurance mechanism in the event the Cooper Bill does not pass for whatever reason and needs more time for consideration. It provides a much wider canvass for MPs to intervene and determine what trajectory Brexit takes in the national interest.

Some have said Grieve’s amendment would change the constitutional arrangements between the legislature and the executive. The same could be said of Yvette’s amendment and bill. Those who complain protest too much – many Tuesday evenings and all sitting Fridays are given over to backbench business and usually a government has a majority, in which case they will always control Commons business.

Like me, Grieve makes no secret of the fact that that he does not want to facilitate Brexit but to hand the issue back to the people to decide whether to press on with this disaster. But that is not the purpose of his amendment which makes no reference to a second referendum. The focus is on giving MPs the opportunity to stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

So a lot of the next 48 hours will focus on process – not the substance of Brexit, to which minds will be forced to return after. Sooner or later we are all going to have to make a decision – do you want to facilitate Brexit or give the people the power to stop it? The people should be given a Final Say in my view. If others disagree, they must be honest about what that means – paving the way for a course of action which will make the country poorer without checking whether that is the will of the people in 2019.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

BBC News

Published  3 weeks ago

Major retailers prepare to warn MPs a no-deal Brexit will cause major disruption to food supplies.

Westmonster

Published  3 weeks ago

With support building for a WTO Brexit, the UK still has a Prime Minister seemingly unwilling to execute a clean break from the European Union on 29th March.

That’s according to The Sun, who report that Theresa May has privately told senior government Ministers that she wouldn’t lead the UK out of the European Union without a deal, despite increasing public support for such a move. This would be devastating weakness and if it isn’t true, May should publicly deny it.

It has been claimed that Remainer Ministers, some of whom would likely resign their roles in protest at a No Deal, have convinced May that it No Deal can’t be done. The same people who campaigned against Brexit in the first place.

One Cabinet source is quoted as saying: “The PM has made quite clear that she’s not going to go for No Deal.”

Though May is still not publicly ruling it out, whether the EU now take the prospect of the government walking away seriously remains to be seen. As in any negotiation, a good deal will only be on the table if the other side know you are serous about walking away.

A WTO Brexit that allows the UK to take back full control is receiving increasing support despite the non-stop Project Fear. Even in Remain-voting Leeds, Sky News found an audience 54% in favour of No Deal.

No Dea is still better than a bad deal – the British government must be prepared to leave the European Union on 29th March without an agreement.

The Independent

Published  3 weeks ago

Brexit is already costing the UK’s public finances £17bn a year, according to a detailed study released ahead of critical votes in parliament this week. The amount would be sufficient to pay 10,000

Prism Daily News

Published  4 weeks ago

Talking exclusively to Prism Daily News, Dmitry Grozoubinski confirmed it is possible for the UK and EU to continue with their current frictionless and tariff-free arrangements even without a Withdrawal Agreement, the so-called ‘No Deal’ option. Mr Grozoubinski is an international trade expert and former Australian WTO trade negotiator who is a respected commentator and consultant on matters of international trade and frequently appears in national news and media.

On an open Twitter exchange (22/01/19) with this publication, Mr Grozoubinski went on to make it clear that a loose arrangement would be insufficient but in essence so long as there was a sincere, structured route to either a future customs union or comprehensive free trade agreement, then the existing Customs Union and Single Market relationship could be continued as they were ‘already WTO notified and WTO legal’ and that in such circumstances even reliance on Article XXIV was unnecessary. Indeed the Withdrawal Agreement relies on these very same provisions.

Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is part of the rule book of the World Trade Organisation which covers 164 nations. Looking at it simplistically, this international trade rules based system has two basic tenets; either nations trade with each other on a level playing field – the so-called Most Favoured Nation basis which means a tariff (customs charge) and quotas are applied equally or nations trade on preferential terms through either a customs arrangement or free trade agreement. At the moment the UK and EU trade with each other on preferential terms and the question is how the transition is made from our current to our future arrangement. There are a number of rules within GATT that allow exceptions to the two options outlined in the interests of promoting international trade stability. Article XXIV is one such exception which states nations may trade with each other on preferential terms – for example zero tariffs – if they are working towards a comprehensive trading relationship. There is no maximum timescale this interim arrangement may operate other than it must be only for a reasonable period. It is widely averred that up to 10 years may be a reasonable period.

Another important consideration to bear in mind is that the WTO is not a Regulatory Authority with any powers to sanction member states as it was and still is essentially a membership trade body rather than an enforcer. This point was highlighted in the exchange between PDN and Mr Grozoubinski. Whilst members can object to trading arrangements whether interim or permanent, and they frequently do, the WTO itself has no teeth to intervene. Instead it is incumbent on a member state to demonstrate loss and invoke the formal WTO arbitration and resolution process. Therefore no single member can ‘block’ or ‘veto’ the actions of another trading nation. We covered this in more detail in an earlier article (Trading on WTO Terms).

Clearly then, the method of UK/EU trading in a No Deal Brexit scenario is one subject to political considerations rather than insurmountable constraints from World Trade Rules. One might imagine given the choice of Tariffs and Quotas or ongoing free access to UK markets that French Farmers, German Automotive Manufacturers, Spanish Citrus Producers etc may prefer to maintain the status quo as indeed would UK producers. However, we shall return to the political push and pull factors of both sides in a later article.

Owen Paterson MP raises question of Article 24 with Prime Minister Theresa May in House of Commons Brexit debate:

Westmonster

Published  4 weeks ago

MEPs in the European Parliament have threatened to veto any EU deal with the UK. This is important as the Euro Parliament will eventually have to vote on any Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50.

The European Parliament’s ‘Brexit Steering Group’, which is chaired by the fanatically pro-EU Guy Verhofstadt, today issued a statement reading: “The BSG insists that, without such an ‘all-weather’ backstop-insurance, the European Parliament will not give its consent to the Withdrawal Agreement.”

They also say that “the Withdrawal Agreement is fair and cannot be re-negotiated”. Brexiteers rightly disagree, Theresa May’s defeated deal was a £39 billion trap.

Like everyone else, the MEPs are also urging a continuing focus on a No Deal outcome, saying: “While a No Deal exit would not be in anybody’s interests, the only responsible course of action remains to continue and to intensify work on No Deal planning.

“It reiterated the European Parliament’s determination to ensure in such a case that there would be no disruption for EU citizens in the UK or for UK citizens in the EU.”

The hated backstop is just one aspect of the deal that must be renegotiated if the EU want a deal to be done. With German industry, French agriculture and the Dutch healthcare industry all increasingly worried about a No Deal, MEPs in Brussels are clearly in need of a reality check.

BBC News

Published  4 weeks ago

Brexit jargon explained

01/24 12:18 am

From Article 50 to Backstop, find out what the key terms mean.

the Guardian

Published  4 weeks ago

JCB paid Boris Johnson £10,000 three days before he gave a speech at its headquarters last week in which he repeatedly praised the company’s business acumen and innovation, it has emerged.

The payment was disclosed on the new register of MPs’ financial interests, which also shows that JCB – owned by Anthony Bamford, a pro-Brexit Conservative peer and donor – is paying the former Brexit secretary David Davis £60,000 a year as an “external adviser”.

Johnson’s speech in Staffordshire was primarily about Brexit and widely seen as a pitch for the Conservative leadership. However, he also mentioned JCB a number of times, noting at the start how the company had sold nearly 750,000 units of one model of digger.

Johnson, who resigned as foreign secretary last summer in protest at Theresa May’s Brexit plans, went on to praise JCB in the speech for demonstrating “the optimism and relentless technological innovation that I believe should be the hallmarks of the next phase of Brexit”.

Later in the speech he described the history of the firm and the global sales of their diggers and tractors, saying: “Nothing and no one will stop their spread.” He called on politicians to “emulate the spirit of JCB”.

The register of interests shows that Johnson, the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, who is paid almost £23,000 a month for his Daily Telegraph column, received £28,900 for a separate single speaking engagement in December.

It also details almost £100,000 in extra income for Davis since his return to the backbenches. The £60,000 role for JCB is for 20 hours of work a year, amounting to £3,000 an hour.

Another of Davis’s new interests is a role as board member for Mansfelder Kupfer und Messing (MKM), a German metals manufacturing company, for which he was paid £36,085 for the six months from December. The register says he is also “eligible for the management incentive plan”.

Davis has worked for MKM before. It is owned by a UK investment company led by Ian Hannam, a sometimes controversial banker who has been close to Davis for years.

In 2012, Hannam was fined £450,000 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for “market abuse” after it was found he had passed inside information to a prospective client. Hannam denied this, but an appeal was rejected. At the time Davis criticised the fine, calling it “an incredible extension of what constitutes insider trading by the FSA”.

At the time the case began, Davis had no financial relationship with Hannam, a fellow former member of 21 SAS Reserve Regiment. But during the appeal Davis was appointed to the supervisory board of MKM, to which he has now returned.

The entries for both Davis and Johnson say they have consulted the government’s advisory committee on business appointments, which rules on the sort of jobs former ministers and other senior government figures can do after departing, to avoid issues such as potential conflicts of interest.

While MPs can take outside jobs, within certain parameters, serving ministers cannot, which can mean their overall income falls despite the extra ministerial salary.

Geoffrey Cox, when he was made attorney general in July, had to give up his private QC activities, which had made him anything up to £600,000 a year on top of his MP’s salary.

Project Syndicate

Published  4 weeks ago

John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Now that British Prime Minister Theresa May's negotiated Brexit agreement has been soundly rejected by the House of Commons, the United Kingdom finds itself at a crossroads. The country's future depends largely on whether its political leaders can put cooperation and the national interest before adversarial partisanship.

BRUSSELS – The populist revolts in the United States and the United Kingdom have each reached a critical juncture. At the start of his third year in office, US President Donald Trump is presiding over the longest federal government shutdown in history. Having painted himself into a corner, he remains largely at the mercy of congressional Democrats to negotiate an end to a crisis he created.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Likewise, British Prime Minister Theresa May, having failed to secure parliamentary approval for her Brexit deal, now must negotiate either with the opposition Labour Party or with Tory Brexiteers and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionists who prop up her government.

Meanwhile, diplomats and politicians in Brussels have been deeply regretting May’s latest setback. After all, the agreement that was voted down was not just “May’s deal” but also the “European Union’s deal” – a point that has been lost on too many British MPs.

Given the “red lines” that May drew around limiting immigration and removing the United Kingdom from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, the deal she reached is nothing if not balanced. By settling financial obligations and offering certainty both to EU and UK citizens caught in the crossfire, it provides for an orderly divorce.

Moreover, the political declaration accompanying the divorce agreement lays the groundwork for a close and enduring future relationship between the UK and the EU. Both sides have committed to negotiating a post-Brexit settlement quickly, which means the contentious “Irish backstop” – a necessary safeguard for preserving the Good Friday Agreement and peace in Northern Ireland – will never have to come into play.

To be sure, “Remain”-orientated Conservative and Labour MPs have complained that the political declaration is not prescriptive enough, while Brexiteers argue that it is too prescriptive. But the EU made clear from the very start that a divorce treaty must be concluded before the details of the future relationship can be negotiated. No amount of griping will change that now.

Besides, the framework outlined in the political declaration can still be revised in the coming weeks. For example, Andrew Duff, a Liberal Democrat Remainer, has suggested that a UK-specific conceptualization of the free movement of people or customs-union membership could break the parliamentary impasse.

But while British politicians will no doubt find new doors to open, whether they can reach a multiparty agreement on which one to walk through remains uncertain. Cross-party solutions do not come naturally to the UK’s bipolar, adversarial political system. And yet, where there’s a will, there’s a way to put the national interest before narrow partisan concerns.

A multiparty approach is, of course, familiar to continental European politicians. EU legislation regularly ends up being finalized through late-night negotiations between MEPs and ministers who have locked themselves in a room to thrash out the necessary compromises.

A cultural shift toward an EU-style “co-decision” process could well win the support of the British public, as well as of European Brexit negotiators, who have been eagerly awaiting a more representative position from London for two years now. And if British political leaders are to have any hope of uniting their bitterly divided country, they will have to lead by example.

Looking ahead, the EU will remain somewhat flexible, as it has from the start. What it will not tolerate are attempts by British politicians – Labour or Conservative – to settle domestic political disputes by dumping them onto European policymakers’ shoulders.

In this context, British requests to extend the Brexit negotiations should be assessed in good faith and granted if more time is needed to settle technical matters. But no extension can go beyond July 2, 2019, as that is when a new European Parliament will be seated, following an election in May that will be a battle for Europe’s soul. With populists in Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere campaigning against the EU’s foundational values, European politicians have much more than British domestic political squabbles to worry about.

As for the Remainers seeking to overturn the 2016 Brexit referendum, they should remember that the UK need not remain outside the EU forever. The current deal on the table would not prevent Britain from reapplying for membership, even during the transition period. To my mind, it is almost inevitable that some compelling young British politician will emerge one day to lead the UK back into the EU, where it belongs.

But for now, the clock is ticking, and those who will be the most adversely affected by Brexit – including British businesses, young people, Britons living in the EU, and EU citizens living in the UK – deserve an orderly withdrawal. Given that a chaotic countdown to a disastrous “no deal” Brexit – in which the UK crashes out of the EU single market and customs union – would poison UK-EU relations for decades to come, no responsible politician should even entertain the possibility.

It is time for British politicians to come out of their trenches and start talking. Only Britons can move their politics from adversarial zero-sum brinkmanship to constructive consensus-building. Such a change in the UK’s political culture is long overdue.

The Economist

Published  4 weeks ago

THE DAY before the Brexit vote in Westminster, some on Fleet Street thought they had spied a last-minute get-out for Theresa May. The Sun, a right-wing tabloid, reported that Angela Merkel had offered the prime minister concessions on the Brexit deal in a phone call the day before. The report turned out to be incorrect. A German government spokesman said that the chancellor had made “no assurances” going beyond the deal sealed between Mrs May and the European Council in November. It was just the latest instance of the British press’s habit of seeing the German government as a deus ex machina that will make a crucial intervention in the closing acts of the Brexit drama.

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After the parliamentary vote on January 15th, the reaction of the rest of the EU followed a common script: the ball was in Britain’s court. “We are now waiting to see what the British prime minister proposes,” said Mrs Merkel a day later. Peter Altmaier, her economy minister and a close ally, declared on German radio that “we should give the British the chance to clarify their position.” Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, told the European Parliament, to storming applause, that “this vote is not a clear manifestation of a positive majority”. Privately, too, Brussels officials have said that all now depends on what the British government decides to do next.

This is true, but somewhat disingenuous. The EU knows full well that its role will be crucial. The commission has been game-planning a rejection of Mrs May’s deal for weeks and intensive talks about how to proceed followed the defeat in Westminster. Most in Brussels accept that if—as is now widely expected—Britain were to request an extension to the Article 50 deadline of March 29th for Brexit, it should win the unanimous approval that it needs in the European Council.

