| |

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 7th May 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

From Che Guevara to Ramsay MacDonald in less than four years

  • May plans to offer Jeremy Corbyn a temporary customs union arrangement with the EU which will be reviewed in 2022. This deal will be bolstered by selective allignment with single market regulations on goods, and a commitment to match all EU measures on workers rights. If this were to be agreed, after a lifetime of Tory-baiting Corbyn would find himself hugging the authors of austerity and neoliberalism tight. In a de facto coalition with them over Brexit

Labour strategist warns against a shift to Remain after the local election results

The emerging Labour-Tory compromise on Brexit is all a mirage

  • The clock governing the transitional trade negotiations between the UK and the EU is now ticking and there is a lot still to negotiate. The deadline for an agreement is the end of 2020. This stop deadline is dealt with by the Withdrawal Agreement. The offer to Labour of a temporary customs union to run until 2022, becomes, therefore, almost irrelevant if it is tagged onto the Withdrawal Agreement

Is May's courtship of Corbyn really putting the Brexit deal on a knife edge?

Another £160m spent on Brexit consultants

The Tory Party is already engaged in a leadership election, it has just not been officially announced yet

Both party leaders face fierce opposition to any Brexit compromise

The spectre of a General Election looms large over the Conservative Party

  • Brexiteer or no Brexiteer, any new Conservative Party leader would not survive with the current make-up of Parliament and they'd suffer all the same issues that have dogged Mrs May. So a top priority for any new incumbent has to be solving the lack of a working majority and no obvious Brexit deal which can hold the party together
  • In Walsall Conservative councillors bucked the trend last Thursday and did a little better than their party colleagues elsewhere. Tory canvassers believe it was because they promised they were not going to have anything to do with the European elections at all - surviving the revolt by joining with it
  • Political scientist John Curtice was quoted in a QZ.com article as saying 'we will discover that there are more than three significant parties at the European elections. We may see the most fragmented British electorate since the advent of mass British democracy'

Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party are getting away with a lot, as the media is looking elsewhere

