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Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 24th May 2019

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Social climbers The Brexit Party wins the battle for Facebook clicks

However the Brexit Party fares at the ballot box, it has won the battle for clicks. It has spent no more than most of its rivals on Facebook ads in the past month. But it has got dramatically better results. The party’s Facebook pages have attracted 2.2m likes, shares and comments, more than all the other parties combined, and some 30 times more than Change uk, a pro-Remain upstart which outspent it.
25th May 2019 - The Economist

Sort Brexit and win an election: Five things on the next PM's to-do list

Whoever takes over from bleary-eyed Theresa May as prime minister - tear today, gone tomorrow - will face the same Brexit crisis that has brought about her downfall. The new prime minister's first problem will be that the parliamentary arithmetic won't have changed since Theresa May's humiliating Commons defeats earlier this year. A Brexiteer prime minister could still be thwarted by a pro-Remain House of Commons. The next problem is Brussels.
24th May 2019 - Sky News

Farage on course to thrash Tories as Euro Election polls close - and Boris could be heading to No10, Mail poll reveals

Nigel Farage is heading for a landslide victory in the European Parliament elections – and Boris Johnson has raced into a big early lead in the battle to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister. They are the main findings of an opinion survey which concluded at midnight on Wednesday after it became clear that Mrs May was on the brink of resigning. The Survation poll for the Daily Mail shows Mr Farage’s Brexit Party well ahead in the European elections on 31 per cent, trailed by Labour on 23, the Conservatives on 14 and the Lib Dems on 12. Nearly seven out of ten Tory voters said the reason they did not intend to vote for Mrs May yesterday was because of her failure to deliver Brexit. Calls for her to step down were backed by 57 per cent of Conservatives with 25 per cent against.
24th May 2019 - Daily Mail

European elections latest polls: Brexit Party forecast to win the most votes

With the public having voted in the European Parliament elections on Thursday, the latest polls show that Nigel Farage's Brexit Party was likely to gain the most votes in the UK. Although the vote took place in the UK on Thursday, the results are not expected until Sunday evening due to most other EU member states casting their votes that day. The Conservatives are on course for their lowest ever share of the vote in a nationwide ballot and could even slip into fifth place behind the Greens. Establishment parties are expected to suffer across the EU, both at the hands of the populist-Right as well as resurgent liberal parties. The result is likely to be a more fragmented European Parliament
24th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Cabinet ministers urge May to ditch her Brexit plan as she clings on to power

Theresa May has been urged by Cabinet colleagues to scrap her heavily criticised Brexit legislation as speculation mounted about her future. The Prime Minister was involved in a “frank” discussion with Home Secretary Sajid Javid, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made clear he did not believe her Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) could get through the Commons. The Prime Minister will discuss her leadership in a meeting on Friday with backbench leader Sir Graham Brady amid speculation she could set out the timetable for her exit from Number 10.
23rd May 2019 - Belfast Telegraph

Brussels rejects 'fraudulent' Raab claim used in election video

The European commission has described a claim made by the Conservative leadership hopeful Dominic Raab about a key EU official’s views on Brexit as “fake, fraudulent and pure disinformation” after it was spread in an election campaign video. Raab, who resigned as Brexit secretary last year over the deal struck with the EU, claimed in November that the commission’s secretary general, Martin Selmayr, had boasted that “losing Northern Ireland was the price the UK would pay for Brexit”. The quote attributed by Raab to Selmayr has been used in a two-minute video posted on a Twitter account called NI in Union urging voters in Northern Ireland to support unionist parties in the European elections. The video features images of bombings and says Northern Ireland has been “threatened before” and that voters should “stand up” and make their voice heard.
23rd May 2019 - The Guardian

PM to lay out a timetable to quit within weeks in last-ditch bid to pass Brexit deal

Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid told Theresa May her Brexit offer was flawed but neither told her to resign in visit to No10. Theresa May is today expected to lay out a timetable to step down within weeks. In a last-ditch bid to buy more time for her Brexit deal, the PM is set to refuse spiralling Brexiteer demands to quit immediately despite losing much of her Cabinet’s support, allies say.
23rd May 2019 - The Sun

European election predictions: what the pollsters are forecasting

In the likely event of a Conservative wipeout and Brexit party triumph, expect to hear Tory calls for a leader to replace May who can tack to the right and mop up the millions of Brexit party votes. Arguably, something similar happened in 2015, when David Cameron made his fateful referendum promise.
23rd May 2019 - The Guardian

Change UK pays for Facebook ad blitz amid dismal EU poll ratings

Change UK has run a last-minute Facebook advertising campaign to try to shore up its support amid dismal poll ratings for the European elections, but most other parties have mostly avoided large spending on online campaigning. The upstart pro-EU political party, formerly known as the Independent Group, spent £87,000 on Facebook adverts in the seven days up to Wednesday, becoming the biggest single political advertiser on the social networking site, following predictions it could fail to elect a single MEP and faced with the potential resignation of the party’s interim leader, Heidi Allen. Not all Change UK’s adverts have hit the spot. In one example highlighted by iNews, the party spent at least £1,300 promoting Facebook adverts saying it was campaigning to “remain in the UK”.
23rd May 2019 - The Guardian

European elections latest news: Theresa May suggests she will fight on as Sajid Javid tells her he cannot back the current deal

Theresa May has indicated she is willing to change her 'new' Brexit deal in order to stay in Number 10, despite facing growing calls to quit from her MPs. The Prime Minister's official spokesman has claimed she is "listening to colleagues" and will be holding on to push her Brexit deal through
23rd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Theresa May's day of destiny arrives after Jeremy Hunt withdraws support for Brexit bill

Theresa May must finally confront her own destiny on Friday after Jeremy Hunt withdrew his support for her last-chance Brexit bill. In a pivotal meeting on Thursday the Foreign Secretary made it clear to the Prime Minister she must abandon the deeply unpopular plan on which her hopes of survival rested. Mrs May had agreed to announce the timetable of her departure after a vote on the Brexit “divorce” bill next month, but after she cancelled that vote her reason for remaining as Tory leader also fell away. It leaves the Prime Minister cornered as she prepares to meet Sir Graham Brady, her most senior backbencher, on Friday morning to discuss her future.
23rd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Why the UK’s European election is not proxy Brexit referendum

It is widely accepted that only a referendum on Brexit could permit the government to abandon the U.K.’s departure from the EU — the European election won’t change that. In truth, both sides will likely take the result as vindication of their stance. Brexiteers will argue it backs a swift exit, while Remainers will say only a people’s vote can end the political impasse.
23rd May 2019 - Politico.eu

Senior government figures fear UK is inching towards no-deal Brexit

The mood in Dublin on Brexit has darkened in recent weeks with some political figures now wondering if the UK crashing out of the European Union in October without a deal can be avoided, senior sources say. After warnings by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney at Cabinet this week that a no-deal Brexit was more likely than ever, the Taoiseach insisted that he believed an orderly, negotiated Brexit was still the most likely outcome. The Government’s official spokesman said that a British exit on the basis of the withdrawal agreement was still Dublin’s “central-case scenario”. However, senior figures in Dublin say privately that the momentum in London appears to be heading for a no-deal outcome.
23rd May 2019 - The Irish Times

Brexit: Boris Johnson ‘irresponsible and dishonest’ with £350m-a-week NHS pledge, court hears

Boris Johnson could be summoned to court to face accusations ​of misconduct in public office over his infamous pledge to claw back £350m a week from Brussels for the NHS. Lawyers accused the former foreign secretary of lying to voters during the 2016 referendum campaign, as part of efforts to launch a private prosecution by the Brexit Justice campaign. Mr Johnson, who is a frontrunner to succeed Theresa May, has already been rapped by the statistics watchdog for using the figure, which was splashed across the side of a Vote Leave campaign bus.
23rd May 2019 - The Independent

Duncan Smith calls for May's cabinet to quit if Brexit bill published

The former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith has stepped up the pressure on Theresa May by urging her cabinet to resign en masse if the revised EU withdrawal bill is published on Friday. Downing Street is still insisting May plans to publish the bill despite Andrea Leadsom’s resignation as leader of the House of Commons and speculation that the prime minister will have to set a date for her departure on Friday.
23rd May 2019 - The Guardian

UK heading for another Brexit extension in October, suggests Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker has suggested that the UK is drifting towards another Brexit extension in October as he criticised MPs for prioritising the prime minister’s removal over finding agreement on a Brexit deal. With May appearing on the brink of resignation, the European commission president spoke of his admiration for her resilience and his disdain for the attempts to remove her. “What I don’t like in the British debate is it seems more important to replace the prime minister than to find an agreement among themselves,” Juncker said in an interview with CNN. “This is a woman who knows how to do things but she is unable to succeed in doing things. I like her very much; she is a tough person.”
23rd May 2019 - The Guardian

Dominic Grieve threatens to quit Tories to BLOCK no deal Brexit - ‘EVERYTHING in my power’

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve has sensationally suggested he could quit his party, potentially bringing down the Government, in order to stop a no deal Brexit. The senior backbencher was speaking on the ITV Peston politics show. Theresa May is under intense pressure to resign as Prime Minister, and could be replaced by an advocate of a no deal EU exit. Yesterday Commons leader Andrea Leadsom resigned from the Cabinet saying she no longer trusts the Government to implement Brexit.
23rd May 2019 - Express.co.uk

Theresa May's final days are crashing us into a whole new world of Brexit madness

One of May’s finest attributes has been the heartening way that, on several occasions, she’s decided to go over the heads of the MPs who have rejected her, so she can appeal to the public and be rejected by them as well. The most impressive attempt at this was when she cleverly tried to win people round by going on television and calling everyone an arsehole.
23rd May 2019 - The Independent

Brexit pits young against old through the corruption of ‘traditional values’. But there is a way to reverse the damage

Voter registration, Brexit, Extinction Rebellion and racial injustice – we're attempting to reshape a society in our image. As we begin to reflect on a remarkable European elections campaign, it's also worth looking at political grandees who have been brilliantly speaking out on behalf of young people. I've seen both former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine and former foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett speak in public, and they're always most passionate about the impact Brexit will have on the young. There is a genuine desire, across generations, to create a society in a modern age, which reflects some of those old fashioned values. New rules to curtail the influence of money in politics, electoral reform and a covenant for the internet.
23rd May 2019 - The Independent

This prime minister was destroyed by Brexit. And the next one will be too.

The truth about Brexit - the plain and simple truth of it, which no-one can make go away - is that it can only be done to a long timetable and with a lot of pain. It is fiendishly complicated. It requires the full capacity of the British political system for about five to seven years. The sacrifices it demands would probably never be accepted by parliament. And if you managed to get over all those obstacles, your only accomplishment would be to make the country poorer and weaker than it was before. A true Brexiter, someone who was really committed to doing this, would not be lying and misleading, like May, or out on the street promoting their own pure ideological certainty, like Nigel Farage. They would be honest about the timeframe and the trade offs.
23rd May 2019 - Politics.co.uk

UK Prime Minister Theresa May expected depart with Brexit

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May appears, finally, to have reached the end of the road. A plan to resuscitate her Brexit deal was abandoned on Thursday. The London Times reports that she'll "announce a timetable for her departure tomorrow morning." The bottom line: May came into office three years ago with a singular mission — to deliver Brexit. Anyone would have struggled to do so. She, quite clearly, failed. May labored desperately to stitch together a party that nonetheless continued to fray. British politics are more polarized and gridlocked than at any time in recent memory
23rd May 2019 - Axios

Tory leadership contest to start 10 June, I am told, writes Robert Peston

Put 10 June in your diary. Because that is when the contest to elect a new Tory leader, and therefore a new prime minister, will begin, I am told. Why am I confident of that? Well it is the last possible date for the contest that the shop stewards for Tory MPs, the executive for the 1922 committee, deem acceptable. And - perhaps more importantly - it is the date that the PM has signalled to her closest allies that she can tolerate.
23rd May 2019 - ITV News

Brexit: Jeremy Hunt becomes first cabinet minister to tell May to abandon doomed bill

Jeremy Hunt has broken ranks by becoming the first cabinet member urging Theresa May to abandon her Brexit bill because it is “clear it wouldn’t pass”. In a face-to-face meeting, the foreign secretary told the prime minister it was “too much to ask” Tory MPs to vote for the doomed legislation, The Independent has learned. It is understood that Mr Hunt did not ask Ms May to quit – ahead of a showdown meeting on Friday, when Tory MPs will demand a rapid timetable for her to go.
23rd May 2019 - The Independent

Theresa May halts vote on new Brexit deal as her leadership enters 'death spiral'

Theresa May caved in to her Cabinet today by dramatically halting her Brexit withdrawal Bill in a move that heightened expectations she will resign as Tory leader tomorrow. An isolated Prime Minister began the day by rebuffing members of her own Cabinet ...
23rd May 2019 - Evening Standard

Theresa May’s government pulls June Brexit vote

Theresa May's government pulled a planned vote on her Brexit deal scheduled for the first week of June. Mark Spencer, a government whip, told the House of Commons that the government still planned to publish the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week commencing June 3, but that a second reading — at which MPs would have the opportunity to vote — could not be confirmed.
23rd May 2019 - Politico

How Boris Johnson sealed Theresa May's doom

Boris' manoeuvres with his backbench colleagues have made it impossible for the PM to have her Brexit plan approved - were she to put her Withdrawal Agreement Bill to a vote, as she still promises to do - because he has persuaded them there is an escape from the Brexit deadlock that is destroying their party but not while she is in 10 Downing Street. It has been put to me as uncontroversial and incontrovertible truth by senior members of the Cabinet whose Brexit credentials are at best moot. "What Boris did was convince my colleagues that if he were PM, he could persuade Brussels to ditch the hated backstop," said one. "Or rather that it is worth a go. And if he fails then it is full steam ahead to a no-deal Brexit, though with proper preparation".
23rd May 2019 - ITV News

Nigel Farage's 'official website' is publishing attacks on Brexit Party leader

A website apparently owned by Nigel Farage has started publishing articles attacking the Brexit Party leader. Recent posts on the website’s blog include two videos from Channel 4 News probing his finances.
23rd May 2019 - Daily Mirror

Macron wants to avoid Brexit 'polluting' EU after 31 October

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has said he wants to avoid Brexit “polluting” the EU after 31 October, and that European leaders need to know when the UK’s prolonged departure will come to an end. In April, Macron stood alone at a meeting of the EU27 in championing a short Brexit extension in opposition to those willing to give the UK until next year to complete its withdrawal. The October deadline for the British government to have ratified the withdrawal agreement or face a no-deal exit was a compromise position brokered with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Macron, in a sign of the frustration in Brussels at the risk posed to its future agenda by the UK’s continued membership, told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir the EU needed a clear end date to the continuing saga.
22nd May 2019 - The Guardian

European parliament elections: The Brexit effect

Fast-forward almost three years and here we are, it's European Parliament elections time - and although Eurosceptic parties are expected to make a strong showing at the polls, there's barely a peep amongst them (UK parties remaining the exception) about leaving the EU. Why have European voters gone off the idea? In part, this is down to a growing awareness that the world out there is downright unpredictable: with President Trump in the White House; Russian President Putin at large around the European corner; looming trade wars; the environment in a mess; and the threat of mass migration to this continent from poorer parts of the globe.
22nd May 2019 - BBC

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 23rd May 2019

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Andrea Leadsom quits over Brexit leaving deluded Theresa May clinging on to power as Cabinet deserts her

Theresa May was desperately clinging on to power tonight after Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom dramatically quit in protest at her Brexit plan. In one of the darkest days for the isolated PM, she faced a mass revolt from her own Cabinet and Tory backbenchers - but she insisted she will not give into their demands for her to quit now.
23rd May 2019 - The Sun

The Haphazard Coup: Theresa May’s Final Hours Begin As Andrea Leadsom Quits Over Brexit ‘Betrayal’

22nd May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Andrea Leadsom quits the Cabinet as Theresa May clings to power

22nd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Andrea Leadsom quits over Theresa May's Brexit bill

22nd May 2019 - The Guardian

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom quits government over Brexit

22nd May 2019 - BBC

Furious Tories call on Theresa May to resign immediately for 'betraying' Brexit by offering second referendum

Theresa May faced calls from her own party to resign “immediately” on Tuesday night after putting a second referendum on the table in a “sellout” attempt to save her Brexit deal. The Prime Minister provoked fury after she caved in to Labour demands for a vote on holding a so-called “confirmatory” vote on a final Brexit deal
23rd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Why Boris Johnson could back a new Brexit referendum as prime minister

Boris Johnson is the breakaway favourite to replace Theresa May as prime minister, given his popularity among Conservative party members. While the former foreign secretary is vocally opposed to holding a second Brexit referendum, some of his colleagues believe a Brexiteer prime minister could nonetheless be forced to hold one. The choice could be between that and a general election, with the Tories trailing Labour by a significant distance in the polls.
22nd May 2019 - Business Insider

Michael Gove Suggests Planned EU Withdrawal Bill Vote Could Be Dropped

Michael Gove has suggested the government may ditch plans to ask MPs to vote on its EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the first week of June, following a backlash from all sides of the Commons. Theresa May’s “new deal” unveiled yesterday has been savaged by Tory and Labour MPs and looks extremely unlikely to be able to survive a vote in the Commons. Asked on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Thursday morning whether the Bill would definitely be voted on in the week beginning June 3, Gove said the government “will reflect over the course next few days”. But speaking to MPs, May contradicted the environment secretary and said the Bill would be introduced.
22nd May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Jeremy Hunt has just what is needed to be a truly great Prime Minister

In the latest part of our new series on the leadership contest awaiting the Conservatives, Rob Wilson explains why Jeremy Hunt has the integrity, principles and strength to deliver Brexit and much more The job of Prime Minister is now so demanding few truly know whether they have the right personality to suit the burdens of the role until they actually do the job. Nearly 200 Conservative MPs thought Theresa May was the right choice in 2016, only to find they couldn't have got it more wrong as she has proved unsuited to its requirements of leadership and first class communication skills - the result of which currently is the Conservative Party wandering aimlessly over an electoral cliff.
22nd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Voting For Labour Would Be A Fundamental Mistake For Young People

Voting Labour delays the organisation of a referendum, and so decreasing the possibility of an informed vote, and gives the Tories the possibility to convert lack of support for Lib Dems/Greens/Change UK as a green light for them to fashion their Brexit deal without taking other views into consideration.
22nd May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Pressure grows on May to quit as Leadsom resigns over Brexit deal

Theresa May faces the stark choice of quitting or being turfed out of Downing Street by her own party, after Andrea Leadsom resigned from the cabinet amid a furious backlash against the prime minister’s “new Brexit deal”. Leadsom quit on Wednesday evening, using her resignation letter to attack the ill-discipline of her cabinet colleagues, and warn that she no longer believed its approach would “deliver on the referendum result”.
22nd May 2019 - The Guardian

The surprise new clause in Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement that proved the final straw for MPs

Theresa May triggered a fresh Cabinet revolt on Wednesday after explicitly laying out the path to a legally-binding second referendum in her Brexit deal. Ministers on Wednesday accused the Prime Minister of attempting to "bounce" her Cabinet after they read the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in full for the first time. Several ministers including Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Liz Truss - all potential leadership contenders - felt it went further than Cabinet had agreed on Tuesday, with Andrea Leadsom resigning from the Cabinet and suggesting Theresa May should quit over the new Brexit deal.
22nd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Ed Davey: Only Lib Dems can win it for Remainers in two-horse race

Already, this is a two-horse race. Across the UK, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is in front. But closing hard, leading Labour and Tory rivals by a nose, is a gold outsider, the Liberal Democrats. After Michael Heseltine endorsed the Vince Cable-trained flyer, the question arises: will other prominent figures endorse the Lib Dems to form a popular front against Brexit? As the strongest remain party, a Lib Dem triumph would be a dramatic and unequivocal rejection of Brexit.
22nd May 2019 - Evening Standard

Forget the withdrawal bill – things could now move very quickly for Theresa May

Since the speech yesterday, a series of previously loyal Conservative MPs have declared against her Brexit plan. Support for her deal is going backwards. The withdrawal agreement bill (Wab)has not even been published yet, but barring a big change of position from a major group of MPs, it would be irresponsible to bring it forward. At this stage there seems zero prospect of a majority at second reading. A Conservative leadership contest is now imminent, with Brexit a running sore. With well over a dozen possible candidates, events could move extremely rapidly. At the core will be the question of how to find a Brexit policy that can succeed in this parliament where this prime minister has so spectacularly failed. Expect unicorn-chasing, a potential race to the bottom, and simple answers to complex problems. It is often repeated that all political careers end in failure, unless politicians leave on their own terms. With the Conservatives expected to be knocked into fifth position in the European elections, sadly Theresa May seems about to prove just that point.
22nd May 2019 - The Guardian

@Channel4News "I can tell you that Arron Banks is not involved in the Brexit Party whatsoever."   That's what Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice told Channel 4 News when we asked him if Mr Banks was still funding Nigel Farage's lifestyle.

