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"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 6th May 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

John McDonnell accuses Theresa May of betraying Brexit negotiations

  • Both Labour and the Conservative Party have spent the last month discussing the shape of a potential Brexit compromise deal based around the idea of a customs union. McDonnell suggested that Theresa May's decision to 'go public with details' since last Thursday's local election defeat has destroyed trust in these negotiations

Brexit Backlash hits hopes of cross-party deal

  • A host of senior Labour figures poured cold water on the chances of a breakthrough deal, even as a senior Tory Party source described Tuesday's cross-party meeting as a 'make or break day' - the collapse in support for Mrs May was likened, by Labour, to negotiating with a company about to go into administration

The Liberal Democrat and Green Party advances at the local election were not 'just a protest vote'

Tories lose over 1,300 seats in local elections as major parties suffer

  • The local election defeat was the biggest for the Conservative Party since 1995. Disillusioned voters deserted the party in droves, including in traditional Tory areas such as Chelmsford and Surrey Heath. Labour had expected to make gains at the expense of the government, but it ended up losing around 82 council seats overall. In contrast, the Liberal Democrats were up more than 700 seats and took control of just under a dozen councils, and the Greens and Independents fared unexpectedly well too, at the Tories expense

Desperate Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn plan Brexit 'stitch up' deal

Theresa May will climb down on customs union, goods and workers' rights

  • The PM's negotiating team will reportedly give ground to Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday on the issues of a customs union, movement of goods and workers rights. Mrs May knows there's no sign of the Tories uniting to back her deal behind her. She is hoping that she can get her deal through Parliament by persuading the Labour backbenches to support her

Tory Local Election disaster a direct result of Brexit failure

Anger is growing at the May-Corbyn Brexit stitch-up plan

Ruth Davidson says Tories and Labour must agree a Brexit compromise deal before the 23rd May or face the consequences

A Scottish independence march, at the weekend, was twice the size of last year's

SNP's currency plan is the single daftest idea in my lifetime, says Michael Gove

A landslide victory for clarity on Brexit - the local elections results

New poll finds 61% would back Remain in a second referendum

  • The YouGov survey for KIS Finance found that given the choice of Theresa May's Brexit deal or remaining in the EU, 61% of the people surveyed would opt to remain in the EU. Under a No Deal scenario the numbers change. 53% of people would vote to remain while 34% would back a No Deal Brexit and just 12% would support Theresa May's deal