Other News

  • A No Deal Brexit could threaten evidence sharing with Europe on cybercrime, a Northern Ireland police chief told Irish News
  • A court date has been set whereby the plaintiff will try and hold Boris Johnson to account for the £350m a week for the NHS claim on his big red bus during the EU referendum campaign
  • A counter-factual study computer modelled a result whereby the UK had voted Remain in 2016, and concluded that inward foreign direct investment into the UK since 2016 has fallen by about a fifth
  • Trade body Tech London Advocates found that 87% of all tech firms in the UK felt that the Brexit process had tarnished London's reputation as an international tech capital. Many pointed to losing out on investment as a result of the EU exit, with one firm saying they lost out to the tune of £300,000, because of investor fears about the post-Brexit regulatory environment
  • CBI President John Allan said postponed business investment will cause knock-on effects further down the line and it will impact upon the economy, possibly for some years
  • Law firm Irwin Mitchell and the CEBR produced a report that said there will be a growing gap that widens even further, because of Brexit. It will cause an even bigger divide both economically and socially between the north east and the south east
Economic Impact
Cold money How is Brexit affecting FDI into Britain?
So have investors brushed off Brexit? Not quite. Some industries have noticeably cooled on Britain. It was the top destination for cross-border mergers and acquisitions involving American tech firms in 2014-17. But in 2018 it tumbled to eighth place. In October the UK Trade Policy Observatory at Sussex University modelled a counterfactual Britain that had voted Remain, and found that the Leave vote had reduced inward FDI by a fifth. Brexit affects domestic firms, too. In January Barclays bank received legal approval to move €190bn ($213bn) of assets to Dublin, fearing no-deal. The London School of Economics recently found the Brexit vote had caused a 12% rise in investment by British firms in the rest of the EU. That capital might otherwise have been used at home. FDI remains strong, but it would be stronger minus Brexit. And Britain has not even left yet.
Administrative Fall Out
Brexit ‘Threatens’ London’s Reputation As International Tech Capital
London tech firms say political uncertainty has had a direct effect on their ability to access capital, as venture funding shows sharp drop. The UK’s exit from the European Union is damaging London’s international reputation as a tech capital, as well as on the availability of venture capital and staff, a new poll has found. Trade body Tech London Advocates found that 87 percent of tech firms felt the Brexit process had tarnished London’s reputation as a business centre, while 39 percent said it had become more difficult to access capital in the City since the referendum. One in four of the 200 tech executives polled said they had lost out on investment as a direct result of exit from the EU, with start-up EcoSync, for instance, saying a large German venture capital firm had pulled the plug on a £300,000 investment due to uncertainty about the post-Brexit regulatory environment.
Brexit will widen North-South divide, new report warns
A widening gap will emerge between the economies of the North East and the South East after the UK’s expected departure from the EU , a new report suggests. A study by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that, at the end of 2020, Milton Keynes, Reading and Oxford will be the top three for economic growth, with no locations in the North or the Midlands in the top 10.
Business leader warns of Brexit harm in years to come
CBI president John Allan said postponed investment will impact on the economy down the line. The damage that Brexit uncertainty could cause to regions like the North East might not be felt for a number of years, a leading business figure has said. John Allan, who is president of the CBI, as well as chairman of both Tesco and Newcastle-founded housebuilder Barratt, said around 80% of businesses were cutting back on investment as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
Political Shenanigans
Convinced this stitch-up can end the Brexit ordeal? Think again
Talks between the two negotiating teams will resume on Tuesday. According to the Sunday Times, Theresa May’s plan is to offer Jeremy Corbyn a temporary customs arrangement with the EU – to be reviewed in 2022 – bolstered by selective alignment with single market regulations on goods, and a commitment to match all EU measures on workers’ rights. If this were to be agreed – a ghastly marriage of the old Tory “magic circle” and Labour “beer and sandwiches” – Corbyn would find himself in a quite extraordinary position. In practice, the supposed enemy of the establishment would have entered a national coalition with the Conservative party. After a lifetime of Tory-baiting, he would finally be hugging close the authors of austerity, “neoliberalism” and invitations to Donald Trump. From Che Guevara to Ramsay MacDonald in less than four years: is that really how Corbyn wants to be remembered?
Online political ads 'need law change'