"I can tell you that Arron Banks is not involved in the Brexit Party whatsoever."That's what Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice told Channel 4 News when we asked him if Mr Banks was still funding Nigel Farage's lifestyle.
22nd May 2019 - @Channel4News

@BBCPolitics Conservative Dominic Grieve says some Tories are "living in a world of fantasy" about the kind of #Brexit that can happen, adding the "only solution" is to have another referendum

Conservative Dominic Grieve says some Tories are "living in a world of fantasy" about the kind of #Brexit that can happen, adding the "only solution" is to have another referendum
22nd May 2019 - @BBCPolitics

European elections 2019: Expats fear postal votes will not count

Ann Bone, who lives in Maury in the Pyrenees Orientales, said her postal vote did not arrive until Friday - and when she went to return it to Calderdale Council she was informed by the French postal service that it had "no chance" of arriving in the UK in time. Her husband's ballot has still not arrived in France. She said: "We've been denied a vote, basically."
22nd May 2019 - BBC

Labour's John McDonnell on Theresa May's Brexit deal: 'I can't see this deal going through parliament'

We spoke to shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and began by asking if he would vote for a second referendum.
22nd May 2019 - Channel 4 News

Yes, a vote for Labour this week will help stop Brexit, but it will also achieve much more than that

In the hundreds of hours spent in Parliament debating Brexit, I constantly think of how we could have spent our time better. In Britain we are not having these debates about policy that we so desperately need. These European elections have become a proxy vote on Brexit instead. While we obsess over our Brexit psychodrama, the world moves on. Multinational companies exploit national differences to abuse their workers, to dodge their taxes and to “regulation shop” as a means to avoid meeting their responsibilities.
22nd May 2019 - The Independent

Brexit bill: PM sets out details of customs compromise

Theresa May is setting out the details of a series of compromises designed to try and win the support of Labour MPs for her Brexit plan. The cabinet earlier agreed the idea of a temporary customs relationship until the next general election, and measures on the environment and workers' rights. These will be included in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, to be put to a vote in the Commons in early June. The SNP and some Tory Brexiteers have already said they will vote against. The PM briefed MPs and ministers on the contents of the speech - entitled "A new Brexit deal - seeking common ground in Parliament" - beforehand. Ex-minister Mark Francois, a vocal critic of the prime minister, said if the vote was held today the bill would be defeated by a huge margin. He told the BBC that MPs who had backed the PM in the past would be "more reluctant" to do so if the party got a drubbing in the European elections and she would have to rely on Labour votes to get her way. "Unless she is rescued by a Marxist, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is dead on arrival," he told Radio 4's World at One.
22nd May 2019 - BBC

May pleads for Brexit support as her leadership comes under intense pressure

Conservative Eurosceptics have reacted with fury to the Brexit plan’s offer of a vote on whether to hold another referendum. Senior Tory MPs will again seek to change party rules to allow a confidence vote in her leadership if she refuses to leave Number 10. Mrs May said the WAB would be published on Friday and backing it would help get the UK out of the EU by the end of July. “We can bring an end to the months – years – of increasingly bitter argument and division that have both polarised and paralysed our politics,” she said. “We can move on, move forwards, and get on with the jobs we were sent here to do, what we got into politics to do. “That is what we can achieve if we support this new deal. “Reject it, and all we have before us is division and deadlock.”
22nd May 2019 - Daily Mail

George Osborne's Evening Standard backs Lib Dems for EU elections

The Evening Standard, edited by the former Conservative chancellor George Osborne, has urged readers to consider voting Liberal Democrat in the European elections, in the latest sign of David Cameron-era Tories breaking with the party over Brexit. The London newspaper said the Lib Dems had the “courage from the start to say the referendum result was a mistake” and as a result, “voters have started to think again about them”. However, the Standard stopped short of a full endorsement for Vince Cable’s party, simply saying “we wish them well”.
22nd May 2019 - The Guardian

Brexit: Theresa May resists calls from MPs to resign

The prime minister is resisting calls to resign despite a growing backlash against her Brexit plan from Conservative MPs. Several cabinet ministers told the BBC that she cannot stay, with one saying it is "the end of the line". Tory backbenchers met on Wednesday evening, but decided not to change rules which would have allowed an immediate vote of no confidence in her. The BBC's political editor says the PM seems to have bought herself 36 hours. Mrs May will meet the chairman of the influential backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, on Friday. In the meantime, the UK will vote on Thursday in European Parliament elections, with the Conservatives widely predicted to do very badly.
22nd May 2019 - BBC

Theresa May must go - now. This is a national emergency

What can the Prime Minister be thinking? It’s over. She can no longer pass critical legislation; the latest draft of her Withdrawal Agreement is dead in the water; her backbenchers are up in arms; Cabinet members would like to meet to discuss her future. Andrea Leadsom has resigned as Leader of the House, saying Britain will not be “truly sovereign” under the agreement and that “government processes” have broken down. And yet, Theresa May clings on. Why? What does she think she has left to achieve? What political face is there left to save?
22nd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Theresa May's Brexit Offer Immediately Rejected By MPs Across The Divide

Theresa May’s “one last chance” Brexit offer appeared to be dead on arrival as Remainers, Leavers, the DUP and past Tory supporters of her exit deal lined up to dismiss it. The prime minister put a vote on a second referendum at the heart of a ten-point plan designed to win over opponents from all political sides and pass her Brexit deal through the Commons. But several Tories who backed her withdrawal agreement in the last vote immediately said they would reject it this time, declaring it “worse than before”. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the arch Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG), revealed he would be switching back to opposition, stating: “The prime minister’s latest proposals are worse than before and would leave us bound deeply in to the EU. It is time to leave on WTO (no deal) terms.”
22nd May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

After Theresa May, the Tories could benefit from Andrea Leadsom's Maggie-esque steel

Andrea Leadsom is a tough lady. Make no mistake about that, but she is also quite feminine. Shades of Margaret Thatcher come to mind and that's no bad thing. I first came across Andrea shortly after she had been selected following the imposition of new boundaries which meant I would lose 40 per cent of my rural electorate, and I was not best pleased. I would still be the local MP in the bit that went to Northamptonshire South, but Andrea would be the candidate. In other words, we had to work quite closely together
22nd May 2019 - The Telegraph

Brexit: Has PM's 'new deal' made things worse?

After May finished presenting her plan, public rejections from almost all quarters started to pour in. Of course, the vote itself on this bundle of measures won't be for at least a week - a lifetime in this hyper-speed world. A lot could change. But the diplomatic way of describing the situation tonight? Compromising when no one else is interested in consensus is impossible. The more brutal political interpretation - Theresa May's mishandling of this whole situation has, over many, many months, pulled her deeper and deeper down into a quagmire of her own creation. An attempt at this stage to ask others for understanding to help her escape is just too late - far, far too late. Now some Conservative minds are turning to whether she can stay on to have this vote at all.
22nd May 2019 - BBC

The Remain strategy: Region-by-region voting guide

A cut-out-and-keep voting guide for Remainers trying to work out how to vote this week in the 2019 European elections.
22nd May 2019 - Politics.co.uk

Tory MEP warns party will be 'annihilated' and candidates feel 'abandoned' as voters head to the polls

A Tory MEP has said the party will be “annihilated” in Thursday's European elections as he hit out at the party for abandoning its candidates on the campaign. Sajjad Karim, a Conservative North West MEP and top candidate for the region, laid bare the “reality” of the campaign, warning the party “will live to regret” its decision to go ahead with the democratic exercise. Speaking to PoliticsHome, Mr Karim said he was fighting for every vote in the North West “virtually single-handedly.” He said: “I think Brexit party are going to lead the polls, Labour is going to get smashed, we’re going to get annihilated. The parties that are providing clarity to people are the ones who are going to do well… “However, we and the Labour party are going to be absolutely smashed because people do not know what on earth it is that we are doing.
22nd May 2019 - Politics Home

Theresa May faces new coup TODAY after gamble to force Brexit deal through by offering second referendum

Theresa May faces a new coup today after a gamble to force through her Brexit deal by offering Remainers a second referendum backfired spectacularly. The offer was blasted by MPs on all sides — and left Brexiteers seething at her “betrayal”. Senior Tory backbenchers will now try to force a confidence vote in the PM when the party’s grandees meet at 4pm on Wednesday. Brexiteer Nigel Evans said: “She has U-turned on absolutely everything. We cannot put up with this any longer.
22nd May 2019 - The Sun

The last days of Theresa May

Theresa May is into the final days of her premiership. As she struggles to overcome her latest (and probably last) Brexit reversal, this is the assumption many MPs and journalists at Westminster are now making. This afternoon, Mrs May has been urging MPs in the House of Commons to back the “new and improved” Withdrawal Agreement Bill — or WAB — that she unveiled in a speech on Tuesday. But after the drubbing it received from Conservative and Labour MPs in the hours after that speech, there is not the slightest chance of her bill making progress.
22nd May 2019 - Financial Times

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party refuses to rule out joining far-right EU group with Salvini and Le Pen

The Brexit Party has refused to rule out joining a new alliance far-right parties in the European Parliament, fuelling concerns that Nigel Farage could link up with extremist parties once safely re-elected. Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s extreme-right League party, invited Mr Farage’s new outfit to join his group at the weekend, saying he was “waiting for” the arch-eurosceptic. Brexit Party did not respond to repeated requests by The Independent to clarify whether it would be joining the alliance, which would see it sit alongside Mr Salvini, Marine Le Pen, and other extreme-right parties from across the continent. Mr Farage previously claimed that he had founded The Brexit Party to escape Ukip’s increasingly extremist direction. The new outfit is leading in the polls ahead of this week’s European Parliament election – despite so far having left voters in the dark about what its policies are on issues beyond EU membership. “I'm waiting for Nigel Farage. We can work together, I hope,” Mr Salvini told the BBC on Saturday, responding “yes” when asked if he wanted the Brexit Party to join his group.
22nd May 2019 - The Independent

Theresa May offers MPs a 2nd referendum vote if they back her Brexit bill

Theresa May offers Members of Parliament a binding vote on holding a second referendum. The prime minister made the offer ahead of the vote on her Withdrawal Agreement Bill. MPs would need to back her bill before holding any vote on a second referendum.
22nd May 2019 - Business Insider

Why I'll vote Lib Dem for the first time in my life

I’m in no doubt what I must do. I’ll vote Lib Dem, and urge any Tory Remainer to do the same: not because we’re suddenly Lib Dems but because they’re the only non-Brexit party in England with a chance of getting MEPs elected. Theresa May claims Tory votes are votes to leave, so in European elections I’m not going to send that signal. Nor should any Tory Remainer. But this will hurt. I belong in my Conservative tribe. On any ballot paper with a Tory on it, I’ve never in 50 years ticked any other box. Many fellow-Tories, like me, will be feeling the same sense of a wrench. But we know what we have to do. There are loyalties beyond party.
21st May 2019 - The Times

Leadsom gives May ultimatum over Brexit bill support

Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, has warned Theresa May that she will not accept a new Brexit plan that leaves open the possibility of a customs union, before a key cabinet meeting to finalise the proposals. In a sign of the difficulties the prime minister faces in getting her withdrawal agreement bill (Wab) past her own ministers, let alone the Commons, Leadsom stressed that her backing was conditional. “I continue to support the prime minister to get her withdrawal agreement bill through,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “It is leaving the European Union, and so long as it continues to be leaving the European Union I continue to support it.” Asked what she meant, Leadsom said that while she could support the customs arrangements already in the plan, any move to tempt Labour voters by holding open the possibility of a formal customs union, which could affect the UK’s ability to sign its own trade deals, would make it impossible for her to support it
21st May 2019 - The Guardian

No-deal Brexiteers want to 'hijack' referendum result, says chancellor

Philip Hammond is to warn that "all the preparation in the world will not avoid the consequences" of a no-deal Brexit. The Chancellor will say in a major speech on Tuesday that MPs calling for Britain to fall out of the EU without an agreement want to "hijack the result of the referendum". In one of his strongest attacks yet on a no-deal Brexit - an option the government is leaving open - Mr Hammond will declare that the scenario would "knowingly... inflict damage on our economy and our living standards".
21st May 2019 - Sky News

Building the Brexit party: how Nigel Farage copied Italy's digital populists

The former Ukip leader forged an alliance with the Five Star Movement just as they bulldozed Italian politics using a tightly controlled digital operation. And now he’s putting their techniques to work in Britain.
21st May 2019 - The Guardian

Inside Cabinet: How Theresa May pushed her Eurosceptic ministers to the brink with her Brexit climbdown

It was the moment that pushed Theresa May's already beleaguered Eurosceptic ministers to the brink. At the start of a three hour 20-minute marathon Cabinet, that Prime Minister presented her ministers with a paper outlining her "bold" new Brexit offer. To those present, it appeared to give "anything and everything" to Labour. There, in black and white, was an explicit offer of free votes on a permanent customs union with the EU and a second referendum. Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the Commons, both made clear that the Prime Minister's deal was "unacceptable".
21st May 2019 - The Telegraph

Philip Hammond is determined to assassinate Brexit, as he reaches the climax of his career

For someone not renowned for their witty repartee, sparkling Commons chamber oratory or indeed having any discernible political personality, Philip Hammond can always surprise us with his shameless chutzpah and brass neck. His speech to the CBI tonight is but one more conspicuous example. However, like the Prime Minister, he’s nearing the very end of the road, and will probably be fired by whoever succeeds Theresa May. He doesn’t care what most Tories think of him now, and is not holding back his opinions.
21st May 2019 - The Telegraph

John le Carré and Neil Gaiman join writers warning Brexit is 'choosing to lose'

Some of the UK’s most garlanded novelists, including Robert Harris, John le Carré and Philip Pullman, have lambasted the promises made by Brexiters as being too unbelievable for fiction, writing: “We are the people who spend our lives making things that are not true seem believable, and we don’t think Brexit is even a good effort.” Dozens of writers have put their names to a letter to the Guardian that urges UK voters taking part in Thursday’s European parliament elections to use their franchise to support the European Union, “unless they know what they are choosing to lose, for themselves and everyone they know, and are happy with that”.
21st May 2019 - The Guardian

'He desperately wants to hold it all together': Corbyn on the campaign trail

Clive Lewis, the Norwich South MP who is one of the group’s founders, says: “I think the frustration of so many members, especially those who have supported the political project for the last three years, is that they look at the biggest ringleaders for leaving the EU, they look at the dark money, they look at all those far-right organisations across Europe who are cheering Brexit on, and they think: ‘Why isn’t the Labour party standing up to these fascists and authoritarians? If they think Brexit is good, why aren’t we against it?’”
21st May 2019 - The Guardian

Sajid Javid to scrap plans that recommended EU migrants must earn £30k to work in Brexit Britain

Sajid Javid is ripping up Theresa May’s post-Brexit plans for a £30,000 minimum salary threshold for EU migrants, The Sun can reveal. The Tory leadership hopeful wants a powerful committee to look into lowering prospective wage bands in a move that will enrage Tory Eurosceptics. In an explosive letter, he instructs the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to consider allowing firms to pay the “going rate” for foreign recruits after Brexit – and to look at regional wage limits. He also wants them to study exemptions for a range of professions, and whether “new entrants” or inexperienced workers can be paid less.
21st May 2019 - The Sun

May's offer was neither 'new' nor bold. It will be her final failure

In another faux-concession, the prime minister has offered a vote on customs between a “facilitated customs arrangement” and a temporary customs union, lasting until the next general election. But the former has already been rejected by the EU as unworkable (it has never been attempted anywhere in the world) and the latter is essentially what is already in the standstill transition in the withdrawal agreement. So in fact, this is no concession at all, and one of the main reasons that talks with the Labour party broke up without agreement.
21st May 2019 - The Guardian

These Are The 76 Tory MPs Who Say They'll Vote Against Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement Bill

Theresa May is expected to hold a vote on her Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the first week of June. Following her new "bold" offer to MPs on Tuesday, the number of rebels are — unfortunately for Downing Street — going up rather than down. BuzzFeed News is keeping a rolling list of Tory MPs who are indicating they are going to vote against the WAB.
21st May 2019 - BuzzFeed News

Brexit second referendum vote explained: What PM pledged and what happens now

Theresa May played her final hand tonight. Again. The Prime Minister offered MPs a bombshell vote on holding a second referendum - if they pass her Brexit deal. It's a massive gamble both for her, sacrificing what she believed in, and Remain MPs, who might back her only to find they don't get what they want. The new pledges - which also offer a temporary customs union with the EU and close alignment with EU rules - will be a huge leap to a softer Brexit if Mrs May's package passes. But MPs are already blasting the PM's "one last chance" offer and warning they'll annihilate it.
21st May 2019 - Daily Mirror

May critics waste little time in thumbs-down for new Brexit push

For Theresa May’s gamble of a repackaged Brexit deal to pay off, four factions of sceptical MPs had to be convinced. Eurosceptic Conservatives, Labour MPs in favour of a second referendum, Labour pragmatists who want Brexit over the line and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party — all were all needed to come on board. Unfortunately for the UK prime minister, all four groups have condemned her latest Brexit proposals. Within an hour of Mrs May speaking, it appeared that her fourth — and final — attempt to pass a Brexit agreement may be dead on arrival. Mrs May is hoping to win a House of Commons vote in the first week of June on the legislation to implement her exit deal with the EU. But one prominent Eurosceptic MP condemned her approach as “a total lack of leadership and desperation”, adding: “It is fundamentally the same deal but worse, with lots of other crap thrown in. I’m not impressed and won’t be voting for it.”
21st May 2019 - Financial Times

Most Brits Support Free Movement – So Why Are The Lib Dems The Only Party Fighting To Save It?

Watching Jeremy Corbyn squirm on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, one thing became clear: he, Nigel Farage and Theresa May are united. Not just in wanting to deliver Brexit, but also in wanting to end free movement with the European Union when they do. “Ending free movement” has been a Brexiteer slogan for so long that it’s easy to forget what Corbyn, Farage and May are really saying when they deploy it. What they’re really saying is that they want to take away your right to live, work and study anywhere in the EU. That if you love someone from elsewhere in Europe, they want to make it much harder for you to live together. They’re saying that the NHS should be cut off from the supply of thousands of nurses, doctors and support staff who come from the continent every year to staff our hospitals. And that British businesses should be tied up in reels of new red tape when they try to hire the European workers they need.
21st May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Boris is preparing for a legal battle against Tory MPs trying to block his leadership bid

Allies say legal advice drawn up for the ex-Foreign Secretary says action to thwart him would be in breach of the Tories’ leadership contest rules. An ‘Anyone But Boris’ group of largely Remainer Conservative MPs have vowed to stop him from seizing the keys to No10 by voting tactically for rival candidates. But allies say secret legal advice has been drawn up for the former Foreign Secretary that finds the action would be in breach of the Conservatives’ leadership contest rules. Under the lawyers’ interpretation of the party’s constitution, Tory MPs cannot stop a candidate from getting down to the last two if members express significant support for them as the new leader must be the members’ decision. A close ally of Boris’s said last night: “We have legal advice that was drawn up for Boris that proves if members want a chance to vote on him in big numbers, MPs and CCHQ cannot stop that. “Nobody wants this to go to the courts, but we’d win a judicial review if it did.”
20th May 2019 - The Sun

Tory MPs declare war on 'intolerant' hardcore pro-Brexit colleagues ahead of leadership race

MPs from the ‘One Nation Conservatives’ group said they would fight against any candidate who might usher in a no-deal departure from the EU. The move opens up a new front in the battle to secure the Tory crown, after Theresa May announced she would soon set out a timetable for her departure. Dozens of MPs, including Cabinet ministers Amber Rudd and Rory Stewart, as well as ministers Caroline Nokes, Margot James and Tobias Ellwood, met in a Parliamentary committee room to lay out their demands. They vowed to test leadership hopefuls against a statement of values, penned by former Downing Street policy guru George Freeman, which included the rejection of “narrow nationalism”. Co-chair of the group Sir Nicholas Soames declared: “Debate in our party has been drowned out by the very aggressive and intolerant tone of the [hardcore pro-Brexit] European Research Group. “What we are relaunching here today is that long, Tory tradition of tolerance, pragmatism and not being ideological, with an absolute determination to get these values back, front and centre of the Tory party for the future.”
20th May 2019 - Politics Home

British consumers at risk of being exploited by big firms after Brexit, say Liberal Democrats

“Labour and Conservative governments have consistently shown that they are both unwilling and unable to stand up to giant multinational companies when they exploit consumers. “Only with the combined strength of 28 countries acting together through the EU can we protect consumers from rising prices and limited choice by breaking up international cartels and monopolies. "Only together can we fight tax avoidance and the abuse of personal data.”
20th May 2019 - The Independent

Brexit Party Senedd group made official by Welsh Assembly

The Brexit Party has been officially recognised as a group in the Senedd by the presiding officer. In a letter to the new party's leader in the assembly, Elin Jones said the requirements of the assembly's rules had been met. Mark Reckless said he was pleased the decision had been made but added he was "surprised" it took five days. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage unveiled the new group made up of four former UKIP AMs last week. The move means Mark Reckless, Mandy Jones, Caroline Jones and David Rowlands will have access to more staff and will be given a greater status in the assembly.
20th May 2019 - BBC

Michael Heseltine Has Tory Whip Suspended After Threat To Vote Lib Dem

Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine has had the Tory whip suspended after saying he would vote Liberal Democrat at the European elections, a Conservative spokesman said. Noted europhile Heseltine, who has long opposed Brexit, had prompted outrage from some Tory members after he endorsed a Liberal Democrat candidate ahead of Thursday’s poll – in contravention of party rules. A spokesman for the Tories said: “Lord Heseltine has given more than half a century of service to the Conservative Party, and his longstanding and sincerely held views on Europe are well understood. “But, with his long experience, he will know that publicly endorsing the candidates of another party is not compatible with taking the Conservative whip in parliament.
20th May 2019 - Huffington Post

Pro- and anti-Brexit parties neck and neck in EU election, says poll

Three in five British voters say politics in Westminster and Brussels is broken, according to a poll that finds pro- and anti-Brexit parties are running neck and neck ahead of the European elections on Thursday. The survey, shared with the Guardian by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), found Britons nurture some of the highest levels of political disaffection in Europe, with 60% of those polled saying the system in the UK and the EU is broken. Only in France and Greece are levels of disenchantment higher.
20th May 2019 - The Guardian

One Nation conservatism can make a success of Brexit

Our nation is at a crossroads and so is our party. The next prime minister must redefine Brexit as a One Nation project. If they do not, the door will be wide open for Britain’s first-ever Marxist government and a likely decade of decline. The consequences of that will echo down the generations and serve as our party’s greatest failure. We still have a chance to avoid it.
18th May 2019 - The Guardian

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 20th May 2019

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The middle ground no longer exists over Brexit. It’s all or nothing now

Pressure is building within Labour for the party to take an unambiguous stand on the other side of the barricades and become an anti-Brexit party. That pressure will be increased when the Euros see large numbers of previous Labour voters desert the party for the Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK. If a general election hasn’t happened by September, Labour’s party conference is highly likely to force its reluctant leadership to make a no-qualifications commitment to a fresh referendum. The middle ground, such as it was, has become scorched earth. The chances of this concluding with no Brexit or a no-deal Brexit are both rising sharply.
20th May 2019 - The Guardian

Farage REFUSES to support Johnson’s PM bid if he backs May's deal - 'It's a REAL problem'