The Brexit Party

Brexit poses an unprecedented threat to maternity care in the UK

Jobs at Risk
Brexit Poses An Unprecedented Threat To Maternity Care
Where we used to attract European midwives and nurses, we now repel them – as well as hundreds leaving the NHS, just 33 registered to join us in the last year. As the chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, the biggest threat to the provision of maternity care I’ve witnessed first hand is the almost-total collapse in the number of midwives trained on the Continent coming to the UK to work in the NHS. In the twelve months to March last year, just 33 individuals who’d trained elsewhere in the EU registered to practice as midwives here in the UK. Before, it would have been hundreds. And what’s more, the number of EU midwives leaving has shot up. We used to attract European midwives and nurses; we now repel them. Make no mistake about it. Brexit poses an unprecedented threat to maternity care in our country.
Bumper British strawberry crop may rot as EU pickers stay away
The fallout from Brexit, which has left many eastern European workers feeling that they are more welcome in other European member states, is also a concern. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently provided them with brochures in Romanian and Bulgarian declaring that the UK is open to foreign workers. But an expanding Romanian economy has seen fewer workers leave their home. A sizable drop in the number of workers returning year on year has also become apparent in figures collated by the NFU. “Workers from Romania are no longer earning six times what they would back home,” Maurel said. “It’s more like three and a half times. That makes a difference.” It is predicted that apple growers will be worse hit by the labour shortage than berry growers as they will need fruit pickers in the late autumn, when many Romanians choose to return home having earned the maximum they can make before paying tax.
Economic Impact
UK on HSBC watchlist over Brexit uncertainty
A top HSBC executive has urged a swift solution to Brexit, telling Sky News that the uncertainty is hurting business and consumer confidence. Speaking to the Ian King Live programme, the banking giant's chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson said the UK was on a list of world markets that HSBC was concerned about. He was speaking as the global lender reported a 31% hike in profits in the first quarter of the year, despite counting the cost of economic uncertainty in the UK.
Brexit will hammer Britain's financial services - and no-one seems to have noticed
Regulators on the continent have taken a firm line on British demands for special deals covering financial services. Germany and France see Brexit as an opportunity to build up their own insurance, asset management and banking sectors. Firms will be required to constantly beef-up their operations on the continent if they want to keep doing business in it. UK firms are already choosing to grow their operations in the EU27 - not only to ensure compliance with the bloc's rules, but also to be nearer to where regulatory and political decisions are made. It's no coincidence that the insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London picked Brussels - a political, but not financial, centre - as the location for its first-ever full foreign subsidiary. US and Japanese firms looking for a location to base their European headquarters no longer see London as the default option, according to Sir Mark Boleat, deputy chairman of the City of London Corporation's Policy and Resources Committee. Putting all their eggs in one basket carries far more political risk for these firms than they ever thought possible before June 2016.
Administrative Fall Out
Brexit dangerously overshadows the UK’s social mobility crisis
The unravelling of the UK’s relationship with the EU, if it happens, will take time and the impact on our economy and society will be profound. Brexit will dominate political discourse and consume public policy effort for years to come. The fractures it has caused in our political parties will continue to widen and deepen over time. It is hard to see how the Labour and Conservative duopoly that has dominated British politics for the past century can survive.
We can't just go on hoarding like this for Brexit
Even with the timing of Brexit still highly uncertain — the extension will be reviewed next month, while Theresa May said last week that she wanted to leave the EU as soon as possible — many businesses appear to be opting to burn through their reserves. That could spell trouble for the economy, which was boosted by stockpiling. “While the immediate cliff edge has been avoided, the lack of a clear path forward means that many firms aren’t sure whether to maintain heightened levels of stockpiling, or run off what they have,” said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce. “Without clarity on the UK’s departure date from the EU, it’s impossible to predict when, and if, extra stock will be needed, leaving businesses in the dark about how best to balance their orders.”
Brexit stockpilers and shoppers help Britain to outshine Europe
The economy shrugged off Brexit uncertainty in the first quarter of the year, boosted by unprecedented levels of stockpiling ahead of March’s deadline, official figures are set to reveal. City economists are forecasting growth of 0.5% in the three months to the end of March. If that rate is confirmed when data is released on Friday, it would mean Britain outshone continental Europe at the start of the year, despite the chaos surrounding Brexit. Figures last week showed the eurozone grew by 0.4% in the same period. Output was boosted as companies hoarded raw materials and finished products at a record pace early this year, fearful that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt supply chains. Retail spending showed little sign of Brexit-induced weakness, recent surveys indicate.
Site claiming to help EU citizens register to vote is shut down
An online service set up to help EU citizens in the UK to register to vote in the European parliamentary elections has been shut down after it emerged it was not working properly. Registertovote.eu, which was promoted by some MPs on social media, offered a form to fill in online and said it would submit the required paperwork to electoral authorities to allow people to vote. In order to take part in the election in the UK on 23 May, EU citizens from countries other than the UK, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus have to fill in form UC1/EC6 and submit it to their local electoral office before midnight on Tuesday 7 May. Registertovote.eu was set up by four people at ChangeLab, a co-operative that does digital work for trade unions and campaign groups, after publicity about the low number of EU citizens who had registered to take part in the election.
Kamasi Washington says Brexit could make touring UK tricky for artists
Britain leaving the EU could make the country less appealing to international performers, one of the world’s leading jazz musicians has said. Kamasi Washington, whose album The Epic and his work with Kendrick Lamar made him a poster boy of the jazz revival, said Brexit was not an inviting idea to musicians and could make coming to England harder for smaller bands. “It is not an inviting idea … and then, yes, there will be the notion of coming to Europe and the ease of travelling from one country to the next. That is part of what makes touring possible for lots of artists,” the US saxophonist told the Guardian. “Once it becomes harder to get into a country, just logistically, much more planning would have to be involved,” he said. “It is a bit unknown at the moment. We don’t know how difficult it is to get a visa. But if you are playing in France and want to come to the UK, you don’t know how hard it will be.
Political Shenanigans
John McDonnell accuses Theresa May of betraying Brexit negotiations
Labour accused Theresa May of betraying the party's trust on crunch Brexit talks as they prepared for a fresh round of negotiations on Tuesday. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he did not trust the Prime Minister after details of potential compromises emerged. He hit out after the Prime Minister issued a desperate last-ditch plea to Jeremy Corbyn for help in delivering Brexit. The Tories are expected to cave into Labour demands for a customs union, as long as it is called something else. A temporary customs arrangement would last until the next general election when parties can put forward their alternatives. Ministers and their Labour counterparts have held meetings over the past month aimed at thrashing out a deal which can pass the Commons. Accusing the Tory leader of breaking confidentiality and “an act of bad faith”, Mr McDonnell stormed: “She's jeopardised the negotiations for her own personal protection.”Asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show if he trusted her, he hit back: “No, sorry, not after this weekend when she's blown the confidentiality.”
Brexit: Labour backlash scuppers Theresa May’s hopes of cross-party deal
A fierce Labour backlash has hit Theresa May’s hopes of quickly striking a deal to rescue Brexit. A host of senior Labour figures poured cold water on the chances of a breakthrough – even as a Tory source called Tuesday a make-or-break day. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the prime minister was inflating the prospects to try to save her job – meanwhile, Tories are piling on fresh pressure for her to quit. Ms May was also accused of refusing to shift ground on a customs union and of risking the NHS going “up for sale”. The collapse in support for her saw the talks likened to negotiating “with a company about to go into administration”.
A cynical Westminster fix won’t end the Brexit nightmares of May and Corbyn
This re-establishes a long-term trend of voter revolt against the blue-red duopoly that has dominated British politics since 1945. I have been suggesting for some time that the rise in their combined share at the last general election was the product of freak circumstances and a false positive for the big two. That looks even more the case today. Multi-party politics is alive and kicking. The fragmentation of voter allegiances continues. Neither the red tribe nor the blue clan is exhibiting a capacity to get anywhere near to speaking for a majority of Britons.
The only way to save the Conservative Party: a new leader, Brexit, tax cuts and a war on crime
The Government’s response to the catastrophic local election results has been astonishingly tin-eared: rally around the leader, call for unity, threaten to do a deal with Labour over Brexit just to “get it finished”. This was an anti-establishment election in which Labour did badly, too – it has no legitimacy as a coalition partner – and how does the Tory leadership respond? By creating an establishment cartel with the very same Marxists they’ve spent four years denouncing. The Conservatives are not listening to the voters. They are trying to survive the only way they know how, by circling the wagons.