Are the UK's election laws fit for the era of digital campaigning? The Electoral Commission certainly does not think so. The watchdog has called for a change in the law to make online political adverts show clearly who paid for them. It wants online adverts to carry the same information as printed election material, which has to say who has produced it. The director of regulation at the Electoral Commission Louise Edwards told me a new law was needed to make sure that it was clear who had paid for online advertising and make spending on digital campaigning far more transparent. "What we need and what we're calling for, is a very clear change in the law to make parties and campaigners say on the face of their advert, who they are, who's paid for that advert and who is promoted," she said.
Lib Dems to press for tougher EU-wide commitment to curb climate change if Brexit stopped
An EU-wide commitment to wipe out contributions to global warming by 2050 will be at the heart of the Liberal Democrat manifesto for the European elections. Vince Cable’s party will vow to press for much tougher restrictions to end net greenhouse gas emissions across the bloc within 30 years – if Brexit is stopped. Currently, the EU is only pledged to 40 per cent reductions by 2030, an ambition overtaken by calls for emissions to end altogether in order to prevent runaway climate change. That target was negotiated in 2014, when Ed Davey, a Lib Dem, led the UK negotiations – helping to pave the way for the landmark global Paris Climate Treaty a year later. Now the party will demand the EU goes much further, on the back of its stunning local election successes which have raised hopes for the European Parliament polls on 23 May.
A deal by 'caretaker' PM with Labour on Brexit could be scuppered by Tory backbenchers
Theresa May is returning to Westminster - after the Tories’ local elections meltdown and a Bank Holiday breather - ready to gamble on a high-risk Brexit deal with Labour. With some Conservative MPs claiming she is now no more than a caretaker leader, the prime minister is being warned by backbench rebels not to cave in to Jeremy Corbyn. She is understood to be on the brink of offering a temporary customs arrangement until the next general election, when Labour could campaign for a permanent customs union.
UK Government signs new Brexit consultancy contracts totalling almost £160m
The UK Government has signed a new round of Brexit contracts with outside consultants, totalling almost £160 million of taxpayers’ money. Several are due to run until April 2020; that is, six months after the UK's new scheduled departure date from the EU at the end of October this year.
Nigel Farage wants a Brexit television debate with Jeremy Corbyn
Nigel Farage has challenged Jeremy Corbyn to a debate ahead of the European Parliament elections, warning a deal between Labour and the Conservatives would be “the final betrayal”. Farage, who leads the Brexit Party, challenged the Labour leader to discuss Brexit with him. Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Farage said: “There are five million voters out there, Labour voters, who voted to leave, particularly in the Midlands, the north, and south Wales. “I would love between now and polling to have a debate with Jeremy Corbyn about this because people are very confused about what Labour are standing for.”
Gavin Esler: TV News Must Stop Giving Airtime To The 'Village Idiots' Of Brexit
“I want to stop Brexit. Fix Britain. And then I want to reform the things that are wrong with the EU,” says Gavin Esler. He has a lot on. The 66-year-old former BBC Newsnight presenter is standing to be an MEP in London for Change UK - the new pro-Remain party formed by The Independent Group of ex-Labour and Tory MPs. Esler is speaking to HuffPost UK less than 48-hours after he was unveiled as an election candidate at his new party’s campaign launch in Bristol. “It’s all a bit hazy,” he laughs at the whirlwind. “We are trying to get up an organisation. We are trying to get each other’s telephone numbers and emails. And we have four weeks until the election.”
Tory leadership contenders show off wives and policies
Dominic Raab put family-friendly policies at the heart of his leadership bid yesterday as the candidates to succeed Theresa May ushered their wives and children into the spotlight. The former Brexit secretary set out his stall with a pledge for all fathers to have the right to two weeks’ paternity leave at 90 per cent of full pay. Mr Raab also suggested a change in the law to ensure new or expectant mothers cannot be made redundant during pregnancy or maternity leave. This comes alongside a commitment to take 1p off the basic rate of income tax.
Ministers spend extra £160m on Brexit consultant contracts
The government has signed a round of new Brexit contracts with outside consultants worth almost £160m. Many of them are due to run until April 2020, six months after the UK's new scheduled departure date from the European Union. Since the EU referendum, Whitehall has hired companies to carry out consultancy work to prepare for Brexit. The government said it would continue to "draw on the expert advice" of a range of specialists. In February, an analysis for the BBC found the government had agreed contracts worth £104m for outside help on Brexit.
Rees-Mogg 'to stand for Brexit Party' in Peterborough by-election to send message to May
Annunziata Rees-Mogg, a former Tory parliamentary candidate and sister of Jacob Rees-Mogg, hasn’t been far from the headlines since she appeared at the launch of the Brexit Party. Ms Rees-Mogg is now planning on fighting for the Peterborough seat vacated by Labour MP Fiona Onasanya. Ms Onasanya became the first parliamentarian in British history to be booted out of the Commons and stripped of her seat by a recall petition. The MP was jailed for lying to police about a driving offence.