Nigel Farage was quizzed on whether the next leader needs to drop support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal. He told The Daily Telegraph: “Of course. Absolutely. “If a new Conservative leader said ‘we are leaving on WTO terms on Halloween Day’ then that would be a great step in the right direction but would they actually stick to it? How could we trust them? That is the problem. “Everyone keeps shouting Boris’s name at me - Boris voted for the Withdrawal Agreement despite everything he had written in your newspaper.
20th May 2019 - Daily Express

Brexit latest: MPs left 'very frustrated' as 'totally unprecedented' deadlock results in no Commons votes for more than a month

MPs from across the House of Commons have expressed their anger at the lack of action in parliament after weeks in which the Brexit deadlock has left the Commons with almost nothing to do. There has not been a significant vote in the Commons since 10 April and on several occasions MPs have been sent home hours earlier than scheduled because there was nothing for them to debate. Attempts to secure agreement for a Brexit deal have monopolised ministers' attention, meaning other legislation has all but dried up.
20th May 2019 - The Independent

Change UK's Chuka Umunna Says UK Must Revoke Article 50 To Avoid No-Deal Brexit

The UK must now revoke Article 50 to fight the threat of a no-deal Brexit, Chuka Umunna has said. “We are now at a point where we are going to need to revoke Article 50,” the Change UK spokesman told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday. “At the beginning of these European election campaigns we had time to provide for a People’s Vote on what happens on Brexit,” he continued, saying a second referendum would take “at least” five to six months. “We now no longer have the time to do that by the 31st of October, when we are due to crash out, so we need to stop the clock now to allow that to happen.”
20th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Brexit news latest: Theresa May set to make ‘bold offer’ in final bid to get MPs to back her deal

The WAB - which is needed to ratify the deal with Brussels - is expected to include new measures on protecting workers' rights, an issue where agreement with Labour was said to have been close. However, Government sources made clear the package would not just be aimed at Labour MPs but would seek to secure the widest possible support across the Commons. It is expected to include provisions on future customs arrangements with the EU and on Northern Ireland, including the use of technology to avoid the need for border controls with the Republic. It will not, however, seek to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement - which included the controversial Northern Ireland "backstop" - after the EU repeatedly made clear it could not be re-negotiated.
20th May 2019 - Evening Standard

BBC forced to apologise after Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable says ‘b******s’ live on air

The Beeb was forced to apologise yesterday after Lib Dem chief Vince Cable said “b******s” live on air. BBC political presenter Andrew Marr stepped in when the veteran uttered the Remain party’s ‘B******s to Brexit’ campaign slogan. Sir Vince insisted he wasn’t embarrassed about it. And he said the word had a “long and distinguished history” going back to the 18th century of meaning ‘nonsense’.
20th May 2019 - The Sun

Brexit: New UK PM will not alter withdrawal deal - Coveney

Ireland's deputy prime minister has ruled out any renegotiation of the Brexit withdrawal deal if Theresa May is replaced as UK prime minister ... Mr Coveney described political events at Westminster as "extraordinary", as he questioned the logic of ...
20th May 2019 - BBC

MPs to debate immunity for Northern Ireland veterans

A petition calling for soldiers who served in Northern Ireland to be immune from prosecution will be debated by MPs amid reports No 10 has vetoed calls for legislation to protect veterans. Several Tory MPs are expected to urge an end to what they say are "abhorrent" proceedings against elderly veterans. The petition says criminal probes into historical incidents should be outlawed "after a certain period of time". Ministers are consulting on how to deal with "legacy" cases fairly. Some victims' groups and politicians in Northern Ireland believe that no-one should be above the law. Six former soldiers are currently facing prosecution over Troubles-era killings, although not all the charges are murder
20th May 2019 - BBC

Brexit party's funding must be investigated, says Gordon Brown

The former Labour prime minister will use a speech in Glasgow on Monday to say an investigation into the Brexit party’s finances is urgent and essential. “Nigel Farage says this election is about democracy. Democracy is fatally undermined if unexplained, unreported and thus undeclared and perhaps under the counter and underhand campaign finance – from whom and from where we do not know – is being used to influence the very elections that are at the heart of our democratic system,” he will say, according to pre-released extracts. “Now Mr Farage heads a new Brexit party, which is making questionable claims about the true source of its funding at a time when the Electoral Commission has warned of the dangers of multiple, small, anonymous donations being a cover for dirty money.” While other parties require personal information from donors, the Brexit party allows donations of less than £500 via just a PayPal account, which critics said leaves the way open to abuse by foreign donors wishing to influence British elections.
20th May 2019 - The Guardian

European elections: Lib Dems could ‘shake foundations’ of British politics by beating Labour and Tories, says Vince Cable

The Liberal Democrats could “shake the foundations” of British politics by finishing ahead of not only the Conservatives but also Labour in this month’s European elections, leader Sir Vince Cable has said. Speaking to The Independent, Sir Vince said the “confusion and disorientation” of the two major parties over Brexit had created conditions where the Lib Dems could outpace both their rivals in a national election for the first time in a century. After generations of being told a Liberal Democrat vote is “wasted” because of the domination of the big two parties, it is now “abundantly clear” that voters who back European Union membership should consider voting tactically for them on 23 May, he said. “I think there is a recognition that we are clearly the strongest of the three parties on the Remain side and people who think tactically will get behind us,” said the former business secretary.
19th May 2019 - The Independent

Cabinet minister insists Theresa May could still get Labour to back Brexit deal after talks collapse

The Government is still in the "territory" of a Brexit deal with "sensible, moderate" Labour MPs despite the collapse of cross-party talks, Cabinet minister Rory Stewart has insisted. There is speculation that the move could include fresh protections for workers' rights or further movement on a customs union, Labour's central demand in the talks. Mr Stewart told the BBC's Andrew Marr show that ministers should keep reaching out to Labour MPs who might be willing to back the Withdrawal Agreement Bill when it comes to a Commons vote in June. "The Labour and Conservative positions are about half an inch apart,” he said. And the frontbencher said he did not "believe there’s anything that Jeremy Corbyn or we want that’s that far apart". He added: "We’re in the territory of a deal, and in the territory of a deal where we need to focus is parliament. "And particularly getting Labour votes across. Now, maybe not Jeremy Corbyn’s vote, but there are many other moderate, sensible Labour MPs that we should get across."
19th May 2019 - Politics Home

Brexit: Theresa May plans 'bold offer' to get support for deal

Theresa May has said a "new and improved" Brexit deal will be put to MPs when they vote on the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill in early June. Writing in the Sunday Times, Mrs May said the bill will be a "bold offer". Cabinet minister Rory Stewart told the BBC he hoped extra guarantees on workers' rights would enable "sensible" Labour MPs to support the government. But Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would oppose the bill and it was "very difficult" to see it making progress. While he would consider new proposals "very carefully", he said what was being talked about did not appear "fundamentally different" from what was already on the table.
19th May 2019 - BBC

Brexit secretary warns no-deal preparations must be sped up

Preparations for a no-deal Brexit should be brought forward "at pace" if MPs do not back the prime minister's deal, the Brexit secretary has warned. The comments are likely to reignite the debate about whether the government should be prepared to take the UK out of the European Union with no-deal if - as expected - MPs fail to back the withdrawal agreement when it returns to the House of Commons in June. Stephen Barclay told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "Members of Parliament do need to face facts, and if the deal were not to go through then there are only two alternatives - you either leave with a no-deal or you revoke.
19th May 2019 - Sky News

Corbyn urges voters to ‘come together to oppose far right’ ahead of European parliament elections

Jeremy Corbyn sounded a warning at a Labour rally in Merseyside about the rise of the far right. The Labour leader gave a speech from a bandstand at the event in Derby Park, Bootle, on Saturday. He described the danger of the far right and “their simplistic answers which can only breed hatred and division”. Candidates for the European elections in the northwest include English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson. Mr Corbyn compared the “propaganda” being put out by the far right during the European election campaign to the rise of the Nazis in Europe in the 1930s.
19th May 2019 - The Independent

Change UK leader Heidi Allen hints at Lib Dem alliance

Change UK’s interim leader has denied speculation that she is defecting to the Liberal Democrats after a bruising week in which the party lost one candidate and sank to the lowest poll numbers since its launch. Heidi Allen, the South Cambridgeshire MP who resigned from the Conservatives in February, said: “It wouldn’t look good if I defected from one party and defected to another a few weeks later.” She added: “It’s not something that I am considering.” The pro-Europe MP hinted, however, that Change UK might have to enter an alliance with the Lib Dems after Thursday’s European elections. Allen, 44, said: “I hope we’ll be able to work more effectively in the future.”
19th May 2019 - The Times

UK's opposition will not back 'fundamentally' unchanged Brexit bill

The leader of Britain's opposition said he would not support Prime Minister Theresa May's new attempt to push through her Brexit bill if it was fundamentally the same as the bill that had been defeated three times before. "We haven't seen whatever the new bill is going to be yet but nothing I've heard leads me to believe it is fundamentally any different from the previous bill that has been put forward so as of now we are not supporting it," Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC's Andrew Marr show on Sunday. May said in the Sunday Times she would present a "new bold offer" to lawmakers with "an improved package of measures" in a final attempt to get the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill through parliament before she leaves office.
19th May 2019 - Yahoo Finance

Vote for a pro-EU party, not mine, says Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge

Jeremy Corbyn’s row with Dame Margaret Hodge escalated last night after the MP said party members should vote for pro-EU candidates in the European elections, even if it means not voting for Labour. Hodge has clashed often with the Labour leader on his handling of anti-semitism and his approach to Brexit. At an event last week hosted by Progress, the Blairite think tank, Hodge was asked if she agreed with a panellist who dismissed tactical voting and said all members should vote Labour in the upcoming contest. A leaked tape reveals the 74-year-old Barking MP responded: “No, I don’t.” She said: “I think taking whatever action you need, within your locality, that gives you the best likelihood of electing somebody who will be a pro-European MEP, I think is the way you should go, I really do.”
19th May 2019 - The Times

European elections: Michael Heseltine to vote Lib Dem in Brexit protest

Tory grandee Michael Heseltine has said he will not be supporting the Conservatives in the European election, and will instead vote Liberal Democrat. The former deputy prime minister and lifelong pro-European said the party has become “infected by the virus of extremism” and he cannot endorse its support for leaving the EU. In an article for The Sunday Times, he said: “The reason for my experiment with the Lib Dems is, of course, the government’s position on Brexit.
19th May 2019 - The Independent

'Early election could kill Brexit', says health secretary Matt Hancock

An early general election could mean "killing Brexit altogether", according to health secretary Matt Hancock. The cabinet minister, speaking amid uncertainty surrounding Theresa May's future in Number 10, said such a vote should not be called until Britain has left the EU. Mr Hancock, a Remainer during the 2016 campaign, said the Tories need to "take responsibility for delivering on the referendum result".
19th May 2019 - Evening Standard

Theresa May's 'bold Brexit offer' is just a 'retread' of old ideas, leaked document suggests

Theresa May’s final attempt to get a Brexit deal through Parliament appears doomed after a leaked document suggested it was nothing more than a “retread” of old ideas. The Prime Minister claims she has a “bold offer” to put to MPs next month, but The Telegraph has learnt that it contains nothing new on customs arrangements and retains the controversial Northern Irish backstop. To stand any chance of winning the vote, Mrs May must persuade Brexiteer Tory MPs who opposed her deal in the previous three votes to change their minds, but leading Eurosceptics said there was “nothing new” to tempt them.
19th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Tories Turn to Leadership Race as May Puts Up One More Fight

Pessimism is growing over whether May will be able to win over enough MPs. A leaked document seen by the Telegraph suggests her new plan is just a “retread” of old ideas. Any concessions aimed at Labour members of parliament are likely to erode support among those on her own side. In a sign that the differences between the government and opposition Labour Party over Brexit are getting even harder to bridge, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday went the furthest yet in his support for a second referendum. May has repeatedly rejected going back to the public again. So May’s colleagues are focusing on who will replace her.
19th May 2019 - Bloomberg

Change UK: Revoke Article 50 to hold second Brexit referendum

Britain's EU exit should be stopped to allow time to hold a second referendum, according to Change UK. Party spokesman Chuka Umunna said the country was facing a "national emergency" - the prospect of leaving the EU with no deal at the end of October. "I have come to the view that we are now at the point where we are going to need to revoke Article 50," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
19th May 2019 - Sky News

Nicola Sturgeon: Independence vote by 2021 even if UK stays in EU

Nicola Sturgeon has signalled that her timetable for a second independence referendum before 2021 will remain if the UK chooses to stay in the EU. The First Minister said she would “not necessarily” abandon her independence plans even if there is a second EU referendum that reverses Brexit, citing the risk of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister.
19th May 2019 - The Scotsman

Nigel Farage claims Leavers are the true democrats – this is why he’s wrong

Our democracy is under threat from the Brexit result. The legitimacy of the result is undermined by the unlawful means used to reach it. Maybe voters will want Brexit in greater numbers, but they should be asked in a second referendum. But it must be clear that its point is not to give the public a second chance to fix its mistake, but to give the winning campaign side another opportunity to win by the rules rather than by breaking them. The sooner both sides in the Brexit debate see that a second vote is in their interests whether pro-Leave or pro-Remain, we have our best hope for breaking the current gridlock in parliament – and we stand up for the democracy we hold so dear. Failing to back a second vote is to say democracy only matters when you like the result and that would betray our British values altogether.
19th May 2019 - The Independent

Guy Verhofstadt: ‘If you want to see what nationalists have done, come to Britain'

I asked him the obvious question of how he thought Brexit would go in the coming months, whether he felt he would ever escape from it. “Like you, all we can do is watch,” he says. “The withdrawal agreement is there. We are ready to sign it. My view is that in any other country, after such an existential decision as the referendum, there would have immediately been a cross-party commission. But you seem to prefer always the usual two-party fight. Like many of you, we are just asking, when, if ever, are they going to put country before party?” He believes this week’s elections are a good place to start.
19th May 2019 - The Guardian

Bame voters, Farage is counting on your apathy to win – don’t give him the satisfaction

Among Bame Labour voters, there are some who think they ought to sit this election out, because they believe that unleashing another abhorrent political party in Europe will never really affect them. But it’s imperative that we don’t sit this out. Use your vote to ensure the socialists and democrats can form the largest party in the European parliament, to ensure we deliver hard-working Labour MEPs that will actually make us proud (for however long it is we have left in Europe). Make sure you vote – just try not to embolden the far-right in Europe, by accident.
19th May 2019 - The Independent

Nigel Farage: McDonald's asked not to sell milkshakes during rally

Police asked a McDonald's in Edinburgh not to sell ice cream or milkshakes during a rally run by Nigel Farage. As hundreds of Brexit Party supporters joined a rally led by Mr Farage at Edinburgh's Corn Exchange, the nearby branch of the fast food chain avoided selling the products - to prevent a repeat of recent dairy-based attacks. The branch on Chesser Avenue also had to increase its door security between 6pm and 10pm.
19th May 2019 - Sky News

Green co-leader Sian Berry: 'There has to be confirmatory vote' on new Brexit deal

19 May 2019 Green co-leader Sian Berry: ‘There has to be confirmatory vote’ on new Brexit deal Matt Frei Europe Editor and Presenter Share Tweet Send Email We spoke to Sian Berry, the co-leader of the Green Party, and began by asking her if the Greens would support Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement if there was a second referendum.
19th May 2019 - Channel 4 News

Theresa May promises 'bold offer' in last-ditch bid to win support for Brexit deal

The Prime Minister said she would "not be simply asking MPs to think again" about the same deal they have rejected three times when the Withdrawal Agreement Bill comes up for a vote next month. The pledge comes in spite of Labour pulling the plug on long-running talks with the Government aimed at thrashing out changes to the Brexit deal.
19th May 2019 - Politics Home

Theresa May plans to put 'bold' new Brexit offer before Commons

The Prime Minister has promised a “bold offer” to MPs in a final bid to get her Brexit deal through parliament, but we’re yet to hear the detail of what that could possibly entail. Lib Dem leader Vince Cable says if it means she’s now going to offer the country a confirmatory referendum on her deal, his MPs would back it. One cabinet minister said today he’d like to shut all 650 MPs in a room until a deal was hammered out.
19th May 2019 - Channel 4 News

Brexit: May faces calls to quit as collapse of Labour talks kills off EU withdrawal plan

Theresa May is facing growing clamour from within her own party to quit immediately as prime minister, after the collapse of Brexit talks with Labour sounded the death knell for her EU withdrawal plans. With Tories trailing in fifth place on a humiliating 9 per cent in one poll for next week’s European parliament elections, furious backbenchers predicted certain defeat when the Withdrawal Agreement Bill comes before the Commons in June. Brexiteers said there was no prospect of Ms May averting a “significant” rebellion by tacking towards them on totemic issues like the Irish backstop and free trade. “There’s nothing she can say,” said one former minister. “No one trusts her any more.”
19th May 2019 - The Independent

Could the European elections redefine British politics?

Here in the UK, Brexit dominates the campaign that was never supposed to happen for Thursday’s European elections. Six weeks of talks between Labour and the government to find a deal on the Withdrawal Agreement have ended without consummation. With both sides blaming the other. The latest polling has the Tories in fourth, even fifth place and both big parties have been campaigning as if in a witness protection programme for an election about as welcome to them as root canal surgery.
18th May 2019 - Channel 4 News

Brexit: 'Don't betray Gibraltar' urges Vince Cable as the Rock fears a Spanish crackdown

Sir Vince Cable may have little time left as Lib Dem leader but he is determined to make the most of it. So just a week before crucial European Parliament elections the energetic 76-year-old jetted to Gibraltar to deliver a stark message to Theresa May - “don’t betray” the Rock. Sir Vince, who visited the Gibraltar on Friday for the first time, said Brits living there are “totally committed to being in the UK family – we have a duty to them”. Locals told the Mirror they felt “forgotten” amid the squabbling of politicians in Westminster. Gibraltar, which voted 96% to remain in the EU, fears Spain seizing on our chaos to resurrect claims on the peninsula.
18th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

Brexit: Withdrawal Agreement Bill 'should include public vote'

The government should add a public vote to the Brexit legislation which MPs will vote on next month, the shadow Brexit secretary has told the BBC. Sir Keir Starmer said including another referendum in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would "break the impasse". Talks between Labour and the government to find a compromise Brexit deal broke down on Friday without agreement. Theresa May has said she would consider putting different Brexit options to MPs to see which ones "command a majority". Labour's preferred plan is for changes to the government's Brexit deal or an election, but if neither of those are possible, it will support the option of a public vote.
18th May 2019 - BBC

Bagehot The return of Mr Brexit, Nigel Farage

He has never held a seat in the House of Commons, let alone a seat around the cabinet table. Yet Nigel Farage is one of the most important British politicians of the past few decades. History will have little to say about many members of Theresa May’s under-achieving government. But it will have a great deal to say, whether good or bad, about this former commodities trader turned champion of the populist revolution. Mr Farage has changed the course of British history once and may be about to change it again. He persuaded David Cameron to call a referendum on membership of the eu, by turning the obscure uk Independence Party into a powerful electoral machine that hoovered up discontented Tory voters. Now he is trying to force Mrs May to “deliver on” that referendum by demanding that Britain leave with no deal. His brand-new Brexit Party is likely to win more votes than any other in next week’s European election and send an electric shock through the political establishment.
18th May 2019 - The Economist

As his Brexit talks with Theresa May finally collapse, Jeremy Corbyn has the most to lose

Labour isn’t working. The famous Tory poster, which helped Margaret Thatcher win power 40 years ago this month, could be applied equally to Labour’s campaign for next Thursday’s European parliament elections. The party is losing support to two rivals that Jeremy Corbyn thought he had seen off – the Liberal Democrats and Greens. Their crystal clear anti-Brexit pitch contrasts with Corbyn’s fuzzy approach, which is alienating Remainers without keeping Labour Leavers on board. Figures I have seen show how Labour’s campaign is not reaching its natural supporters on social media, a far cry from its huge success in this area when Corbyn deprived the Conservatives of their overall majority at the 2017 general election
18th May 2019 - The Independent

Bombshell Brexit leak reveals Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn discussed plan to leave EU on July 31 and avoid second referendum

A bombshell leaked document today reveals Theresa May’s plan to block a second referendum and stage “preferential votes” in the Commons designed to allow Britain to leave the EU on July 31. The leaked memo, shown to the Evening Standard, was sent to Labour on Wednesday, a day after the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn met for private talks. The revelation came as a surprise on the day Mr Corbyn pulled the plug on cross-party talks with the Government, saying that they had “gone as far as they can”.
18th May 2019 - Evening Standard

Theresa May to give MPs ‘multiple choice’ option over Brexit asking them to rank options for exit

Theresa May is said to be mulling giving MPs a multiple choice vote on the kind of future relationship the UK should have with the EU in order to get her Brexit deal through Parliament next month. The proposal would use a preferential vote system under which MPs would rank different options in order of preference. The government is considering holding the series of 'indicative votes' before MPs vote for the fourth and final time on her Brexit deal in the week beginning June 3.
18th May 2019 - Daily Mail

I’m standing to be an MEP because only our party can unite the country behind a new referendum

I’ve put myself forward as a candidate for Labour in Yorkshire and the Humber because I want Europe and Britain to provide opportunity for all working people, whatever their background. My introduction to political activism was in the struggle against climate change, and I am proud that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has become the party of radical economic change built on a Green New Deal. On Brexit, I have spent the last two and a half years campaigning for a public vote and to stay in the EU. It’s clear now that the Brexit the nation was sold is a fantasy. Labour’s talks with the government have been going round in circles, so it is right that we have pulled the plug. We now need to make sure the people get to decide what happens next.
18th May 2019 - The Independent

Scotland won't be independent within EU, says Farage

Nigel Farage has called on “genuine Scottish nationalists” to vote for his Brexit party in next week’s EU elections, as he described Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign for an independent Scotland within Europe as “the most dishonest political discourse anywhere in the world”. As anti-racist protesters chanted outside the venue, Farage told cheering supporters at a rally in Edinburgh: “If you’re genuinely a nationalist lend your vote to the Brexit party, let’s get out of the EU and then have an honest debate about independence.”
17th May 2019 - The Guardian

Remain voters are left with no choice but to ignore Labour next week

Change UK’s launch may have been hamfisted, but the Lib Dems and Greens still offer viable alternatives
17th May 2019 - The Guardian

Remaining in EU a must, say Labour MPs

Labour’s leading Scottish candidate in the European elections and more than half of the party’s MPs north of the border have said that staying in the EU is “non-negotiable” in a direct challenge to their leadership. David Martin, Britain’s longest-serving MEP, hit out at Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard’s stance on Brexit as he called on the public to elect MEPs “who believe in a better future leading and not leaving the EU”. In an open letter to voters, signed by four of the seven Scottish Labour MPs, Mr Martin said it was in the country’s best interest to continue to play an integral role at the heart of the EU.
17th May 2019 - The Times

Brexit: Does collapse of Labour talks spell end for Theresa May's hopes?