This is true to form. The remaining 27 EU governments have negotiated with a remarkably common front over the past two years. They have maintained their unity despite repeated British predictions that it would fracture. On how to respond to the chaos in Westminster, however, small cracks are emerging.

Thus even as the likes of Mrs Merkel and Mr Altmaier preach patience, the French are growing restless. At a public gathering in northern France this week, Emmanuel Macron responded to a question about fishing rights after Brexit with a strikingly frank prediction about what would happen next. The Britons would seek a better deal, the French president predicted. This would prompt few concessions from the remaining members of the EU, he added, going on to foresee an extension to the negotiating period. The French president is a lot less willing to spend time fiddling with the existing Brexit deal.

There is also some dispute over how long to extend Article 50. Many favour only a short extension to keep up pressure on London and avoid a clash with the European elections at the end of May. Yet such considerations could be trumped by the need to avoid a no-deal Brexit. This could be not just disruptive to Europe’s economies, but also expensive. A new paper by the Bruegel think-tank in Brussels puts the cost in unpaid bills to the EU alone at some €16.5bn ($18.8bn).

Do not neglect the power of exasperation in all this. Europe faces myriad urgencies, ranging from euro zone reform to defence integration, that have little to do with Brexit. Time spent on British neuralgias is time not spent on these. No force is stronger in Brussels at the moment than the desire to get Brexit out of the way.

Metro

Published  4 weeks ago

The idea is to bring together a randomly-selected 100 and 200 people, representative of the UK’s range of opinions and diversity of communities.

The Independent

Published  4 weeks ago

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has ruled out ever accepting Theresa May's Brexit ‘plan-B’, in a major blow to the prime minister’s bid to get MPs to back her deal.

Michel Barnier said repeated requests for a time-limit on the controversial backstop had already been discussed and rejected twice by EU leaders.

In a joint interview to continental newspapers Mr Barnier said “we cannot tie the backstop to a time limit” as suggested by the prime minister.

He said the withdrawal agreement on the table was “the only possible option” for Britain and also ruled out the possibility of a so-called “managed no-deal” as advocated by some Tory Brexiteers.

“In the case of no-deal action will of course be taken to ensure that planes can land but … the ‘no-deal’ cannot be a sum of mini-deals and be a situation of ‘business as usual’,” he told Le Monde, Rzeczpospolita and Luxemburger Wort.

“Even an agreement for an ordered Brexit will cause disruptions and have serious consequences. The ‘no-deal’ even more so.”

Following the defeat of her withdrawal agreement by the largest margin in the history of parliament, Ms May said she would try and secure a time-limit on the controversial backstop policy.

But Mr Barnier said: “The question of limiting the backstop in time has already been discussed twice by the European leaders, in November and in December 2018.

“This backstop is the only one possible because an assurance is no longer operational if it is for a limited time. Imagine if it were to be limited in time and the problem arose after expiry: it is useless!”

He was backed up later on Wednesday by Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission.

"We will support Ireland … the backstop is a red line we cannot negotiate with the British government,” Mr Timmermans told an event in Krakow, Poland.

In the weeks since the defeat of the withdrawal agreement the EU has focused on encouraging the PM to revisit her red-lines, and signalled its willingness to re-work the so-called “political declaration” that lays out the future trading relationship.

Labour and other opposition parties back a much closer economic relationship with the EU, floating possibilities like common single market standards and a customs union.

Mr Barnier suggested the question of the backstop would “become relative” if the future relationship was revisited – signalling that it might be a way out of the current impasse.

“If the British government wishes to revisit the future relationship and be more ambitious, then it would be possible to agree on the global package and the question of the ‘backstop’ would become relative,” he said.

“If I understand the British debates right; there is a desire to find a way. But if the government and the MPs don’t move their lines, we are going inevitably into ‘no deal’.”

The prime minister has repeatedly ruled out shifting her red lines on issues like a customs union and free movement.

The backdrop to Mr Barnier’s comments is a fight in the Commons on Wednesday over a new amendment to rule out a no-deal Brexit – forcing the government to seek an extension or revocation of Article 50.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

The Independent

Published  4 weeks ago

In the run up to the 2016 EU referendum I campaigned for Stronger IN on the streets of South London. I’d never canvassed before and it was a disquieting experience. As I trudged through Lewisham handing out flyers, it became horribly apparent that most of those who I stopped to talk to didn’t understand what the hell was going on.

Some asked me to explain it. Others told me they were “voting for Boris”. One guy took my arm and informed me that “chaos is good so I’m voting for chaos”. One of my children’s teachers – who I bumped into by the station – asked me which way she should vote. When I told her I was backing Remain, she stared at me blankly and asked if that was “in or out?”

But it was the older woman who engaged me in the market on a busy Saturday afternoon that really made me realise that our cause was doomed: “I don’t want to join the EU.” She told me. I started to explain that we were already in the EU, the referendum was about leaving it or remaining and when I took out my phone to prove my point she stopped me in my tracks and repeated very deliberately: “No. I’m sorry I’ve made my mind up. I don’t care about that. I’m voting against.” And that was the end of that.

The uncomfortable truth is that whether you voted Remain or Leave in June 2016 you probably voted emotionally. Very few people understood it. Inviting a largely uninformed public to make a judgement on something as unfathomably complex as our membership of the EU was akin to asking a six-year-old to perform delicate brain surgery – with a crayon.

Created with Sketch. Brexit deal vote: Opposing groups of protesters gather by Parliament

Show all 20 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch. Brexit deal vote: Opposing groups of protesters gather by Parliament

And it's not just Brexit. Most people simply do not fathom politics. Most have no understanding of concepts like pooled sovereignty, or how net migration works, or what first past the post is, or how our unwritten constitution functions. Many, frankly, don’t even care. Why should they?

In a parliamentary democracy we elect politicians to make important decisions on our behalf. That’s how the system has functioned for decades and also why the British have traditionally astutely avoided referendums – which reduce perplexingly multifaceted matters to a binary choice. Thatcher famously called referendums the tools of “demagogues and dictators” – but they are more than that. They are a dangerous capitulation of responsibility by the executive to an electorate less equipped to make judgements than they.

Forget the “people’s will” – all evidence demonstrates that the “people’s ignorance” is staggering. Around half of adults don’t know who their MP is while just 11 per cent can name one of their MEPs. A survey carried out in the run up to the 2015 general election revealed that 69 per cent of Britons confessed to having “no interest in politics” while a staggering 59 per cent couldn’t even name the then-prime minister, David Cameron.

And yet we are told daily that the “people understood what they were voting for”. That sacred result – delivered by the hallowed 52 per cent one day in June 2016 – now dictates the course of this nation’s destiny. The British public might be cheerfully ignorant of the mechanisms of politics but put them in a polling station and they are apparently transformed into a master race of all knowing super beings who can do no wrong – and whose will must be delivered at all costs.

Do most British people really understand the backstop? Of course not. What WTO rules mean? No. Who genuinely comprehends the difference between the Norwegian or Canadian models? What percentage of the British population has sat down to read Theresa May’s deal, or even the abstract? I certainly haven’t – have you?

Say any of this, dare to imply that the majority simply don’t get any of it whatsoever and you are accused of being an elitist who thinks that the people are stupid. That is why nobody in public life dares to say it. The people aren’t stupid. Far from it. They have better things to do than acquaint themselves with the intricacies of the Maastricht treaty. But their obliviousness is being abused.

The awful truth is that while most people don’t understand what the hell is going on, that lack of knowledge is being used against them by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Farage and friends in the furtherance of their own nebulous cause.

It’s time for a little more honesty. Let’s be frank. Nobody understands what the hell is going on.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

the Guardian

Published  4 weeks ago

CEO pleads for people not to listen to Brexiters’ madness’ and warns no-deal would lead to ‘very harmful decisions’

The Independent

Published  4 weeks ago

Over 250 companies are in touch with the Dutch government about moving to the Netherlands because of Brexit, officials have said.

The trade and investment arm of the country’s government has been soliciting moves from companies worried about access to the EU market, with Britain set to leave the single market and customs union.

A number of high-profile companies have already announced decision to cross the North Sea, most recently Japanese electronics giant Sony specifically citing Brexit. Last year Panasonic also announced it was moving to Amsterdam.

Michiel Bakhuizen, a spokesman for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), told the AFP news agency that the number of firms in talks was growing.

A final figure would be announced next month cataloguing the relocations, he said, stating that “every new arrival of a business, big or small, is a success”.

“The number of businesses we are in contact with for a possible arrival is growing. At the start of 2017 it was 80, at the start of 2018 150, and now it's more than 250," he said.

“This increase will continue and it's not strange, because there is great uncertainty at the moment in Britain. And if there is one thing that's bad for business, it's uncertainty."

The spokesperson confirmed that that the NFIA was “in contact with more than 250 interested in an eventual move to the Netherlands because of Brexit”.

The Netherlands has sometimes appeared better prepared for Brexit than the UK, with advanced plans to recruit as many as 1,000 extra border officials to deal with potential disruption and extra bureaucracy caused by the UK’s exit.

In addition to private businesses, the UK has also lost a key EU agency to Amsterdam: the European Medicines Agency, which employs around 900 highly skilled workers.

The Netherlands is not the only country to benefit from the UK’s policies. The EY Financial Services tracker reported earlier this month that 80 out of the 222 finance companies they follow have publicly said they are considering or have confirmed the relocation of UK staff and operations to the continent.

Attractive destinations for finance companies are said to include Dublin, Paris, Luxembourg, and Frankfurt.

A survey conducted by the CBI in October found that a majority of business started intended to start implementing their Brexit contingency plans in in December. Around 30 per cent of the businesses contacted by the industry association were planning to relocate production and services overseas, with 56 per cent making adjustments to their supply chains.

“The situation is now urgent. Unless a Withdrawal Agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on their contingency plans. Jobs will be lost and supply chains moved,” CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said at the time.

Theresa May has stuck by her decision to take the UK out of the single market and customs union, despite warnings from businesses. The prime minister says a closer economic arrangement outside the EU would not respect the referendum result. Labour disagrees and says the UK should have a customs union with the EU and follow the bloc’s industrial standards.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

the Guardian

Published  4 weeks ago

The challenge facing UK trade negotiators following the EU referendum has been spelled out by a report from one of the country’s leading thinktanks, showing that membership of the European single market is worth an additional 4% of GDP to the economy.

We’ve cut interest rates, but what happens next?

David Blanchflower

Read more

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that Britain could enjoy the same sort of access to the world’s biggest market on the same World Trade Organisation terms as other non-EU member states such as the US, China or India.

But it said membership of the single market provided additional benefits that might be lost depending on the deal struck by ministers in Theresa May’s government.

Ian Mitchell, research associate at the IFS and an author of the report, said: “From an economic point of view we still face some very big choices indeed in terms of our future relationship with the EU. There is all the difference in the world between ‘access to’ and ‘membership of’ the single market.

“Membership is likely to offer significant economic benefits particularly for trade in services. But outside the EU, single market membership also comes at the cost of accepting future regulations designed in the EU without UK input. This may be seriously problematic for some parts of the financial services sector. Choices in these domains will most likely be far more important than any deal on budget contributions.”

The IFS said single market membership meant elimination of trade barriers not possible under existing trade deals. These included so-called “non-tariff” barriers such as licensing or regulations that make it harder to export goods and services.

The thinktank added that service sector exports were becoming especially important to the UK, accounting for 44% of total exports in 2015, up from 31% in 1999. Two-fifths of service sector exports go to the UK, whereas the Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) account for less than 5% together.

IFS warns Brexit would extend austerity for two more years

Read more

“Single market membership is particularly important for financial services”, the IFS said. “‘Passporting rights’ mean that UK-based financial firms can service EU businesses and customers directly. To maintain these rights would likely require membership of the European Economic Area.

“But that would come at the potentially considerable cost of submitting to future regulations designed in the EU without input from the UK. The UK may have to make some very difficult choices between the benefits from passporting and the costs of submitting to external imposed regulation.”

The UK’s newly created department of International Trade headed by Liam Fox is keen to negotiate free trade deals with countries outside the EU. The IFS said that new agreements would mitigate the economic cost of giving up single market membership.

BBC News

Published  4 weeks ago

The PM continues meetings over her deal as the chancellor promotes the UK to businesses in Davos.

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

Jacob Rees-Mogg has urged Theresa May to suspend parliament if attempts to thwart a no-deal Brexit are successful. The hardline Brexiteer suggested Ms May could “prorogue” parliament if a backbench

U.S.

Published  1 month ago

A woman holds a scarf as she gathers in support of Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido outside the Embassy of Venezuela in Mexico City, Mexico January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain supports Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido as head of the democratically elected National Assembly, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday, adding that a 2018 presidential poll was neither free nor fair.

Guaido declared himself interim president on Wednesday, winning backing from Washington and parts of Latin America and prompting socialist Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s leader since 2013, to break relations with the United States.

“The 2018 presidential election in Venezuela was neither free nor fair, so the regime’s basis for power is deeply flawed. We fully support the democratically elected National Assembly with Juan Guaido as its president,” May’s spokesman said.

“In relation to the U.S, we think it is totally unacceptable for Venezuela to cut off diplomatic ties. The solution to this crisis lies in working to find a peaceful and diplomatic solution, not in expulsions.”

Sky News

Published  1 month ago

P&O had said in December that it would re-flag just two of its UK ships operating on the English Channel route to France to the Cyprus registry.

But the company has now decided that six of its 20 ships will be re-flagged, changing their national registration from British to Cypriot.

"In advance of Britain leaving the European Union on March 29, 2019, we undertook a review of the flag status of our ships on the English Channel," a P&O spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.

"For operational and accounting reasons, we have concluded that the best course of action is to re-flag all ships to be under the Cyprus flag."

He said that the decision to re-register the entire English Channel fleet will lead to fewer inspections and delays, "and will result in significantly more favourable tonnage tax arrangements as the ships will be flagged in an EU member state",

"We have no plans to make any other changes, including the terms and conditions of any of our seafarers, as a result of the new arrangements," he added.

P&O made the announcement less than 24 hours after Sky News exclusively reported that freight trade across the English channel to France could drop by between 75% and 87% for six months in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, according to a Border Force document.

According to the document seen by Sky News, the reduction in cross-channel freight trade would be as a direct consequence of "third country" checks on UK trade that will be imposed by all EU countries and France in particular after 29 March, unless a deal is reached with the bloc.

The move by the ferry operator comes as Theresa May struggles to gain parliamentary support for her plan to see out the UK's departure from the EU.