Kevin Maguire: 'Corbyn could be PM - if he stops playing games with Theresa May'
Bailing out a failing PM and her unpopular bad deal would be political suicide – a real Shakespearean tragedy for a democratic socialist party which has vowed to radically renew Britain, both economically and socially
Prince Charles makes a plea to keep ‘links with Germany’ in soft Brexit hint
He will use a speech in Berlin to warn the 'bonds' with Germany 'must endure' As he begins a tour of Germany with the Duchess of Cornwall he will use a speech in Berlin to acknowledge Britain’s relationship with Europe is “in transition”. But he will ...
Breakthrough in crunch Labour and Tory Brexit talks on a knife edge
Chances of a breakthrough in today’s crunch Brexit talks between Labour and the Conservatives are on a knife edge as both sides are under mounting pressure to abandon negotiations. Theresa May has urged Jeremy Corbyn to “do a deal” as ministers are expected to make the first formal offer to the opposition in the shape of a temporary customs union with the EU post-Brexit. The arrangement would remain in place until the next general election in 2022, when either the Tories or Labour could decide to make it permanent or abandon it.
A vote for the SNP is a vote to put the brakes on Brexit
Ian Blackford urges voters to get out and get their message over that Scotland wants to be in the EU.
Brexit news latest: Theresa May to meet 1922 Committee chairman as resignation pressure grows
Theresa May is expected to meet the chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers as pressure for her to set a firm departure date intensifies. It is understood that the Prime Minister will have discussions with Sir Graham Brady in the wake of the committee requesting "clarity" on Mrs May's timetable for standing down and triggering a leadership contest. With negotiations between the Government and Labour on trying to end the Brexit impasse set to continue on Tuesday, Tory impatience with Mrs May's failure to name a clear resignation date is increasing.
Jeremy Corbyn should now commit to a second Brexit referendum – but with one crucial condition
Yanis Varoufakis: "We need to be careful. Those of us who think that democracy is an end in itself should be terrified by the idea of a second referendum that becomes the tombstone of all such votes in the future" - cancel Article 50 clock to make the referendum run smoothly
‘Temporary’ customs union is May’s latest con
The prime minister plans to propose a “comprehensive but temporary” customs union with the EU lasting until the next election to get Jeremy Corbyn to support her Brexit deal, according to the Sunday Times. The idea seems to be to pacify her own MPs by saying the arrangement won’t necessarily last while winning over Labour by suggesting that it would be permanent if they win the election. Forget for a moment that a permanent customs union is a thoroughly bad idea. Even if Corbyn falls for the prime minister’s temporary wheeze, it may not get through the House of Commons. But there’s a more fundamental problem. If Theresa May is really proposing a “comprehensive” customs union lasting until the next election, she is living in fantasy land. The EU has got better things to do than negotiate yet another short-term deal with an unstable government.
Theresa May’s Uneasy Courtship of Corbyn Puts Brexit Deal on Knife Edge
Critically for the Tory side, Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s chief strategist, is said to be fully engaged and serious in the meetings that have taken place, asking detailed questions about the government’s position and the offers on the table, in a sign he’s interested in doing a deal.
Spectre of general election looms large for Conservative party
Brexit dominates debate in Westminster among top contenders for leadership. “Whatever happens I can’t see how we escape an election in the next year or so,” said a senior Tory campaigner. “Brexiter or non-Brexiter, deal or no deal, it is hard to see how the party survives a change in leadership with the current parliament.” Any new Conservative leader installed before parliament has passed a Brexit deal will face the same challenges as Mrs May: the lack of a working majority and no obvious Brexit deal that can hold the party together.
The emerging Labour-Tory compromise on Brexit is all a mirage
Every day that the UK remains a member state is another day gone in which Whitehall could negotiate the future relationship while benefiting from its place in the single market and customs union as part of a 21-month transition period. There is much to negotiate with the EU. The deadline of 31 December 2020 will not give enough time. The withdrawal agreement foresees this problem. It offers an extension of the transition of up to two years to the end of 2022 – one the British government is likely to need to exploit to its fullest. The offer to Labour of a temporary customs union to 2022 is therefore irrelevant.
Could Brexit kill the Conservative party?
“I think it is fair to say that this is the return of at least three-party politics,” political scientist John Curtice told the BBC. “But I suspect that on 23 May”—or the date of the forthcoming European Parliament elections—”we will discover that there are more than three significant players. We may see the most fragmented British electorate since the advent of mass British democracy.”