A leaked memo from the government side, not agreed by Labour or the cabinet, contained a wheeze that could have been attractive to both leaderships. Even before the Withdrawal Agreement Bill makes its appearance, the memo suggested there could be a "free vote" in Parliament on another referendum. This is rather different from what the shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, was suggesting - that there ought to be a "confirmatory" vote, as part of a package, on any agreed deal. The leaders of both the main parties aren't keen on another public vote, to say the least. So a stand-alone Commons vote on the issue, divorced from the deal, would be more likely to go down to defeat - as it has on previous occasions.
17th May 2019 - BBC

I’ve always backed Labour. But on Thursday, I will vote Green for the first time

I left Labour a couple of years ago, feeling disappointed by its direction, and yet hamstrung by loyalty to it, which seemed problematic for a journalist. As I have watched Labour tear itself apart over Brexit, failing to fully commit to a course of action as the clock has run down, I have stayed mostly quiet, in the naive hope that there was some sort of long-term strategy at play. I no longer trusted Corbyn, but I believed in and trusted many of Labour’s other excellent politicians. Unfortunately, they seem to have little say, and the party appears torn between what it sees as its white working-class voter base and its middle class “ultra-remainer” supporters.
17th May 2019 - The Guardian

REVEALED: Why Boris wants Brexit deal VOTED THROUGH before May goes

Boris Johnson has thrown his hat in the ring to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister but there are fears that a failure to pass the Brexit deal could lead to a general election.
17th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

Better to leave the EU than make a hero of Farage

Remainers should see that letting Brexit happen may be smarter in the long run than allowing a grievance to fester
17th May 2019 - The Times

Nicola Sturgeon: Real chance for Scotland to remain in EU

There is now a “real chance” to keep Scotland in the EU, with the future of the country at stake ahead of the European elections, according to Nicola Sturgeon. The First Minister will speak in Glasgow on Friday to launch the SNP’s European manifesto and will indicate that a vote for the party would send a message to Prime Minister Theresa May to stop Brexit and to stop ignoring Scotland.
17th May 2019 - The Scotsman

Vote SNP even if you’re against independence, Sturgeon urges Scots

Nicola Sturgeon has urged voters across Scotland to support the SNP in next week’s EU elections “whether you’re for or against independence”, to send a convincing message about the country’s opposition to Brexit. While opponents have accused her of using the Brexit deadlock as an excuse to campaign for independence, Sturgeon stepped up her appeals to pro-European voters to discount Labour. Launching her party’s EU manifesto on Friday, she dismissed as “pointless” Jeremy Corbyn’s talks with Theresa May, and accused him of wanting to overturn the referendum result in Scotland, where a majority voted to remain. Speaking to an audience of candidates and activists hours before the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, was due to hold a rally in Edinburgh, Sturgeon said: “We have senior Tories now openly calling for an electoral pact with Nigel Farage … it is a deadly serious possibility and for Scotland it would be a nightmare.
17th May 2019 - The Guardian

The Guardian view on the EU elections: a chance to reshape our politics

Brexit or no Brexit, Britain will remain a European nation, subject to the same regional pressures as before. Member of the EU or not, Britain will have to respond to issues like climate crisis and security threats in cooperation with these neighbours and allies. And, unless the “ourselves alone” Brexit extremists take over in Britain – which they must not be permitted to do – our businesses, our industries, our scientists, our research and development teams and our individual citizens will remain intimately networked with theirs.
17th May 2019 - The Guardian

Boris Johnson crushes leadership rivals in poll of Tory members

Boris Johnson is the clear favourite to be the next prime minister, according to a poll of members of the Conservative Party. The former foreign secretary was the first choice to replace Theresa May for 39 per cent of those polled. The second-most popular, Dominic Raab, attracted 13 per cent, with support for all other contenders in single figures. In a head-to-head vote, Mr Johnson would beat Mr Raab by 59 points to 41, and every other contender by a bigger margin, according to the YouGov poll for The Times in which 858 Tory party members were interviewed between May 10 and 16.
17th May 2019 - The Times

May and Corbyn blame each other as Brexit talks collapse

The government and Labour have sought to blame each other after cross-party talks to find a compromise Brexit plan collapsed, leaving any remaining hopes of an imminent solution to the impasse in tatters. While both sides insisted the discussions had taken place in good faith, Theresa May said a sticking point had been Labour splits over a second referendum. Labour in turn said the government had been unwilling to compromise and that May’s imminent departure from Downing Street meant there was no guarantee any promises would be kept by a successor such as Boris Johnson. Nick Boles, the former Conservative MP who helped spearhead efforts to prevent a no-deal Brexit in March, said he now feared such a departure was almost inevitable when the EU27’s latest deadline of 31 October is reached.
17th May 2019 - The Guardian

Revealed: The Government's planned Brexit deal with Labour

The document shows the government wants to hold these indicative votes next week, before the EU parliamentary elections and the short recess. "We would make an emergency business statement on Monday; votes would take place on Wednesday," the paper says. It adds: "Whilst neither the Government nor the Opposition can commit to be bound by all of these votes, the purpose of holding them is to test the will of the House and, as far as possible, reflect that in the WAB to maximise the chances of it securing Royal Assent. To that end, the Government and the Opposition will consider not just the result of each vote but the level of support for it". In other words, the cabinet wants to bind Labour's leadership into a rolling process of assessing what compromises are necessary to secure passage of its Brexit legislation.
17th May 2019 - ITV News

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 17th May 2019

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Lib Dems leapfrog Labour as Tories trail in Euro polls

The Liberal Democrats have overtaken Labour while the Tories are pushed to fifth place, according to a poll for The Times before the European elections. The Lib Dems appear to be picking up support from Labour and Green voters after Sir Vince Cable argued that opponents of Brexit should vote for his party. YouGov interviewed 7,192 British adults between Sunday and Thursday this week. When asked whom they would support in the European elections, 35 per cent said the Brexit Party, up 1 point on the week before. Lib Dems were on 16 per cent, up 1, Labour on 15 per cent, down 1, Greens on 10 per cent, down 1, Conservatives on 9 per cent, down 1, Change UK unchanged on 5 per cent and Ukip unchanged on 3 per cent. The decline of the Conservatives into single figures is likely to increase the panic in the party’s high command, with 62 per cent of Tory voters in the 2017 general election now saying that they will vote for the Brexit Party in the European elections. Only one in five who backed the party at the last general election is sticking with the Tories in the European elections.
17th May 2019 - The Times

Brexit talks between the Government and Labour set to collapse without a deal

The negotiations, which have been going on since the end of March, could break down as early as Friday. Senior Labour sources said on Thursday that they were not going to walk away "imminently" - leaving the door open to the party pulling the plug at some point in the next few days. Labour negotiators had also insisted that any deal agreed with the Government - which they also wanted to contain guarantees on workers' rights and environmental standards - must contain provisions preventing a future Tory leader from being able to tear them up. Meanwhile, BBC Newsnight's Nick Watt also reported that Tory whips believe a deal with Labour was not possible.
17th May 2019 - Politics Home

Could Nigel Farage end up rescuing - or even owning - the Tory Party?

Is the Brexit party the enemy or friend of the Tory Party? Is Nigel Farage its destroyer - or could he turn into its redeemer? This is not as crazy a question as it may sound, even though right now Farage’s new venture is set to humiliate the Conservatives in the forthcoming EU parliamentary elections. The answer is contingent on other events, and in particular who wins the power struggle within the Conservative Party after Theresa May stands down (which every Tory MP I ask believes will be before the June 15 extraordinary vote by Tory local association chairs and grassroots officials on whether she is fit to remain in office - strikingly Bridgen and Vaizey, from the polar opposite wings of the party, endorsed that scenario on my show last night
16th May 2019 - ITV News

Probation privatisation debacle: Crazed obsession with the market fails again

It is hard to fully describe the wastefulness of this debacle. Probation is the system that monitors offenders when they leave jail and tries to ensure that they do not reoffend. It is the harsh and unloved wing of public services. It isn't exciting, like the armed forces. It doesn't win public sympathy, like schools or hospitals. Most people don't even really know what it is. But when it goes wrong, we all suffer, because we all become less safe. There is a direct causal line between someone stealing your phone on the street and this service. Grayling shattered the system then tried to rebuild it according to the profit motive. He split low, medium and high risk cases and put the former two in the private sector, with the latter retained in the public sector. Then 21 seperate companies were given the contracts. The end result is clear. The National Audit Office found that probation companies had much lower business volumes than the Ministry of Justice had modelled, underinvested in their clients and didn't meet performance targets. They failed to work with charities, or develop appropriate supply chains, or provide innovative changes to the service, or meet contractual commitments, or help offenders with accomodation, employment, finance, mental health or drug problems. In repeated checks, they were found to be inadequate, particularly in the area of public protection. After the reform, there was a 22% overall increase in the number of proven re-offences per re-offender.
16th May 2019 - Politics.co.uk

Union Flag on Theresa May’s official car is flown upside down in Paris — famously a coded signal for ‘distress’

Theresa May’s Brexit “distress” was sent around the world yesterday as bungling Brit officials appeared to fly the Union flag upside down. Eagle-eyed readers pointed out TV footage from Wednesday evening which showed the flag on the PM’s official car in Paris fluttering the wrong way round as she met President Emmanuel Macron for talks.
16th May 2019 - The Sun

Beginning the hunt for the next PM

But the paragraph tucked into the short formal letter from Sir Graham Brady to Tory MPs all but marks the end of Theresa May's premiership and the beginning of the official hunt for the next leader of the country. After the lines in the short note restate the prime minister's determination to get Brexit done, it confirms in black and white that after the next big vote, in the first week of June, the prime minister will make plans with the party for choosing a successor. Right now, the expectation is that vote will be lost (although it is not impossible, of course, that Number 10 could turn it round). And the conversation that's been arranged won't just be a gentle chat about what to do next. Senior sources have told me that means, even though the letter doesn't spell it out, that if her Brexit plan is defeated again, Mrs May will announce she is going.
16th May 2019 - BBC

Britain's cross-party Brexit talks due to end soon - BBC's Watt

Brexit talks between Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party will soon draw to a close after the ruling party gave up on finding a compromise to break the Brexit impasse, a BBC reporter said on Thursday. May opened cross-party talks with the Labour Party more than a month ago after parliament rejected her European Union withdrawal deal three times, leaving Britain in political limbo. Nicholas Watt, political editor of the BBC Newsnight programme, said he understood that the cross-party search for a solution would end soon, after Conservative officials gave up on the phase of the talks. "(They) are looking to pack the (EU withdrawal) legislation with goodies for Brexiteers," he said on Twitter.
16th May 2019 - Yahoo!

Blair: Social democracy needs 'narrative about the future'

When I asked Tony Blair whether he took the Thorning-Schmidt line or that of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor who ruled out any possible deal with the AfD, he gave a nuanced answer. "It depends on what you're being asked to trade in terms of policy in order to go into that coalition", Mr Blair explained. "If, for example, you know going into coalition with a right-wing party means you're going to adopt policies that are completely contrary to your principles then you shouldn't do it. "If on the other hand by forming that coalition you're keeping out a more destructive right wing coalition then you might do". Unsurprisingly, he castigates the current Labour leadership, and they reject his blueprint. But the Blair formula involves creating a compelling narrative for a future where the dizzying changes engendered by artificial intelligence, big data and robotics need to be channelled to create hope rather than insecurity.
16th May 2019 - BBC

Boris Johnson confirms bid for Tory leadership

Boris Johnson has said he will run for the Conservative Party leadership after Theresa May stands down. Asked at a business event in Manchester if he would be a candidate, the former foreign secretary replied: "Of course I'm going to go for it." Mrs May has said she will resign once MPs back her Brexit deal. A decision on her exit timetable will now take place after the House of Commons votes on her Brexit bill early next month.
16th May 2019 - BBC

Theresa May to agree resignation timetable in WEEKS after showdown with MPs

Theresa May looks set to agree her resignation timetable in just over two weeks' time after a showdown with Tory MPs. Cabinet ministers and the PM's allies now believe there'll be a full-blown Tory leadership contest before the summer holiday after her two-hour meeting with the 1922 Committee.
16th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

May agrees to set her exit date after Brexit bill vote

Theresa May has agreed to set a timetable for her departure as prime minister in the first week of June, leading MPs to believe she will trigger a leadership contest before the summer. Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, said she would agree a timetable for the election of a new leader after her Brexit legislation returned to parliament for a final attempt in the week of 3 June. Another member of the 1922 Committee told the Guardian that May understood she would have to name a quick date for her departure if the withdrawal bill is voted down, with a leadership contest before the summer. The MP said some Brexit supporters on the committee were disappointed that the prime minister was not forced to announce her departure immediately but this represented a “fair compromise”.
16th May 2019 - The Guardian

Momentum urges Labour to adopt 'radical' pledges in next manifesto

Momentum, the grassroots group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn, is directing its campaigning muscle into urging Labour to adopt a series of “radical and transformational” pledges in its next manifesto, including a green new deal and the four-day week. With Westminster politicians deadlocked over Brexit, which has divided Labour activists, Momentum wants to use its 40,000-strong membership to influence the direction of policy on other issues. It also hopes to act as a bulwark against the influence of MPs from the social democratic wing of the Labour party.
16th May 2019 - The Guardian

Nigel Farage's funding secrets revealed - Channel 4 News

Channel 4 News investigation reveals how millionaire Arron Banks spent approximately £450,000 on Nigel Farage to fund lavish lifestyle the year following the EU referendum in summer 2016.
16th May 2019 - Channel 4 News

Change UK is dying before it even learned to walk

Change UK is dying before it even learned to walk. Its MPs know it. Its candidates know it. The public knows it. Change UK never really wanted to change anything. What it wanted most of all was for things to stay the same. For the UK to remain in the EU and for the extremes of both the Tory and Labour parties to shut up and go away.
16th May 2019 - The Guardian

Pro-EU Tory MP Philip Lee to face no confidence vote from his local party’s Brexiteers

Rebel Tory MP Philip Lee is to face a no confidence vote by local party Brexiteers trying to oust him, The Sun can reveal. The outspoken MP for Bracknell resigned as a justice minister last year to back a second referendum. He is the latest in a series of pro-EU Tories to face deselection attempts. The vote will be held on June 1, after 53 members signed a petition calling for one.
16th May 2019 - The Sun

Momentum to try to force Jeremy Corbyn to adopt four-day working week as Labour Party policy

A pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group will try to force the Labour Party to adopt a four-day working week as official policy ahead of the next general election. Momentum will use its 40,000-strong activist base to campaign in the run up to Labour’s annual party conference in September to push through “radical and transformational” pledges. Those pledges will also include a much tougher position on combating climate change by requiring the UK to become carbon neutral by 2030. That would go much further than the party’s current position of achieving net zero emissions before 2050. But the Tories said the proposals would weaken the UK’s economy and put jobs at risk.
16th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Why is Labour just letting the Brexit party win the European elections?

Why is Labour making such a historic mistake? To judge from public statements, the leadership believes that Labour’s poor showing in this month’s local elections proves simply that the public wants us to “get a deal done” on Brexit: the leadership also argues that their ambiguous approach to Brexit in the 2017 election helped them win voters. Actually, Labour’s 2017 success depended on people believing that it was fundamentally a remain party despite tactical ambiguity on Brexit. And regardless of the suggestion that the public simply want the political class to get on with Brexit, polling shows that a large portion of the public now wants to stop Brexit. There are, of course, hardcore voters who want to leave no matter what, but they have mostly already shifted to Farage and his Brexit party.
16th May 2019 - The Guardian

Arron Banks 'spent £450,000 on Nigel Farage in year after Brexit vote - providing him with £4.4m Chelsea home, £32,000 Land Rover Discovery, close protection driver, furniture and even utility bills'

Millionaire insurance tycoon Arron Banks spent close to half a million pounds funding Nigel Farage's lavish lifestyle, according to the findings of a Channel 4 News investigation. The investigation to be broadcast tonight reports that Rock Services Ltd, a company owned by Mr Banks, leased a £4.4m 3-bedroom Chelsea home with garage for Mr Farage at an estimated rent of £13,000 a month in the summer of 2016. It is claimed Mr Banks also fitted and furnished the house, buying crockery, chairs and bathroom accessories and even a shower curtain for Mr Farage. Former UKIP leader Farage - who now fronts the Brexit Party - was also said to have been handed a Land Rover Discovery, valued at £32,300, for his personal use.
16th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Millionaire Arron Banks ‘spent £450,000 bankrolling Nigel Farage’s lavish lifestyle’

The tycoon Arron Banks spent £450,000 bankrolling Nigel Farage’s lavish lifestyle, including the rent of an exclusive home in Chelsea, according to a Channel 4 News investigation. Mr Banks bought furniture and fittings for the house, including crockery, chairs and bathroom accessories – even a shower curtain. He also paid for a car and security trained driver and leased a private office for Mr Farage, who now leads the Brexit Party, Channel 4 reported. Its investigation claimed that Rock Services Ltd, which is owned by Mr Banks, leased the £4.4m 3-bedroom house at an estimated rent of £13,000 a month in summer 2016. Mr Farage was provided with a Land Rover Discovery, valued at £32,300, for his use and Mr Banks paid £20,000 for a close protection driver
16th May 2019 - iNews

Arron Banks 'gave £450,000 funding to Nigel Farage after Brexit vote'

Nigel Farage was lavishly funded by Arron Banks in the year after the Brexit referendum, Channel 4 News has alleged, with the insurance tycoon providing him with a furnished Chelsea home, a car and driver, and money to promote him in America. According to invoices, emails and other documents, Banks, who regularly bankrolled Farage’s former party, Ukip, spent about £450,000 in the year after the referendum, when Farage had quit as Ukip leader, the programme said. It said the money, some provided via Rock Services Ltd, a company owned by Banks, was used to rent a Chelsea home for £13,000 a month, with Banks purchasing furniture and fittings including crockery and a shower curtain. Farage was also provided with a Land Rover Discovery and a driver, and Banks sought to raise an extra £130,000 from supporters to cover security.
16th May 2019 - The Guardian

Nigel Farage’s funding secrets revealed

Channel 4 News investigation reveals how millionaire Arron Banks spent approximately £450,000 on Nigel Farage to fund lavish lifestyle the year following the EU referendum in summer 2016. Millionaire insurance tycoon Arron Banks spent close to half a million pounds funding Nigel Farage, who is now the Brexit Party leader. Mr Banks is currently under investigation by the National Crime Agency over the source of his funding for the Brexit campaign. However, Nigel Farage claims Mr Banks has never funded The Brexit Party, which was founded in February this year. An investigation by Channel 4 News reveals: Mr Banks, through one of his companies, rented exclusive £4.4m Chelsea home for Mr Farage - Gifts included furniture, council tax, water and electricity bills - Banks provided a £30k car and £20k for a driver - Banks also leased private office for £1,500 a month and paid Mr Farage’s personal assistant - Hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent promoting “Brand Farage” in America - A company owned by Mr Banks, called Rock Services Ltd, leased a £4.4m three-bedroom Chelsea home with a garage for Mr Farage at an estimated rent of £13,000 a month in summer 2016.
16th May 2019 - Channel 4 News

Boris Johnson confirms he will 'of course' run to succeed Theresa May

Boris Johnson has confirmed he will run to replace Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party, claiming he has a "boundless appetite to try to get it right". Speaking at a private event in Manchester alongside the BBC presenter Huw Edwards, Mr Johnson told those in attendance "of course I'm going for it". “I don't think that is any particular secret to anybody,” he added. “But you know there is no vacancy at present." It marks the first time that the former foreign secretary has publicly stated his intention to run. Mr Johnson is the Grassroots favourite to succeed Mrs May, topping every leadership poll published in recent months. He is expected to run as the candidate offering a "clean Brexit"
16th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Two rising star Tory MPs launch leadership bids after being urged to take on Cabinet big beasts

Two rising star Tory MPs have launched leadership bids after being urged to take on “failing” Cabinet big beasts. Housing minister Kit Malthouse and Brexit minister James Cleverly are discreetly setting up campaign teams to challenge for the nation’s top job, The Sun can reveal.
16th May 2019 - The Sun

Amber Rudd warns Tories not to give up and let 'extremists' win as EU elections loom

Amber Rudd has warned that the Conservatives must occupy the centre ground if they are to defeat the "extremists" currently dominating British politics. Amid a surge in support for Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party, the Cabinet minister told Tory activists that the Conservatives were now in "the fight of our lives" to push back against populists. A spate of recent polls have suggested that the Brexit Party, which is pushing for a no-deal exit from the EU, will come out on top at the EU elections on 23 May.
16th May 2019 - Politics Home

For a Tory revival that can truly see off populism, all you need is Gove

In the latest part of our new series on the leadership contest awaiting the Conservatives, Harry Hodges explains why Michael Gove is the man who can deliver on the promise of Brexit
16th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Meet the real Alexander Nix. An interview with the notorious former head of Cambridge Analytica

If you have heard of Alexander Nix, you probably think he’s a villain. He is the former head of Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics company that helped Donald Trump win the presidential election. Nix and his colleagues have been accused of all sorts of other dastardly deeds: conniving with the Kremlin to hack democracy, ‘dark messaging’ people with racist ads on Facebook in the run-up to Brexit, and more and worse. Nix lost his job after a Channel 4 investigation into Cambridge Analytica in March last year — the exposé won a Bafta last weekend. By May, Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL had gone into administration, and Nix had been widely condemned as a Machiavellian crook.
16th May 2019 - The Spectator

Anti-Brexit feeling expected to help SNP in European elections

With the SNP presenting itself as the logical pro-EU option north of the border – where 62% voted to remain in the 2016 referendum – the party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, urged voters to treat both Labour and the Conservatives as pro-Brexit parties when she launched her European election campaign last week. Curtice said the polling evidence suggested Labour’s vote in Scotland was more pro-leave than the rest of the UK yet, like the Tories, its support at this election had been eroding, leaving it likely to lose one of its two European seats.
16th May 2019 - The Guardian

The end of Theresa May, writes Robert Peston

Today's joint statement by the 1922 Committee and the PM may seem opaque but it means something very simple and unambiguous: the Tories will have a new leader, and we will have a new prime minister, by August. That is what a majority of Tory MPs want. But for reasons of decorum, they have not spelled out the exact timetable ahead of the European Union parliamentary elections, which take place on Thursday, or before the fourth and final attempt to have the PM’s Brexit deal ratified, in the week beginning June 3. Theresa May is being allowed the flimsiest fig leaf of control over her destiny. But sources tell me that a majority of the 1922 executive committee want the new leadership contest done and dusted by the time the Commons rises for the summer at the end of July, to give a new leader the opportunity to shape a Brexit path with a few months to spare before the new deadline of 31 October.
16th May 2019 - ITV News

Brexit: Talks between Tories and Labour set to close with no deal

Brexit talks between the Conservatives and Labour are about to close without an agreement, the BBC has learned. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will now move to a second phase, aimed at agreeing on a process for Parliamentary votes designed to find a consensus. It comes after Mrs May promised to set a timetable for leaving Downing Street following the next Brexit vote in June. Ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said he will stand in the Conservative leadership election that will follow.
16th May 2019 - BBC

EU fines major banks €1 billion over currency cartels

Regulators in the European Union have levied a hefty fine on Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Japan's MUFG over collusion in currency trading. The European Commission on Thursday fined five major banks €1.07 billion ($1.2 billion) for collusion in the foreign currency market. The fines would normally have been 10% higher, but they were reduced after the banks admitted their involvement.
16th May 2019 - Deutsche Welle

European elections: is the party over for the centre-right?