The Sun

Published  1 month ago

UP TO 40 Ministers will resign unless they are free to stop a No Deal next week – Amber Rudd has warned Theresa May. Sources yesterday revealed the pro-EU Work and Pensions Secretary has told…

Mail Online

Published  1 month ago

The Work and Pensions Secretary is said to have argued that as many as 40 ministers want to vote for a rebel amendment designed to postpone Britain’s departure date and prevent no-deal.

Express.co.uk

Published  1 month ago

PRESSURE was last night mounting on the EU to sign a free-trade agreement with Britain after a report revealed that a “no deal” scenario could cost the bloc more than £500billion.

Breitbart

Published  1 month ago

Separate polls have revealed that in the majority, Britons want a clean break from the EU and reject calls for a second referendum.

An ICM poll of 2,046 adults found that the most popular option for a next step, at 28 percent, was for a “No Deal” Brexit where Britain ditches a soft Brexit deal with the EU and trades with the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.

It was conducted between the 16th and 18th of January, after Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement had suffered a historic defeat in a House of Commons vote.

The Prime Pinister lost her vote largely due to dissatisfaction with the proposed Northern Irish backstop, which could see Northern Ireland locked into customs and regulatory alignment with the EU.

The poll results, seen by the left-liberal Guardian, also found that just eight percent think Mrs May should try to find support in Parliament for her deal, and only 11 percent wanted a General Election.

A separate poll of 1,021 British adults by establishment-progressive news network Sky News found that 56 percent oppose a second referendum.

Boris: ‘Unparalleled Contempt’ for MPs if Parliamentary Plots Against Brexit Succeed https://t.co/fPCbSuftlb

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 21, 2019

Mrs May is set to unveil her Brexit ‘Plan B’ on Monday afternoon, with voting set to take place on the 29th. While Remainers have been attempting to push for a softer Brexit, media reports her plan is expected to look very much like the deal Brexiteers rejected last week.

With European leaders and Eurocrats having said that they will not move their red lines on the backstop, May is also facing attempts to stop a WTO exit from the EU on March 29th — the default legal position if a deal is not reached by March 29th — through parliamentary rules and amendments, with others plotting to hold a second referendum.

Brexiteer Tory MP Boris Johnson warned Monday that the parliamentary plots could result in Britons developing a “vicious and unparalleled contempt for the whole political class” — and international trade secretary Liam Fox has warned that failing to respect the vote to leave the EU could unleash a “political tsunami” with “unknowable consequences” for the stability of country.

No Deal Brexit Scares Debunked: ‘In EU We’re Spending £10bn to Save £5bn’ https://t.co/gBZwMeTHf7

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 21, 2019

Voice of Europe

Published  1 month ago

The United Kingdom is seeing a record number of children, under the age of 16, identifying as transgender – with at least one child making the switch every single day.

Louise Bowers, a senior deed poll officer, told The Sun: “We used to issue a couple every couple of months – but now it’s seven to ten a week.”

According to Bowers, most of the kids are in their teens, aged either 14 or 15, however some are as young as ten.

The number of children, aged between 3 and 18, being referred to gender identity clinics went from 314 in 2011 to 2,016 in 2016.

Last year UK’s Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt ordered an urgent investigation after it was revealed there had been a 4,415 per cent increase in the number of girls being referred for ‘transitioning’ treatment.

However, the abnormal surge in gender confusion in young children is a non-issue according to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who said she’s “determined to eradicate homophobic and transphobic bullying.”

“We have set out plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act and streamline and de-medicalise the process for changing gender, because being trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such”, she added.

Chris McGovern, former adviser to the Department of Education told The Telegraph, it has become an industry: “People are making a career out of encouraging children to question gender at an age when they need to be left to be children. When teachers raise these issues children can become confused or unhappy and traumatised by it.”

RTE.ie

Published  1 month ago

The EU's chief negotiator has said the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Irish backstop, was "the best deal possible" for the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

In an interview with RTÉ News, Mr Barnier dismissed reports of a bilateral arrangement between the UK and Ireland, saying the EU negotiated as one team.

Mr Barnier said the focus was now on the future relationship and the Political Declaration which sketches that relationship.

He said the EU was prepared to work again on the declaration to make it more "ambitious".

Ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May presenting a fresh plan to the House of Commons to break the deadlock, and amid reports that she would try to win the support of the DUP and Conservative backbenchers, Mr Barnier was asked three times if there was any scope for further concessions on the backstop.

On each occasion, Mr Barnier said the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, was the best deal possible.

He said 27 governments had negotiated the deal with the UK over an 18 month period.

The backstop was agreed as an "all weather" insurance policy to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, he said.

He said the debate in the UK had now switched from the backstop to the future relationship.

He did not want to intervene in that debate but he said the EU and UK could work again on the political declaration and "be more ambitious".

During the interview, which followed a bilateral meeting with the Tánaiste Simon Coveney in Brussels, Mr Barnier said: "It's now for the UK leaders to build this stable and political majority for a deal. We are waiting for the next steps, and are ready to work again on the political declaration."

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Labour has said the Commons should be able to vote on whether to hold a second referendum in an amendment the party submitted on Monday night to Theresa May’s Brexit update.

It is the first time the party has asked MPs to formally consider a second poll, although the carefully worded compromise amendment did not commit the party’s leadership to backing a referendum if such a vote were to take place.

The wording called for May’s government to hold a vote on two options – its alternative Brexit plan and whether to legislate “to hold a public vote on a deal or a proposition” that is supported by a majority in the Commons.

The intervention came as the party’s leadership seeks to deal with divisions between Jeremy Corbyn and some of the leader’s closest allies who are sceptical about a second referendum and those who are more enthusiastic such as Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer.

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The party’s alternative Brexit plan, which would be the subject of a separate vote if the amendment were carried, proposes that the UK remain in a post-Brexit customs union with the European Union and have a strong relationship with the single market. Citizens’ rights and consumer standards would be harmonised with the EU’s.

Corbyn said: “Our amendment will allow MPs to vote on options to end this Brexit deadlock and prevent the chaos of a no-deal. It is time for Labour’s alternative plan to take centre stage, while keeping all options on the table, including the option of a public vote.”

But second referendum campaigners were last night gearing up to criticise the alternative Brexit plan. The People’s Vote campaign said that it was one of a series of Brexit promises – like no-deal – that were being made with “little regard for what could actually be delivered”.

The cross-party group, supported by dozens of Labour MPs, posed five questions that it believes Corbyn’s Brexit model struggles to answer, escalating tensions between campaigners and the party’s leadership.

A 16-page evaluation placed Labour’s plan on a par with both the no-deal option supported by hard Brexit Tories and the Norway-plus customs union alternative, in that they were no better than pledges made by the leave campaign at the time of the EU referendum.

“All three alternative plans,” the analysis added “share many similarities with the arguments made for Brexit in 2016 when big promises were made with little regard for what could actually be delivered.”

It quoted an interview with Corbyn in which he said he would be opposed to any deal that would make the UK poorer, and then cited a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research that said “every form of Brexit will damage the UK economy”.

The analysis also asked whether the UK would “have any say over its trade policy” under Labour’s policy of remaining in a customs union with some decision-making power over future EU trade agreements.

The document, whose authors are not named, said “it is almost inconceivable that the EU would agree” – citing the EU’s Lisbon treaty – and that “being in a customs union without a say would be very damaging” because the UK would be force to liberalise markets to third countries on a non-reciprocal basis.

Tensions within Labour have been rising as MPs who support a second referendum want to pressurise Corbyn into supporting another Brexit vote, in line with the party’s policy to explore it as an option if it cannot secure an early election.

A total of 71 Labour MPs declared they supported a second referendum last week on the morning of the day the party lost a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government, meaning that an early election was unlikely.

The group is planning to take the argument further at a news conference on Tuesday, fronted by Labour MPs David Lammy and Bridget Phillipson with Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson and Caroline Lucas, the Green party leader in Westminster.

Labour backbencher and second referendum supporter David Lammy said the amendment represented “a big step forward” but added that the party’s alternative Brexit proposal “deserves to be properly scrutinised” now that Corbyn wanted it to be centre stage.

Leave.EU

Published  1 month ago

Dear Supporter,

Our withdrawal from the European Union has reached a critical stage. MPs are breaking every constitutional convention, rule and tradition to thwart a sovereign Brexit mandated directly by the people. Letters have been flooding into Tory associations calling for deselections, Leave.EU is calling upon supporters to do the same.

Following the historic, not to mention humiliating rejection of Theresa May’s deal in the House of Commons, the government has begun forays into opposition territory in the desperate hope of eventually getting a deal through. Meanwhile, Remainers are poised to ramp up their obstructive tactics. Our counter-attack needs to be delivered swiftly.

Thanks to Leave.EU’s hugely successful campaign to make the Conservatives conservative again, 25,000 new members joined the Party over the summer. It’s time to make the most of those gains.

Listed below are the MPs Leave.EU is targeting for deselection. To share your frustrations, click this link to access the Conservative Party’s website. Scroll to the bottom and enter your postcode under “Find your local team”, you’ll then find contact details of your local associations. For those of you living in the constituencies of the MPs listed below, we urge you to make your voices heard.

First, it was a spate of shameful amendments intended to obstruct Brexit. That was just the beginning. A treasonous faction of MPs – just one of several – has published plans for an alternative to the EU (Withdrawal) Act to enable Parliament to take the lead in renegotiating May’s deeply flawed settlement with Brussels, while the government stands aside. A no deal would also be outlawed.

The leader of the insurrection is Nick Boles who has become deeply unpopular in his constituency. Speaking on BBC Radio 4 (click to listen, 35 mins in) Boles outlined his idiotic plans.

“I have always said that I cannot support a Brexit with no deal, and I have been voting with Labour MPs, Lib Dem MPs and SNP MPs to stop that and rebelling against my government,” was his riposte when asked about the letters from angry constituents calling for him to stand down from his Grantham seat.

The motives of Boles and his allies, Nicky Morgan, Oliver Letwin and several others are sheer lunacy. However, their plan is workable, for the simple reason that most MPs voted to remain in the EU. Furthermore, the government is expected to indulge them as senior Cabinet figures, Philip Hammond and Greg Clark step up their efforts to block a no deal at all costs. Boles’ proposal is a regrettably useful tool for the government to rally support behind May’s Deal. It’s either that, or Remain, so the scare story goes – after the record-broking no vote against the deal, Hammond told business leaders the government would rescind Article 50 unless further progress was made.

The opposition to a sovereign withdrawal from the EU is more formidable than ever. We need to fight back and forge a clear pathway to a WTO withdrawal.

Please click the link and support our campaign.

Kind regards,

The Leave.EU Team

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

As Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron plan an EU Army, German politicians seem increasingly keen to tell the British people what their approach should be on Brexit.

Germany’s Justice Minister, Katarina Barley, has become the latest figure to suggest that the UK have another referendum. She attacked Theresa May’s strategy of seeking more concessions from the EU, saying that she is “disappointed” and “that’s not the way forward”.

But according to Reuters she also suggested that a second referendum could allow the Article 50 process to be delayed and claimed that “this could pacify the situation”.

It isn’t the first time Barley has intervened, with the German Justice Minister also speaking out in favour of a second referendum just after Theresa May’s deal was rejected. She insisted then that a first and second referendum would amount to “different things”. Utterly delusional.

The German government’s Minister for Europe, Michael Roth, has also suggested this week that the UK should “think again” and have another referendum.

It is entirely inappropriate and massively disrespectful for senior German politicians to suggest that the vote of 17.4 million Brits should be ignored.

With German industry kicking off about the prospect of a No Deal Brexit, perhaps Angela Merkel’s government should be focusing more on securing a deal with the UK than seeking to interfere in British democracy.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Whilst MPs in Westminster disgracefully try to hold up Brexit and Project Fear is whipped up around a No Deal Brexit, it is increasingly clear that the British public want out on 29th March on WTO terms.

The Guardian (bless them) have found themselves disturbed by an ICM poll they’ve seen that shows a WTO Brexit is now the most popular way forward. The 2,000-strong poll, carried out after Theresa May’s deal was rejected in Parliament, showed a No Deal exit to have the most support of any single option. That’s despite the constant scaremongering from those who don’t want the UK to breakaway from the European Union.

28% backed a No Deal as the way forward, followed by 24% for a second referendum, 11% backing a General Election and only 8% who think the PM should continue to focus on getting her deal approved.

Some alarming ICM polling in our story tonight – the most popular option with the public is now no deal 💆🏼‍♀️ https://t.co/Wrvy8ApBA2

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) January 20, 2019

This is far from a rogue poll. Last night Sky News also found a majority of their studio audience in Leeds, a city that narrowly voted Remain, backing a No Deal Brexit.

‘@SkyNews audience poll finds 54% in favour of No Deal Brexit.

There is significant public support for leaving on 29th March on WTO terms. Let’s get on with it. pic.twitter.com/wvrrPBdYBg

— Michael Heaver (@Michael_Heaver) January 20, 2019

And in their national poll 46% of the public back a WTO Brexit. Quite simply, the public are not buying the frequent scare stories whipped up about a clean exit.

Former Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, has repeatedly laid out the potential benefits of leaving the EU without a deal and said yesterday: “We would immediately seize the opportunities to take back control over our laws, our borders, to have a global free trade policy around the world.

“And I think for the public Brexit would be delivered, we could move on. And I think whether you voted Leave or Remain I think there’s a huge appetite for us to get on and deliver this now.”

There is. The country wants independence delivered, as promised. That means leaving the EU on 29th March, deal or No Deal.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Brexiteer Boris Johnson has insisted that those plotting to “stop Brexit” will fail, that Theresa May’s plan “is dead” and that the PM must go back to Brussels and deliver a final “take-it-or-leave-it” offer to the EU.

In his weekly hit for The Telegraph, the former Foreign Secretary today hit out at the “large number of MPs” who want to “frustrate the will of the people”, dismissing the “absurd plots in Parliament” as being unable to stop Brexit “or even succeed in delaying it”. Let’s hope Boris is right.

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“This country must leave the EU, by law, on March 29th. That was not just what the people voted for in 2016; it was what Parliament voted for overwhelmingly, ” he points out. True, yet many are fearful of the disgusting attempt by many in the political class to block the democratic vote of 17.4 million people in 2016.

He describes May’s deal as a dead “ex-deal” that requires the PM to insist that the EU “take that backstop out, or at the very least give us a legally binding change”. The clock is ticking.

And he concludes by noting the big support for a No Deal Brexit in Derby last week: “Did you see Question Time on Thursday, and hear the roar of audience approval for the suggestion that No Deal might now be the best option? There is a sense in which the public are braver – and wiser – than their MPs.”

Boris is absolutely right. For Brexit to be delayed any further would give the impression of a “elite conspiracy to thwart Brexit” and the public would conclude there is “some plot by the deep state to kill Brexit” as BoJo has previously described.