Tory voters are at the end of their tether – they will vote in droves for the Brexit Party at the European elections
They found a formula superior to the official message that these were elections on local, not national issues. Even the widespread decision by Tory canvassers to seek to neutralise dislike of May by simply agreeing with voters about her doesn’t explain it. Both arguments worked somewhat – without them, the losses would have been even worse – but Walsall did something extra. Councillor Mike Bird, the local Conservative leader, is clear: “I think it was our attitude towards Brexit. In Walsall we have made ourselves clear that we are not going to have anything to do with the European elections at all.” To survive the backlash against the Prime Minister’s broken promises and Brexit delay, Walsall Tories effectively joined the popular revolt.
Political Setbacks
Irish Official Concerned A Hard Brexit Will Lead To More Violence In Northern Ireland
“We didn’t want to see Brexit happening, but it wasn’t our decision,” Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s ambassador to the United States, said during an interview with Boston Public Radio on Monday. “From the Irish government’s point of view, the fundamental requirement is that there should be no possibility of a hard border on the island of Ireland anytime now or in the future.” Mulhall says that while he respects the decision of the citizens of the U.K. to leave the E.U., he wants to ensure that it’s done in an “orderly” fashion that does not inflame tensions between Northern Ireland and the U.K. and possibly re-ignite sectarian violence that plagued the region between the late 1960s and '90s. In April, Northern Ireland was rocked by the murder of journalist Lyra McKee, who was mistakenly killed by Irish nationalists in the aftermath of a violent raid by U.K. police of a suspected weapons cache in Londonderry.
Brexit: Theresa May warned more than 100 Tories could block compromise deal with Labour
Theresa May is facing opposition from all sides over her attempts to strike a Brexit deal amid warnings that more than 100 Tory MPs could block a compromise agreement with Labour. Cross-party talks will resume on Tuesday in the wake of reports that Ms May is poised to offer Labour a temporary EU customs arrangement to break the Brexit deadlock. Tory MPs have ramped up pressure on the prime minister to set a date for her departure, with one senior MP saying the party needs to “move on”. Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said Ms May should announce a “road map” for her departure after the European elections.
Blow for Theresa May as poll shows Tory calls for Prime Minister to quit at 'record high'
Theresa May has suffered another blow to her leadership after a poll revealed that more than four in five Conservative Party members want her to quit. The study by ConservativeHome, and the first since the Tories’ local elections drubbing, found that 82% of the party faithful want the Prime Minister to step aside, while just 16% said she should stay on. The record high is up 3% on a study held two-weeks ago and 11 points higher than a month ago.
Brexit party MEP candidate praised use of Nazi slogan
A candidate to serve as an MEP for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party once praised a colleague for using a Nazi slogan in the European parliament and has a history of using vulgar and obscene language about women in social media posts. John Tennant, who according to polls is expected to win a seat in the European parliament as one of Farage’s three candidates in the north-east, also made references to being intoxicated and suggested that Liverpool fans were criminals.
The Brexit Party promises Theresa May's Conservatives 'a really good kicking' in the European elections
Theresa May's Conservative Party are heading for a heavy defeat in the upcoming European Parliament elections, according to recent polls. The elections are being led by the newly-formed Brexit party, created by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. The party's lead candidate in London is Ben Habib, a property fund manager and former Conservative donor. He tells Business Insider that Brexit Party will lead to the "demise" of his former party.
UKIP leader cancels visit to Swindon
The anti-immigration party leader and its two MEP candidates for the south west were expected in the town centre this morning. However the leadership cancelled the trip over the weekend, saying that the UKIP battle bus wasn't ready and train services were unreliable due to the bank holiday. It added that there are currently no further plans to visit before the European elections later this month.
No-deal Brexit 'could threaten evidence-sharing with Europe' on cyber crime
Speedy European evidence-sharing about cyber crime may be endangered by a no-deal Brexit, a police officer in Northern Ireland has warned. European Investigation Orders (EIOs) allow the PSNI to access material within 90 days. The number of internet-related crimes has increased significantly in recent years but the amount of resources devoted to tackling it is being outstripped, Detective Sergeant Darren McCracken said. "If we leave as a result of Brexit we no longer have access to EIOs to obtain information within 90 days," he said. He said that was a fast turnaround in the world of law enforcement. Investigators can contact firms directly for intelligence-gathering but for court action the official channel is essential, he said. "If Brexit happens we are no longer part of a European treaty. We may not have access to that."