Sara Hagemann, associate professor in European politics at the London School of Economics, argues the election may determine whether Mr Orban will “remain something the EPP has to deal with internally”. Handling him as an external opponent could be easier for the party. But there are downsides: losing Mr Orban’s seats could bring the Socialists close to the top spot in the European Parliament. The Hungarian could also act as a rallying point for the right in Europe — narrowing the appeal of the EPP, much as they feared Mr Berlusconi would in 1998. With the EPP divided over Mr Orban’s fate, some observers see the Hungarian as having the upper hand. He can gamble on the EPP being unwilling to expel him later this year, while making the case for the EPP working with nationalist and anti-immigrant politicians such as Mr Salvini. “I have the impression that the identity battle for Europe’s right is a fight Orban is winning, not losing,” says Mr Vallée. “He is pulling the EPP, and in reality the entire European political structure, to the right.”
15th May 2019 - Financial Times

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 16th May 2019

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Theresa May due to meet Tory MPs over leadership

Theresa May is due to meet senior Conservative MPs who are demanding she sets a date for her departure from Downing Street. Under pressure from her MPs to stand aside, the prime minister is meeting the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee to discuss her future. But current leadership rules mean she cannot be formally challenged until December. Mrs May has said her departure would depend on delivering Brexit.
16th May 2019 - BBC

One Million Londoners Set To March Against Trump During UK State Visit, New YouGov Poll Suggests

More than a million Londoners look set to protest at Donald Trump’s visit to the UK after a new poll found 13% of the city’s residents are ‘likely’ to join the demonstrations. A new YouGov/QueenMaryLondon poll, shared with HuffPost UK, found that more than one in ten of the capital’s eight million residents were poised to turn out against the US President next month. The survey also found that one in five (20%) 18-24 year-olds expect to march on the streets during the ‘State Visit’. Overall, Londoners of all ages oppose Trump’s trip by a margin of more than two-to-one, with 54% against it and just 24% supporting it.
16th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Lib Dems And Brexit Party Outspending Labour On Euro Election Facebook Adverts, New Data Shows

Labour has hit back at claims that it is running a “mealy-mouthed” European elections campaign after new figures showed the party’s spending on Facebook ads was dwarfed by the Lib Dems, Change UK and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Jeremy Corbyn is under fire from his own MPs, who claim the party lacks a clear message on a second referendum and lacks the firepower to counter its rivals ahead of next Thursday’s poll, HuffPost UK has learned. New data from the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign shows that from May 5 to May 11, Labour spent just £7,331 on Facebook advertising for the elections - less than a third of the Lib Dems outlay of £23,191.
16th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

May set to reject new definition of Islamophobia

Ministers will instead appoint two independent advisers to draw up a less “legally problematic” definition, Whitehall officials said. Calls to abandon the reform, under which hostility to Islam would be treated as a form of racism, were led by Sara Khan, the anti-extremism tsar, and Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism policing. More than 40 people wrote to Sajid Javid, the home secretary, saying that the change would bring in “a backdoor blasphemy law”. The reform was proposed by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on British Muslims, which had become concerned by threats such as attacks on mosques. The new definition says: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, have already accepted the wording.
16th May 2019 - The Times

Poor performance in European elections could finish off Change UK

On Friday evening in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the latest troupe which seeks to break the mould of British politics took to the stage. The Tiggers, the ChUKas, the Remain Alliance, those for Remain and for a People's Vote, all rolled into one. They were there to announce their "Charter for Remain" and despite the smiles, the breezy entrances and the jokes, everyone there knew that they met under a cloud; the latest polls showed them plumbing the depths of the low single digits and the day was marked by the party's freshly written farce: their failure to nominate a candidate for the Peterborough by-election. For a few weeks, a few precious weeks, this group had such force, such elan, such goodwill. Yet through a mixture of misstep and mistake, most but not all of their making, it has ebbed away.
15th May 2019 - Sky News

Delivering Brexit won’t quell the forces of nationalism, as Eurosceptics might hope

This emergent league of xenophobes is bound by few taboos, but it does not seek to dismantle the EU. That is not a badge of moderation. It reflects a strategic judgment that illiberal causes are better advanced from within the union, because leaving the club is a fast-track to diminished influence. (A point well illustrated by the UK experience.) Next week’s elections to the European parliament are likely to boost the profile of radical nationalists. They don’t need to achieve spectacular breakthroughs to have an impact. It is sufficient to instil panic in moderate parties, which then mimic the populists’ rhetoric and co-opt parts of their agenda.
15th May 2019 - The Guardian

English Democrats raise £58,000 for Brexit court battle

The leader of the English Democrats has said he is 'very confident' of proving that Britain has already left the EU - despite government claims that his case is 'hopeless'. Robin Tilbrook said his movement had raised £58,000 for the High Court battle and enjoyed an 'upsurge of people joining our party'. The pro-Brexit campaigner vowed to press ahead with the legal challenge despite government lawyers calling his case 'totally without merit' and trying to have it thrown out.
15th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Tory chairman Brandon Lewis tells party's MEP candidates they have no chance in European elections

Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Party Chairman, has told Tory MEP candidates standing for election next week they have no chance of winning a seat, The Telegraph can disclose. In a sign that the Tories are braced for an electoral wipeout in the European elections on May 23, Mr Lewis has told the party’s candidates that if “you are not an MEP already you aren’t winning”. Mr Lewis recently told Conservative candidates at the party’s central office that the “chances of somebody further down the list getting elected are pretty slim". Having refused to launch a national campaign amid a widespread backlash over the delay to Brexit, the Tories are on course to plummet to fourth place next week
15th May 2019 - The Telegraph

PMQs: Barry Sheerman and Theresa May on Brexit and EU

A Labour MP called on the PM to speak the "truth about Europe" rather than the "big lie" of those who opposed it. Barry Sheerman told her he was a "passionate Eurosceptic" when he became an MP 40 years ago, but had changed his mind as the EU had "delivered prosperity" and "kept the peace". Theresa May said the government planned to deliver Brexit, and said it was her party that “gave this country prosperity”.
15th May 2019 - BBC

Why should Jeremy Corbyn bail out Theresa May? He can force an election by holding back

Theresa May is constantly accused of playing for time, a charge that often rings true, but what about her Labour rival? Jeremy Corbyn can't be accused of being any more decisive. Take his choice at Prime Minister's Questions today not to talk about Brexit, instead focusing his six questions on issues like inequality and poverty. Is that because he did not want to derail any spirit of compromise ahead of a potential cross-party deal, or because he knew it was doomed so wanted to whip up Labour voters ahead of an imminent election by bashing the Tories over some familiar areas? Only he will know for sure.
15th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Brexit: Theresa May has set herself a huge test

A loyal lieutenant who's been fighting off attempts to oust her for months says "losing the bill would have to be it - we are in the end now." This has already for Theresa May been a very long goodbye, and we can't know yet when she will actually bid a final farewell. But by committing to bringing the Brexit bill back to Parliament, the prime minister has set herself another huge test, that if she loses, it could turn out to be her last in the job.
15th May 2019 - BBC

PM accused of secretly blocking a bid to stop Troubles veterans being investigated

Theresa May was accused of secretly blocking a bid to halt thousands of ageing Northern Ireland veterans from being investigated to keep power-sharing talks with Sinn Fein alive. Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt’s new law will end prosecutions for accusations against service personnel more than 10 years old without compelling new evidence
15th May 2019 - The Sun

Labour could ‘ABSTAIN’ from fourth Brexit vote – Theresa May handed LIFELINE?

Labour could abstain from a fourth meaningful vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s controversial Brexit deal with the EU, which could be enough to scrape it through Parliament. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has appeared to thrown Mrs May a Brexit lifeline, as if a large number of his party was to abstain, it would be enough to clear the deal of its first hurdle at next month’s ballot. A Labour spokesman was asked six times by a variety of media outlets including The Sun, Guardian and the Daily Mail today, and refused to rule it out on the second reading of the EU withdrawal agreement bill. The spokesman said: “We’ve made pretty clear we won’t support it.”
15th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

Theresa May to demand more time for Brexit deal in showdown talks with key Tories

Theresa May will ask for more time to deliver her Brexit deal in showdown talks on her future with Tory chiefs. She is expected to tell the Tory backbench 1922 committee that key laws must be passed by the summer break for the UK to leave the EU when they meet at Number 10 tomorrow. Senior Tories want the Prime Minister to set a timetable for her departure from No 10 even if Brexit remains unresolved. She has promised to stand down when the first phase of Brexit is done but has resisted naming a date for her departure. But MPs on the 1922 executive could take matters into their own hands and change party rules to allow another confidence vote. Rebel MPs have warned that Mrs May faces defeat when she tries to get the withdrawal agreement bill through Parliament.
15th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

Brexit secretary admits Theresa May's deal is 'dead' if MPs reject it again

Theresa May's Brexit deal is "dead" if MPs reject it again next month, the Brexit Secretary has admitted. Stephen Barclay indicated June’s vote would be the “last chance saloon” for Theresa May’s withdrawal bill. And it would leave MPs to decide between a no-deal Brexit and revoking Article 50. It comes after Number 10 revealed plans to bring Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement back to the commons in early June. Mr Barclay told the Lords EU committee: “I think if the House of Commons does not approve the WAB then the Barnier deal is dead in that form.
15th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

Liberal Democrat rising star Layla Moran rules herself out of party leadership race

Rising star of the Liberal Democrats Layla Moran has ruled herself out of the race to succeed Sir Vince Cable as the party’s next leader. The Oxford West and Abingdon MP, who was first elected in 2017, was among the frontrunners tipped to take over the Lib Dem veteran, who is expected to stand down imminently. In a statement however, Ms Moran said she did not believe she could take on the “busy role” of leading the party while fulfilling her duties as an MP after just two years in the job.
15th May 2019 - Politics Home

No 10 hints Commons Brexit vote is make or break for Theresa May

The vote on the withdrawal agreement bill will be make or break for Theresa May’s future as prime minister, Downing Street has indicated, as a member of her cabinet said defeat could also kill off the deal entirely. No 10 said the key piece of Brexit legislation would be voted on in the week beginning 3 June, and talks with Labour would continue in the meantime.
15th May 2019 - The Guardian

If Theresa May resigns, what will the leadership contest look like?

Despite suffering the largest defeat for a sitting government in history when her Brexit deal was rejected by MPs, Theresa May continues to cling to office. In May, it emerged that she could stand down if her hated bill fails for a final time in July. So how would a leadership campaign play out? The Sun discusses it
15th May 2019 - The Sun

Exclusive: Lib Dems Send Activists 'Jeremy Corbyn Brexit Dossier' As Party Plots Assault On Labour Heartlands

Lib Dem activists targeting Labour heartlands in the European elections have been armed with a ‘Jeremy Corbyn Brexit dossier’, HuffPost UK has learned. The eight-page document is being sent to candidates and grassroots activists as Vince Cable’s party aims to convince “increasingly soft” Labour votes. The document, which is to be issued with Labour attack leaflets, collates pro-Brexit quotes from Labour’s frontbench MPs, including from supporters of a second referendum, such as Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry. It also outlines in detail the party’s voting record on a second referendum and soft Brexit options, underlining that Corbyn’s MPs were whipped either to abstain or to vote with the Tories on 29 key Brexit votes.
15th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Brexit Party Welsh Assembly group to be set up

Four former UKIP AMs have joined Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, announcing plans to form an assembly group. Mr Farage declared Mark Reckless group leader on a visit to Cardiff on Wednesday. The planned group, which includes Mandy Jones, Caroline Jones and David Rowlands, is subject to assembly approval. Some Plaid Cymru and Labour AMs want it stopped. Mr Farage said: "The leavers in Wales are all coming back together again."
15th May 2019 - BBC

'Political tectonic plates are shifting': Greens aim to gain from Labour's pain

Labour and the Conservatives are widely expected to pay a heavy price for the Brexit impasse in next week’s European elections, and the Green party hopes to take advantage. Normally best known for environmental policies, the Greens aim to attract pro-EU voters with their “clear pro-remain” position. The difficulty is that the competition for that segment of the vote is crowded, with the Lib Dems and Change UK equally keen to take a share. Still, the Greens are optimistic. In London they hope to double their number of MEPs, to two, and they believe they can pick up a significant number of protest votes from people who want to send a clear message to Jeremy Corbyn over Labour’s Brexit position, even in his own backyard.
15th May 2019 - The Guardian

Theresa May to be told: give us your leaving date or you'll be gone in a month

Theresa May will be forced from office within a month if she does not set out a timetable for her departure when she meets senior backbench MPs on Thursday. The Prime Minister will be told she faces the prospect of a confidence vote of her own MPs on June 12 if she does not agree to quit before the summer. Mrs May has already promised to stand down once Britain has formally left the EU, but the executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories will tell her on Thursday that she must agree to resign regardless of whether her Brexit deal is passed by Parliament. There is growing unease within Tory ranks about the swift rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which now has more than 100,000 paying subscribers
15th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Brexit: Stephen Barclay says PM's deal is 'dead' if bill fails

The prime minister's Brexit deal will be "dead" if the withdrawal bill does not pass in the Commons in June, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has said. Mr Barclay said the bill - which paves the way for Brexit - will be considered by MPs in the week beginning 3 June. He said if the plan is rejected by MPs, the UK will face no deal, or Article 50 could be revoked - so no Brexit. But Jeremy Corbyn's spokesman has said Labour would not support the bill if no cross-party agreement were reached. Attempts to find a cross-party compromise began after Theresa May's Brexit deal, the withdrawal agreement that was negotiated with the EU, was rejected three times by MPs. Asked twice whether she would resign if her Brexit plan is rejected again by MPs, Mrs May said the withdrawal bill will "ensure that we deliver Brexit for the public".
15th May 2019 - BBC

Why Theresa May faces defeat on her flagship Brexit bill

Experts said there were three broad reasons why the government now risked defeat in the Commons on the withdrawal agreement bill. First, the bill gives effect to the Irish backstop, the provision in the divorce treaty to prevent the return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic through a customs union between the UK and the EU if necessary. Northern Ireland, but not Britain, would also be bound by the EU’s goods regulations. Second, the bill maintains a limited role for the European Court of Justice in UK law after Britain leaves the EU. “The EU withdrawal act passed in 2018 turned off the principle of supremacy and direct effect of EU law in the UK,” said Catherine Barnard, professor of EU law at Trinity College Cambridge. “What the WAB does is turn it back on again. Third, the bill enacts the arrangements under which UK has agreed to pay up to €45bn to the EU as part of leaving the bloc. “The bill give ministers powers to make payments to the EU,” said Ms Thimont Jack. “But MPs could amend these clauses to make payments conditional on the EU reaching a trade agreement with the UK, or on future parliamentary votes.
15th May 2019 - Financial Times

@ITVPeston .@EmilyThornberry says if we end up with a deal it should go back to the public to ensure its what they want, with an option to Remain. #Peston

.@EmilyThornberry says if we end up with a deal it should go back to the public to ensure its what they want, with an option to Remain. #Peston
15th May 2019 - @ITVPeston

Both parties frozen in terror as Brexit destroys the system

It is a fundamentally meaningless project, which simultaneously makes it impossible to do anything else. It's a curse, a hex on the body politic. If you don't remove it, it simply sucks you dry. The easy answer to take from this is that the Tories need to turn into the Brexit party, and Labour needs to turn into the Remain party. There are numerous things which make that difficult, if not impossible. But there is something else, something more pronounced. Regardless of Brexit outcome, politicians need to change they way they speak about this issue. They need to be honest, plain-spoken, and precise. Voters deserve that. And politicians' failure to live up to it is destroying them.
14th May 2019 - Politics.co.uk

With so many alienated by Westminster, it should be no surprise that Welsh independence is gaining strength

Two decades later, we have a situation that closely parallels the circumstances that ultimately led to that historic repatriation of powers: 10 years of austerity that have pushed hundreds of Welsh communities back into the grip of poverty, and a Brexit process that has left large swathes of the population feeling like no-one speaks for them. A sense that those in power have barely even a peripheral focus on our interests. Support for independence in Wales has always been fuelled by a sense of alienation from those calling the shots in Westminster. The current growth in momentum and activity would certainly suggest that more people feel that way than ever before.
12th May 2019 - Wales Online

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 15th May 2019

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Brexit chaos: ‘nothing's changed’ - ERG and DUP chiefs savage Theresa May's new vote

“Unless she can demonstrate something new that addresses the problem of the backstop then it is highly likely her deal will go down to defeat once again. "The Prime Minister has not pursued the one option that has ever achieved a positive vote for something in Parliament. "For the Bill to have any prospect of success then there must be real change to protect the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom and deliver Brexit.” Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt also warned that if MPs fail to deliver Brexit, they will be “crucified” by voters.
15th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

EU elections: Cable says Remain parties 'shouldn't be squabbling'

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable says he was in favour of working with other Remain parties to present a "common front" at the European elections. The pro-EU MP told LBC Radio he had approached the Green Party and Change UK to suggest joint candidates. He said the parties "shouldn't be squabbling", but added: "Frankly, we didn't get a very warm reception." The Greens say joint lists are not "desirable" and Change UK has said an alliance "wasn't ever on the agenda". Elections for 73 MEPs to the European Parliament will take place on 23 May.
15th May 2019 - BBC

May uses 'high noon' Cabinet to set a summer deadline for passing her deal and stepping down

Theresa May last night made a 'final offer' to Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit, as she bowed to Cabinet demands to accelerate efforts to take Britain out of the EU. In a high risk move, Mrs May told the Cabinet that she would finally bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill legislation in the week beginning June 3 – with or without a deal with Labour – in the hope of getting a version of her deal through Parliament at the fourth attempt. That is the same week that President Trump is due to make a three-day state visit to the UK. It will also come just after the May 23 European elections in which the Tories are expected to take a huge battering from voters over delays to Brexit.
15th May 2019 - Daily Mail

By obsessing about the Brexit Party, Remainers are failing to inspire their own side

Meanwhile, by obsessing about the Brexit Party, Remainers are failing to talk to their own side. The 16 million people who supported staying in the EU (a group which, according to all polling, has grown) are being ignored; put off even. “When campaigns disintegrate into shrill attacks”, Fridkin Kahn and Kenney found in the American Political Science Review, “voters tend to stay home”. So, not only are we energising his base, we are suppressing our own. Much has been made of the fragmenting of the Remain vote. Much hand-wringing on social media about how much better it would be if there had been some Remain alliance. As if moaning about it on Twitter can turn back time. More negativity, more turnout suppression. We must stop. Think back to the Brexit Party’s objective – they have it spot on. The reward for doing well in the European Election is not a seat at the table. It is influence over those already at the table. The best strategy for Remain is to syphon as many votes as possible from those players – especially Labour.
14th May 2019 - iNews

Nicola Sturgeon: Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world – there is no ‘planet B’

The UK Committee on Climate Change said that achieving net zero by 2045 will require “extensive changes across the economy” and they are right. The country faces a climate change emergency says Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
14th May 2019 - Evening Times

Peterborough by-election candidates grilled on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme

The Peterborough by-election featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. Several of the candidates faced some tough questions from the BBC’s Ross Hawkins during the segment, which featured shortly before the 7.30am news. The by-election is ...
14th May 2019 - Peterborough Evening Telegraph

BBC host forced to intervene as 'PATRONISING' Martin Lewis fiercely CLASHES with Tory MP

Martin Lewis and Tory MP Suella Braverman fiercely clashed on a BBC panel while discussing the upcoming European elections. Mr Lewis argued the Brexit vote was “never structured as it should have been”, and Ms Braverman contended he showed a “patronising attitude towards British people”. Speaking on BBC’s Politics Live, the MoneySavingExpert.com founder declared: “It is just horrendously shameful from our political classes that we have been allowed to get to this stage. We trusted the political classes in the management of this process, and for polemic reasons the vote was never structured as it should have been.
14th May 2019 - Daily Express

European elections debate: Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage refuses challenge to take on Change UK leader Heidi Allen on live TV

Nigel Farage has dismissed a challenge from Change UK leader Heidi Allen to a live TV debate ahead of next week’s European Parliament elections. Ms Allen, the former Tory MP who left to join pro-Remain Change UK, said she wanted to debate Brexit Party leader Mr Farage in order to allow the public to see “two futures to the British people” and choose between them. But Mr Farage declined to take up the offer, with a party spokesman telling i: “One thing one learns in politics is not to aim down.” Ms Allen made the challenge in a party election broadcast, aired a rally in Cardiff on Monday evening.
14th May 2019 - iNews