For the good of democracy, let’s hope the UK does indeed leave on 29th March as the British government have promised time and time again.

mirror

Published  1 month ago

He said the government had already "wasted" £1.9billion

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Labour leader seeks to balance pressure from rival wings of his party before Theresa May reveals her plan B for Brexit

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May is considering an attempt to amend the Good Friday Agreement in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock and win support for a negotiated exit deal, it has been reported.

Ministers believe the move could avoid the UK having to commit to a backstop as part of the prime minister’s “plan B”, the Daily Telegraph reported on Sunday.

The EU has insisted on a backstop measure to ensure an open border remains between Northern Ireland and the Republic after the UK leaves the bloc. Ms May has been forced to find alternatives to her original Brexit deal after it was crushed in the Commons on Tuesday.

Under the PM’s plan, the Telegraph reports, London and Dublin would either agree a new set of principles or add words to “support or reference” the Good Friday Agreement in order to guarantee an open border.

The 1998 peace deal effectively brought an end to the Troubles after years of failed talks, and established a power-sharing structure to accommodate unionist and nationalist politicians.

Downing Street declined to comment on the report when approached by The Independent.

It follows separate reports that Ms May planned to pitch to the Irish government a bilateral treaty that would remove the need for the backstop so hated by many Conservative MPs; the arrangement would see the UK enter into a temporary customs union with the EU, and Northern Ireland agree to abide by European rules on goods until a subsequent deal was reached.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, admitted on Sunday that “we have to compromise on the backstop” and an “alternative mechanism” was needed.

On Monday the PM is due to update MPs on her revised Brexit plan. After her deal was defeated last week Ms May held cross party-talks aimed at resolving the impasse, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn denounced her offer as “not genuine” given her apparent unwillingness to budge from certain red lines.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Express.co.uk

Published  1 month ago

Just as the ruling metropolitan elitists want to destroy our national independence through subjugation to the EU so they seek to obliterate our national identity through mass immigration and multiculturalism.

Koke: Koke Report Front Page News

Published  1 month ago

FBN’s Kennedy on how Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced that she will run for president in 2020.

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May is due to meet the cabinet as Labour calls for a vote on options including another referendum.

Evening Standard

Published  1 month ago

The Government’s broken promises on Brexit have finally come home to roost. It promised trade talks in parallel with the divorce talks. Instead Theresa May agreed to fork out £39 billion with no treaty in return. Michael Gove promised “the day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want”. But that hasn’t been the case. It promised high-tech customs solutions at the Irish border and new trade deals. And it promised a December vote on the deal, but broke that one too.

Like Nick Clegg promising not to raise tuition fees and then tripling them, the Prime Minister has learned that saying one thing but doing another comes at a cost — in this case more than a third of her own MPs voting against her flagship policy. Party leaders are rarely forgiven for putting short-term political interests above those of the country.

So what happens next? If Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to trigger a general election isn’t successful , then next week we will have another Commons motion on the Government’s Plan B. That motion will be amendable. And with Parliament at an impasse, the case for a People’s Vote will be overwhelming.

All the attention will be on the pledge made at Labour Party conference in September: if a general election cannot be achieved and if the Government’s proposal is defeated then the outstanding option is for Labour to campaign for a People’s Vote.

Polling shows a majority in every Labour constituency for a new Brexit vote — 86 per cent of Labour members say they want a public vote. Most Labour MPs agree too. Asking the people what they think is an option that can’t be ducked any longer.

Most people — especially the two million young people who didn’t get a chance to vote in the referendum nearly three years ago — now expect Labour to deliver on this promise.

If Labour MPs are whipped to support a final say for the public, combined with the now growing number of Conservative MPs supporting a People’s Vote, a majority is achievable.

This is therefore one of those unusual moments when the future of the country is in the hands of the Leader of the Opposition. So will Jeremy Corbyn keep that Labour promise or break it? The hundreds of thousands who marched through London last year in support of a People’s Vote will feel cheated if Labour’s front bench back out of it.

If Jeremy Corbyn breaches the trust placed in him by those who want a People’s Vote, then he risks following the path of Nick Clegg nearly a decade ago. A broken promise on a People’s Vote could devastate Labour’s fortunes in the same way it did for Clegg after the tuition fees betrayal. It would be a monumental mistake. That’s why surely Labour’s leadership will now let the public decide.

Chris Leslie is Labour MP for Nottingham East

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

EU citizens will no longer have to pay £65 for the right to stay in the UK after Brexit, the PM announces.

The Sun

Published  1 month ago

BREXIT campaigners will mount a legal challenge if Theresa May tries to halt Britain’s departure from the EU. They will seek a High Court ruling on any decision to extend or revoke Article 50 – and…

The Sun

Published  1 month ago

NIGEL Farage is making a comeback to frontline politics ­— as head of a new Brexit Party. The former Ukip leader has decided to end months in the ­wilderness to fight against the great referendum b…

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Statement on Monday expected to focus on finding a remedy to issue that threatens to split Tory party

The Sun

Published  1 month ago

NIGEL Farage is making a comeback to frontline politics ­— as head of a new Brexit Party. The former Ukip leader has decided to end months in the ­wilderness to fight against the great referendum b…

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Portugal plans to open dedicated corridors in its airports so British tourists continue to get fast-track access after Brexit whether the UK leaves with or without a deal, the prime minister, António Costa, has said.

“Millions of Britons visit Portugal as tourists every year – we have to ensure the flow is not interrupted,” Costa said on Thursday. Faro airport in the Algarve and Funchal on the island of Madeira will operate special lanes for UK visitors similar to those for EU nationals, he said.

EU states escalate no-deal preparations after May defeat

Read more

The prime minister was announcing a package of contingency measures to help the country cope with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, seen as more likely after MPs decisively rejected Theresa May’s deal this week.

He said €50m (£43m) of credit would also be made available to about 2,800 export-focused companies likely to suffer most should Britain crash out of the EU on 29 March, and 60 extra customs officers were to be hired for post-Brexit border checks.

The estimated 400,000 Portuguese citizens living in Britain will also be offered improved consular assistance to ease any residence, work or labour problems arising from no deal, he said.

Even without a Brexit deal, the estimated 45,000-50,000 British citizens living in Portugal – only 23,000 of whom are officially registered – will be able to retain their residence and other rights, including access to state healthcare and recognition of UK academic qualifications, Costa added.

The economy minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, said Portugal was ready to do this unilaterally. “At this moment we do not even know what the UK wants,” he told Reuters. “What every EU member state is doing is adopting measures that allow them to react to a unilateral circumstance.”

A record 13 million tourists visited Portugal last year, with Britons the largest single group, but the number of UK visitors fell by almost 10% in the first 10 months of last year as the pound has fallen against the euro amid Brexit concerns.

Portugal aims to launch a major promotional campaign targeting Britain in an effort to offset the decline, Siza Vieira said.

The Sun

Published  1 month ago

LABOUR shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has pocketed £125,000 from one of the law firms that derailed Brexit – including £25,000 since he became MP.

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Starmer - who was also involved with a failed witchhunt of Sun journalists – has revealed he was paid up to £750 an hour by Mishcon de Reya.

Times Newspapers Ltd

Mishcon was one of three law firms that brought the legal challenge to Theresa May’s Brexit plans in the High Court this week.

Starmer, 54, was elected as a Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras in May last year – a role which pays £75,000.

Between June and the end of September this year he was paid £18,000 by Mishcon de Reya for 24 hours of “legal advice” - a rate of £750 per hour.

Late last year he earned £7,000 offering legal advice to the law firm for 12 hours – or £583 an hour.

He also revealed a payment of £100,000 on May 13, 2015, for work carried out before he became an MP.

He lives in a £2million house in North London with solicitor wife Victoria, 43, and their two young children. He also co-owns a house in Surrey.

Mishcon de Reya first hired him in 2014 as a part-time consultant for its business crime unit.

He quit client work for the firm in April 2015, but was reappointed as a consultant to its in-house academy in June this year.

The MP stood down from that role after being appointed to the shadow cabinet last month.

Starmer is the third key figure from the lacklustre £14.7m Operation Elveden witchhunt of Sun reporters to be employed by Mishcon de Reya.

His former principal legal adviser at the Crown Prosecution Service Alison Levitt and former Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Sue Akers – who headed the bungled investigation – have also done work for the firm.

This week Starmer refused to apologise after reporter Anthony France had his conviction overturned - meaning not one of 24 Sun journalists arrested were convicted.

A spokeswoman for the law firm said: “Keir Starmer was a consultant to the Mishcon Academy, our in-house centre for learning and development.

“The role did not involve client advice on any issue. Keir resigned as a consultant to the academy when he was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet.”

A spokesman for Starmer’s office said: “MPs are required to register and declare fees received since the May 2015 election even where those fees were earned before the election.

“The register makes it very clear that in the case of Keir Starmer, the vast majority of his declared earnings represent payment for work undertaken by him as a lawyer before he became MP.”

mirror

Published  1 month ago

It is the second blow Dyson has dealt to Brexit Britain after last year's announcement that it will manufacturer its new electric cars in Singapore, rather than the UK

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

A leading Spanish newspaper has accused Theresa May of “shameful, xenophobic nationalism” and called her model for Brexit “extremist”.

El País, Spain’s highest-circulation daily paper, used its editorial column to criticise the Prime Minister’s “radical change of position” from her “tepid and bashful Europeanism” as Home Secretary following Tuesday’s speech, in which she warned any move to punish Britain for exiting would be a “calamitous act of self-harm”.

It scorned the UK’s ability to strike trade deals by itself – a skill it claimed Britain had lost during its 40 years in the European embrace – and Ms May’s promise of reaching a positive accord with the continent.

The paper said: “Theresa May sketched out yesterday her roadmap for Britain’s complete withdrawal from the EU. It was a radical change of position that now leads her to postulate a complete separation from Europe, breaking her past promises and setting up a hard, extreme and extremist Brexit.

“From professing a tepid and bashful Europeanism when she was Home Secretary under David Cameron, she now supports a shameful, xenophobic nationalism.

“Until recently the British Government promised its citizens and businesses they would not lose access to the interior market of the EU, while at the same time demanding permission to limit immigration and discriminate between European citizens, cutting off free movement of people in the common area – a legally impossible, morally evil and politically unviable requirement.

“The nub of her 12-point programme is this exclusion of the UK from the market of 500 million consumers, which will fall to 65 million, plus those Britain can add through new trade deals – something hypothetical and difficult for a country which after four decades has lost experience in this arena outside the Union.”

It added: “Everything in May’s speech grated. The promise of a “positive” accord is fallacious. It is not positive to spurn European citizens, nor to discriminate against residents. Nor does it make sense to threaten the Europeans with whom she will have to negotiate over the next two years.’

Reacting to Ms May’s speech Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, said her demands were creating an “illusion” and called her suggestion the UK might alter its tax policies “not very helpful”.

He said: “I think it creates an illusion that you can go out of the single market and the customs union and you can cherry pick and still have a number of advantages.

“I think this will not happen. We shall never accept a situation in which it is better to be outside the single market than be a member of the European Union.

“If you want the advantages of a single market and customs union, you have to take the obligations.”

Other European newspapers also reacted strongly, with Germany's Die Welt accusing the Prime Minister of “leading Great Britain into isolation” on its front page.

And La Reppublica, in Italy, said that “London gets its wall”, a reference to US President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall with Mexico.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Zero Hedge

Published  1 month ago

"By the time Trump is done with her over border security... All that will be left is her warmongering, globalist, shills for the MIC and the Deep State. Bicoastal Smug Liberals..."

Mail Online

Published  1 month ago

A YouGov survey found that Remain has stretched out a 12-point lead over Leave - at 56 per cent versus 44 per cent.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sounded the need for “compromise” in the Brexit negotiations, as German industry grows increasingly anxious at the prospect of the UK exiting the EU with No Deal.

Just recently we’ve seen the Head of the German Federation Industry (BDI), Dieter Lempf, say: “A chaotic Brexit is now in dangerous proximity. Companies are looking into the abyss these weeks.

“Leaving the UK without an agreement is not an option – neither for British companies nor for companies on the continent.”

And the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s chief, Eric Schweitzer, warned: “More than 750,000 jobs in Germany depend on exports to Great Britain. Just-in-time production and supply chains are at risk.”

Angela Merkel seems to have got the message and is now saying: “We also have a responsibility to shape this separation process in a responsible way, so that people don’t look back in 50 years, shaking their heads, and say ‘why weren’t we in a position to make a compromise’?”

She told a regional party conference: “Let me say emphatically, I will work until the last day to ensure that we have a settled solution for the UK’s exit.”

And she also talked up a positive future relationship with Brexit Britain: “The UK is a part of Europe. We’re bound together by a wonderful cooperation on all kinds of domestic security questions. The UK has to be a close partner in the future.”

The British government must now make clear demands for a deal that involves chucking the backstop and delivering the independence that 17.4 million voted for.

It seems some in Europe are finally taking the prospect of No Deal seriously. If they want a deal, it needs to be far better for the UK than the one Theresa May brought back from Brussels.

Spectator USA

Published  1 month ago

How brilliant was that cheer on Question Time last night? Isabel Oakeshott said Theresa May should just walk away from the EU. Fiona Bruce asked her if she meant we should pursue ‘No Deal’. ‘Yes’, said Oakeshott and there it was, instantly, contagiously, the loudest cheer I can remember hearing from a Question Time audience. This was no polite applause or murmur of approval. It was a statement — a noisy, rebellious statement of the people’s continuing and profound attachment to the idea of leaving the European Union, deal or no deal.

It was a cheer that should echo through the nation. That will chill the bones of the political establishment. Which will rattle a commentariat that ceaselessly pumps out columns on how awful No Deal would be. For this cheer — from an audience in the largely working-class, Labour-leaning city of Derby — was a stark reminder that there are people out there, a great many people, who do not share the political class’s fear of No Deal. Who haven’t been won over by the non-stop fearmongering about No Deal. Who flat-out refuse to buy the media’s horror stories about how No Deal will lead to medicine shortages, and food riots, and chaos in Dover, and plagues of locusts. So much for Leave voters being ‘low information’, easily misled idiots who can be brainwashed by adverts on buses and Facebook memes — this cheer was proof that these people are more than capable of thinking for themselves and resisting the establishment’s ideology of fear around No Deal.

The cheer will have horrified the political class. All wings of it. For the past few days, political bigwigs, loads of MPs, business leaders and supposedly radical Corbynistas — what a bizarre mix! — have been imploring Theresa May to take No Deal off the table. And yet here was a section of working-class Britain actively cheering No Deal. There could be no clearer illustration of the gaping chasm — the chasm in values, beliefs, political ideals — that now separates the political set from the public. The cheer will have especially devastated Corbyn’s Labour. They have made opposing No Deal their big thing, their chief aim. No Deal will ruin Britain, they cry. And yet here were working-class people whooping for a No Deal with a vigour that is too often lacking in modern politics. Behold one of the most important divides in British politics today — that between the woke bourgeois agitators of Corbyn’s inner circle and the ordinary people who used to make up the backbone of the Labour movement. Maybe Corbynistas will brand these cheerers as ‘gammon’.