Brexit: John McDonnell pours cold water on May's customs union plan
The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has poured cold water on Theresa May’s plan to offer a temporary customs union to win Labour over to a Brexit deal, saying the cross-party talks were like “trying to enter a contract with a company going into administration”. McDonnell said his party wanted to do a deal as quickly as possible but would require a permanent customs union to provide stability for businesses, not just an interim arrangement until the next election. He also said he had no trust in the prime minister after details of the talks were briefed to Sunday newspapers. Asked whether he trusted the prime minister, McDonnell said: “No, sorry, not after this weekend when she’s blown the confidentiality I had and I actually think she’s jeopardised the negotiations for her own personal protection.”
SNP call out Yes movement's 'keyboard warriors' and online abuse
Prominent figures from the SNP have called out the "anonymous keyboard warriors" who abuse others online, and urged those in the Yes movement to condemn those that do so. In an interview with the Herald on Sunday, Alyn Smith MEP, Stewart McDonald MP and the party's former depute leader, Angus Robertson, said campaigners opting to engage in insults and attacks against those they disagree with should consider whether they believe they are helping the case for independence.
Labour accuse May of 'jeopardising' talks by leaking key details to media
Theresa May has been accused by Labour of jeopardising the cross-party talks as they enter their crucial phase after details of the key terms of a possible agreement were leaked to the Press. John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, who has been taking part in the negotiations to find a compromise agreement, accused the Prime Minister of acting in “bad faith”.
EU leaders urged to decide swiftly on trio of senior jobs
Europe’s leaders will this week be warned that they cannot wield a veto over the EU’s top appointments, as diplomats push to agree the union’s biggest jobs reshuffle in one package next month. The crucial process to pick presidents for the European Commission, European Council and European Central Bank will be informally discussed by EU leaders on Thursday at a summit in the Romanian city of Sibiu. It is unprecedented for the EU to have such a clutch of senior vacancies. Officials involved in talks fear the process could become bogged down unless it is clear that majority voting could be used to push decisions through.
The Observer view on the local elections
The stunning gains made by the pro-remain Liberal Democrats and the Greens cannot be dismissed as a mere protest vote. The country remains divided, voters united only in their apparent unhappiness with both main parties
Government safeguards UK elections
Government announces a range of new measures to crack down on intimidation, influence and disinformation, and safeguard UK elections
Theresa May 'war games' second referendum questions in case talks with Labour collapse
Theresa May has held secret discussions over a three-way second referendum ahead of a crunch meeting with Labour this week to agree a cross-party Brexit deal. The Prime Minister has carried out “scenario planning” with aides and ministers in case the Government cannot prevent a Parliamentary vote on a second referendum. John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor, said it “may well” be the case that any deal would have to be put to a second referendum, adding: “I think the Conservatives have to recognise that if a deal is going to go through there might be a large number of MPs who will want a public vote." Mrs May and her advisers are understood to have 'war gamed' the possibility of giving voters a second chance to vote on EU membership
Theresa May’s hopes of a Brexit deal with Labour look dashed by accusation that she has ‘blown the confidentiality’
Theresa May’s hopes of a breakthrough in Tuesday’s crunch all-party Brexit talks were dashed as Labour accused her of failing to negotiate in good faith. She appealed to Jeremy Corbyn to “do a deal” after both parties lost ground in last week’s local elections as voters appeared to take revenge on them for the Brexit impasse. In a move that would infuriate Eurosceptic Conservatives, the Tory negotiating team is set to unveil proposals for Britain to remain in a post-Brexit customs union until the next election.
Far from facing Blair-era oblivion, a huge electoral triumph is in the Tories' grasp
We need to get Brexit done properly – as it should have been done months if not years ago – and then knock Corbyn out of the park argues Boris Johnson
DESPERATE Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to finalise Brexit deal 'STITCH UP' next week
A top level meeting between the Conservatives and Labour will take place on Tuesday with the aim of ensuring a Brexit deal is finalised this week. The meeting – described as “the big push” – will involve Mrs May’s deputy David Liddington, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, Business Secretary Greg Clark and chief whip Julian Smith. On Labour’s side shadow chancellor John McDonnell, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman. The plan is to bring in Mrs May and Mr Corbyn to finalise a deal which sources have confirmed will be based around a “customs arrangement”. Mrs May said: “We will keep negotiating, and keep trying to find a way through, because the real thing that matters is delivering Brexit and moving on to all the other issues people care about."
Michael Gove: Tory local election disaster a direct result of Brexit failure
The Conservative Party’s disastrous showing in this week’s English local elections were a direct result of its failure to deliver Brexit, Michael Gove has said. The Environment Secretary said the main lesson the Tories should take from their drubbing at the ballot box was that “referendum verdicts must be honoured”. In a speech to the Scottish Conservative conference in Aberdeen, he said many of the 1,334 councillors who lost their seats did so “because Parliament has not yet delivered Brexit”. Mr Gove, who campaigned prominently for the Leave side ahead of 2016’s vote, also warned delegates that Jeremy Corbyn could get into power if the Tories failed to deliver on Brexit.
Theresa May urges MPs to 'break the deadlock' and back cross-party Brexit talks
Theresa May has issued yet another Brexit rallying cry in a bid to convince MPs to push a deal through parliament. Speaking after disappointing local election results for the Conservatives and Labour - which she and Jeremy Corbyn claimed were a message from voters to get on with taking Britain out of the EU - the prime minister said the Commons needed to act with "fresh urgency" to end the impasse. Writing in the Mail On Sunday, Mrs May said she understood why some Tory colleagues were "uncomfortable" with her decision to hold cross-party talks to try to secure a deal, but urged them to support her efforts.Theresa May has issued yet another Brexit rallying cry in a bid to convince MPs to push a deal through parliament. Speaking after disappointing local election results for the Conservatives and Labour - which she and Jeremy Corbyn claimed were a message from voters to get on with taking Britain out of the EU - the prime minister said the Commons needed to act with "fresh urgency" to end the impasse. Writing in the Mail On Sunday, Mrs May said she understood why some Tory colleagues were "uncomfortable" with her decision to hold cross-party talks to try to secure a deal, but urged them to support her efforts.
Labour and Tories need to compromise on Brexit, says David Gauke
Both Labour and Tories need to compromise to deliver Brexit, Tory Justice Secretary David Gauke said, after the two main parties suffered losses in the local elections. Voters forced out more than 1,300 Conservative councillors during a bruising round of local elections in England - causing the Tories to lose control of 49 local authorities. It was the worst performance by a governing party in local elections since 1995.
Don’t sell us out to Corbyn with a soft Brexit compromise, Mrs May
Like a punch-drunk boxer, the Tory Party is reeling from the local election disaster and walking into the potential knockout blow of a deal with Labour. Theresa May is days away from unveiling a soft Brexit compromise, cobbled together in desperation with an equally battered Jeremy Corbyn, which risks infuriating voters even more. It doesn’t matter what they call it, this will be a customs union in all but name. Such an arrangement will block Britain from striking its own lucrative trade deals after quitting the EU, leaving us shackled to Brussels for years. If this climbdown is not enough, weak-willed Mrs May also appears to have bowed to Labour’s wish to keep us tied to EU rules on workers’ rights.
BREXIT BOMBSHELL: Brussels now MORE committed to EU exit than UK - claims lawyer
The British Parliament is giving the impression of clinging to its EU membership while Brussels has taken clear steps towards letting the UK go, Erika Szyszczak, a Professor of Law at the University of Sussex and a fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO) said. Ms Szyszczak analysed the conclusions to the European Council Meeting on April 10 as the EU27 agreed on extending Article 50 for six more months during an emergency EU summit. There, she found Brussels more driven to deliver Brexit than the UK. She wrote: “It appears that the slogan ‘Brexit means Brexit’ has assumed greater resonance in the EU than in the UK. “The Decision affirms that the EU is not willing to reopen talks on the withdrawal agreement, and, importantly, states that the extension period should not be used to negotiate the future EU-UK relationship, but that there is a willingness to renegotiate the non-binding political declaration. In contrast, the UK is falling out of love with the process of leaving the European marriage.”
Brexit disaster is making Britain a weird place to live in
The second example of Brexit frustration can be seen in the results of municipal elections held across the UK this week, in which the governing Conservatives and the opposition Labour parties both lost huge numbers of seats. It's tempting to read an anti-Brexit protest into these results, as both main parties lost seats to groups that support remaining in the EU. But while pro-remain voters found comfort in the europhile certainty of the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, Brexit supporters had less clear options. While the Conservatives and the Labour Party are nominally pro-Brexit, their positions are confusing. The Conservatives have entered negotiations with Labour in an attempt to compromise on a deal, diluting the clarity of their pro-Brexit message. Labour's participation in those discussions has muddied its attempt to keep remain-supporting voters on board with a position that tried to face two ways at once.