Brexit: PM and Corbyn holding meeting over cross-party talks

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are meeting to discuss ongoing Brexit talks between their two parties. A Labour source told the BBC it was about "keeping in touch" after meetings of both the PM's cabinet and the opposition leader's shadow cabinet. Earlier, Labour's John McDonnell said there had been no "significant shift" in the government position. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said a compromise was not impossible but talks could not continue "indefinitely". The discussions have been going on for weeks with little sign of progress. Following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said ministers had agreed they would continue.
14th May 2019 - BBC

Why the lack of a Remain alliance will hand Nigel Farage's Brexit Party victory in the EU elections

In just over a fortnight, the UK will head to the ballot box to vote in the European Parliament elections, with both main parties expected to take a battering. Nigel Farage's does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Brexit Party are currently riding high in the polls as the clear voice of the pro-Brexit protest vote. However, the three UK-wide pro-Remain parties - the Lib Dems, the Greens and Change UK - have chosen not to form an alliance for these elections, risking a split in their vote and an underwhelming performance as a consequence. This decision seems even more short-sighted due to the slightly unusual electoral system that the UK uses for the European elections.
14th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Lib Dems hope Brexit can outweigh anger over coalition years

“We are not trying to win over Brexiteers,” he said. “There may become a point at which we get a referendum and that battle for the hearts and minds will take place, but this isn’t it. We are basically trying to get remain voters to get behind us.” Vince Cable said he was optimistic his party would win more MEPs in the south-east, London and the south-west. He said the Lib Dems were now hopeful they could secure some MEPs in the north, something they didn’t initially think would be possible. “We’re not going to get lots of MEPs,” he said. “But we hope to have a respectable showing. We only won one last time, so it’s difficult to go backwards.”
14th May 2019 - The Guardian

Tory MP Crispin Blunt calls for a pact with Nigel Farage's Brexit Party if there is a general election saying 'otherwise Brexit doesn't happen'

A Eurosceptic Tory has said the party should do a deal with Nigel Farage if the current deadlock over quitting the EU results in a general election, warning that 'otherwise Brexit doesn't happen'. Crispin Blunt said that the Conservatives must make an 'accommodation' with the Brexit Party but stopped short of calling for a full coalition. He suggested they try to do a deal where the new anti-EU party 'runs in the seats that we don't hold', in an interview on the BBC's Newsnight. The Reigate MP, 58, also said that Theresa May has to step down as party leader before the conference in the autumn.
14th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Senior Tory MP calls for election pact with Nigel Farage to save Brexit

14th May 2019 - Politics Home

Theresa May to table vote on Brexit deal in early June as she demands three more months in office

Theresa May has tried to delay her resignation for almost three months by telling ministers she can get a Brexit deal done if she is allowed to stay as Prime Minister until the end of July. Mrs May met Jeremy Corbyn for cross-party talks on Tuesday night where she told him she will table a vote on a Brexit “divorce” bill next month with or without a deal with Labour. Mrs May earlier told her Cabinet it was “imperative” the Brexit legislation is passed before Parliament breaks for the summer. The Prime Minister has promised to quit once the Brexit divorce deal is agreed, meaning she would stay in Number 10 for at least another 11 weeks.
14th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Tories Face Oblivion If They Do Not Satisfy Farage's Brexit Demands, Steve Baker Warns

The Conservative party will face “oblivion” unless it satisfies Brexit Party voters’ desire for a hard withdrawal from the EU, a senior MP has warned amid suggestions of a Tory pact with Nigel Farage’s outfit. Arch-Eurosceptic Steve Baker called for a “reconciliation” between the parties after his Tory colleague, the former minister Crispin Blunt, urged an electoral pact with the Brexit Party.
14th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Brexit talks with Labour are blind alley, senior Tories tell May

Theresa May’s Brexit talks with Labour have been criticised as a “blind alley” as she came under intense pressure from 14 senior party figures to abandon the idea of a cross-party pact. The former defence secretary Michael Fallon said the talks should be stopped, after he joined 12 other former cabinet ministers and Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, in warning No 10 against any deal that involved a customs union. Fallon, who was forced to resign by May in 2017 for inappropriate behaviour towards women, said it would be better to stay in the EU than sign up to a customs union – a key demand of Labour. “This is a blind alley taking us into a customs union,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We said we would leave a customs union very clearly at the time of the election. If you go into a customs union you can’t start pursuing independent trade deals.
14th May 2019 - The Guardian

What tonight’s Corbyn-May meeting means for Brexit

“The Labour leader set out the shadow cabinet’s concerns about the Prime Minister’s ability to deliver on any compromise agreement. “In particular he raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers seeking to replace the Prime Minister. “Jeremy Corbyn made clear the need for further movement from the government, including on entrenchment of any commitments. The Prime Minister’s team agreed to bring back documentation and further proposals tomorrow.”
14th May 2019 - Labour List

Theresa May Sets ‘Summer’ Deadline For Brexit In Bid To Defuse New Tory Leadership Plot

In a sign of hardening attitudes against the Labour talks, May and her ministers also agreed that it was “imperative” that MPs passed the necessary legislation by the time parliament’s recess starts in late July. A No.10 spokesman said: “This evening the Prime Minister met the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons to make clear our determination to bring the talks to a conclusion and deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU. “We will therefore be bringing forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning June 3.” In response, Corbyn rejected any idea of Labour supporting the bill without its demands being met.
14th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Brexit: MPs to vote on implementation bill in early June

MPs will be asked to vote on Brexit again in early June whether or not the government and Labour have reached a deal, Downing Street has said. A spokesman said a vote on the bill that would pave the way for Brexit was "imperative" if the UK was to leave the EU before MPs' summer recess. However, this would not amount to a fourth so-called meaningful vote on the PM's Withdrawal Agreement itself. Labour sources say they will not back the bill without a cross-party deal.
14th May 2019 - BBC

@Peston @theresa_may⁩ sets a deadline of 3rd June to agree a Brexit deal with Labour. In that sense the government is prepared to be held hostage by ⁦@jeremycorbyn⁩ till AFTER the EU elections

@theresa_may⁩ sets a deadline of 3rd June to agree a Brexit deal with Labour. In that sense the government is prepared to be held hostage by ⁦@jeremycorbyn⁩ till AFTER the EU elections - which is an odd look for ⁦@theresa_may⁩ to choose. But as I said...
14th May 2019 - @Peston

Nicola Sturgeon: I suffer from 'imposter syndrome'

Nicola Sturgeon has said she "absolutely" suffers from "imposter syndrome" in her job as Scottish First Minister. She also revealed she speaks to her mother Joan every day and that getting married to her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, had made her feel "more secure and stable". The condition involves a lack of self-confidence, anxiety and doubts about your thoughts, abilities, achievements and accomplishments. The SNP leader told community radio station Sunny Govan Radio: "Even though I have been in politics for a long time, I have been First Minister for four years, there will be days when I think 'should I even be here? Is somebody about to find me out?"' Radio host Anne Hughes had asked Ms Sturgeon, who is Scotland's first female first minister, if she ever suffered from imposter syndrome. The SNP leader told her: "Absolutely, I don't think there is a woman alive, particularly working-class women, who don't experience that at some point in their lives, and probably quite regularly. "I just think it is natural. In some ways I think women should work to overcome that, and be encouraged to overcome it, but there is a bit of humility as well that I don't think we should ever lose completely.
14th May 2019 - STV News

Brexit talks between Labour and the Conservatives hit a low point

Senior Labour Party figures say Brexit talks with the government are still a long way finding an agreement. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said that the government's offer was "nowhere near" what Labour wanted. He added that Conservative party infighting was making it harder for Labour to sign up to a deal: "Let's be absolutely straight, today hasn't helped." Theresa May and her Cabinet agreed to continue Brexit talks with Labour on Monday.
14th May 2019 - Business Insider

@Peston Whatever the government and Labour say later tonight after talks between @theresa_may and @jeremycorbyn I would be staggered if the Brexit negotiations between government and Labour continue beyond the end of this week.

Whatever the government and Labour say later tonight after talks between @theresa_may and @jeremycorbyn I would be staggered if the Brexit negotiations between government and Labour continue beyond the end of this week. Collapse looms, probably Thursday, I am informed
14th May 2019 - @Peston

Police investigating Leave campaign could make decision 'within weeks'

The police force investigating alleged breaches of election law by Leave campaigners during the EU referendum could decide if they believe any offences were committed "within weeks". The Metropolitan Police have been examining material passed to the force by the electoral commission, which found both the Vote Leave and Leave.EU groups breached spending rules. Met commissioner Cressida Dick said a criminal investigation has not yet been launched, but told the London Assembly's police and crime committee her officers are close to coming to a decision on whether they believe any offences have been committed. "I think it's fair to say the team believe... that in some matters at least we may be able to come to the end of the assessment in weeks and not months and months and months," she said. "I hope that is the case and that would be based on our view we have all the relevant material. There may be a tiny bit more to get."
14th May 2019 - The New European

Theresa May vows to give MPs fresh Brexit vote next month even without Labour deal

MPs will be given a fresh vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal within three weeks - even if the Government fails to strike a deal with Labour. Downing Street has confirmed that the Withdrawall Agreement Bill - the legislation needed to confirm the UK's departure from the EU - will be introduced to the Commons at the start of June. The announcement followed "useful and constructive" talks between the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday evening.
14th May 2019 - Politics Home

@BBCPolitics During the European Parliamentary elections campaign all the main UK parties will be interviewed on the BBC News Channel @huwbbc

During the European Parliamentary elections campaign all the main UK parties will be interviewed on the BBC News Channel @huwbbc has been putting questions from BBC viewers to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage
14th May 2019 - @BBCPolitics

@BBCPolitics @huwbbc has been putting questions from BBC viewers to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage

During the European Parliamentary elections campaign all the main UK parties will be interviewed on the BBC News Channel @huwbbc has been putting questions from BBC viewers to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage
14th May 2019 - @BBCPolitics

McDonnell in heartfelt appeal to Remainers drifting from Labour

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said he and Jeremy Corbyn are Remainers “deep” in their hearts as he warned that Labour MPs wouldn’t sign up to a compromise Brexit deal that could be ripped up by the next Conservative leader, and which doesn’t include a second EU referendum. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference in London, Mr McDonnell appealed to pro-EU voters who have drifted away from Labour, saying: “Deep in my heart I’m still a Remainer.” Asked if Mr Corbyn was also a Remainer in his heart, the shadow chancellor said: “Yes.”
14th May 2019 - The Scotsman

People's Vote campaign accused of taking orders from Labour

Senior figures in Change UK have expressed concern that the People’s Vote campaign may fall foul of electoral law, accusing key staff at the non-partisan campaign of taking orders from Labour. Among those who have made complaints are the Change UK MPs Chuka Umunna, formerly of Labour, and Anna Soubry, a former Tory, both founding members of the campaign. The Guardian understands that other parties, including the Lib Dems, have also expressed concerns about how the campaign has portrayed Labour’s position on a second referendum. The allegation has been fiercely disputed by the People’s Vote campaign, which said it had repeatedly criticised Labour’s position on Brexit for being too weak. It denied that the party had had undue influence in its campaign. The row spilled into the open last week after senior People’s Vote staffers were accused of persuading a pro-remain activist, Femi Oluwole, to drop his independent candidacy in the Peterborough byelection, where he would have been backed by Change UK, the Lib Dems and the Green party. A Change UK source said the candidate was “subject to the most extreme pressure by Labour figures in the People’s Vote campaign”.
14th May 2019 - The Guardian

Brexit: May reveals plan for Commons vote on key legislation after late-night talks with Corbyn

Theresa May has vowed to bring forward key Brexit legislation for a Commons vote in the first week of June in what could be her last move as prime minister. After a late-night meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, the prime minister said the cross-party talks with Labour to find a solution to the deadlock at Westminster will continue – despite both sides being downbeat about any resolution being found. The government made clear a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) will be brought forward regardless of the outcome of the discussions, however, in the week beginning 3 June – the same week the US president Donald Trump is to visit the UK on an official state visit.
14th May 2019 - The Independent

Twenty-four hours with Nigel Farage: 'I won't be rolled over. This is the fightback I promised'

Nigel Farage is channelling Lord Kitchener. The Field Marshal’s hat has been replaced by the Brexiteer’s trademark flat cap and there is no elaborate moustache but the message is as pointed as Farage’s index finger: “Britain needs the Brexit Party, and the Brexit Party needs you!” Standing on a ledge overlooking the white cliffs of Dover, the campaign video echoes the mood inside the Featherstone Working Men’s Club near Pontefract, where Britain’s beleaguered political system appears well and truly on the brink. Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe has just been given a standing ovation and now the largely Left-leaning residents of this former mining town are chanting the name of the nation’s new party leader
14th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 14th May 2019

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Brexit: Olly Robbins heads to Brussels

Are the talks between the government and the opposition dead? Not yet. Olly Robbins, (remember him?) the government's Brexit negotiator, is off to Brussels on Tuesday to talk about how long it might take, and how the broad outline of the future arrangement between the EU and the UK could be changed if there were to be some kind of deal. On its own, that sounds rather promising. It's been a demand from Labour that there would be changes to the so-called political declaration so that any compromises can be trusted. And broadly, the actual policies of the two main Westminster parties aren't so far apart after all. If you squint at the detail you can just about see where, with some understanding, and urgency, they could collide.
14th May 2019 - BBC

Brexit: ‘A customs union is both bad policy and bad politics’

As the chairman of the 1922 Committee and former cabinet ministers, and who voted for your Withdrawal Agreement in the most recent vote on March 29, we are writing to urge you not to agree any customs union with the Labour Party. A customs union with the EU is both bad policy and bad politics. On policy, we would be stuck in the worst of both worlds. First, the democratic deficit: for the first time in this nation’s long trading history we would have neither an independent trade policy nor any significant say in the trade policy of a wider entity. The British people would not be able to understand how none of their elected representatives had any say. A Latvian MEP would have more say over our trade policy than anyone elected in this country.
14th May 2019 - The Times

Theresa May serves no one by clinging on to power

Even Tory loyalists cannot deny the pointlessness of carrying on as now. Brexit is unresolved; they cannot move on to any other issues and a radical Labour opposition goes unchallenged. It is not only the Tories who are suffering; those who wish to undermine faith in politics are being handed a new weapon with each week of torpor. There is no reason for Tory moderates to be optimistic about the next leader. Yet the “delay till a deal” strategy is exhausted. The governing party has ceased to function and so has Westminster. Mrs May should bank her records and set a departure date. In the words of one Tory MP: “Whatever comes next is coming. We may as well get on with it.”
13th May 2019 - Financial Times

Brexit news latest: Theresa May told to abandon talks with Labour and not give ground on customs union

Theresa May is under pressure to abandon Brexit talks with Labour amid warnings she risks losing the "loyal middle" of the Tory Party if she gives ground on a customs union. Thirteen former ministers, together with the backbench 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, have written to the Prime Minister urging her not to concede Labour's key demand. The signatories of the letter, seen by The Times, were said to include Gavin Williamson, who she sacked as defence secretary, as well as Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab.
13th May 2019 - Evening Standard

@alexwickham NEW: Julian Smith has just told Tory MPs they are now on a three line whip for Thursday. It was previously a one line whip. No reason given for the update. MPs are asking if this means we could finally be getting a vote on the WAB

NEW: Julian Smith has just told Tory MPs they are now on a three line whip for Thursday. It was previously a one line whip. No reason given for the update. MPs are asking if this means we could finally be getting a vote on the WAB
13th May 2019 - @alexwickham

Not voting Labour will let Nigel Farage win, warns party's deputy

Labour's deputy leader said not voting for his party in the European elections will give Nigel Farage a win, and has reached out to Remainers by saying its agenda is to "remain and reform" in Europe. Tom Watson is expected to plead in a speech at the Fabian Society for supporters to back Labour in the polls next week. "There are only two forces that can win this election - that nasty nationalism of the Farage Brexit Party, or the tolerant, compassionate outward looking patriotism of the Labour Party," Watson will say. "I can only plead with Labour supporters - don't stay at home, don't put that cross elsewhere, don't let them win."
14th May 2019 - The New European

Pressure grows on Sajid Javid to allow asylum-seekers to work in Britain

Pressure is growing on Sajid Javid to allow asylum seekers to work in a desperate hunt across Government for new cash streams. The Treasury has demanded the Home Secretary reduce the spiralling bill for claimants in the UK, which now stretches into the hundreds of millions every year. One idea being looked at is to end the long standing ban on foreign nationals who have claimed asylum taking jobs. The controversial move - which could be pushed through as part of new post-Brexit immigration rules - would save the Treasury a fortune in paying out handouts as well as bringing in extra income tax.
13th May 2019 - The Sun

Brexit: Cross-party deal must include new referendum - Sir Keir Starmer

A cross-party Brexit deal will not get through Parliament unless it is subject to a fresh public vote, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer says. Talks between Labour and ministers over leaving the EU have been going on for a month with little sign of progress. Sir Keir told the Guardian that without a new referendum up to 150 Labour MPs would vote against any agreement made. Environment Secretary Michael Gove suggested Labour needed more time to come to terms with the idea of a deal. "For some in the Labour Party it will be a significant step to accept supporting Brexit and to come behind the prime minister's approach," he told the BBC. After talks broke up on Monday evening, a Labour spokesperson said the shadow cabinet would be updated on what had been discussed.
13th May 2019 - BBC

Mark Harper: “I will vote Conservative, but I can understand why many of our supporters aren't going to"

Mark Harper MP insists such “self-indulgent” speculation about the party leadership should not be the priority with the European elections looming large. But is the former chief whip mulling a crack at the top job? He speaks to Sebastian Whale
13th May 2019 - Politics Home

Michael Gove: Theresa May will be prime minister 'for a while to come yet'

Theresa May will be prime minister "for a while to come yet", a Cabinet minister has told Sky News. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said Mrs May should be given the "time, space and dignity to leave in a way that she believes is right". The PM has promised to leave office once the first phase of Brexit has been sorted out, but the deadlock over Britain's departure from the European Union continues to drag on.
13th May 2019 - Sky News

Which senior Labour figures support a second Brexit referendum?

Labour's Brexit divisions have been laid bare once more, after two frontbenchers warned any Brexit deal was "impossible" to get through the Commons without a public vote attached. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, and deputy leader Tom Watson have both thrown their weight behind calls for a second referendum on a cross-party agreement. But the prospect of a Final Say vote remains divisive among senior Labour figures, which has led, in part, to the party's carefully crafted Brexit position.
13th May 2019 - The Independent

Seven in 10 Londoners would back staying in EU over Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Londoners are saying an emphatic “no” to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with seven out of 10 saying they would rather stay in the European Union. The exclusive poll also found that nearly half of Londoners want a second referendum to be called, the strongest support yet, with 47 per cent in favour and just 29 per cent against. The findings by YouGov, with research commissioned by Queen Mary University of London, suggest a big shift from the referendum in 2016 when the capital divided 60-40 for staying in the EU.
13th May 2019 - Evening Standard

The party leaders have failed on Brexit. The UK’s fate is now in MPs’ hands

A greater challenge then presents itself. The Commons must empower a plausible executive machine to deliver what it decides. The party leaders must agree in advance to implement that decision. This would require the Tories to support May, still their leader, to present Brussels with whatever the Commons has decided, irrespective of what the Tories alone decided. To carry any credibility, the prime minister would need other Commons parties alongside her.
13th May 2019 - The Guardian

Liz Truss says Tories should build a million homes on green belt as she drops clear hint at leadership bid

Top minister Liz Truss has said the Conservatives should build one million homes on the green belt, as she all but confirmed she would stand for the party leadership. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the eye-catching proposal would “allow the under 40s to own their own homes”. But it is likely to get short shrift from the old guard in the Tory membership, which has been strongly opposed to building on green belt land.
13th May 2019 - Politics Home

@BBCLauraK Brexit talks are not in good health, but not dead yet, Olly Robbins is heading to Brussels tomorrow to talk about how, and how long it might take to change the political declaration IF there were to be an agreement

Brexit talks are not in good health, but not dead yet, Olly Robbins is heading to Brussels tomorrow to talk about how, and how long it might take to change the political declaration IF there were to be an agreement
13th May 2019 - BBC

Brexit talks between Labour and Government on brink of collapse as deadlock continues

Brexit negotiations between the Government and Labour are on the brink of collapse after the latest round of talks ended without agreement. Senior frontbenchers from both sides met for nearly two hours on Monday in a fresh bid to find a breakthrough. But sources said they broke up without any “substantive progress” being made. In a clear sign that the negotiations a deal is as far away as ever, no further talks have been pencilled in. Theresa May will report back to her Cabinet on Tuesday, as will Jeremy Corbyn with his Shadow Cabinet. And it looks increasingly likely that both sides will decide to pull the plug on the talks, which began more than a month ago.
13th May 2019 - Politics Home

Nigel Farage to launch eighth bid to become an MP at next general election

Nigel Farage has confirmed that he will mount an eighth attempt to become an MP in a bid to ensure Britain leaves the European Union. The former Ukip leader's new Brexit Party is on course beat both Labour and the Conservatives at the EU elections next week, amid a growing backlash from Leave voters over the ongoing parliamentary deadlock. Mr Farage also confirmed that he would be willing to prop up a minority Tory government at Westminster if it meant that a no-deal Brexit would be delivered.
13th May 2019 - Politics Home

Theresa May’s ‘Plan B’ Brexit Compromise Set To Be Rejected By Labour As Talks Falter

Theresa May’s hopes of a ‘Plan B’ Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn look set to be dashed as senior Labour figures have warned they can’t sign up to her plea to abide by a fresh set of Commons votes. Talks between the government and opposition broke up again without any substantive agreement on Monday night, and few on either side now expect a cross-party agreement on major issues such as customs or a second referendum. But with her preferred option of a joint deal on the edge of collapse, HuffPost UK has learned that even May’s fallback plan - of a series of ‘indicative votes’ - is set to be rejected by Labour.
13th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

At Change UK we will fight to save London from Brexit

As a BBC correspondent in Northern Ireland I often asked prominent members of the IRA what they made of Corbyn. They repeatedly used the same phrase: he was, they said, a “useful dupe”. Now he is flirting with Theresa May’s Brexit deal. It will make London poorer and will see Mrs May replaced by a hardline Brexiteer in her own party. Even his supporters surely cannot wish for him to become a useful dupe once more — this time of Nigel Farage, Mark Francois, Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Ukip.
13th May 2019 - Evening Standard

Brexit impasse leads to longest UK parliament session since civil war

The Commons has sat for 298 days, and with MPs unable to agree a Brexit deal no new session is in sight. The current session of parliament is now the longest since the civil war period as the impasse over Brexit continues, House of Commons officials have said. As of Friday, the Commons had sat for 298 days, comprising 2,657 hours and 56 minutes, the House of Commons library said in a briefing. The existing record was set during the “long parliament”, when members sat for 3,322 days without prorogation from 3 November 1640 until 20 April 1653. The record session, which the library noted was unlikely to be broken, included not just the civil war but the trial and execution of Charles I, and ended only when Oliver Cromwell used soldiers to remove MPs.
13th May 2019 - The Guardian

Thanks to the Brexit Party, the Conservatives can expect their worst ever result next week

The Brexit Party looks set to drain the Tories' Eurosceptic base, though Labour are struggling too. There have been plenty of previous challenges to the electoral grip of the Conservatives and Labour. The Liberal Democrats have long been snapping at their heels, regularly winning around a fifth of the vote until they entered the 2010-15 Coalition. In the last Euro-election in 2014 Ukip shocked the political establishment by coming first. Scotland is now a SNP fiefdom. However, until now these challenges have occurred separately, not in combination. Ukip’s challenge coincided with a collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote. The SNP does not threaten the two main parties south of the border. Now, The Brexit Party does.
13th May 2019 - The Telegraph

@TNewtonDunn Gove is far from alone among Cabinet Brexiteers in not wanting the leadership contest until after Brexit. Holding it before in their view,

Interesting. Gove is far from alone among Cabinet Brexiteers in not wanting the leadership contest until after Brexit. Holding it before in their view, 1. Favours Raab and Boris, 2. Creates a No Deal showdown with the Commons, and therefore 3. Invites on a general election.
13th May 2019 - @TNewtonDunn

Why I won't be advising people to vote tactically in the European elections

With Brexit on the horizon and the main parties so divided, it’s no wonder that progressive voters want to come together to show a united front. Tactical2017, a progressive campaign that encouraged people to vote tactically in the 2017 general election to get the Conservatives out of government, is being asked again for guidance, this time for the European parliament elections on 23 May. Here is why we won’t be making any solid recommendations, and why we advise people not to follow other sites that do
13th May 2019 - The Guardian

How will Labour’s heartlands greet its Brexit tightrope act?