Some will say — they already are, in fact — that this cheer proves how self-destructive the Brexit outlook is. These poor, not very well-educated people don’t realise how much harm No Deal will cause, apparently, including in their own lives and communities and on their economic opportunities. Such foul paternalism! This boils down to saying that the plebs don’t know what they are doing; they’re killing themselves with their own stupidity and it is down to us, the enlightened folk, to save them from themselves. Stop this. The support for No Deal is actually entirely rational. People know what ‘taking No Deal off the table’ really means — it means taking Brexit off the table. People feel that No Deal is now code for Brexit itself, and that anything that restricts the UK’s ability to walk away from the EU will threaten Brexit in its entirety. They are dead right to feel this.

That cheer told us so much about the state of the nation. Jonathan Swift said:

‘It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee-house for the voice of a Kingdom.’

This is our establishment today. They think their chatter, their fearmongering, their tweeting is the view of the nation, but in many cases it is the precise opposite. Last night, in that cheer, they heard the voice of the kingdom, and it will have terrified them. I hope it did anyway.

The Telegraph

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May has left European diplomats in a state of “disbelief” following a series of phone calls to EU leaders in which she made no change to her demands despite her Brexit plan being voted down by a 230-vote margin this week.

Senior EU diplomatic sources said that Mrs May’s unchanged stance was “greeted with incredulity” following a call with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday night.

“It was the same old story - the same set of demands - all unchanged despite the defeat,” said the source with knowledge of the calls.

Mrs May is understood to have repeated the same performance in conversations with the French president Emmanuel Macron, the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and the...

The Telegraph

Published  1 month ago

Cabinet ministers have warned that Theresa May will face mass resignations if MPs are barred from trying to stop a no-deal Brexit. The Prime Minister said on Thursday that it is "impossible" to rule out a no-deal Brexit under the terms of Article 50 and warned that it "not in the Government's power" to do so.

However as many as 20 mid-ranking ministers have indicated that they are prepared to quit the Government so they can support backbench moves to stop a no-deal Brexit.

The Telegraph has learned that a delegation of five ministers from the group visited the Prime Minister in No 10 and warned her directly that they were prepared to quit.

One Cabinet minister told The Telegraph: "I think that...

Foreign Policy

Published  1 month ago

The magical wing of the Conservative Party believes that Britain can crash out of the European Union painlessly. It is leading the country into a recession.

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

At least the Sun thrives on chaos. The savage parliamentary mauling of Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union allowed Rupert Murdoch’s pet tabloid to unveil on Wednesday morning a front page of grandly gleeful malevolence. Under the headline Brextinct, it conjured a creepy chimera of Theresa May’s head pasted on to the body of a dodo. But the thing about such surreal pictures is that it is not easy to control their interpretation. From the outside, this one seemed to suggest much more than the immediately intended message that both May and her deal are politically dead. When, it prompted one to ask, did Brextinction really happen? Was this strange creature ever really alive or was it not always a grotesquely Photoshopped image of something else, a crisis of belonging that has attached itself to the wrong union? Do the events of this week point us, not towards the EU, but to the travails of a radically disunited kingdom?

Theresa May’s survival is just a Tory confidence trick | Gary Younge

Read more

The dodo, after all, may be proverbially dead but it has a vivid afterlife in that great trawl of the English unconscious, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is the Dodo, when various characters have fallen into a pool of tears, who suggests how they might dry themselves – the Caucus-race. “There was no ‘One, two, three, and away’, but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out, ‘The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, ‘But who has won?’”

This seems, this week more than ever, a perfect description of the state to which British politics has been reduced – a lot of frantically anarchic running overseen by a defunct creature, the Brextinct dodo. And who has won? Carroll’s Dodo, of course, decrees: “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.” Having emptied Alice’s pockets to provide rewards for everyone else, the Dodo solemnly presents her with the only thing that’s left: her own thimble. “We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble.”

The Brexit game is patently not worth the thimble to be presented at the end of it. Yet in Theresa May’s humiliation on Tuesday, there were prizes for almost everybody else: a glimpse of opportunity for her rivals in cabinet; a revival of their sadomasochistic no-deal fantasies for the zealots; the hope of a second referendum for remainers; proof of the near-collapse of the Westminster order for nationalists; the hope of a general election for Jeremy Corbyn. But in truth nobody has won anything – it is a losing game all round.

For all of this is the afterlife of dead things. One of them is Brexit itself. When did Brextinction occur? On 24 June 2016. The project was driven by decades of camped-up mendacity about the tyranny of the EU, and sold in the referendum as a fantasy of national liberation. It simply could not survive contact with reality. It died the moment it became real. You cannot free yourself from imaginary oppression. Even if May were a political genius – and let us concede that she is not – Brexit was always going to come down to a choice between two evils: the heroic but catastrophic failure of crashing out; or the unheroic but less damaging failure of swapping first-class for second-class EU membership. These are the real afterlives of a departed reverie.

If the choice between shooting oneself in the head or in the foot is the answer to Britain’s long-term problems, surely the wrong question is being asked. It is becoming ever clearer that Brexit is not about its ostensible subject: Britain’s relationship with the EU. The very word Brexit contains a literally unspoken truth. It does not include or even allude to Europe. It is British exit that is the point, not what it is exiting from. The tautologous slogan Leave Means Leave is similarly (if unintentionally) honest: the meaning is in the leaving, not in what is being left or how.

Paradoxically, this drama of departure has really served only to displace a crisis of belonging. Brexit plays out a conflict between Them and Us, but it is surely obvious after this week that the problem is not with Them on the continent. It’s with the British Us, the unravelling of an imagined community. The visible collapse of the Westminster polity this week may be a result of Brexit, but Brexit itself is the result of the invisible subsidence of the political order over recent decades.

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It may seem strange to call this slow collapse invisible since so much of it is obvious: the deep uncertainties about the union after the Good Friday agreement of 1998 and the establishment of the Scottish parliament the following year; the consequent rise of English nationalism; the profound regional inequalities within England itself; the generational divergence of values and aspirations; the undermining of the welfare state and its promise of shared citizenship; the contempt for the poor and vulnerable expressed through austerity; the rise of a sensationally self-indulgent and clownish ruling class. But the collective effects of these interrelated developments do seem to have been barely visible within the political mainstream until David Cameron accidentally took the lid off by calling a referendum and asking people to endorse the status quo.

What we see with the lid off and the fog of fantasies at last beginning to dissipate is the truth that Brexit is much less about Britain’s relationship with the EU than it is about Britain’s relationship with itself. It is the projection outwards of an inner turmoil. An archaic political system had carried on even while its foundations in a collective sense of belonging were crumbling. Brexit in one way alone has done a real service: it has forced the old system to play out its death throes in public. The spectacle is ugly, but at least it shows that a fissiparous four-nation state cannot be governed without radical social and constitutional change.

Why are people cheering for no deal? Because they’re thinking about it the wrong way | Anand Menon

Read more

European leaders have continually expressed exasperation that the British have really been negotiating not with them, but with each other. But perhaps it is time to recognise that there is a useful truth in this: Brexit is really just the vehicle that has delivered a fraught state to a place where it can no longer pretend to be a settled and functioning democracy. Brexit’s work is done – everyone can now see that the Westminster dodo is dead. It is time to move on from the pretence that the problem with British democracy is the EU and to recognise that it is with itself. After Brextinction there must be a whole new political ecosystem. Drop the dead dodo, end the mad race for a meaningless prize, and start talking about who you want to be.

• Fintan O’Toole is a columnist at the Irish Times and author of Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain

Neon Nettle

Published  1 month ago

The pedophiles, who raped children as young as 13, are now receiving taxpayers money

Rantt

Published  1 month ago

Trump's effort to prolong the shutdown is backfiring as he makes a petty move against Pelosi - and other stories you should be watching at home and abroad.

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Diane Abbott has accused BBC Question Time of legitimising racist abuse after claims that the shadow home secretary was singled out before and during Thursday night’s episode of the political discussion programme.

The Labour politician claimed she had been unfairly mocked in the warm-up and had been interrupted more often than other panellists by Fiona Bruce, the programme’s new chair.

“We are appalled by the treatment of Diane Abbott on BBC’s Question Time,” a spokesperson for Abbott said. “It was clear that a hostile atmosphere was whipped up, propped up by reports of inappropriate and sexist commentary in the audience warm-up session.

“A public broadcaster like the BBC should be expected to be a model of impartiality and equality. The BBC cannot claim anything of the sort when analysis of the programme shows that the only black woman on the panel was jeered at and interrupted more times than any other panellist, including by the chair herself.

“The media must stop legitimising mistreatment, bias and abuse against Ms Abbott as a black woman in public life. The BBC should be ashamed that their programming is complicit in such behaviour.”

Audience members who attended the filming of Question Time in Derby claimed that the warm-up for the programme included innuendo about Abbott’s past relationship with Jeremy Corbyn and that the audience booed her name when it was announced.

The audience loudly applauded when she was asked about Corbyn’s refusal to engage in Brexit talks with Theresa May unless the prime minister ruled out a no-deal departure from the EU.

Abbott’s staff suggested the warm-up had “set the whole audience up to be quite negative” about the politician, while pointing at online viral videos suggesting Bruce had interrupted Abbott more than the other panellists.

Labour gains three-point lead as May’s Brexit plan hits buffers

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A BBC spokesperson said the corporation had been in touch with Abbott’s team but suggested some of the claims about the show’s treatment of her which went viral on social media are false. “We are sorry to hear Diane Abbott’s concerns over last night’s edition of Question Time and we have contacted her team today to reassure them that reports circulating on social media are inaccurate and misleading. Diane is a regular and important contributor to the programme … we firmly reject claims that any of the panel was treated unfairly either before or during the recording.”

Question Time and other BBC current affairs programmes have become a lightning rod for claims of media bias against Labour, with the corporation repeatedly forced to defend aspects of its presentation of political topics.

The Momentum campaign group launched a petition demanding the BBC apologise after Bruce backed claims that Labour was behind in the opinion polls.

The Momentum petition referred to an exchange where panellist Isabel Oakeshott said that Labour were “way behind in the polls” and Abbott replied that “we are kind of level-pegging” before Bruce said that Labour were “definitely” behind. But recent polling has found the two parties roughly neck and neck.

This is scandalous 😠#bbcqt #DianeAbbott pic.twitter.com/gObm5Fugq2

Abbott has appeared on Question Time at least 29 times over several decades, according to her office. In a 2017 article for the Guardian, she described her experience as one of the UK’s first black MPs, highlighting the level of abuse she received on social media.

“I went into politics to create space for women and other groups who have historically been treated unfairly,” she wrote. “Once, the pushback was against the actual arguments for equality and social justice. Now the pushback is the politics of personal destruction. This is doubly effective for opponents of social progress. Not only does it tend to marginalise the female ‘offender’, but other women look at how those of us in the public space are treated and think twice about speaking up publicly, let alone getting involved in political activity.”

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

A Tory MP who has put forward a plan to block a no-deal Brexit says ministers have told him they will quit, if they are ordered to vote against it.

His cross-party bill would force Theresa May to request an extension of Article 50 if she can't get a deal approved by MPs by the end of February.

Mr Boles told the BBC his bill had a "broad base" of support from different sides of the Brexit debate.

And he said he believed a number of ministers backed his plan.

PM meets party leaders to break Brexit deadlock

Brexit: A really simple guide

Corbyn tells May: Rule out no deal now

Theresa May has been meeting senior members of other parties to see if there is any room for a compromise after her EU withdrawal deal was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs this week. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to attend talks until the prospect of a no-deal Brexit has been ruled out.

The prime minister will publish a new plan on Monday with a full debate and key vote scheduled for Tuesday, 29 January.

Mr Boles's EU Withdrawal (Number 2) Bill aims to put Parliament in control of the Brexit process, demanding an extension to the Article 50 process to allow negotiations to continue beyond the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29.

But Mr Boles withdrew proposals for the cross-party Commons Liaison Committee of senior backbenchers to draw up an alternative Brexit plan, after its chair Sarah Wollaston indicated that it would not accept the role.

'Rolling bandwagon'

However the Tory backbencher told Nick Robinson's Political Thinking podcast the bill would still go ahead and had sponsors from three different parties - the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems.

"This bill is about creating the space for a compromise by ruling out a no-deal Brexit," he told the BBC.

To pass his new bill, Mr Boles will need to suspend the rules in Parliament so that he does not need government support to free up parliamentary time for it.

He could do this by amending the government's business motion which sets out the schedule ahead of the Commons debate on 29 January.

He told the Political Thinking podcast: "We have had indications that many ministers, including cabinet ministers are very, very keen to see it pass and are telling the prime minister that they will not vote against it.

"There is a bandwagon rolling, it's got a lot of momentum behind it and I very much hope that any MP who shares my view that a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster, will jump on board.

"I have been told directly by ministers, not in the cabinet, that they have said that they would resign if they are whipped to vote against it."

While he did not know if any cabinet ministers would quit, he said the transcript reported in the Daily Telegraph of a conversation in which Philip Hammond "made quite plain that he thought this was fantastic".

Evening Standard

Published  1 month ago

Support for staying in the European Union has jumped to its highest level since the 2016 referendum in the wake of the crushing Commons defeat for Theresa May’s deal.

A new YouGov poll reveals 56 per cent of voters would choose Remain if given the chance in a fresh referendum. Only 44 per cent said they would vote Leave. The 12-point lead for Remain is a big increase from eight points at the end of last year, and will be seen as evidence that voters are losing confidence in Brexit.

It is three times as big as the four-point margin that Leave secured in the 2016 referendum to commit Britain to quitting the EU. Support has also grown for a second referendum, found YouGov’s survey of 1,000 adults, which was commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign but conducted independently.

Some 47 per cent of the public back a new vote, or 56 per cent for and 44 against after excluding don’t knows.

The snap poll was conducted after Tuesday night’s record-breaking Commons vote against Mrs May’s withdrawal blueprint, which was crushed by 432 votes to 202.

Last night the Prime Minister managed to unite the Tories and her on-off Democratic Unionist Party allies to resist a Labour motion of no confidence by 325 votes to 306. Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, urged party leader Jeremy Corbyn to read the results and back a referendum.

“This snap poll shows more than ever why the Government needs to change course and hand this decision on Brexit back to the people,” he said.

“The poll also underlines why the leadership of my party needs to listen to Labour’s own supporters, more than three-quarters of whom are demanding a People’s Vote. To ignore those calls now would be an historic mistake for which Labour would not be forgiven.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell effectively ruled out holding a second referendum today, despite the Prime Minister offering talks with other parties aimed at finding a consensus.