George Osborne officially BACKS new Brexit referendum as he blames Brexiteers for delay
George Osborne said he will be backing calls for a second Brexit referendum if no compromise can be found between the Leave and Remain camps as he blamed Brexiteers for the delay in Britain quitting the European Union.
WATCH: Corbyn says election results show 'we must now get a Brexit deal done'
Jeremy Corbyn has responded to the local election results by claiming there is now a “huge impetus” to deliver Brexit. The Labour leader told ITV News that parliament had to resolve the issue of Brexit and “get a deal done”. He explained: “I think there's a huge impetus on every MP – and they've all got that message, whether they themselves are Leave or Remain, or the people across the country – that an arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done, parliament has to resolve this.
PETER OBORNE: How Jeremy Corbyn was snared in the Brexit death trap
Experts predicted Theresa May and her Conservative party would experience an electoral massacre. Certainly, the results were a stinging rebuff as they lost well over 1,000 council seats. It was even more dreadful than predicted. But the Tories were always going to do badly because the last time these seats were fought had been a high water mark for them electorally – David Cameron’s general election victory of spring 2015. However, Labour is also a big loser in these local elections.
Theresa May urges Jeremy Corbyn to do a Brexit deal
According to the Sunday Times, Mrs May will comprise on three areas: customs, goods alignment and workers' rights. The paper says she could put forward plans for a comprehensive, but temporary, customs arrangement with the EU that would last until the next general election. The BBC's political correspondent Chris Mason said reaching a deal was "fraught with risk" for both Mrs May and Mr Corbyn. "A deal on a customs union would be deeply divisive for the Conservatives," he said. "Accepting there'd be no new referendum would split Labour."
We are on the cusp of the greatest recalibration of British politics since the 19th century
British politics quite often feels like an unpleasant hangover, but Labour and the Conservatives will be fully justified in spending today in bed: last night they both ...
Nigel Farage challenges Jeremy Corbyn to European election Brexit debate as he vows to 'dig in' to Labour vote
Nigel Farage has challenged Jeremy Corbyn to a debate before the European elections as he said he wanted to “dig in” to Labour voters who felt let down by the party’s “confusing” Brexit stance. The leader of The Brexit Party said he would be targeting Leave-voting Labour heartlands in the run up to May 23 and that if his strategy was successful “we can surprise even ourselves how well we do”. Meanwhile, Mr Farage warned Theresa May against striking a softer Brexit compromise deal with Mr Corbyn as he said it would represent a “final betrayal” for Leave voters. A recent YouGov poll found 30 per cent of voters intend to back The Brexit Party at the European Parliament elections, far ahead of Labour on 21 per cent and the Conservatives on 13 per cent.
May steps up calls for Labour to agree a Brexit deal
Senior Conservatives said on Saturday there was an increased need for compromise after the local election results, and the leader of the Scottish branch of the Conservative Party said a deal with Labour could be done within days. May added her voice to these calls in an essay published in a Sunday newspaper. “To the Leader of the Opposition I say this: Let’s listen to what the voters said in the local elections and put our differences aside for a moment. Let’s do a deal,” she wrote in the Mail on Sunday.
Customs union not a long-term solution after Brexit – Jeremy Hunt
A customs union would not provide a “long-term solution” to Britain’s trade relationships after Brexit, Jeremy Hunt has said, as he suggested a breakthrough in cross-party talks could come within days. As discussions continue between the Government and the Labour Party, the Foreign Secretary said it was still possible that the UK would not have to take part in the European elections in three weeks’ time. He warned that the outcome would not be “pretty” for both parties if they had to participate in the polls and said the cross-party talks could yield a deal in the next week.
May urges Corbyn to agree a Brexit deal
British Prime Minister Theresa May has stepped up calls on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a cross-party deal to leave the European Union, following poor results for both parties in local elections on Thursday.
Anger grows at May-Corbyn bid to stitch up Brexit deal
Following Thursday’s local elections, in which both the Conservatives and Labour were punished severely by voters for failing to break the political deadlock, May and Corbyn have insisted their parties must now urgently agree a way forward in cross-party talks which will resume on Tuesday. On Saturday the prime minister reiterated her appeal, saying: “We have to find a way to break the deadlock. I believe the results of the local elections give fresh urgency to this.” But opposition MPs and Tory Brexiters warned any deal the leadership teams stitch up behind the scenes would face inevitable defeat in parliament and cause more acrimony in the parties. The Observer can reveal that 104 opposition MPs, mainly from Labour but also SNP, Change UK, Green and Plaid Cymru, have written to May and Corbyn insisting they will not back a “Westminster stitch-up” unless there is a firm guarantee that any deal is then put to a confirmatory referendum.
UK Conservatives look for Brexit compromise after local poll losses
Prime Minister Theresa May could reach a Brexit deal with the opposition Labour Party within days, a leading Conservative Party figure said on Saturday, after senior ministers urged compromise following poor local election results. Ruth Davidson, the Conservatives’ leader in Scotland, told party members that a cross-partisan agreement on Brexit was needed before this month’s European elections, or Britain’s major parties would face an even bigger backlash from voters.
Thousands march in Glasgow to support Scottish independence
In the first rally since First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted another vote on Scottish independence, tens of thousands of people marched in support in Glasgow. The rally was twice the size of the one last year.
May presses Labour to reach Brexit deal, but leaks jeopardise talks
The parties have been in negotiations for over a month to try to broker a Brexit deal that can secure majority support in parliament, after May’s minority government suffered three heavy defeats on her preferred deal this year and was forced to delay Britain’s departure. “To the leader of the opposition I say this: Let’s listen to what the voters said in the local elections and put our differences aside for a moment. Let’s do a deal,” she wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Tommy Robinson: Young voters could stop anti-Islam activist from becoming MEP, polling data reveals
Young voters could prevent Tommy Robinson from winning seat in the European parliament later this month, according to new analysis. Only 41 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds say they will definitely vote in the European elections on 23 May, a YouGov poll commissioned by anti-racism group Hope Not Hate and the National Education Union (NEU) has suggested. Hope Not Hate claims the youth vote will be “decisive” in preventing Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, winning in the North West region. Based on low turnout in recent elections, the group estimates that the anti-Islam activist only needs 8.9 per cent of the vote to take one of the region’s seat under the proportional representation system. The YouGov poll also shows that only 7 per cent of young people hold a favourable view of Robinson, while 45 per cent saying they have an unfavourable view.
This growing voters' revolt just might change the course of British history
Nations are like people. Sometimes they just change. Does Britain encapsulate this truth, as it convulses over Brexit three years on? Middle England’s seismic revolt against the Conservatives has officially begun. After losing over 1,200 seats in local elections, the party will likely be obliterated in European elections later this month. The Tories seem irredeemably soiled by their grubby incompetence and dealings with Corbyn. Meanwhile, although it is early days, the popularity of a pristine new Brexit Party is surging.
Local election results: A landslide victory for clarity on Brexit
And you’ll perhaps have heard the political analyst Professor Sir John Curtice summing up on BBC radio yesterday: “In seats where the Liberal Democrats were second to the Conservatives, double-digit swings from the Tories to Lib Dems are commonplace.” And these voters were telling you they just wanted to get Brexit done? In Remain-voting Bath, where the Tories lost 24 council seats and the Lib Dems soared, were voters telling you they just wanted to get Brexit done? And in Barnsley (Leave-voting in 2016) where the Tory vote was down substantially, Labour down massively, and the Lib Dem vote up hugely, were voters trying to tell Labour and the Tories that they just wanted to get Brexit done? And when the Tory vote in Remain-inclined Winchester went down by 5 per cent, and the Lib Dem vote went up by 5 per cent, was it because the good folk there just wanted to get Brexit done? Almost the only conclusion to draw from these results is that the two main parties, Labour and the Conservatives, have lost (a lot) to the Liberal Democrats and (a bit) to the Green Party in both formerly Leave-voting and formerly Remain-voting parts of the country. Bolsover, for God’s sake! Derby, Oldham, Sunderland, Chelmsford . . . all over Britain (whether they voted Leave or Remain in 2016) non-political people despair that neither the Tories nor Labour can secure a Brexit that benefits us.
A cry to ‘get on with Brexit’ or a Remain backlash? In fact, neither side triumphed in the local elections
Labour might do badly too, but the overwhelming message from the European elections is likely to be delivered by a record turnout of people who are furious about what they see as the betrayal of Brexit. Those who want the opposite message to be heard should take comfort from that. The howls of protest from Leavers are a sign that the Brexit project is failing. The Leave movement has split over how Brexit is to be delivered, which means that the 52 per cent majority no longer exists. The return in hollow triumph of Nigel Farage is a price that has to be paid for staying in the EU.