Jude Kirton-Darling was looking forward to spending a bit of time with her toddler Natan this spring. Although the north-east Labour MEP remained disappointed about the EU referendum result, she thought it would be nice to be a full-time mum for a while. But Theresa May’s failure to get a deal through parliament means Kirton-Darling finds herself on the stump again instead of going to playgroup. “If you had told me three years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said. “As MEPs we see the Brexit process very, very closely from both sides and I have never seen such incompetent negotiations.”
13th May 2019 - The Guardian

How ironic that Farage the City boy could help Corbyn crash the economy

The most significant consequence of a Brexit Party advance, however, would be Labour winning well over 300 seats, way ahead of the Tories. On this basis, Jeremy Corbyn, with the support of the Scottish National Party, would become Prime Minister, and John McDonnell Chancellor of the Exchequer. That would not bring about the Brexit that Nigel Farage wants. Labour is fundamentally a Remain party, and even if it were to take the UK out of the EU, it would be only on the basis that we remained permanently part of the Customs Union: it has repeatedly said as much.
13th May 2019 - Daily Mail

North-east England is not obsessed with Brexit – it’s just a symbol

Brexit was, and remains, largely about this mythical EU and its symbolic opposition to an equally mythical Britain, rather than about anything specific to the actual EU. Brexit is pure magic – standing in for your hopes or fears. Bring it down to the level of the prosaic, to MEPs and trade policy, and it loses this magic and becomes ugly and undesirable. Ultimately Brexit cannot be fulfilled, it can only be betrayed.
13th May 2019 - The Guardian

Heidi Allen challenges Nigel Farage to live TV debate before EU polls

Heidi Allen, the leader of the pro-remain Change UK party, has challenged the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, to a live TV debate before the European elections. Allen, the former Conservative MP who joined the breakaway Independent Group, said she wanted to take on Farage so the British people could decide which new party’s vision they preferred. The challenge was made on Monday night in Change UK’s party election broadcast, launched in Cardiff at a rally in which Allen spoke alongside the former Labour MP Chuka Umunna, another key voice in the party. “I’m challenging Nigel Farage to join me in a new live TV debate and let’s share with the British people our vision for the future and let them decide which they prefer,” Allen said.
13th May 2019 - The Guardian

Tom Watson says late Labour leader John Smith would have backed a second Brexit referendum

Late Labour leader John Smith would have backed calls for a second referendum on Brexit, Tom Watson will declare. In a heartfelt address on Monday, the deputy party leader will argue that Mr Smith, who died in 1994, would have seen a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ as a route out of “this destructive mess”. Mr Watson will also urge Labour voters to stick with the party at the upcoming European Parliament elections and deny victory to the far right and the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage.
13th May 2019 - Politics Home

Tories slump to fifth place in polls ahead of European elections

The Conservatives have fallen into fifth place behind every major political party with the exception of Ukip and ChangeUK in this month’s European elections, a new poll for The Times suggests today. The YouGov research has the Tories at just 10 per cent behind the Liberal Democrats on 15 per cent and the Greens on 11 per cent. The poll indicates that Labour is also haemorrhaging support to Nigel Farage’s new party, with its vote share down five points to 16 per cent. The Brexit Party is up four points on 34 per cent while ChangeUK is on 5 per cent.
13th May 2019 - The Times

Fading away: Brexit Party and Change UK gone within a decade

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Both will be fighting for political survival in an increasingly crowded field. A poor performance is likely to send them to an early grave. As things stand, the public don’t think either of these two new parties will still be around in a decade’s time. The majority of Britons (56 per cent) think Change UK “will eventually fade from politics, and probably not be a force in British politics in 10 years”. Just 10 per cent think that “they are here to stay and will likely remain an important part of British politics for the next 10 years”. The public are even more pessimistic about the Brexit Party, with 63 per cent thinking it will fade over the next decade, although 13 per cent think it’s here to stay. UKIP’s prospects are just as gloomy as those of their newer rivals: 61 per cent think it will fade and 13 per cent think is here to stay.
13th May 2019 - The Times

Corbyn urged to commit Opposition to People's Vote to secure Labour MPs' support for cross-party Brexit deal

Jeremy Corbyn is facing increased public pressure from senior figures in his own Shadow Cabinet to throw the leadership’s weight behind a second EU referendum on any cross-party Brexit deal in order to gain the backing of their own MPs. Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, warned it was "impossible" to see how an agreement between the Conservatives and his party could clear the Commons unless it guaranteed the deal would be put back to the public for a "confirmatory vote".
13th May 2019 - Herald Scotland

Brexit: Labour's old leader would have backed a second referendum, Tom Watson tells Corbyn

Tom Watson has launched a fresh bid to convince Jeremy Corbyn to back another Brexit referendum by claiming that former party leader John Smith would have understood the need for a Final Say vote. In a speech on Monday, the party’s deputy leader will admit that Labour supporters are “not happy” with its current Brexit policy and make an impassioned plea to them not to abandon the party in European parliament elections later this month. In comments that will be widely interpreted as on attack on Mr Corbyn, he will hit out at left-wing critics of the EU and say that they are just as “wrong-headed” as right-wing Eurosceptics.
13th May 2019 - The Independent

DUP: Arlene Foster says Brexit vote would put 'democracy at risk'

A confirmatory Brexit referendum would place democracy at risk, Arlene Foster has warned. The DUP leader rejected calls from senior Labour politicians that any Brexit deal that might emerge from their party’s talks with the Conservatives should be put to a public vote.
13th May 2019 - Herald Scotland

Brexit: Cross-party deal must include new referendum - Sir Keir Starmer

A cross-party Brexit deal will not get through Parliament unless it is subject to a fresh public vote, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer says. Talks between Labour and ministers over leaving the EU have been going on for a month with little sign of progress. Sir Keir told the Guardian that without a new referendum up to 150 Labour MPs would vote against any agreement made. Environment Secretary Michael Gove suggested Labour needed more time to come to terms with the idea of a deal. "For some in the Labour Party it will be a significant step to accept supporting Brexit and to come behind the prime minister's approach," he told the BBC.
13th May 2019 - BBC

Sir Vince Cable, Lib Dem leader: ‘Three options’ in second EU referendum

Vince Cable that there could be three options on any future second referendum - No Deal, Theresa May's Deal or Remain in a TV interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy
13th May 2019 - Channel 4 News

Theresa May remains opposed to any form of Brexit referendum

Downing Street said May had made clear her views about a second public vote: “She has said on many occasions that she is focused on delivering the result of the first referendum.” May’s spokesman declined to put a deadline on the talks but said the government was prepared to move on to a series of indicative votes in parliament if no resolution was possible. “If we were able to make progress with Labour then we would look to bring the bill before the House of Commons before the European elections,” he said.
13th May 2019 - The Guardian

Poll puts Lib Dems just 1% behind Labour as the opposition to Nigel Farage

new YouGov poll has thrown into doubt claims that Labour is the main opposition party to Nigel Farage's Brexit Party - with 60% of 2017 general election voters moving away from the party. The latest figures put Labour in second place, but with just 16% of support, as 44% of voters from the 2017 general election plan to vote for pro-Remain parties instead. It has given the Liberal Democrats a boost, giving them 15% of the support, a difference of just 1%. This is followed by the Greens on 11% and Change UK on 5%.
13th May 2019 - The New European

Brexit: EU vote demand is 'torpedoing' Labour-Tory talks

Cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock are not succeeding because of Labour's demand for another referendum, a Welsh MP has warned. Aberavon Labour MP Stephen Kinnock says his party's call is "torpedoing" the discussions between both main parties. Talks between Conservative ministers and Labour over leaving the EU have been going on for a month with little sign of progress. Half of Welsh Labour's 28 MPs have backed another public vote. The shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said a cross-party deal will not get through Parliament unless it is subject to a fresh public vote. He suggested a referendum on the final deal had become a red line of its own for many Labour MPs, saying "a significant number, probably 120 if not 150, would not back a deal if it hasn't got a confirmatory vote".
13th May 2019 - BBC

Jeremy Hunt says UK 'should consider defence spending boost'

The UK should consider "decisively" increasing defence spending after Brexit, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. He told the Lord Mayor's Banquet in London the threats facing the UK had changed "markedly" since the Cold War. "We simply do not know what the balance of power in the world will be in 25 years' time", he added. He said any extra money should be spent on "new capabilities and not simply plugging gaps". Mr Hunt said it was "not sustainable" to expect the US to spend 4% of its GDP on defence while other Nato allies spent between 1% and 2%. "So for these and other reasons I believe it is time for the next Strategic Defence and Security Review to ask whether, over the coming decade, we should decisively increase the proportion of GDP we devote to defence," he said.
12th May 2019 - BBC

Conservative MPs' fury as party leaflet takes aim at Brexiteers who opposed Theresa May's deal

Conservative in-fighting has broken out after the party produced a European Parliament election leaflet which tells people to lobby directly Brexiteer MPs who have voted down Theresa May's Brexit deal. A leaflet - seen by The Telegraph and titled "How to show you want a Brexit deal delivered as soon as possible" - says that "for a deal to pass it needs the support of more than half of all MPs". It includes a photograph and quote from Mrs May saying: "At this critical moment for our country, parties should not be playing politics - or acting for their own personal gain. We need to come together, stay the course, and deliver Brexit in the national interest."
12th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Tory civil war erupts as party's own election leaflet urges voters to pile pressure on Brexiteers

13th May 2019 - Politics Home

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 13th May 2019

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Battle for Brexit: May and Corbyn face brutal defeat if they try to do deal

The warning comes amid rumours that ministers may try to bring the Withdrawal Bill before Parliament as early as Thursday. Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned the Prime Minister that trying to strike a deal with the Labour leader in ongoing talks has reunited the Brexiteer European Research Tory MPs in opposition to any deal. Remainer Conservative MP Phillip Lee, the first minister to resign over Brexit, said that the 14 or so Tory MPs on his side of the debate were set to oppose the deal.
12th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

Brexit news latest: More than two thirds of Labour would reject Brexit deal without second referendum, Sir Keir Starmer has warned

The shadow Brexit secretary has warned that without a second referendum, up to 150 Labour MPs would reject a Brexit deal. Sir Keir Starmer said more than two-thirds of the party's 229 MPs could reject a deal in his first major interview since talks with the Government began almost five weeks ago. Speaking to the Guardian ahead of another meeting on Monday, Sir Keir said he doubted any agreement that was not set to be ratified by a public vote would pass through Parliament. "A significant number of Labour MPs, probably 120 if not 150, would not back a deal if it hasn't got a confirmatory vote," he said. "If the point of the exercise is to get a sustainable majority, over several weeks or months of delivering on the implementation, you can't leave a confirmatory vote out of the package.
12th May 2019 - Evening Standard

EU' Guy Verhofstadt tells Brit voters it would be 'insane' to back Farage in Euro elections

The European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator has told British voters it would be 'insane' to re-elect Nigel Farage as an MEP, as the Brexit Party stormed to a commanding lead in the polls. Former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt tweeted that the Brexit Party leader 'would rather go to the pub than fight for British interests in Europe' in his latest interjection in the UK's European election campaign. It comes after Mr Verhofstadt said he didn't know whether Brexit would happen, and on the campaign trail with the Lib Dems said the coming vote was a chance to send message 'to the continent to say never repeat Brexit again.'
12th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Failure to deliver Brexit has fuelled support for Farage's party, says Gardiner

The shadow international trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, has said parliament’s refusal to deliver Brexit has led directly to the surge in support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, and is allowing him to dictate what the departure terms should be. Gardiner, who is among those on the Labour frontbench most sceptical about the idea of a second referendum, criticised the former prime minister Tony Blair for recommending in an Observer opinion piece that voters could opt for anti-Brexit parties in the European elections on 23 May.
12th May 2019 - The Guardian

Reconciliation in UK could take a generation, says Gordon Brown

The divisions in the UK are so deep and pervasive that reconciliation could take a generation, Gordon Brown has said. The country was facing competing visions of its future: isolated, inward-looking and disengaged, or open, outward-facing and internationalist, the former prime minister said. Speaking at the launch of Christian Aid Week in Westminster on Sunday morning, Brown set out a passionate defence of the international aid budget and the importance of the fight against global poverty before addressing the themes behind the Brexit debate. The UK had endured three years of “almost internecine division”, he said. The debate triggered by the Brexit referendum raised a fundamental disagreement about what it means to be British. “And I’ll be honest, my worry is that the divisions in our country are now so deep and so pervasive that it could take a generation for us to reconcile these differences, bring people together and find a unifying vision of our country and a sense of purpose and direction that takes us forward into the modern world,” Brown said.
12th May 2019 - The Guardian

Forget the polls. Even if the Brexit Party succeed at the European elections, it’ll have no impact on Brexit

Even if Nigel Farage won every single vote, he could not guarantee frictionless trade, he could not prevent a post-Brexit recession, and he could not solve the Irish border riddle. Nor could any other politician
12th May 2019 - The Independent

Labour fears Tom Watson coup if Jeremy Corbyn strikes deal with Theresa May

Allies of Jeremy Corbyn fear his deputy, Tom Watson, could launch a coup within days if the Labour leader agrees to strike a Brexit deal with Theresa May that is not subject to a confirmatory referendum. Sources close to the Labour leader have become increasingly alarmed by Watson’s behaviour after he began recruiting colleagues to join his Future Britain group following the defection of eight Labour MPs for the Independent Group — now Change UK — in February. There are fears in Labour’s high command that Watson is establishing a party within a party that could eventually take control of its finances and MPs. The fears have been fuelled by claims that more than 100 Labour MPs will demand a firm guarantee that any Brexit deal is put to a confirmatory referendum before endorsing a “Westminster stitch-up”. A senior Labour source said: “There has been lots of chatter for months about the idea of Labour MPs resigning en masse if Corbyn backs away from a second referendum. But it’s clear as day to many of us that there will be an internal challenge for the leadership first before there is any kind of further break away from the party.”
12th May 2019 - The Times

Keir Starmer: Brexit deal unlikely to pass without confirmatory poll

The shadow Brexit secretary said he feared the party risked losing its remain voters after worse than expected losses in the local elections, but he warned Labour remainers tempted to vote for the Liberal Democrats or Change UK that only Jeremy Corbyn’s party could deliver a fresh referendum. In his first major interview since talks with the government began almost five weeks ago, Starmer: Suggested a referendum must be part of any package agreed with the government. Said Labour could call time on the cross-party talks within days if it became clear no new offer was forthcoming. Warned Theresa May would further damage the prospect of any deal if she set an imminent departure date from No 10. Said the option was “on the table” to face Nigel Farage or Tommy Robinson in an EU elections debate. Starmer, a human rights lawyer for 20 years, is to be the key face of Labour’s EU elections campaign, which will be framed as a battle of values.
12th May 2019 - The Guardian

Tony Blair warns a no-deal Brexit would spark a 'silent revolution'

If we go ahead and tumble out of the European Union with a no-deal Brexit of the sort that Farage and Boris Johnson and these people want, you are going to get a silent revolution in this country as well. "There are people who are going to feel so strongly about this, that I just say this to both main political parties - they're going to sweep them away."
12th May 2019 - Sky News

Brexit: Cross-party talks to break deadlock 'are not getting very far', Labour shadow minister says

Cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock are "not getting very far", a senior shadow minister has said, dealing a further blow to hopes of a breakthrough. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, claimed the government was refusing to agree to Labour's demands for a customs union with the EU and accused Theresa May of being "unprepared to compromise". The comments contradict claims made by those involved in the negotiations, who have repeatedly said that talks have been "constructive" and made progress.
12th May 2019 - The Independent

EU elections: key dilemma for remainers is who to choose

Our Devastated Pessimist group are young. They make up 53% of 18- to 24-year-olds, but only 21% of those aged 65-plus, and are well educated and middle class: 44% of the AB social class, but only 24% of DEs. This makes them natural Labour supporters but they are particularly angry with Labour, with more than half agreeing that, on Brexit, “Jeremy Corbyn is more concerned about his political career than the national interest”. Disappointment in Corbyn is palpable as his apparent fence-sitting challenges the “man of principle” positioning he successfully occupied in the early days of his leadership.
12th May 2019 - The Guardian

Liberal Democrats are 'only pro-European party in Britain', Guy Verhofstadt says

Guy Verhofstadt has claimed the Liberal Democrats are the only truly pro-EU party in Britain as he joined Sir Vince Cable for campaigning in London. The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator endorsed the Lib Dems ahead of EU elections later this month, saying they offered an “alternative to nationalism”. Speaking alonside Sir Vince in Camden, north London, he said: “The reason I’m here to support the Liberal Democrats is there is only one pro-European party in Britain and it is the Lib Dems.
12th May 2019 - The Independent

Theresa May warned Gavin Williamson had bad-mouthed her when she became PM but she said he was her ‘b***h now’

Theresa May was warned about Gavin Williamson’s bad mouthing when she became PM, but dubbed him “my bitch now”. The former Defence Secretary, who she sacked two weeks ago after accusing him of leaking secrets, is a well-known Westminster plotter. Yesterday, Mr Williamson avenged his firing by branding Mrs May’s decision to hold Brexit deal talks with Labour as “a grave mistake”. The Premier’s aides reported the senior Tory MP – who was then Chief Whip - to her in 2016 for allegedly telling other MPs she was “a charisma free bitch ”. But in a defiant riposte that showed the PM thought she could control Mr Williamson's ways, Mrs May told her staff: “Well he’s my bitch now”.
12th May 2019 - The Sun

The Observer view on the European elections and Nigel Farage’s malign message

Farage's success is at least as much explained by the eagerness of mainstream politicians to yield to his brand of politics, rather than to challenge it. On Europe, Farage has only ever stoked anti-EU sentiment without ever offering constructive fixes. He has consistently got away with telling untruths: that the EU is on the cusp of creating a pan-European army; that EU membership costs the UK £55m a day; that three-quarters of British law is made in Brussels. He has repeatedly praised Norway as a model for the UK’s relationship with the EU in the past, but last week denied it.
12th May 2019 - The Guardian

Brexit backer tops Edinburgh’s rich list - overtaking Harry Potter author JK Rowling

The billionaire reportedly responsible for introducing Arron Banks to Nigel Farage’s campaign to leave the European Union has topped a league table of Edinburgh’s richest people for 2019. Capital-born businessman Jim Mellon was estimated to be worth around £1.1 billion – placing him tenth on the overall UK rankings – in the latest Sunday Times rich list.
11th May 2019 - Edinburgh Evening News

Brexit news latest: Amber Rudd warns Tory rebels not to move against PM as ‘she can make a comeback’

Amber Rudd has warned Tory rebels that Theresa May could “make a comeback” and urged them not to move against her until a Brexit deal is reached. The Work and Pensions Secretary described the current phase of negotiations as a “delicate time” and that launching a bid oust the Prime Minister would only deepen the crisis. Speaking on BBC Question Time, Ms Rudd admitted that cross-party cooperation was at this stage needed to break the impasse and to find the “right compromise”.
11th May 2019 - Evening Standard

BBC's Laura Kuenssberg sets date by which Theresa May will be GONE as Tories LOSE PATIENCE

BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg warned the Prime Minister might be set to face a leadership contest by the end of July. The date, speculated by Ms Kunessberg on Brexitcast, is based on the BBC veteran's knowledge of Theresa May's allies changing their tune since the results of the local elections last month. And with the Conservatives set to lose further public support at the European elections later this month after the Government's mishandling of the Brexit negotiations, the Prime Minister's position looks very unstable.
11th May 2019 - Daily Express

European elections: Change UK launches ‘Charter for Remain’ in bid to secure anti-Brexit vote