“She’s not going down a route to stop Brexit,” he said, saying the talks were only designed to produce “an orderly Brexit” route. “Everything is up for discussion but what isn’t going to be an outcome is arrangements that seek to stop Brexit, which I believe the People’s Vote is designed to do.”

But the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable both used talks to push for a referendum.

Conservative supporters of a second EU referendum this morning launched a “Right to Vote” campaign in an attempt to push Mrs May into holding a re-run of the 2016 plebiscite.

Former minister Phillip Lee, who quit last year to campaign against Brexit, claimed Tory support for a fresh poll was “underestimated” and “growing fast”. “I know from private conversations at Parliament that backing among my colleagues for a referendum is there and is growing fast,” he said.More than 170 leading figures, including architect Lord Foster and Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse,have called for Mrs May and Mr Corbyn to back a second referendum.

heraldscotland

Published  1 month ago

Reacting to Theresa May's Brexit deal defeat, more than 56 of Herald readers believe the country should hold a second independence vote if the UK…

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May's government survives a no confidence vote by 325 to 306 - but has yet to get MPs to back a Brexit plan

Breitbart

Published  1 month ago

Historian and broadcaster Andrew Roberts has urged the Prime Minister to call on the Queen to suspend the parliamentary session until Brexit takes effect of March 29th, to deny Remain plotters the opportunity to derail it.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 enshrined March 29th as exit day in law, and so a clean, No Deal break with the bloc is now on course by default, given the crushing defeat of Theresa May’s proposed deal in the so-called “meaningful vote”.

The EU Withdrawal Act allows for a minister to alter that date, however, and it could of course be overturned by swift and concerted parliamentary action — and with the Remain-supporting Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow disregarding the advice of his Clerks and breaking with centuries of precedent in order to allow Remain MPs to amend Government motions in Parliament, and the legislature’s Remain-dominated Liaison Committee scheming to take control of the Brexit process, No Deal could soon be usurped as the default option.

Andrew Roberts, author of a number of popular history books on figures including Sir Winston Churchill and Napoleon Bonaparte, and a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, has therefore called on the Prime Minister to use what has been described as “the nuclear option” to put an end to Remain MPs’ machinations, by calling on Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue (suspend) the parliamentary session until after March 29th, preventing them from blocking No Deal and presenting them with a fait accompli.

“A strong PM wouldd [sic] prorogue Parliament till 30 March as soon as it became clear that Parliament was about to flout the will of the people,” he wrote. “She would be well within her constitutional rights, and protecting democracy.”

A strong PM wouldd prorogue Parliament till 30 March as soon as it became clear that Parliment was about to flout the will of the people. She would be well within her constitutional rights, and protecting democracy

— Andrew Roberts (@aroberts_andrew) January 15, 2019

Prorogation does not dissolve Parliament — the Government can no longer call a dissolution via the monarch without reference to MPs since the passage of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 — but merely suspends it temporarily until a new session is called, causing all motions and almost all parliamentary bills to lapse in the meantime.

With the EU Withdrawal Act already on the books, however, the March 29th exit day for Brexit would continue to count down even if Parliament was not sitting, with the United Kingdom and the European Union defaulting to a World Trade Organization (WTO) relationship when the day arrives.

Anne McElvoy, a BBC presenter and editor at the Remain-supporting Economist, has complained that exercising the Queen’s prerogative power to prorogue in this way “would be despotic”.

It is normally used uncontroversially, to commence recesses and so on — although in practice suspending the parliamentary session in order to block Brexit-wrecking legislative action would have much the same effect as a presidential veto in the United States, generally considered a legitimate check on the legislature.

Critics have also observed that Remain MPs’ apparent willingness to disregard the results of the 2016 referendum which Parliament authorised, as well as the manifesto pledges to take Britain out of the EU Customs Union, Single Market, and associated Free Movement regime which the overwhelming majority of MPs stood on ahead of the 2017 snap election which gave them their electoral mandate, is not exactly “democratic”.

Brexiteer Conservative MP Desmond Swayne calls on Theresa May to suspend parliament until April in order to "guarantee Brexit."

— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) January 14, 2019

The call to prorogue has already been taken up in Parliament by Brexiteer MP and Iraq War veteran Sir Desmond Swayne, who called on Theresa May to exercise the constitutional power in order to “guarantee Brexit”.

The Prime Minister, a former Remain campaigner herself, seemed hesitant, however, suggesting Mr Swayne was “trying to tempt me down a road that I do not think I should go down.”

Observers have noted with amusement that proroguing Parliament in order to ensure the people’s vote to Leave the European Union is carried through would cast the Queen in the role of Cromwell, the regicide statesman who famously dismissed the corrupt Long Parliament by force, declaring: “It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place… You who were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.”

Govt Whistleblower: UK Prepared for ‘No Deal’ Brexit, Scare Stories ‘Absolutely Untrue’ https://t.co/FHVSSJBnua

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 29, 2018

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

Chancellor Philip Hammond told business leaders that a no-deal Brexit could be "taken off the table" and Article 50 "rescinded", according to a transcript of a leaked conference call.

Hours after Theresa May suffered a historic defeat in the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal, Mr Hammond began the call by explaining that it raised two questions; can Article 50 be revoked and "whether we can somehow take the option of no deal off the table".

He told the 11 business leaders that the European Union (EU) would not consider extending Article 50 "unless or until we have a clear plan to go forward" and the "large majority" in the commons are opposed to a no-deal "in any circumstances".

He referred to a cross-party Bill, from Tory MP Nick Boles, which aims to force the Government to extend Article 50 if a Brexit deal cannot be reached, according to The Telegraph which obtained the transcript of the call.

"What this group of backbenchers has been doing is seeking to find a mechanism by which the House of Commons can express that view in a way which is binding and effective," he said.

The business leaders sought assurances from Mr Hammond, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Business Secretary Greg Clark, who were also on the call, that a no-deal could be ruled out.

Doug Gurr, head of Amazon UK, reportedly said ruling out a no deal would give "comfort" to global boards.

But Mr Hammond said it would not be until next week that things became clearer. MPs will vote on an amendment that will "pave the way for the Bill" on Monday, the paper reported.

John Allan, chairman of Tesco and president of the CBI, asked if taking a no-deal Brexit off the table reduced the UK's negotiating power with the EU.

Mr Hammond said removing options had consequences.

Mr Hammond added: "The Government is not in control of this. I am only telling you what information I have been able to glean. My understanding is that because the bill being brought forward will simply and solely rescind the Article 50 notice, the legal opinion that they have is that that will meet the test that the European Court of Justice has laid down for unilateral recision of an Article 50 notice.

"It is not within their power to mandate any future course of action, that would be for a Government to do."

A Treasury spokesman confirmed the phone call took place shortly after the vote on Tuesday, but would not confirm any details.

Press Association

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

The European Council president sends a cryptic tweet after Theresa May's Brexit deal was rejected.

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

The president of the European Council has dared British politicians to back remaining in the E,U after Theresa May's Brexit deal was voted down by the House of Commons by a historic margin of failure.

After MPs rejected the plan by 432 to 202 Donald Tusk tweeted: "If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?"

His European Commission counterpart Jean-Claude Juncker also warned that "time is almost up" in Brexit talks, telling Theresa May: "I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible."

More follows…

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Sky News

Published  1 month ago

Tory grandee predicts Brexit will be delayed until July

Ahead of tonight's no-confidence vote facing the government, Sir Malcolm adds: "[Jeremy] Corbyn's made a very serious tactical mistake because she [the PM] is going to win that vote - we already know that - because all the Brexiteers and the [Northern] Irish MPs are going to vote with the government.

"So what will happen is he will strengthen Theresa May's personal position."

However, he describes the PM's Brexit deal as "dead" and predicts a delay of the scheduled Brexit date from March to July.

Breitbart

Published  1 month ago

Historian and broadcaster Andrew Roberts has urged the Prime Minister to call on the Queen to suspend the parliamentary session until Brexit takes effect of March 29th, to deny Remain plotters the opportunity to derail it.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 enshrined March 29th as exit day in law, and so a clean, No Deal break with the bloc is now on course by default, given the crushing defeat of Theresa May’s proposed deal in the so-called “meaningful vote”.

The EU Withdrawal Act allows for a minister to alter that date, however, and it could of course be overturned by swift and concerted parliamentary action — and with the Remain-supporting Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow disregarding the advice of his Clerks and breaking with centuries of precedent in order to allow Remain MPs to amend Government motions in Parliament, and the legislature’s Remain-dominated Liaison Committee scheming to take control of the Brexit process, No Deal could soon be usurped as the default option.

Andrew Roberts, author of a number of popular history books on figures including Sir Winston Churchill and Napoleon Bonaparte, and a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, has therefore called on the Prime Minister to use what has been described as “the nuclear option” to put an end to Remain MPs’ machinations, by calling on Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue (suspend) the parliamentary session until after March 29th, preventing them from blocking No Deal and presenting them with a fait accompli.

“A strong PM wouldd [sic] prorogue Parliament till 30 March as soon as it became clear that Parliament was about to flout the will of the people,” he wrote. “She would be well within her constitutional rights, and protecting democracy.”

A strong PM wouldd prorogue Parliament till 30 March as soon as it became clear that Parliment was about to flout the will of the people. She would be well within her constitutional rights, and protecting democracy

— Andrew Roberts (@aroberts_andrew) January 15, 2019

Prorogation does not dissolve Parliament — the Government can no longer call a dissolution via the monarch without reference to MPs since the passage of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 — but merely suspends it temporarily until a new session is called, causing all motions and almost all parliamentary bills to lapse in the meantime.

With the EU Withdrawal Act already on the books, however, the March 29th exit day for Brexit would continue to count down even if Parliament was not sitting, with the United Kingdom and the European Union defaulting to a World Trade Organization (WTO) relationship when the day arrives.

Anne McElvoy, a BBC presenter and editor at the Remain-supporting Economist, has complained that exercising the Queen’s prerogative power to prorogue in this way “would be despotic”.

It is normally used uncontroversially, to commence recesses and so on — although in practice suspending the parliamentary session in order to block Brexit-wrecking legislative action would have much the same effect as a presidential veto in the United States, generally considered a legitimate check on the legislature.

Critics have also observed that Remain MPs’ apparent willingness to disregard the results of the 2016 referendum which Parliament authorised, as well as the manifesto pledges to take Britain out of the EU Customs Union, Single Market, and associated Free Movement regime which the overwhelming majority of MPs stood on ahead of the 2017 snap election which gave them their electoral mandate, is not exactly “democratic”.

Brexiteer Conservative MP Desmond Swayne calls on Theresa May to suspend parliament until April in order to "guarantee Brexit."

— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) January 14, 2019

The call to prorogue has already been taken up in Parliament by Brexiteer MP and Iraq War veteran Sir Desmond Swayne, who called on Theresa May to exercise the constitutional power in order to “guarantee Brexit”.

The Prime Minister, a former Remain campaigner herself, seemed hesitant, however, suggesting Mr Swayne was “trying to tempt me down a road that I do not think I should go down.”

Observers have noted with amusement that proroguing Parliament in order to ensure the people’s vote to Leave the European Union is carried through would cast the Queen in the role of Cromwell, the regicide statesman who famously dismissed the corrupt Long Parliament by force, declaring: “It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place… You who were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.”

Govt Whistleblower: UK Prepared for ‘No Deal’ Brexit, Scare Stories ‘Absolutely Untrue’ https://t.co/FHVSSJBnua

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 29, 2018

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

PM Theresa May loses MPs’ vote on Brexit deal by 432 votes to 202 - the biggest government defeat in history

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Jeremy Corbyn should seize the chance to alter the course of Britain’s future, says Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty

Dailystar.co.uk

Published  1 month ago

Hours before MPs vote for the first time on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the former UKIP leader told Daily Star Online he believes she never wanted the UK to fully leave the Brussels bloc.

Mrs May is widely expected to lose the crunch vote by a huge margin, which could lead to a "no deal" Brexit or even a second referendum.

Some even expect her to stand down or be ousted as leader.

Mr Farage said: “This should be a day of celebration for Brexiteers but unfortunately the Prime Minister never wanted us to become an independent country, her deal costs us a fortune, ties us into EU rules indefinitely and is a total shocker.

“This failure of leadership has given the Remainers the opportunity to hijack the process.”

Mrs May’s deal would mean the UK pays Brussels around £40billion and, if the government fails to negotiate a trade deal in the two-year “transition period,” the so-called “Irish backstop” will be triggered.

The UK cannot leave the backstop without the EU’s permission, and Mr Farage and others claim the UK could become permanently tied to the bloc’s trade rules.

Speaking on his LBC radio show on Monday night, Farage added: “It seems to me that what [the Prime Minister] is saying to everybody and urging everybody, is that a bad deal is better that a ‘no deal’.

“If this Prime Minister believed in Brexit she would stick with what Article 50 says, and it says… if you cannot negotiate a withdrawal agreement, two years after the date of triggering [Article 50] you simply leave.”

Mr Farage, who now leads the group Leave Means Leave, pointed out that 494 MPs voted to trigger the Article 50 divorce process.

He joined a Leave Means Leave protest outside parliament this morning, urging people to back a "no deal" exit from the European Union on World Trade Organisation terms.

The former UKIP leader will also join former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey and Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin for a pro-Brexit rally opposite parliament on Thursday.

On Monday afternoon, Mrs May’s deal suffered its first official parliamentary defeat as peers in the House of Lords registering their opposition to it by 321 votes to 152 – a majority 169.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has threatened to hold a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister if the deal fails tonight – which could see her forced from office – and says he wants a general election before Brexit.

He blasted on Twitter: “If Theresa May's botched deal is defeated today she'll only have herself to blame after two wasted years negotiating with her cabinet and her bickering backbenchers instead of the EU.

“We need an election to have the chance to vote for a government that can bring people together.”

Last night, Mrs May reportedly summoned her Cabinet for last-minute talks ahead of the showdown and attempted to persuade Brexiteers to back the deal and block any chance of a Labour government.

She also appealed to her Northern Irish allies, the Democratic Unionist Party, who are continuing to say they will vote the deal down due to the so-called “Irish backstop”.

Meanwhile Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, insisted May was still determined to keep fighting for her deal and believes it can pass.

“Her purpose is to leave the European Union in line with what people voted for. She could not be clearer about that,” she told BBC2’s Newsnight programme.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

France’s Emmanuel Macron has attacked the Brexit referendum, describing it as having been “manipulated” by “fake news” whilst accusing the Leave side of having lied. Never a good luck for a foreign politician to seek to lecture Brits on our public votes, as Barack Obama discovered.

Macron also reckons that “everybody” is scared by the prospect of a No Deal, WTO Brexit. That will be news to Westmonster reads and the two-thirds of Conservative Party members who backed such an outcome over Theresa May’s defeated deal.