Theresa May's chief flounces out of Tory WhatsApp group over attacks on his boss
Theresa May's chief of staff has flounced out of a Tory WhatsApp group in protest at the constant attacks on his boss. Gavin Barwell proclaimed "frankly I have had enough of it" before storming out of the group chat for Conservatives in his home area of Croydon. According to a leaked screenshot, he told local Tories it "hurts" to work 19 hour days, only to check Whatsapp and find Tory attacks "of the kind from our worst opponents". The message, which Tory Bible ConservativeHome said it genuine, emerged as Theresa May faced fresh calls to quit after losing 1,269 council seats. The worst local election results since 1995 heap new pressure on the PM, who already faces mutiny over plans for a compromise Brexit deal with Labour .
Date set for court case which could prosecute Boris Johnson over £350 million EU referendum lie
The date has been set for a court case which will attempt to hold Boris Johnson to account for the £350 million claim told during the EU referendum campaign - and was plastered all over the big red battle bus. The crowdfunded private prosecution was brought against the MP and former Vote Leave co-chair by Marcus J Ball. It will take place at Westminster Magistrates' Court on May 14th from 2.00pm, with the first hearing held in private, followed by a second public hearing shortly after. Ball, the 29-year-old private prosecutor, has accused Johnson of abusing public trust in his office as Mayor of London and Member of Parliament by intentionally misleading the public with regards to how much money the UK spends on EU membership. The statistic was criticised as misleading by the head of the UK Statistics Authority, who said that it was “a clear misuse of official statistics”.
The hype around Nigel Farage is designed to make us forget he led Britain into an ugly era of chaos
I asked a long-standing member of the Westminster lobby (the political journalists of the main national newspapers and current affairs magazines), who is the political editor of a well-known newspaper, whether it was fair to describe the media noise around Farage as “hype”. He thought it fair and explained it like this: most of the national newspapers heavily backed Brexit (the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, the Daily Express, the Sunday Times etc) but do not want to back the Tories in these European elections because they have made such a mess of it and Theresa May has no credibility.
Brexit Party leaflets arrive and Remainers show exactly what they think of them
Another Twitter user, @MikkoE17, decided to use his as loo roll. He wrote: "We just run out of toilet paper. Luckily you sent your leaflet just in time. Based on the shape and content, it's perfect for the toilet roll. "I knew I could trust Nigel Farage in time of need!"
Nigel Farage under fire over 'antisemitic tropes' on far-right US talkshow
In the six identified interviews, which date from 2009 to last year, Farage, whose Brexit party is leading polls for the upcoming European elections, repeatedly uses words and phrases such as “globalists” and “new world order”, which regularly feature in antisemitic ideas. In the interviews, Farage also says: 1) Members of the annual Bilderberg gathering of political and business leaders are plotting a global government. 2) The banking and political systems are working “hand in glove” in an attempt to disband nation states. 3) “Globalists” are trying to engineer a world war as a means to introduce a worldwide government. 4) Climate change is a “scam” intended to push forward this transnational government. 5) In the most recent interview, filmed in April last year, Farage said the EU is “the prototype for the new world order”, and 6) “globalists have wanted to have some form of conflict with Russia as an argument for us all to surrender our national sovereignty and give it up to a higher global level”.
Brexit: Labour dismisses early deal as May's plan would mean US firms 'getting hands' on NHS
A senior Labour figure has stamped on talk of an early deal with Theresa May to rescue Brexit, warning her proposals would see private US health giants “getting their hands” on the NHS. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said ministers “haven’t really shifted” in the long-running negotiations – despite speculation that a cross-party agreement could be struck as early as this week. He criticised Tory “spin doctors” for briefing that a deal was close, saying: “The problem is that, although the government is trying to redress their customs union offer, they haven’t really shifted.”
Ministers spend extra £160m on Brexit consultant contracts
The government has signed a round of new Brexit contracts with outside consultants worth almost £160m. Many of them are due to run until April 2020, six months after the UK's new scheduled departure date from the European Union. Since the EU referendum, Whitehall has hired companies to carry out consultancy work to prepare for Brexit. The government said it would continue to "draw on the expert advice" of a range of specialists. In February, an analysis for the BBC found the government had agreed contracts worth £104m for outside help on Brexit.
Dominic Raab’s nice wife and kitchen are no substitute for his screaming lack of a clue what to do