Brexit: Jeremy Hunt accused of having ‘head in the clouds’ after saying royal yacht or plane would be ‘attractive’ to promote Britain
Jeremy Hunt has said that a royal yacht or a plane would be “attractive” options to promote post-Brexit Britain on the world stage. The foreign secretary, who is regarded as a contender to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, said he is a “big believer” in flying the flag for Britain overseas but also acknowledged there are other ways of projecting the UK’s “national self-confidence”. His predecessor Boris Johnson first floated the idea of a “Brexit plane” during a trip to South America last year, when he complained that the RAF Voyager jet – shared with the prime minister and the royal family – “never seems to be available”.
Brexit: Pro-Remain Tory MP Dominic Grieve escapes deselection proceedings despite losing confidence vote
Conservative MP Dominic Grieve will not face deselection proceedings despite losing a confidence motion at his Beaconsfield Constituency Association in March. Jackson Ng, chair of the Conservative association, wrote a letter to Mr Grieve which was also sent to all association members. “The Executive Council has decided that this is not the moment to commence such procedures as it serves no constructive purpose,” Mr Ng said in the letter.
Local elections 2019: Lib Dems hail political 'sea change' as they gain 300 seats with around half of results in
The Liberal Democrats today hailed a “sea change” in British politics as they enjoyed their best local election results in a generation. With around half of the national results in, the party had gained more than 300 seats and swiped six councils from Tory control. Home Affairs spokesman Ed Davey MP said the party had taken seats from Labour in the North, and Tories in the South, adding: “Liberal Democrats are back in business.”
Thursday's results mean there's only one way forward: ask the people
Journalists look at seats, but not votes, and stop asking questions. But in the real modern city of Sunderland, the Green Party picked up their first ever seat, while the local Liberal Democrats had a good night too. It was the day Sunderland’s remain-backing Labour supporters – and there are lots of them because the city’s a big place where more people voted remain than in Cambridge – gave us a bloody nose and showed us their support is not unconditional. Even where Ukip won seats it was because the Labour vote went off to the Greens, the Lib Dems or stayed at home, rather than turning to the far right.
Theresa May Believes She Can Now Do A Brexit Deal With Jeremy Corbyn
In the last week government ministers and officials presented Labour with a new offer on a customs arrangement that would effectively see the UK remain in the key aspects of a customs union with the EU, sources familiar with the talks told BuzzFeed News. The proposed customs arrangement would ultimately meet the World Trade Organisation’s definition of a customs union, including a common external tariff that would see the UK apply the same tariffs to imported goods as the EU after Brexit. May is also set to make Labour what one government source described as a “generous” offer on workers’ rights, which would mean UK at a minimum follows new Brussels rules on workers’ rights after it leaves the EU. The offer would be tantamount to the government accepting in full Labour’s demands during the last few weeks of the negotiations, a source familiar with the talks said.
Huawei leak did not amount to criminal offence, police say
The leak from a National Security Council meeting about Chinese firm Huawei did not amount to a criminal offence, the Met Police has said. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was sacked following an inquiry into the leaking of details from the council. Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said he was "satisfied" the Official Secrets Act had not been breached, so he would not investigate the leak. But Mr Williamson said a "proper, full and impartial" probe was now needed. The former minister - who has strenuously denied being responsible for the leak - described the government's inquiry into him as a "shabby and discredited witch hunt" . He said it had been "badly mishandled", both by Prime Minister Theresa May and the senior civil servant who led the investigation.
The Lib Dems were rewarded for their stance on Brexit, just like they were rewarded for opposing Iraq
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable told me just over a year ago to pay attention to council by-elections. We’re doing a lot better in them than we are in the polls, he said, just like we were when we had our last surge in the wake of the Iraq War. The Liberal Democrats fiercely opposed that unpopular conflict, by contrast to the “main” parties, and were handsomely rewarded at the ballot box.
Britain's sitting MEPs on their long goodbye: ‘People say, “You’re still here!”’
She regrets that British politicians, of all parties, became afraid to make the case for Europe. “We were apologising, when actually we should have been saying this: ‘Be proud of our membership of the European Union.’” While McAvan thinks some of “the mega pro-Europeans” go too far in wanting the EU to be loved, “We should just ask [for it] to be recognised as another level of decision-making.”
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have created an explosively bad formula for Brexit
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are experimenting with hazardous materials. They are seeing if they can create a Tory/Labour Brexit compound without blowing up their own parties. Those in the talks are more optimistic than ever about ­getting some kind of agreement, if not a finalised deal. But they know that things are very volatile. One senior figure tells me things are “much better than people think, but could blow up at any time”. What is causing this Downing Street optimism is a sense that there is beginning to be pressure on Labour to do a deal. Look at the council seats they lost in Leave-voting areas and the progress Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is making in ­Labour regions ahead of this month’s European elections. I understand that the ­compromise being drawn up goes as follows. The UK would initially enter into a “comprehensive customs arrangement” with the European Union. This would be very similar to a customs union. But the two parties would then commit, and hope to persuade the EU to do the same, to there being two choices for the future — either an independent trade policy under a scheme similar to the facilitated customs arrangement that May proposed at Chequers or a customs union with a UK say over future trade deals, which is Labour’s policy.
David Mundell: Nicola Sturgeon will be barred from holding 'legal referendum'
Nicola Sturgeon will be barred from holding any "legal referendum" on independence, the Scottish Secretary has said – as he lambasted the SNP's currency plans as amounting to "chocolate money". David Mundell insisted the First Minister would not be handed any of the levers to hold a second independence vote that were agreed in 2014.
SNP's currency plans 'single daftest idea in my lifetime', says Michael Gove
Michael Gove has branded the SNP's plans to ditch the pound after independence "the single daftest idea in British politics in my lifetime". The Environment Secretary insisted the proposals would be "economic madness" and would lead to poverty and inflation as prices rose.
Politicians pledge to ‘sort’ Brexit after vote drubbing
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have both recommitted to delivering Brexit after suffering the worst local election results in decades. The Conservatives shed more than 1,200 councillors, the deepest losses since 1995, while Labour failed to capitalise and lost more than 80 wards in council elections across England. Both the main party leaders said voters had delivered a rebuke over the failure to agree a Brexit deal in a strong signal that cross-party talks could produce a compromise ahead of a deadline in the middle of next week. The Prime Minister was confronted with anger from her own party, with backbench MPs calling for her removal and warning the party would be “toast” if it did not change direction.
Theresa May claims Nicola Sturgeon using Brexit as opportunity for Indyref2
Nicola Sturgeon was only ever interested is using Brexit as "an opportunity" to stage a second referendum on independence, Theresa May has said. Mrs May claimed she "knew from the start" that the SNP leader would exploit EU divisions to revive the case for independence. But the Prime Minister insisted Scotland's has a "bright future" within the United Kingdom, as she addressed the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen today. The SNP leader last week unveiled plans for a second Scottish independence referendum likely to be held next year in response to the Brexit turmoil. But Westminster has control over the constitution and Mrs May has refused to authorise such a vote.
Ms Sturgeon was accused of not respecting the decision of voters.
Ballot With 'Brexit' Written On It Counted As Tory Vote To Break Tied Local Election
The re-election of a Tory councillor by a majority of one has sparked controversy after a ballot paper marked with the word “Brexit” was counted as a vote for the Conservatives. Stephen Hirst retained his seat in Tetbury Town in the Cotswolds, defeating independent Kevin Painter by 232 votes to 231. The voter is said to have written “Brexit” with a large arrow pointing towards Hirst’s name – ruled to be a vote for the Tories despite a backlash against Theresa May for delaying the UK’s exit from the EU until October. Painter is considering challenging the result in court, saying it was “Blackadder-esque”, “bizarre” and had “brought the integrity of the local election system into question”
New poll finds 61% would back Remain in a second referendum
New polling has found that 61% of those who would vote in a second referendum would vote to Remain in the European Union. The YouGov survey for KIS Finance found that between the choice of Theresa May's Brexit deal or remaining in the EU, 61% of those who confirmed they would vote stated they wanted the UK to stay in the European Union. When a no-deal scenario is added into the mix, 53% of people would vote to Remain, while 34% would vote for no-deal, and just 12% would vote for Theresa May's deal.
Why was Labour punished in local elections?