In comments to a French audience, Macron has claimed: “It says a lot about what referendums, which seemed nice, can create. It’s a referendum that has been manipulated, manipulated from the outside by a lot of what we call fake news, where everything and anything was said now they are being told ‘figure it out yourselves’. Result: it is not true.

“We (Leave campaign) have lied to the people and what they (public) have chosen is not possible. Good luck to the representatives of the nation who has to implement a thing which doesn’t exist and explain to the people: ‘you have voted on a thing, we lied to you.”

As to what will happen on Brexit, he thinks there are three possible outcomes. “First option: they go towards a No Deal, so they say there is no agreement. It scares everybody. The first losers of this are the British people. So in this context they will have to – without any transition period – renegotiate a future relationship.

"The first losers of [a no deal Brexit] are the British people".

How does French President Macron see Brexit playing out after Theresa May's deal was rejected?

This is Macron weighing up the options after last nights resounding defeat of the deal. https://t.co/Rve1LoJ3Pb pic.twitter.com/ITw4QkuiRu

— euronews (@euronews) January 16, 2019

“I can tell you very solemnly that in the future framework of this future relationship the interests of (French) fishing will be defended and we will have to negotiate with them anyway a transition period because the British can’t afford not to have a plane taking off or landing in their country and 70% of their supermarket supplies come from continental Europe.”

“Second option: they tell us ‘we will try’. I think that’s what they’ll do. I know them a bit. ‘We will try to improve what we can obtain from the Europeans’. and we’ll vote again. In that case, we’ll look into it, maybe we’ll make improvements. But I don’t really think so because we’ve reached our limits with the deal and we won’t, just solve Britain’s domestic political issues, stop defending European interests.

“There is a third option which is – I think they will start by the second (option) and it will end by the third. Let’s bet. I take my chances. Which is to say ‘we will take more time’ and they will ask to have longer (transition) period to renegotiate something. So they will take more time, maybe they will step over the European Elections in order to find something else.”

Quite extraordinary arrogance for another foreign leader to dismiss 17.4 million Leave voters in such a way. The British people to take back control of their money, laws, borders and country. Perhaps President Macron should focus more on why his government has a 75% disapproval rating amongst French voters.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Brexiteer Boris Johnson used his speech yesterday in Parliament to strongly warn against any delay to Brexit, whilst advocating a vote against Theresa May’s deal.

He said that the country “can’t seriously contemplate delaying Article 50” and that if such a delay did take place “the public would accuse us of deliberately setting out to frustrate their wishes and they would conclude that there was some plot by the deep state to kill Brexit”.

Boris described the backstop as a “trap” and said that passing May’s deal would mean “blatantly negating many of the potential benefits of Brexit”.

It would mean handing over £39 billion “for nothing in return” whilst being sucked into “regulatory alignment” with the EU.

Setting out a path forward, Boris said that he wants the government to come back with a plan that involves scrapping the backstop and pursuing “zero tariff, zero quota free trade deal” whilst holding back at least half of the £39 billion Brexit bill.

At the same time the UK should get on preparing for No Deal with “zeal and enthusiasm”. Once again Boris speaks up for millions of Brexiteers who will be watching very closely what happens tonight.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Britain’s unofficial Brexit Leader, Nigel Farage, was on the airwaves this morning setting out what he believes needs to happen now that Theresa May’s deal is dead.

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain from Brussels, he said this morning: “If a new Prime Minister came in, went to Brussels and said ‘we are leaving at 11pm on March 29th on WTO terms’, within 48 hours the European Union would come back to us because of pressure from the German car industry, the French wine industry, the Belgian chocolate industry.

“They’d bite our arms off and we’d finish up leaving with a sensible free trade arrangement, there is still time.

“Brexit is not the problem, this Prime Minister is, she needs to go.”

Nigel also said that he now fears an extension of Article 50 with “voices in Westminster pushing hard for a second referendum” despite very little public support for such a move.

Just spoke with @piersmorgan and @susannareid100 on where we go next after May's crushing defeat. Brexit is not the problem, this Prime Minister is. pic.twitter.com/WLS8g8vq60

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 16, 2019

The clock is ticking and Brexiteers need to act quickly. There is time for a better deal but the country will only get that by preparing, fully, to walk away with No Deal.

U.S.

Published  1 month ago

Brexit | Reuters.com

01/14 1:00 pm

From Reuters Graphics Brexit and the City With only six months until Britain is due to leave the European Union, there are still critical questions over the long-term future of London as the bloc's pre-eminent financial centre. The latest Reuters assessment of the City's fortunes shows a slowdown in some areas, while others are thriving despite the uncertainty VIEW INTERACTIVE › Related Coverage:

Commentary: No, Brexit Britain doesn’t want its empire back

By John Lloyd

Britain is moving towards an exit from the European Union on March 29, possibly with no agreement, and thus courting – according to the Bank of England – an 8 percent drop in GDP and a 7.5 percent rise in unemployment. A drear prospect, attended by matching drear commentaries on the stupidity of the 52 percent of the British electorate who voted for Brexit in 2016.

Commentary: The torture of Theresa May

By John Lloyd

Now is the time for all good citizens to put their elected politicians on the rack. Torture is what tyrants visited – and, often, still visit – upon real or presumed enemies among their own people. But subjecting their leaders to prolonged public humiliation has come to be a default position among democracies. None knows this better than the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Prime Minister Theresa May faces the prospect of defeat in a historic vote in parliament on her Brexit deal

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

Poorer pensioner couples will lose more than £7,000 a year, under a cut “sneaked out” while MPs are preparing for the showdown Brexit vote.

Ministers have been accused of attempting to bury the impact of the change to pension credit, which tops up the incomes of hard-up elderly people.

It means couples where only one partner is over the state pension age, which is now 65 for both men and women, will no longer receive the extra benefit.

It will take effect from 15 May, when the partner below the pension age is required to make a claim for universal credit, which merges six working-age benefits into a single payment.

“This change to the benefit rules means that some couples could lose thousands of pounds depending on whether their claim falls a day before or a day after the May deadline,” warned Steve Webb, a former pensions minister.

“People who may be affected deserve to know about this change and not have it sneaked out on a day when ministers were no doubt hoping that everyone’s attention was directed somewhere else.”

The department for work and pensions quietly revealed the cut in a written Commons statement at 7.20pm on Monday evening – as MPs held talks ahead of the meaningful vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Sir Steve, now director of policy at pensions mutual Royal London, said the DWP had said it was “considering” how universal credit would affect pension credit as recently as last month.

He said a couple expecting to receive £13,273 in the 2019-20 financial year from pension credit would see that figure fall to just £5,986.68 under universal credit.

more follows

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Fox News

Published  1 month ago

UK Parliament vote on Theresa May's Brexit plan a make or break moment for the prime minister, exit movement

A vote on the British prime minister's divorce settlement for departing the E.U. is likely to be rejected; Benjamin Hall reports on the opposition to the deal and what happens next.

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a catastrophic defeat Tuesday as Parliament overwhelmingly rejected her Brexit deal with the European Union -- a defeat that places the future of Brexit in doubt and is likely to spark calls for May’s ouster via a general election.

May’s withdrawal agreement was voted down 432-202, the largest in the history of the House of Commons. May was expected to lose, but the extent to which she lost was significant and marks a devastating blow for her leadership and her ability to go back to Brussels and negotiate further concessions.

What happens next is unclear. Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc at the end of March, currently with no deal -- something that many MPs on both sides of Parliament, including May, have said would lead to significant disruption. Some MPs, particularly those who voted to remain in the E.U. in 2016, have called for Britain to delay its departure, or hold a second referendum.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to call for a motion of no-confidence in the government as early as Wednesday. Should that pass, it could eventually lead to a snap general election if another government is not formed.

May is also likely to face significant pressure from her Conservative Party to step aside, particularly considering the margin of her defeat, which would normally lead to a prime minister’s resignation. But May, having survived a vote of no-confidence from her party in December, is protected from being ousted from her own party until December 2019.

This is a breaking news alert, check back for future updates.

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

Labour's leader sets out conditions for Brexit talks with the prime minister and threatens more no-confidence votes.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

The European Union’s Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk have issued a letter aimed at winning MPs over to backing Theresa May’s deal.

Our joint letter to PM @theresa_may on #Brexit: https://t.co/jiGvkEbElF

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) January 14, 2019

Problem is, it underlines that there is no end date for the hated backstop nor the ability for the UK to unilaterally exit it. The EU would have to agree, a pathetically weak position for the UK to be in.

The letter instead reads: “The Commission is committed to providing the necessary political impetus and resources to help achieving the objective of making this period as short as

“To this end, following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, and until a subsequent agreement is concluded, the Commission will support making best use of the high level conference foreseen in the Political Declaration to meet at least every six months to take stock of progress and agree the appropriate actions to move forward.”

They also argue that: “Were the backstop to enter into force in whole or in part, it is intended to apply only temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement.”

It is nowhere near good enough. What’s on the table is a £39 billion trap. MPs must reject it.

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

PM Theresa May makes a last-ditch attempt to persuade MPs to back her Brexit deal as tomorrow's key vote looms.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Britain’s unofficial Brexit Leader Nigel Farage today said that Theresa May has one way through the current situation: advocating a No Deal Brexit.

With May’s EU deal facing almost certain defeat in Parliament, Nigel told ITV’s This Morning: “Only way through this, there’s one possible solution. If the Prime Minister can show now that she’s got real leadership and say ‘right have this legislation in place, we’ve tried our best, we are leaving with No Deal because that’s the only way we can deliver independence for this country’.

“If she did that the nation would rally behind her in the most extraordinary way.”

He added that he didn’t think “she’s got it within her” and revealed that he now thinks a political class stitch-up involving a delay of Brexit is now the “most likely outcome”.

It would lead to “huge public anger” Nigel pointed out. He’s right. Given a No Deal Brexit is still the default policy of the government and May has once again promised that the UK will leave on 29th March 2019, May could have back a WTO Brexit or go back on her word and betray Brexiteers. Which will it be?

Watch the full interview here:

thetimes

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May’s government is facing meltdown today as The Sunday Times reveals how a senior House of Commons official helped rebel MPs who are plotting to derail Brexit.

Leaked emails obtained by this newspaper show that Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, has been in secret communications with Colin Lee, the clerk of bills, with the explicit intention of suspending Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Lee drew up three versions of the plan for Grieve — each of which would overturn centuries of parliamentary precedent — and then swore him to secrecy.

MPs will tomorrow unveil their plan to hijack the agenda of the Commons to suspend article 50, the mechanism by which the UK is leaving the EU.

The revelations came as the prime…

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

There were some suggestions last night that Theresa May could have to stand down if her deal is defeated as heavily as being predicted.

Cabinet sources have told The Telegraph that the PM would have to stand down – though it is widely thought that she would only ever leave if removed, hence having been challenged in a motion of confidence by Conservative MPs.

One told them: “If she loses by more than 100 votes, and it looks like there is no way of persuading more than a few Tory rebels to change their minds, that would be pretty disastrous for the PM and hard for her to carry on.”

The scale of potential defeat is huge: Sky News have crunched the numbers and reckon, as it stands, her deal could go down to a majority of more than 200.

That would mean only 198 MPs voting in favour, with 423 against, a defeat of 225. That would be colossal and if it did happen, would be an earthquake in Westminster that could call May’s entire premiership into question.

Theresa May is on course to be defeated by a staggering 225 votes, according to analysis by @SkyNewsPolitics pic.twitter.com/ewDqcZStx1

— Tom Boadle (@TomBoadle) January 14, 2019

MPs could switch last minute. The government will be doing all they can to reduce the scale of the defeat. But given the country is heading towards a No Deal Brexit on 29th March 2019, perhaps it is time for a Brexiteer Prime Minister who actually believes in it?

The Sun

Published  1 month ago

EU leaders are prepared to delay Brexit until July because Parliament can’t agree a deal, it has been claimed. The British government is expected to ask for an extension to Article 50 –…

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May herself did not back Welsh devolution bill after narrow win for devolution in referendum

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

A bonkers far-left activist yesterday used a speech to advise the Prime Minister that she should “shoot yourself”.

Weyman Bennett used his speech to make the unhinged comments about Theresa May, as Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell stood nearby.

It's that 'kinder, gentler' politics again…

This time asking the Prime minister to "shoot herself"

The Absolute State of the Hard Left. What. A. Disgrace. pic.twitter.com/LRwmPoJ8P3

— Amandeep SinghBhogal (@AmandeepBhogal) January 12, 2019

McDonnell was clearly seen nearby, waiting to speak at the same event.

Speaker at this People’s Assembly rally says Theresa May ‘should shoot herself’. Uncomfortable to hear that kind of rhetoric, especially after the week we’ve had. Waiting to speak next (on the right of the pic) is John McDonnell pic.twitter.com/BPH9Bua6BK

— Joshi Herrmann (@joshi) January 12, 2019

WATCH: The SWP's Weyman Bennett tells Theresa May "shoot yourself" at today's People's Assembly demo as John McDonnell and Unite's Steve Turner look on. pic.twitter.com/PI2pQqw19W

— The Red Roar (@TheRedRoar) January 12, 2019

Disturbing that such a senior Labour figure was appearing alongside such an unhinged individual.

The Shadow Chancellor watching a guy who just told the Prime Minister to shoot herself. pic.twitter.com/9Ta8SRYwYh

— Ben (@Jamin2g) January 12, 2019

It comes after ‘Yellow Vest’ protester James Goddard was arrested yesterday and then released on bail on suspicion of public order offences. Goddard hit the headlines after shouting at Anna Soubry outside of Parliament.

thetimes

Published  1 month ago

Sir John Major today demands that the government should revoke article 50 to halt Britain’s departure from the EU and hand control to parliament instead.

Writing in The Sunday Times, the former Tory prime minister says Theresa May should rescind existing Brexit legislation and call another referendum, arguing that “a new process” of national consultation is required.

Major warns that it would be “morally reprehensible” to slip into a no-deal Brexit, saying: “The cost . . . to our national wellbeing would be heavy and long-lasting. The benefits are close to zero. Every single household — rich or poor — would be worse off for many years to come. Jumping off a cliff never has a happy ending.”

Calling for a halt to the process,…

TheyWorkForYou

Published  1 month ago

TheyWorkForYou

01/12 11:13 pm

TheyWorkForYou is a website which makes it easy to keep track of your local MP's activities.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

The European Union’s Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk have issued a letter aimed at winning MPs over to backing Theresa May’s deal.

Our joint letter to PM @theresa_may on #Brexit: https://t.co/jiGvkEbElF

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) January 14, 2019

Problem is, it underlines that there is no end date for the hated backstop nor the ability for the UK to unilaterally exit it. The EU would have to agree, a pathetically weak position for the UK to be in.