How can it be, when a country still desperately short of a way out of the Brexit mess has instead been forced to spend its Sunday staring into Dominic Raab’s kitchen? Been forced, too, to gaze upon Dominic Raab’s wife, as she tells The Sunday Times of how he used to prepare picnics for her in Hyde Park, and likes to reads The Gruffalo to his children. Yes, we are now officially at the Wives Stage (and, yes, it is all wives, for now) of the Tory Leadership Contest That Hasn’t Actually Begun Yet, itself an internal displacement activity for its own stunning inadequacies. Jeremy Hunt’s Chinese wife has also been making an appearance, winning praise in The Daily Telegraph for her being “effortlessly charming and considerate with diplomats”
Labour strategist warns against shift to remain after local elections
As senior Labour figures prepare to resume Brexit talks with Conservative ministers on Tuesday, Andrew Gwynne warned against a further shift towards remain. “On Brexit, what Labour is trying to achieve is much harder and more complex than those who say we need to simply swing behind remain admit,” he wrote in the Guardian. “It would be the easiest option and perhaps superficially give us a short-term boost, but we are a national party seeking support from people all over the county, unlike the ‘leave means leave’ charade of the Tories and Nigel Farage, or the ‘stop Brexit’ simplicity of the smaller parties.” He pointed out that all of the 21 councils in which Labour lost five or more seats were in heavily leave-voting areas. “The talk about another referendum was a difficult message to explain to many of our traditional voters.”
All Under One Banner's full statement after being reported by police
Manny Singh, the chief organiser of Glasgow's huge All Under One Banner independence march on Saturday, has released a statement after being reported to the procurator fiscal by police. Singh was visited by police officers at his home on Monday, and was reported under Section 65 of the Civic Government(Scotland) Act 1982 which states that anyone convicted of holding a procession that does not comply with the relevant council order can be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of up to three months.
Farage plays down candidate's previous defence of IRA
Nigel Farage is continuing to come under pressure over one of his Brexit Party candidates' defence of the IRA following the Warrington bombing in 1993 - but called the issue "irrelevant". Claire Fox, a European Parliament candidate in the North West of England, was a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) which defended "the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom" after the IRA killed two young boys in Warrington. Over the weekend, two Brexit Party statements were released in the name of Ms Fox. The first said that she does "not support the IRA or its methods". Pointedly, the second statement left this out, as well as a claim that she "never knowingly met or had any communication or links with republican or loyalist paramilitary organisations". The first also said: "I fully respect the Good Friday Agreement and embrace the peace that it has made possible." But the later one appeared to carefully distance Ms Fox from support for the 1998 peace deal.
Tory MPs 'will move to oust Theresa May this week' if she agrees Brexit deal with Labour
Theresa May has been warned her MPs will begin moves to oust her as soon as this week if she agrees a Brexit deal with Labour. The Prime Minister wants to sign off an agreement with Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday in order to avoid having to send new MEPs to the European Parliament, but there is little appetite for a cross-party deal among her own backbenchers. Rivals in the race to succeed Mrs May are on a state of high alert in case a compromise deal with Labour becomes the trigger for a leadership election. Senior sources within the Conservative Party said on Monday that Mrs May will be “gone very quickly” if she moves towards Labour’s demands for a post-Brexit customs union with the EU.
Nigel Farage: Name of Brexit Party's biggest donor 'irrelevant'
Nigel Farage has refused to reveal the name of the man who has given £100,000 to his new Brexit Party. Speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the leader said it was "irrelevant" who the biggest donor was and his or her identity would be declared at the end of July, after this month's European Parliament elections. Mr Farage claimed if he revealed the name now the person would be "hounded" by the media in the lead-up the vote. The party does not list its donors on its website.
@BrexitBin The island of Ireland is not a square on a chessboard. It's part of the fabric of Europe.
The island of Ireland is not a square on a chessboard. It's part of the fabric of Europe. A torn fabric, which the EU helped to repair with the threads of respect and common sense. Vote for Peace at the #EUelections2019 #RevoteRevokeRemain
‘How do we stop the country from tearing itself apart?’: Lord Bates’ pursuit of the common ground
People react to conflict in different ways. Some actively seek it out, others actively avoid it. For Michael Bates, politics has become an almost inhospitable environment. To find the common ground, the Conservative peer and former minister has embarked on a walk from Belfast to Brussels. Nearly 200 miles into his journey, Sebastian Whale joins him in west Yorkshire