Labour MPs like Jess Phillips have a point when they call for Labour's "triangulation" of Brexit, its attempt to please both Brexiters and Remainers, to be dumped in favour of what they see as a more principled position of backing a confirmatory Brexit referendum. That verdict will have consequences for Theresa May too - because it will determine whether Jeremy Corbyn will be more or less enthusiastic about agreeing a Brexit compromise with her in coming days. As of first thing this morning, Labour leadership was agonising about whether signing off a Brexit pact with the government that contains a Customs-Union element would permanently alienate millions of pro-referendum internationalist supporters and would be seen as propping up an ailing Tory government, or whether it would end all the noise that makes it impossible for the country to hear the party's message for social and economic change. So these local elections will reverberate even to those parts of the UK, like Scotland, Wales and London, where they didn't take place.
@Channel4News "I think people are fed up and they want us to get on with it and they want the issue of Brexit to be resolved." That was Emily Thornberry's reaction to Labour losses in the local elections.
"I think people are fed up and they want us to get on with it and they want the issue of Brexit to be resolved." That was Emily Thornberry's reaction to Labour losses in the local elections.
Tories and Labour suffer Brexit backlash as Lib Dems gain in local elections
Both the Conservatives and Labour have been punished by voters in local elections, with early results showing dissatisfaction with the two main parties, while the Liberal Democrats, Greens and independents picked up large numbers of seats. The Lib Dems were particularly buoyant, gaining nearly 300 seats so far and a series of councils, including taking Bath and North East Somerset, and Cotswolds district council from the Conservatives. The party was hoping for its best set of council results since 2004, in the aftermath of the Iraq war, though the gains followed poor results the last time these seats were contested in 2015, at the nadir of the Lib Dems’ post-coalition unpopularity. The Lib Dem leader, Vince Cable, said his party was “the big winner” of the vote. He said: “Voters have sent a clear message that they no longer have confidence in the Conservatives, but they are also refusing to reward Labour while the party prevaricates on the big issue of the day: Brexit.”
Michael Gove: I've not 'gone soft' over Brexit but hardline Leavers need to 'face facts' over no-deal
Michael Gove has insisted he has not "gone soft" on Brexit as he pledged to strive to get it "over the line" in the wake of the Tories' disastrous local election results. The Environment Secretary told the Telegraph that he opposes a customs union compromise with Labour but hardline Brexiteers need to "face facts" that they do not have the numbers in the Commons for no deal. Speaking from his parents' home in Aberdeen, he also said he had learned from his botched 2016 Tory leadership campaign and insisted he was now a team player. Although he refused to be drawn on whether he intends to stand again in the race to succeed Theresa May, he argued that his conduct since being "recalled from the backbenches"
Corbyn says local elections show voters want deal done on Brexit
Asked about the results, in which the Conservatives suffered much bigger losses, Corbyn told ITV: “I think it means there’s a huge impetus on every MP, and they’ve all got that message, whether they themselves are leave or remain – or the people across the country – that an arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done, parliament has to resolve this issue. I think that is very, very clear.” His comments echoed remarks from McDonnell, who had earlier claimed the message from voters was: “Brexit – sort it.”
Local elections: Corbyn defends Labour's Brexit negotiating stance
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responds following a difficult night for his party in the local elections so far.
Labour’s bid for leave voters is failing. It must now look to remainers
Prof Rob Ford tells me they may instead be a symptom of a different trend visible in these numbers: that “the more votes Labour had to start with, the more they lost”. In other words, Labour dropped off most in its safest seats, whether leave or remain. There are signs too of a more general malaise afflicting the two parties, with voters sick of the sight of both of them, in line with the polls showing both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn with catastrophically low personal ratings. Such doldrums are common for a ruling party entering its 10th year in office, but all but unheard of for an opposition that should be reaping the benefits of the government’s unpopularity.
Michael Gove unveils plans to take control of Holyrood cash
Radical plans to hold back tens of millions of pounds from Holyrood and allow UK ministers instead to spend the cash directly north of the Border have been set out by environment secretary Michael Gove. The Scots-born MP is among the front-runners to replace Theresa May when she stands down. He insists his plan for Westminster to be allowed to spend Treasury funding in traditionally devolved areas would strengthen the Union. It could see Westminster funding projects in areas such as education and farming.
James O'Brien's Powerful Monologue On The State Of Brexit After The Local Elections
"Theresa May chose to put her fingers in her ears, to cover her eyes, to ignore Cambridge Analytica, to ignore Vote Leave's cheating, to ignore the Electoral Commission's findings, to ignore the mystery of where the £8m for Leave.EU came from, to ignore the fact that people's Facebook pages were full of lies of an unprecedented and unbelievable scale, she chose to ignore all that. "That's why yesterday the two-party system came close to breaking point. "Because neither Jeremy Corbyn, nor Theresa May, report reality. "And that's what happens when you let liars and chancers and racists to poison the public discourse for clicks and ratings and controversies on Question Time."
Cabinet leak culture has damaged Brexit process, says Hunt
Britain’s Brexit decisions have been damaged by a year-long culture of cabinet leaks, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said in an apparent swipe at some of his colleagues, including Gavin Williamson who was sacked as defence secretary. Referring to the effect of leaks on Brexit, Hunt said: “I think it has made it harder to deliver what we have been trying to achieve and yes, of course it damages trust. “When we are faced with very difficult judgment calls on Brexit issues, it is obviously of great benefit to the country if everyone can discuss them freely without having to think how decisions will be leaked afterwards. So I am hoping this will be a moment of change for the whole machinery of government works.”
Political Setbacks
How Theresa May is planning three major Brexit concessions to win over Jeremy Corbyn and get deal agreed
Theresa May will face her latest “moment of truth” on Tuesday when she presents Labour with a new Brexit compromise plan which she hopes will break the deadlock and deliver an orderly departure from the European Union. Success will be securing Jeremy Corbyn’s support while failure will see the Prime Minister forced to change tack and adopt the plan B of offering MPs votes on different Brexit options. Both ways forward are likely to have nightmarish consequences for Mrs May. The Prime Minister’s new Brexit plan is based on a trio of major concessions designed to win over Labour, but all three will be opposed by large numbers of Tory MPs.
Not being the Tories is no longer enough for Labour
The point is that if Labour's sole selling point is “We're not the Tories”, that's scarcely a unique selling point. So why vote Labour in particular? Is it beyond even someone of the evident wit and perspicacity of Tom Watson to make a positive case for Labour? Of course, in fairness to Watson, it's difficult for anyone to make a positive case for supporting a party when that party's position on the most urgent matter facing the country is so vague and contradictory as to be meaningless. It's hard not to feel a twinge of sympathy for all Labour's advocates when they know that any statement they make on Brexit is likely to be back-pedalled, undermined or just flatly denied by someone further up the Corbyntology food chain. The trouble with Watson's exhortation to vote Labour in this local elections (and by the time you read this I imagine most of you will have voted already, and if not, why not) in order to 'send a message' to the Tory government is that on the matter of Brexit, their message still falls far short of a People's Vote.
Theresa May 'will climb down on customs, goods and workers' rights'
Theresa May is set to offer Labour a three-pronged Brexit deal in a bid to break the deadlock at Westminster, it has been claimed. The PM's negotiating team will reportedly give ground to Jeremy Corbyn on customs, goods and workers' rights. Conservatives were warned they will have to 'suck up concessions' after Mrs May acknowledged there was 'no sign' of her MPs uniting behind her deal. She is hoping to persuade the Labour benches to back her instead with cross-party talks expected to resume this week.
WATCH: Nigel Farage says Brexit Party £100K donor is 'irrelevant'
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said that the name of his party’s £100,000 donor is “irrelevant”. and would not be named until after the EU elections. Speaking on Sky News' Sophy Ridge politics show, Farage started out sarcastically in response to Ridge's line of questioning. “Oh yes, I'm really going to tell you his name,” he said. “Well why not?” Ridge shot back. “This is the new transparent politics.”
Brexit party figures who left over offensive posts are still directors
Two senior members of Nigel Farage’s Brexit party who left their roles after the Guardian uncovered offensive social media messages they had sent are still directors of the organisation weeks after they had supposedly cut all ties, it has emerged. Catherine Blaiklock, the first leader of the party, who resigned over a series of anti-Islam messages, and the former treasurer Michael McGough, who was ousted because of antisemitic and other offensive Facebook posts, are still listed as directors. Blaiklock, who also retweeted far-right messages, including one from a former British National party activist referring to “white genocide”, also resigned as company secretary of the party soon after the posts emerged, six weeks ago. But despite that change being made to the Companies House register, she remains listed as a director. McGough is also still a director. He was removed as treasurer a month ago after posting what the party called “unacceptable statements”. A party statement at the time said he would no longer have any role in the organisation.
Labour MPs say they won't back a Brexit deal without a people’s vote