The letter instead reads: “The Commission is committed to providing the necessary political impetus and resources to help achieving the objective of making this period as short as

“To this end, following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, and until a subsequent agreement is concluded, the Commission will support making best use of the high level conference foreseen in the Political Declaration to meet at least every six months to take stock of progress and agree the appropriate actions to move forward.”

They also argue that: “Were the backstop to enter into force in whole or in part, it is intended to apply only temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement.”

It is nowhere near good enough. What’s on the table is a £39 billion trap. MPs must reject it.

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

Former prime minister John Major has renewed calls for the government to suspend Brexit and give the public a Final Say referendum. Ahead of a critical Brexit vote on Tuesday, the Tory grandee said

Mail Online

Published  1 month ago

Seventeen Tory rebels, including Mr Grieve (pictured), joined Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats to defeat the Government on the Grieve amendment by 308 votes to 297 on Wednesday.

the Guardian

Published  1 month ago

Exit on 29 March is regarded as highly unlikely in Brussels given opposition facing PM

Breitbart

Published  1 month ago

Post-referendum Britain is a land of opportunity, according to James Reed, one the country’s top business recruiters.

The entrepreneur acts as Chairman and Chief Executive of the REED Group of companies, including Reed Specialist Recruitment, Reed in Partnership, which operates a number of welfare-to-work programmes, and Reed Online, which operates the country’s biggest employment agency website.

Speaking to Sky News business presenter Ian King, the jobs guru pointed out that the labour market is “in really good shape”.

“There’s a lot of negativity in the news, but the labour market’s in good shape, it’s still growing… we’ve had 88,000 new jobs since last Monday, and it’s growing on last year; that’s two per cent on the same period last year. So, I’m very positive and optimistic,” he said.

Asked if these were skilled jobs Mr Reed confirmed that yes, “the fastest growing sectors are technology, transport and logistics, and health and medicine — engineering’s good as well.”

WATCH | Bypass the pro-EU lobby groups and listen to James Reed's hugely encouraging analysis of the labour market:

✅ 88k new jobs since Monday

✅ Skilled jobs in tech & health on rise

✅ EU migrants ⬇️, wages ⬆️

"We'll see more of that in the year ahead. I'm very positive!" pic.twitter.com/iPGug8fh1m

— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) January 11, 2019

The top recruiter also confirmed that wages have been rising as the number of EU migrants entering the country tapers down — although he notes that, at the same time, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has allowed the level of non-EU immigration to increase.

Non-EU migrants are significantly less likely to be in work in Britain than EU migrants, however, which perhaps explains why there has still been a positive effect on pay.

“I think everyone needs a pay rise, really, because it puts more into the economy,” Reed said.

“A lot of people have been going ten years without a pay rise; if you look at real wages they’ve been flat for a very long time.

“So, I think it’s a good thing, it’s a positive thing that people are getting pay rises — and we’ll see more of that in the year ahead, I believe, because there’s a shortage of talent, so employers are going to have to pay more to get people to move jobs.”

Reed’s comments will make uncomfortable reading for many bosses who have enjoyed being able to access a near-unlimited pool of pre-trained foreign labour for relatively low pay under the EU’s Free Movement migration regime, who are now having to improve their offer to British workers.

Really enjoyed talking about the January jobs market with ⁦@IanKingSky⁩ on Sky news earlier. What did I say in a nutshell? Loads of opportunities + outlook positive! Have a great weekend… #LoveMondays #MakeMondayGreatAgain #7SecondCV #EverySecondCounts pic.twitter.com/jUOimyDvfp

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

A People's Vote event is held in Sheffield, as an anti-austerity rally takes place in central London.

Mail Online

Published  1 month ago

The pair spoke in Mr Bercow’s grace-and-favour Commons apartment the day before the Speaker allowed the former Attorney General to table an amendment, it can be revealed.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

A bonkers far-left activist yesterday used a speech to advise the Prime Minister that she should “shoot yourself”.

Weyman Bennett used his speech to make the unhinged comments about Theresa May, as Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell stood nearby.

It's that 'kinder, gentler' politics again…

This time asking the Prime minister to "shoot herself"

The Absolute State of the Hard Left. What. A. Disgrace. pic.twitter.com/LRwmPoJ8P3

— Amandeep SinghBhogal (@AmandeepBhogal) January 12, 2019

McDonnell was clearly seen nearby, waiting to speak at the same event.

Speaker at this People’s Assembly rally says Theresa May ‘should shoot herself’. Uncomfortable to hear that kind of rhetoric, especially after the week we’ve had. Waiting to speak next (on the right of the pic) is John McDonnell pic.twitter.com/BPH9Bua6BK

— Joshi Herrmann (@joshi) January 12, 2019

WATCH: The SWP's Weyman Bennett tells Theresa May "shoot yourself" at today's People's Assembly demo as John McDonnell and Unite's Steve Turner look on. pic.twitter.com/PI2pQqw19W

— The Red Roar (@TheRedRoar) January 12, 2019

Disturbing that such a senior Labour figure was appearing alongside such an unhinged individual.

The Shadow Chancellor watching a guy who just told the Prime Minister to shoot herself. pic.twitter.com/9Ta8SRYwYh

— Ben (@Jamin2g) January 12, 2019

It comes after ‘Yellow Vest’ protester James Goddard was arrested yesterday and then released on bail on suspicion of public order offences. Goddard hit the headlines after shouting at Anna Soubry outside of Parliament.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

As the Westminster, mainstream media echo chamber does its best to dismiss a No Deal Brexit, the people of the country clearly think different ahead of today’s vote on Theresa May’s EU deal.

Sunderland was one of the iconic results of the 2016 referendum night, with just over 61% of voters in the area backing Brexit a sign of things to come.

Of course since then, some have sought to claim that support for leaving the European Union has diminished. The usual suspects have second-guessed the people and even worked to overturn the referendum result, including both Labour and Tory MPs with help from the LibDems and SNP.

But the Sunderland Echo are the latest to illustrate there is significant public support for exiting the EU without a deal. They asked their readers: “Should Brexit proceed without a deal with the EU?”

Despite the area being dominated by pro-Remain Labour MPs, 70% of the 1,300 Sunderland Echo readers who cast their vote back leaving the EU, even without a deal.

As they splashed on their front page on Monday: “70% say they want No Deal Brexit in our reader poll”.

Of course this wasn’t a scientific poll but it is a rough barometer of where public opinion is. Despite Project Fear and a bombardment of scare stories surrounding a No Deal, WTO Brexit, the British public are standing firm.

As MPs likely reject May’s deal in Parliament today, politicians should all take serious stock of events. Voters were promised that under Article 50, which MPs voted to trigger, the UK would leave the EU on 29th March 2019. That must happen, that must be delivered. Deal or No Deal.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Germany’s Foreign Minister has hinted that there could be a renegotiation of the UK-EU deal after MPs vote to reject Theresa May’s deal this evening, as is almost certain.

Heiko Maas has said today that: “The agreement stands, as it is. I doubt very much that the agreement can be fundamentally re-opened. If there were a better solution, it would already have been put forward.”

But crucially, he added: “If it goes wrong tonight, there could be further talks.”

Brexiteer MP Owen Paterson described the statement as “very significant”.

Very significant statement from Germany's foreign minister that the EU would be prepared to reopen talks if and when the Withdrawal Agreement is defeated in the Commons. https://t.co/jUrEoCdMFS

— Owen Paterson MP (@OwenPaterson) January 15, 2019

There is a better solution. It was the one that the EU’s Donald Tusk put out again in October when he wrote: “From the very beginning, the EU offer has been a Canada+++ deal.

“Much further-reaching on trade, internal security and foreign policy cooperation. This is a true measure of respect. And this offer remains in place.”

May’s deal is dead. Time to switch to Canada+ whilst making clear that the UK is prepared to walk away with No Deal.

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

The latest YouGov poll has exposed very little appetite for a second referendum, despite constant whinging by MPs in Westminster to the contrary.

Just 8% support a second referendum as what they want the next move to be on Brexit. A further 28% back stopping Brexit and remaining.

But 22% have No Deal as their first choice, along with 15% for Theresa May’s deal and another 9% wanting the British government to negotiate another deal. Canada+, for example?

2/ Brits are still heavily split on where we should go next on Brexit

No deal – 22%

May's deal – 15%

2nd referendum – 8%https://t.co/rEgyBG2Axs pic.twitter.com/Wug99bzcNS

— YouGov (@YouGov) January 14, 2019

That means combined, 36% of Brits back options that could mean remaining in the European Union. But 46% are in favour of leaving, deal or No Deal. That’s a 10-point lead for a Brexit way forward.

So much for ‘Bregret’. There is no clamour for a second referendum. The British public want the government to deliver what they voted for. Time to get on with it!

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has made clear that the UK will exit the European Union on 29th March 2019 – unless Theresa May takes action to stop that happening.

The Brexiteer MP told Sky News this morning that: “In law, because of the EU Withdrawal Act, we will leave on 29th March unless there’s legislation to change it and that can’t happen unless the Prime Minister changes her mind and that was confirmed over the weekend and that was confirmed over the weekend by the former President of the Supreme Court Lord Neuberger.”

Ex-Brexit secretary @DominicRaab dismisses Theresa May's claim that defeating her deal would make no #Brexit more likely than a no-deal Brexit, saying: "I don't think it's right in law".

Follow live updates on today's Brexit debate here: https://t.co/KnPAAkkoJs pic.twitter.com/j6eTLPA6a6

— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) January 15, 2019

MPs voted to trigger Article 50 and the public now expect Brexit to be delivered. Enough of the scare stories, let’s prepare for a No Deal, WTO exit at the end of March.

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May’s chances of delivering Brexit on March 29 are fading fast after senior ministers privately admitted more time is needed even if her deal wins the backing of parliament.

Senior Tories have accepted that the sheer amount of legislation parliament must pass to prepare for Brexit regardless of whether Ms May’s plans are approved, makes a March 29 withdrawal almost impossible.

One cabinet minister told The Independent that in the unlikely event the prime minister’s deal is actually approved on Tuesday then a couple more weeks would still be needed – if as expected it is not, then a longer delay of Brexit looks inevitable if a no-deal scenario is to be avoided.

Despite the admission from within the cabinet, Downing Street attempted to play down the chances of any extension to the Article 50 negotiating period on Friday by saying that it is not “government policy”.

More to follow...

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

Theresa May pleads with MPs to back her deal agreed with the EU in Tuesday's crunch Commons vote.

BBC News

Published  1 month ago

Not leaving the EU could end centuries of "moderate" politics in the UK, the transport secretary says.

Evening Standard

Published  1 month ago

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq today said she will delay the birth of her child in order to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal tomorrow.

The MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, 36, has postponed the date of her Caesarean section by two days and intends to be taken through the lobby in a wheelchair by her husband Chris.

She said: “If my son enters the world even one day later than the doctors advised, but it’s a world with a better chance of a strong relationship between Britain and Europe, then that’s worth fighting for.”

Ms Siddiq had a difficult first pregnancy with daughter Azalea, now two, and had originally been due to give birth by elective Caesarean section on February 4.

However, after developing gestational diabetes, doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead advised she deliver the baby at 37 weeks, either today or tomorrow.

She asked medical staff if she could shift Kate

Westmonster

Published  1 month ago

Brexiteer Boris Johnson has delivered a damning verdict on the government’s handling of Brexit, accusing Theresa May’s operation as “basically being run by the same people who’d run the Remain campaign”.

He told the pro-EU Financial Times that he wants to see the British government “set out a vision for the country, a narrative about how Britain is going global, why that is going to help people’s life chances all over the country, how we’re going to take advantage of the freedoms that Brexit will bring, and just selling to the people a story about what we’re doing”. All sadly lacking at the moment. Instead? “I think that Brexit has been treated as a scourge, a plague of boils, murrain on our cattle.”

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The former Foreign Secretary points out that new embassies are opening up across the world, with “the flag” going up around the world instead of being taken down.

And he calls for the UK’s Department for International Development to be closed down and put back within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “If ‘Global Britain’ is going to achieve its full and massive potential then we must bring back Dfid to the FCO. We can’t keep spending huge sums of British taxpayers’ money as though we were some independent Scandinavian NGO.”

When it comes to Britain’s ballooning foreign aid budget, he is equally clear: “The present system is leading to inevitable waste as money is shoved out of the door in order to meet the 0.7% target.”

Last year saw the UK’s foreign aid budget rocket up another £550m to £14 billion per year. Absolutely absurd.

With Theresa May still clutching to her doomed deal, perhaps at some point Boris will actually get to put his common sense approach into action as Britain’s Brexiteer Prime Minister.

The Independent

Published  1 month ago

Tony Blair has advised those going to the polls to consider voting for the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats in order to weaken the Prime Minister’s mandate for a hard Brexit.

The former Prime Minister said it was important to vote for candidates who had an “open mind” on the final deal and that people should not limit their votes to just Labour because the issue was “bigger than party allegiance”.

He also praised Theresa May, arguing: “She’s very sensible, she’s a very decent person, she’s very solid, I agree with a lot she says.”

Mr Blair has previously admitted that he “wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform” like Jeremy Corbyn’s, “even if I thought it was the route to victory”.

Speaking on Sunday on the BBC’s The World This Weekend programme he said: “The absolutely central question at this general election is less who is the prime minister on 9 June, and more what is the nature of the mandate.

“Otherwise frankly this is a steamroller election – is it possible that we can return as many members of parliament as possible to parliament that are going to keep an open mind on this Brexit negotiation until we see the final terms.”

Asked whether this political approach could mean voting Liberal Democrat, Mr Blair replied: “What I’m advocating may mean that. It may mean voting Labour. It may mean, by the way, that they vote Tory, for candidates who are prepared to give this commitment.”

“This is something that’s bigger than party allegiance, in this particular election.”

The former Prime Minister said candidates should be asked whether they backed Brexit “at any cost” or whether they were prepared to say any final deal was not in the interests of the country.

Mr Blair’s advice comes despite Ms May suggesting that votes for the Conservatives are an indication of the country “coming together” behind her Brexit plan.

He said that he personally “will always vote Labour”.

The former PM’s comments provoked anger on social media, with some Labour members suggesting he be ejected from the party for backing rival candidates. Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn, said Mr Blair “should be kicked out of the party”.

Labour’s rulebook states that “a member of the party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member”.

One Labour source poured derision on Mr Blair’s comments, telling The Independent that “voting for the Lib Dems because you’re unhappy with Brexit is like voting for them because you don’t like tuition fees”.

Mr Blair also hinted at the possibility of a political return. He said: “I look at the British political scene at the moment and I actually almost feel motivated to go right back into it.”

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said: “On 9 June, we will either have a Labour government or a Tory one.

“If you want Brexit to be used to turn Britain into a low-wage tax haven, vote Tory. If you want a Britain for the many not the few after Brexit, vote Labour. The choice is clear.”

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

BrexitCentral

Published  1 month ago