Jeremy Corbyn will not be able to get enough of his MPs to back a Brexit deal without the promise of a second referendum, even if Theresa May makes a big offer on a customs union and workers’ rights this week, senior Labour figures believe. Senior party sources said they believe two-thirds of Labour MPs, including several shadow cabinet ministers and many more frontbenchers, would refuse to back a deal without a people’s vote attached. Theresa May is preparing to make new proposals of a temporary customs union until the next election, matching EU employment rights in the future and alignment of single market regulations on goods.
Theresa May must go now, former Tory leader says
Theresa May must resign or the Conservatives should force her out, after the party's heavy local election losses, Iain Duncan Smith has said. The former Tory leader called Mrs May a "caretaker PM" and described her attempts to reach a Brexit deal with Labour as "absurd". The party suffered its worst local election result in England since 1995. Other senior Conservatives have urged Tory MPs to compromise with Labour to ensure Brexit is delivered.
Jess Phillips Just Gave Diane Abbott The Perfect Analogy On Labour And Brexit
In the debate, Abbott said there should be a general election and added that the country needed to be brought back together as it is so divided over Brexit. Phillips hit back, saying she had a very remain and very pro-second referendum position but was in a leave seat, which meant she was “only too aware of how we have to keep the country together”. “As much as we want an election, I want to be a size 10 but I keep eating cake. You don’t just get what you want. An election is not what’s in front of us. Brexit is the thing that is in front of us. We have to show courage and leadership,” she said. As the camera panned to Abbott looking deeply unimpressed, Phillips added: “People loved Corbyn because they thought that he was honest and would come out and say what he actually thought but what he seems to think on this [Brexit] is a bit like ‘oh well, we’ll see’...”
EU recovers £200,000 from Ukip MEPs accused of misusing funds
The European parliament has recovered more than £200,000 from Ukip MEPs accused of misusing public funds through payments to party workers. But with three weeks to go until European elections, time is running out to recoup money from others alleged to have broken EU rules. The parliament has suspended the pay of two staff attached to Ukip’s former leader Paul Nuttall and his fellow North West England MEP Louise Bours, the Guardian has learned. Neither MEP is standing for re-election on 23 May, which could make it harder for officials to recover money. Since the Guardian revealed the parliament’s investigation into Ukip misspending in 2017, £202,667 has been recovered from two current MEPs and one former one.
Local elections: Why has Labour lost seats?
Labour has suffered a net loss of council seats - starting from the low base of 2015 in many cases. The Conservatives have lost more than 10 times as many councillors, but what is remarkable is that the main party of opposition - around the mid-term of a not-very-popular government - has not made net gains. It seems reasonable to assume that some votes have been lost by Labour in Leave areas because - as the leader of Sunderland City Council Graeme Miller has said - the party hasn't decisively ruled out another referendum. (It has retained it as an option, if the Conservatives are unwilling to change their deal).
Ousted MP Fiona Onasanya will not fight Peterborough by-election
Fiona Onasanya was the first MP removed by recall petition after she was jailed over speeding lie. She has said she will not stand for re-election during the by-election in Peterborough on June 6th
Jeremy Corbyn says election results show 'we must now get a Brexit deal done'
Jeremy Corbyn said results from the latest local elections show "a deal has to be done" on Brexit. Asked about the figures so far, he said: "An arrangement has to be made. A deal has to be done. Parliament has to resolve this issue." Mr Corbyn said there was a "huge impetus" on every MPs to find a way beyond the current logjam. His comments came after shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: "So far, message from local elections - 'Brexit - sort it'. Message received."
‘I’m getting death threats,’ says man who threw milkshake on Tommy Robinson
Danyaal Mahmud says he's worried about his family after protest against far-right candidate Tommy Robinson went viral.
Theresa May still in Brexit denial after Tory local election drubbing in England
The Prime Minister was in Aberdeen to tell the Tory troops that everything in the garden was rosy despite making a mess of Brexit and being punished in polls. Theresa May just lost more than 1300 Tory councillors – but you wouldn’t know it to listen to her. Instead, the Prime Minister chose to ignore the carnage of the English elections and pretend all is rosy in the garden.
Starmer: Tory leadership contest 'most important' thing for many in Cabinet
Cabinet ministers place more importance on the next Tory leadership contest than Brexit, Sir Keir Starmer has claimed, in a swipe at the Foreign Secretary’s warning that a customs union would not be a “long-term solution”. The shadow Brexit secretary said Jeremy Hunt’s comments provided “yet more evidence” that many in the Cabinet believe the “most important thing right now” is the race to be Theresa May’s successor. Sir Keir made the remarks in response to an interview in which Mr Hunt said he had “never believed” that a customs union is a “long-term solution”.
'Purist Brexiteers' blamed for massive Tory losses in local elections
Purist Brexiteers in the Conservative Party are partially to blame for the Tories losing 1,334 councillors, Jeremy Hunt has said. The Foreign Secretary took aim at his own colleagues for refusing to compromise during the Brexit negotiations and added the Government could have done things ‘differently’. As a result of the massive losses across the country, the Tories lost control of more than 45 local authorities. It was the Tories worst night of elections since 1995.
In Rees-Mogg heartland, angry voters embrace Lib Dems over Brexit chaos
“A lot of Conservatives have changed to the Lib Dems here because they want a second referendum, not because they want to push Brexit through faster,” she told the Observer on Friday, as the results from the previous day’s poll trickled in. “What makes me mad is that we are not being listened to.”
Ukip loses 80% of council seats in local election hammering after lurch to far-right
Ukip has lost around 80 per cent of the council seats it defended on Thursday, in a local election hammering following a politcal lurch to the right. Gerard Batten’s party went into Thursday’s contest with 111 councillors and ended up with just 24, as of the 4.30pm tally on results day. The party has mostly failed to capitalise on the collapse of the Conservatives, with its former leader Nigel Farage taking the lions share of Brexiteer support in polls with his new Brexit Party venture. Mr Farage quit the party in December, alleging that Mr Batten had put too much emphasis on anti-Islam policies, and toxified its brand by associating with far-right personality Tommy Robinson.
Nigel Farage's star candidate is an 'apologist for the IRA'
Nigel Farage was urged to sack one of his star Euro election candidates last night after the father of a 12-year-old boy murdered by the IRA claimed she had refused to condemn the terror group. Colin Parry said that the Brexit Party's Claire Fox did not 'disavow her offensive views' when he challenged her. Miss Fox is standing in North West England, which includes Warrington – where Mr Parry's son Tim was killed when the IRA bombed the town in 1993.
Gavin Williamson 'fired for diabetes jibe at PM'
Gavin Williamson was fired as defence secretary after Theresa May was informed that he had attacked her in private, saying that her diabetes made her unfit to be prime minister. May became frustrated with Williamson’s behaviour after hearing that he told fellow Tories that her health meant she should not continue in the job — claims that Williamson rejects as categorically untrue. The warnings were delivered in the weeks before the former defence secretary was sacked amid claims that he leaked details of a National Security Council meeting last week about the Chinese firm Huawei. Sources at the top of government and the Conservative Party say slurs about the prime minister’s health were overheard by a senior party official, who reported the former defence secretary’s conversation back to Downing Street. It is also claimed that Williamson was also overheard at a dinner, denouncing May’s fitness for the job.
Theresa May must go now, former Tory leader says
Theresa May must resign or the Conservatives should force her out, after the party's heavy local election losses, Iain Duncan Smith has said. The former Tory leader called Mrs May a "caretaker PM" and described her attempts to reach a Brexit deal with Labour as "absurd". The party suffered its worst local election result in England since 1995. Other senior Conservatives have urged Tory MPs to compromise with Labour to ensure Brexit is delivered.
Local elections: Tories call for unity after election drubbing
Senior Conservatives have called for the party to pull together after it suffered its worst results in English local elections since 1995. The Conservatives lost 1,334 councillors in Thursday's votes. Home Secretary Sajid Javid admitted voters had "issues of trust" over Brexit, and said the European elections would "be even more challenging". Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the party needed to listen to the results and be "in the mood for compromise". Both PM Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have insisted they will push ahead with seeking a cross-party agreement on Brexit, following the results
Ruth Davidson: Tories face Brexit 'wake-up call'
Ruth Davidson has warned that the two main Westminster parties will suffer the wrath of voters in the EU elections unless they "get Brexit sorted". The Scottish Conservative leader admitted that the Tories and Labour had been given an "almighty kicking" in English local elections. But she predicted that they will be given an even bigger "wake-up call" in the European election on 23 May. She urged the two parties to find a compromise so the UK can "move on". Her speech to the conference was her first major public appearance since the birth of her son Finn in October. The Conservatives lost more than 1,300 seats in the council election and Labour lost 82 as the Liberal Democrats, Greens and independents surged across England.
Electoral Commission's £436,000 bill fighting Brexit campaigner
The elections watchdog is spending more than £400,000 defending its decision to fine a pro-Brexit campaigner £20,000. Court papers reveal Electoral Commission estimates that the cost of resisting appeals by Darren Grimes will amount to £436,000, after the body recruited James Eadie QC, the Government's most senior advocate, to argue its case in court. The watchdog fined Mr Grimes, the founder of the BeLeave campaign group, last year after concluding that he had wrongly reported £620,000 of spending on the 2016 Brexit referendum. Mr Grimes insists he is "completely innocent" and that he is being pursued simply for "ticking the wrong box".
David Davis bows out of Tory leadership contest as he says he will back Dominic Raab to replace Theresa May
Former Brexit secretary David Davis has said he will not run to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, declaring his support for Dominic Raab in the upcoming contest for Conservative leader. The 70-year-old Brexiteer - who came second to David Cameron in the 2005 leadership contest, but did not put himself forward in 2016 - said the Tories need "a generational change" in leadership. He said that Mr Raab, 45, was "the best-placed Brexit candidate to win the necessary support among MPs and party members and, above all, broaden our appeal to voters". Mrs May has said she will stand down as Tory leader when an EU withdrawal agreement is ratified, handing over to a successor to negotiate the future trading relationship with the EU
@PaulbrandITV WATCH: Corbyn's full words below about the need to "get a deal done."
WATCH: Corbyn's full words below about the need to "get a deal done."
Local elections: Tories lose 1,200 seats - and it is a bad night for Labour, too
The Conservatives and Labour have suffered a bruising day following the local elections as voters vented their anger at the two main parties over the continuing Brexit deadlock. The Tories lost over 1,300 seats in what was a devastating night for Theresa May's party, surpassing even the worst projections. But there will be few celebrations in the Labour camp as they failed to capitalise on Tory losses, with the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Independents picking up seats in England in local elections where national politics appeared to dominate all else. Elections were fought in 248 English councils, six mayors and 11 councils in Northern Ireland.
Voters Punish May and Corbyn Amid Brexit Chaos: U.K. Update
Voters are turning their backs on both the main parties amid frustration over Brexit, according to results from local elections in England. Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservatives are paying the heaviest price at the polls for overseeing the political chaos of the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union. But Labour has also suffered serious set-backs, while the biggest winners so far are the pro-EU Liberal Democrats.
Local elections: Corbyn 'very sorry' for losses and admits Brexit was a factor
Jeremy Corbyn today said he was "very sorry" for Labour's losses in the local elections as he accepted Brexit was a factor. The party leader arrived amid a steaming row and pouring rain in Trafford - a rare gain for Labour overnight after losing heartlands Hartlepool, Bolsover and Wirral. There was a swing from the Tories to Labour in many parts of southern England, but the party lost a whopping nine seats in Brexit-backing Sunderland. And the Lib Dems hailed their best election night ever as a 'Remain backlash' added hundreds of council seats to the anti-Brexit party. Mr Corbyn said he was “very sorry” to have lost control of northern strongholds but insisted: “We’ll fight back and we’ll win them back.” And he admitted Labour may have lost votes from people “disagreeing with both parties on attitudes towards the EU”.
Ghetto Britain: The complex division behind Nigel Farage's dog whistle politics
The Daily Mail attempts to explain that there are some apparent problems in Oldham in terms of the ethnic mix of the community, in an attempt to either justify or explain Nigel Farage's extreme comments in a speech in the USA earlier, in whcih he spoke about communities totally divided in Oldham, but which has drawn near universal condemnation as dog whistle Far Right politics
Sir Tony Robinson quits Labour over Brexit and leadership
Actor Sir Tony Robinson, a former member of Labour's governing National Executive Committee, says he has quit the party over its current direction. He said he was leaving after nearly 45 years because of Labour's stance on Brexit, its handling of anti-Semitism allegations and its poor leadership. Sir Tony, 72, is best known for playing Baldrick in the comedy Blackadder. The political activist has spoken at rallies for the People's Vote campaign for another referendum. His decision comes as Labour lost seats in Thursday's local elections, with voters turning to smaller parties and independents. Announcing his move on Twitter, Sir Tony said it was partly down to the party's "continued duplicity on Brexit".
@PaulBrandITV WATCH: Theresa May heckled in Wales, as party member shouts "WHY DON'T YOU RESIGN? The National Convention don't want you, we don't want you!" May responds in (slightly dodgy) Welsh, "And good afternoon!"
WATCH: Theresa May heckled in Wales, as party member shouts "WHY DON'T YOU RESIGN? The National Convention don't want you, we don't want you!" May responds in (slightly dodgy) Welsh, "And good afternoon!"
Voters are punishing Labour for its Brexit ‘fudge’, angry MPs warn Corbyn after shock election losses
Voters are punishing Labour for its Brexit “fudge”, angry MPs have warned Jeremy Corbyn, after the party was the shock loser from the local elections – urging him to finally guarantee a fresh referendum. A disastrous night for both big parties saw the Conservatives lose more than 1,200 seats and fresh calls for Theresa May to quit, including from a Tory heckler in Wales, who demanded to know: “Why don’t you go?” As the Liberal Democrats and independent candidates surged, little more than half of the public backed the Conservatives or Labour – who were tied on just 28 per cent of votes each. But pro-EU Labour MPs seized on the evidence that their party – even in Leave areas – had lost out to parties demanding a Final Say public vote, as the Greens as well as the Lib Dems were rewarded. Between them, the two Remain parties claimed more than 850 seats, enjoying big swings from Labour in places including St Helens (18.8 per cent), Barnsley (17.3 per cent), Sunderland (13.4 per cent), Peterborough (6.9 per cent) and Derby (6.2 per cent), an analysis by the People’s Vote campaign found.
Tories lose over 1,300 seats in local elections as major parties suffer
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have vowed to press ahead with seeking a cross-party solution to the Brexit deadlock at Westminster, after voters punished both major parties in local elections. The Conservatives’ net loss of more than 1,300 seats on their 2015 figures marked their biggest defeat since John Major was prime minister. Disillusioned voters deserted the party in droves, including in traditional Tory areas such as Chelmsford and Surrey Heath. Labour had expected to make gains, but instead suffered a net loss, and lost control of a string of councils, including Burnley, Darlington and Wirral. Vince Cable’s remain-supporting Liberal Democrats were the major beneficiaries, taking control of 10 councils, including Cotswold and Winchester, while the Greens and a string of independents also fared unexpectedly well.
Scottish Tory leader blocks Boris Johnson from party conference
Boris Johnson has been blocked by Ruth Davidson from attending the Scottish Conservative party conference in Aberdeen this weekend. Scottish Tory sources said a number of potential leadership candidates had been “discouraged” from attending the event, which begins on Friday, amid concerns their appearance could distract from party leader Davidson’s return from maternity leave, insisting the decision was not personal. Davidson appeared to downplay Johnson’s chances of success in any leadership contest in an interview on STV’s Scotland Tonight on Thursday night.
Local elections: Conservatives lose more than 1,300 councillors
The Conservatives have lost 1,334 councillors, with Theresa May saying voters wanted the main parties to "get on" with Brexit. Labour also lost 82 seats in the English local elections, in which it had been expected to make gains. But the strongly pro-EU Lib Dems gained 703 seats, with leader Sir Vince Cable calling every vote received "a vote for stopping Brexit". The Greens and independents also made gains, as UKIP lost seats.
The next PM? Time will come for talk of that, says Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt’s 12,500-mile odyssey through Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya has been a chance for the man who could be the UK’s next prime minister to learn more about Africa – and for us to learn more about him. The visit by the foreign secretary was ambitious in mileage and scale, speckled with meetings with presidents, helicopter rides to Maiduguri – the Boko Haram haven in Nigeria’s north-east – keynote speeches at the African Union headquarters, seminars with civil society and photo-ops. Meticulously planned, it ended with a visit to the HIV educational charity he helped fund in Kibera in the slums of Nairobi from the proceeds of his business. He is greeted as a long-lost friend and Honourable Jeremy. The children speak eloquently to him about the stigma of HIV.
Sir Tony Robinson attacks Labour's 's***' leadership and quits party
Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson has quit the Labour Party - blaming its "continued duplicity on Brexit" and "complete s***" leadership. The 72-year-old, best known for playing Baldrick in the classic sitcom, announced his departure following a disappointing night for the opposition in the local elections. Sir Tony, who previously voiced fears that a "leftist clique" had "completely taken over" Labour - also blamed the ongoing issue of antisemitism for his decision.
I might rape MP Jess Phillips, says Ukip candidate Carl Benjamin
A Ukip candidate in the European elections was under pressure to withdraw yesterday after releasing a video suggesting he might rape a Labour MP. Carl Benjamin, who had already been attacked for a social media message saying he “wouldn’t even rape” the Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips, posted a video online suggesting that “with enough pressure I might cave”. Ms Phillips said the comments had upset her and questioned whether he should be allowed to stand in the election this month. She said to Buzzfeed: “If Facebook and Twitter can ban these people for hate speech how is it they are allowed to stand for election?” Mr Benjamin had released the video on YouTube, where he has a large following under the name Sargon of Akkad. After a list of spoof Ukip policies, including invading Spain, he said: “There’s been an awful lot of talk about whether I would or wouldn’t rape Jess Phillips. I suppose with enough pressure I might cave. But let’s be honest, nobody’s got that much beer.”