Change UK has sought to market itself as the party of Remain as it put the NHS, climate change and fighting Brexit austerity at the heart of it’s European election campaign. Acting leader Heidi Allen said Brexit was the “biggest symbol of our broken system” as she launched the newly formed party’s “Charter for Remain” ahead of the 23 May contest. The blueprint pledges to campaign for a referendum with remaining in the EU on the ballot paper and to fight to ensure any Brexit deal has a confirmatory vote attached. It also sets out how the UK could use membership of the EU to push for change on domestic and international issues.
11th May 2019 - The Independent

Labour 'doesn't exist to stop Brexit' says Corbyn ally Richard Burgon after European manifesto launch

Labour "doesn't exist to stop Brexit", the shadow cabinet minister Richard Burgon has claimed in comments that risk angering pro-EU members. Mr Burgon - an ally of Jeremy Corbyn - made the remarks after the Labour leader launched the party's manifesto for the European elections in two weeks' time. Mr Corbyn insisted Labour was neither a Remain or Leave party, and rather appealing to both sides of the debate as he made "no apology" of attempting to "offer something to everyone".
11th May 2019 - The Independent

EXCL: Sir Mark Sedwill 'facing the axe as Cabinet Secretary' if Brexiteer becomes Prime Minister

Sir Mark Sedwill faces the axe as Cabinet Secretary if a Brexiteer wins the race to become Tory leader, PoliticsHome has learned. The Whitehall bigwig, who is also Theresa May's national security adviser, is unpopular with a number of high-profile Conservatives. They include Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, both of whom are tipped as possible successors to the Prime Minister.
11th May 2019 - Politics Home

Brexit: Renewed hope for second referendum as Theresa May’s deputy discusses ‘research’ with opposition leaders

Theresa May’s deputy has given fresh hope to second referendum campaigners by saying another vote was “perfectly practical”, according to two party leaders. Change UK leader Heidi Allen said David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, had “clearly done his research” on the mechanics of a Final Say vote when she attended talks alongside Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable and Jo Swinson.
11th May 2019 - The Independent

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable claims the Government is secretly planning to hold a second Brexit referendum

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable claims that Theresa May's deputy revealed to him in a meeting that a second Brexit referendum could be imminent as secret 'planning' in the Government is already underway. Mr Cable said that David Lidington has mulled over the 'perfectly practical' idea. The Twickenham MP said he left a Thursday morning meeting with fellow remainer Heidi Allen and Lidington feeling sure that there are secret plans in place.
11th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Farage cannot be allowed to dictate Britain’s future. He must be thwarted

So, the big message: vote. Because your vote will affect their vote. Who to vote for if you’re on the anti-Farage side of the ledger. There are unequivocal remain parties – Liberal Democrats, Change UK, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru. If, because of Labour’s equivocation, you simply won’t vote Labour, then vote for them. If, like me, despite everything, you can vote Labour, then vote Labour. But whatever you do, vote! This is not a vote to choose a prime minister or a government. It is a vote for the Farage Brexit – or against it.
11th May 2019 - The Guardian

Brexit talks 'on the brink of collapse' as Tories 'disintegrate' says John McDonnell

Brexit talks are on the brink of collapse after Labour heavyweight John McDonnell accused Tories of “literally falling out in front of us”. The Shadow Chancellor said there was a growing sense of frustration round the talks, with Conservative leadership contenders fighting among themselves and making a deal impossible. The administration is falling apart. “In terms of different points of view, nothing new has been put on the table – in some instances it has gone backwards. “It’s so precarious. We’re dealing with an institution that might not be there in three weeks. “ Theresa May is living day by day. You can’t run a country on a 24-hour programme.”
11th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

Voice of the Sunday Mirror: Labour is ready to provide leadership if Tories aren't

John McDonnell puts his finger on the problem which faces the whole nation. The country is sailing in a rudderless ship of state whose crew might chuck the skipper overboard at any moment. We hope these talks succeed. We hope Brexit will be sorted out once and for all. But like the shadow Chancellor, we are sceptical. And because Brexit occupies every Tory waking moment, there is a vacuum of ideas needed to solve the nation’s ills. The country is crying out for leadership. And if the Tories cannot provide it, Labour is ready and willing.
11th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

It is the country’s future that matters, not the prime minister’s

Brexit is obviously important, but it seems clearer now that the only way it will be resolved is through a fresh referendum. This is no longer a matter of supporters of EU membership, such as The Independent, trying to frustrate Brexit. The Leave movement has crashed its own project. By failing to unite behind the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement it has prevented the UK from leaving. There is no majority either in parliament or in the country for a no-deal Brexit, which is what the candidates in a Conservative leadership contest are likely to advocate. Therefore, it seems that a majority in the House of Commons must eventually come round, one way or another, to giving the people a final say on the Brexit question.
11th May 2019 - The Independent

Socialists plan EU-wide minimum wage if they win control of European Commission

The EU’s centre-left is planning to introduce a continent-wide minimum wage to correct the bloc’s “neoliberal failures” if it wins control of the European Commission after this month’s elections. The socialist group, in which the UK Labour Party sits, could capture the commission presidency for the first time in decades, with Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans as its candidate to replace Jean-Claude Juncker. With Brexit delayed the UK is set to participate in the elections on 23 May – and with a strong showing expected for Labour, it could be British MEPs that take the socialists over the line to be the biggest group in the European parliament.
11th May 2019 - The Independent

Labour warned plans for £10-an-hour minimum wage could have 'grim consequences'

Professor Len Shackleton, from the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, said Labour's announcement made clear it was in "a bidding war" with the Tories and had closed the door on experts on the Low Pay Commission. Accusing politicians of preferring to "pluck pay increases out of the air", Prof Shackleton said: "This would mean doubling the pay of young people who understandably have fewer skills and less experience than older colleagues. "Such a rate hike could raise youth unemployment to levels comparable with those in continental Europe. "The possible dangers of a political bidding war over minimum wages have been highlighted time and time again.
11th May 2019 - Evening Standard

These are the first European elections in history to feel enthusiastic about

My apologies for recent absence from this space: I have been attempting to finish my late Thatcher studies. As a result of this temporary detachment, it has been easier to discern a deeper pattern in the repetitious deadlock in Parliament and the astonishing fact that we are now about to take part in elections for a European Parliament in which we do not intend to sit. This pattern first became visible 30 years ago. But before I explain this, did you see Brexit: Behind Closed Doors on Wednesday and Thursday nights? Probably not, since it was on BBC 4, and your idea of fun may not involve being trapped in the colourless offices of the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg for two hours
11th May 2019 - The Telegraph

You don’t have to be great to hear the Tory call to greatness

You may have become aware of a worsening background hum to British public life. Think of it as “the clamour”. This is the very specific sound heard by Tory MPs reluctantly deciding that it falls to them to answer the call for a leadership bid. The clamour. So many separate clamours. The Tory leadership field is now the size of the Grand National, though unfortunately many of the runners would find themselves intellectually outclassed by a steeplechaser.
10th May 2019 - The Guardian

SNP faces fines for data protection breach after election mailing error

The Scottish National party faces being fined for a breach of data protection laws after sending out tens of thousands of European election mailings to the wrong addresses. The Information Commissioner’s Office confirmed on Friday morning that the SNP had referred itself for investigation after voters across Scotland received letters addressed to strangers or neighbours. The ICO said it was investigating under stricter EU data protection regulations, which carry significant fines for privacy breaches. The election letters were signed by the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, and urged voters to back the party on 23 May. The wrong recipients included Monica Lennon, a Labour MSP, who did not recognise the person Sturgeon was addressing.
10th May 2019 - The Guardian

Candidate row shows there is trouble in Remainia

Remainers from the Lib Dems, Greens, Change UK and Renew wanted to unite behind a single pro-EU candidate to take on the buoyant Brexit Party, as well as Labour and the Tories. They just couldn’t agree on who that one candidate should be. It was understood to be Femi Oluwole, a law graduate and member of the Our Future, Our Choice group. Gavin Shuker, a former Labour MP who is Change UK’s convener (not to be confused with its leader or chief spokesman), blamed “senior Labour figures, including senior figures campaigning for a People’s Vote” who had “made it clear that they would strenuously disrupt the campaign and obstruct an independent candidate”. It is almost as if Labour would rather win the seat than not win the seat. Given that Labour won it by only 607 in 2017, any dalliance with smaller parties risks handing victory to the Tories.
10th May 2019 - The Times

Second Brexit referendum would be doing SNP's work, Boris Johnson claims

“By undermining the verdict of the EU referendum, they are undermining the decision of 2014 and they are doing the work of the SNP and they are threatening the union. And let us be in no doubt the damage the nationalists would do. They would not only destroy the oldest and most successful political union in the world, they would destroy the very concept of Britain.”
10th May 2019 - The Guardian

Sajid Javid warns Brexit could be cancelled if MPs fail to back Theresa May's deal by October

The Home Secretary said he feared anti-Brexit MPs would bring forward legislation in an attempt to revoke the Article 50 process in a bid to prevent the UK crashing out without a deal. The UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March, but that deadline has now been pushed back to 31 October because of the Prime Minister's failure to win MPs' backing for her deal at three Commons votes.
10th May 2019 - Politics Home

@Channel4News “Aren’t you just winding everyone up by being here?” The European Parliament's Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt

“Aren’t you just winding everyone up by being here?” The European Parliament's Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt - who also heads the European Liberal group - is challenged while campaigning for the Lib Dems ahead of the European elections.
10th May 2019 - @Channel4News

Brexit ULTIMATUM: EU warns Tories removing Theresa May will NOT change deal

Theresa May is to be hauled in front of an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention (NCC) in June after grassroots Conservatives demanded her resignation over her failure to deliver Brexit. Irish deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney, however, warned the party changes in the leadership will not have the European Union change their stance on the controversial backstop included in the divorce deal to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Coveney said: "These realities don’t change. This is not a personality-based issue, it’s an evidence-based issue.
10th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

Guy Verhofstadt: I don't know if Brexit will happen

Guy Verhofstadt has said he does not "know" if Brexit will go ahead. Questioned on this during a visit to London, the leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament told reporters: "Ask Theresa May." Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk said there was a "20 to 30%" chance Brexit would not happen. But Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC it was "still possible" to get Theresa May's withdrawal agreement with the EU through Parliament. The House of Commons has rejected it three times, with the deadline for Brexit being delayed from 29 March to 31 October.
10th May 2019 - BBC

Europe must never repeat Brexit, says Guy Verhofstadt

The European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, has warned that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has already done “far more damage than has ever been predicted”. Appearing alongside the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, at a European election campaign event in Camden, north London, on Friday morning, the leader of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe said he wanted to send a message to people on the continent to “never repeat Brexit again”. Verhofstadt, a former prime minister of Belgium, has been criticised for comments he made in a BBC documentary, in which he joked that Olly Robbins, the UK’s chief negotiator, had asked him for Belgian citizenship. His aide was also recorded describing Theresa May’s actions as insane and pathetic. Asked about the comments, Verhofstadt said the description of the prime minister had been taken out of context and the Robbins anecdote was “a funny joke. Where is your British sense of humour? I hope that in Brexit you don’t lose that. Your famous sense of humour.”
10th May 2019 - The Guardian

'I'm a Lib Dem' declares EU's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt

The European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator has declared himself a Liberal Democrat as he joined the party on the campaign trail in London. Guy Verhofstadt said the Lib Dems offered an alternative to nationalism and predicted a surge for Remain support in the upcoming European elections. He joined Vince Cable's party in Camden, north London, after they launched their European election manifesto "B******* to Brexit".
10th May 2019 - Sky News

Nigel Farage says he wants Theresa May to remain Prime Minister ‘as long as possible’ to help him recruit Brexit Party members

Farage quit as head of the party after the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, only returning to frontline politics with his new party in January of this year. Asked if May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should be worried about his newly-formed party, he responded: "As leader of the Brexit Party, I want Theresa May to stay in office as long as possible as she's doing a fantastic job of recruiting for us.
10th May 2019 - The Sun

‘Dire’ funding situation leaves Tories struggling for party HQ rent

Funding for the Conservatives has dried up so badly that the party is struggling to pay the rent on its headquarters, i has been told. Concern among activists and MPs deepened yesterday as James Hosking, a City financier and one of the party’s most prominent donors, defected to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party. The failure to secure Brexit is one of the main reasons for the crash in donations, with backers unwilling to provide more cash until the issue is resolved. Senior Tory sources told i the situation has become so “dire” that party headquarters was struggling to pay the rent at its £51m Westminster home. “They are currently paying for things at a month by month basis,” the source said. “It is like the dark days of opposition when donors were waiting to see who would take over and reserves were drying up.”
10th May 2019 - iNews

Why the Liberal Democrats’ “Bollocks to Brexit” slogan is a stroke of genius

The Liberal Democrats unveiled their manifesto for the European elections last night in Shoreditch. It was what we’ve come to expect from the party: a slick, well put together event that said – both explicitly though a speech given by leader Vince Cable and implicitly through its smooth execution – that they are the largest, most well-organised pro-Remain party and that anyone who wants to stop Brexit should back them at this European elections. They also chucked in plenty of Green lovebombing, managing to talk up their own environmental credentials without mentioning – or more importantly criticising – their competitors in that field. But all anyone can talk about is the party’s election slogan: “Bollocks to Brexit”. The broadcasters and most of the papers are talking about whether or not they have gone too far with their manifesto’s new message.
10th May 2019 - New Statesman

Scotland does not want Brexit says Nicola Sturgeon at launch of SNP campaign

Nicola Sturgeon has sent an “unequivocal message” to Theresa May that “Scotland does not want Brexit”, as she launched the SNP’s campaign for the European elections. The First Minister joined the party’s six election candidates in Edinburgh for the launch, and demanded any Brexit deal must be put back to the people in a second referendum.
10th May 2019 - Herald Scotland

I'm campaigning for a confirmatory vote. This is what I say to Leavers

If Labour had won the 2017 election, we would have left Europe on March 31st 2019 with a customs union, meeting our six tests – the least worst option. But we didn’t, and they couldn’t pull off any agreement, and now their extreme right Brexiteers are trying to trash our economy, environment and workers’ rights so they can make a killing offering them to their friends as a firesale for Trump’s America. I can’t allow that to happen. Not without a confirmatory vote, at the very least, to ensure that Brexit is really what people want. I am not saying it brings Leave voters round to my way of thinking but I am pretty sure they know where I stand. And, generally, they respect that.
10th May 2019 - Labour List

Sir Graham Brady considering running to replace Theresa May as Tory leader

The Tories’ most powerful backbencher Sir Graham Brady last night opened the door to his own run for the party’s leadership. The 1922 Committee chairman has been tipped to stand in as an interim PM if the Brexit crisis deepens. Quizzed on whether he would be prepared to be the next permanent Tory leader, Mr Brady would only say he is busy at the moment running the troubled 1922 Committee. He added cryptically: “It would take an awful lot of people to persuade me. “I’m not sure many people are straining at the leash at the moment to take on what is an extraordinarily difficult situation.”
10th May 2019 - The Sun

Love Corbyn, hate Brexit? Labour's EU elections dilemma – podcast

Jeremy Corbyn launched Labour’s European elections manifesto with a renewed promise to back a second Brexit referendum in certain circumstances – but to also respect the result of the first. Yet for ardently pro-Corbyn Europhiles such as Momentum’s Laura Parker, it has been a tough balancing act to support.
10th May 2019 - The Guardian

Dominic Raab Pockets £73,000 In Donations From Financiers Linked To Tax Havens

Tory leadership favourite Dominic Raab has netted £73,000 in donations from financiers linked to tax havens. The donations include £29,000 for a staff member in Raab’s office from the IPGL hedge fund, which is owned by ex-Tory treasurer Michael Spencer. Spencer’s hedge fund was named in the Paradise Papers in connection with a subsidiary based in Bermuda. Private banking group Arbuthnot donated £44,000 to Raab’s office. The bank’s owner Henry Angest is also named in the Paradise Papers in connection with a subsidiary of his bank based in Barbados. Overall, Angest has donated nearly £7m to the Conservative Party.
10th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Theresa May is refusing to set a firm resignation date before her Brexit deal is passed by Commons

She fears pinning down the date before her deal approved by the Commons would see ... But despite the PM’s refusal so far, Sir Graham Brady is still insisting Mrs May fulfils his demand for a timetable to leave No10 no matter what at her showdown meeting
10th May 2019 - The Sun

Now even TORY MPs are backing Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party ahead of Theresa May because they’re so furious with the PM

Tory MPs are openly praising the Brexit Party and discussing why their voters are abandoning them ahead of the EU elections. Several high profile Brexiteer MPs have been lavishing praise on Nigel Farage and his army as they grow more frustrated at Theresa May's inability to deliver Brexit. Today Crawley MP Henry Smith said the Brexit Party boss was doing better than the PM. He told his local paper The Argus: "I won’t be surprised at all if more voters turn to the Brexit Party.
9th May 2019 - The Sun

WATCH: 'You're lying to the people' - Gavin Esler takes to task Brexit Party candidate

Martin Daubney was left squirming as Esler tried to hold him to account for what he called a "lie" over who the former Newsnight presenter had called a "village idiot". In a lively discussion on the BBC's Politics Live programme, Esler said that the Brexit Party was using a "hugely simplistic message" and that it was "worse than that because it contains lies." It led to Esler confronting Daubney for the way his party had used the Change UK candidate's comments to suggest he called every Leave voter the "village idiots". A suggestion that had been amplified by Piers Morgan on social media. Esler, however, pointed out this was in relation to Michael Gove's comments on experts, and was not made about all Brexiteers, something Daubney would not acknowledge. Esler joked it was up to Daubney if he wants to "self-identify" as one, but he had not accused him of being in this category. He explained: "What I said was we need more experts in British politics, we fewer Chris Graylings, we need people who know what they're talking about.
9th May 2019 - The New European

The Lib Dem 'Bo***cks To Brexit' Slogan Sounds Flippant, But Holds A Serious Message

‘Bollocks to Brexit’. That’s the slogan on the front of the Lib Dem’s manifesto, which is officially launched this evening in east London. It isn’t the usual sort of language used in a formal document by a political party, but these are not usual times. These are desperate times. The most pressing issue facing any of us in this country is that B-word – no not bollocks, but Brexit. If it goes ahead it will be the most damaging thing for us, our economy and our children in generations. The issue is far graver than a petty linguistic debate. People are getting their knickers in the twist over the use of a word that is officially categorised by Ofcom as ‘medium level’ of offensiveness. What that means is that it can’t be used on TV or radio before the watershed. Well, bollocks to the watershed. Anyone too young to stay up beyond the watershed isn’t old enough to vote anyway. The message is not about creating good PR. It’s about stopping Brexit – the most pressing issue in politics right now.
9th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

It's not true to say that Labour's Brexit position is ambiguous

Labour’s position is to secure a general election and a softer Brexit deal than the Conservatives with this parliament – or, in the event that it cannot get either of those, to support a public vote to resolve the deadlock. It is, by any definition, a pro-Brexit policy because its first preference is for Brexit to happen.
9th May 2019 - New Statesman

European Parliament elections: Brexit Party to win more votes than Labour and Conservatives combined, new poll suggests

The Brexit Party will earn more votes than Labour and the Conservatives combined in the European Parliament elections, according to a new poll. The latest Opinium poll on voting intentions shows Nigel Farage’s party has galloped into first place ahead of Labour with 34% support - doubling the existing gap to 13 points in the last fortnight. It also showed the Tories continue to stagger behind in fourth place with 11% support. Labour, coming second with 21%, has fallen seven points in the last fortnight and the Lib Dems are in third position with 12%, having risen five points.
11th May 2019 - Evening Standard

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party polling higher than Labour and Tories combined before EU elections

12th May 2019 - Sky News

Donald Tusk: chance of Brexit being cancelled could be 30%

The chances of the UK staying in the EU are as high as 30% as the country would be likely to reject Brexit in a second referendum, the president of the European council, Donald Tusk, has said. The bloc’s most senior official claimed the British public had only truly debated Brexit after the 2016 referendum and there was significant reason to believe the leave vote could be reversed. Describing the decision by the former British prime minister, David Cameron, to call the vote as a political miscalculation, Tusk said he would expect a different result in a vote today given what had been learned about the consequences of leaving.
11th May 2019 - The Guardian

UK's exit from EU has 30% chance of being cancelled, Donald Tusk says

11th May 2019 - The Independent

Multi-millionaire who donated £200,000 to the Brexit Party is former Tory party donor

The businessman who handed a six-figure sum to the Brexit Party is a former Tory party donor worth £375million, it emerged yesterday. Financier Jeremy Hosking, 60, who owns a major share of Crystal Palace Football Club, said he has given £200,000 over the past two to three weeks. Nigel Farage had repeatedly refused to reveal the identity of the businessman who made the vast donation to his new party – originally thought to be £100,000. But Mr Hosking broke cover yesterday, telling The Telegraph: ‘On a Sunday chat show last weekend it was [claimed] that I have given £100,000 to the recently formed Brexit Party. ‘This is not the case. I have given £200,000, and urge all who wish to see a proper Conservative Party in Britain to support the BP as much as they can. If the Conservatives insist on diluting Brexit, what hope is there on other issues where a robust Conservative position needs to be advocated?
10th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Former Conservative backer Jeremy Hosking revealed as £200,000 donor to Nigel Farage's Brexit Party

11th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 10th May 2019

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Lib Dems tell those offended by 'Bollocks to Brexit' messaging to get a sense of humour | Latest Brexit news and top stories

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has defended adopting the "Bollocks to Brexit" message for the European elections as the party's pro-Remain agenda becomes a talking point in the news. The message, which has been used by anti-Brexit campaigners including The New European, has been used to tap into the anger of those that want to Remain in the EU. Now Sir Vince Cable is hoping that the message will have more cut-through with the voters than rival Remain parties like Greens and Change UK. Explaining the rationale behind the messaging, Sir Vince said: "We are unambiguous, we argue we should stop Brexit, we've argued for a people's vote, we're not apologetic about it. "Some people may not like that, but I think others admire the honesty and clarity of our position."
9th May 2019 - The New European

Brexit: Vince Cable stakes Lib Dems' claim as torch carriers for remain

Vince Cable has staked the Liberal Democrats’ claim to be the leading remain party in the European elections, as he unveiled a forthright new slogan for the campaign: “Bollocks to Brexit.” The phrase, previously plastered on stickers and T-shirts by ardent remain supporters, is now emblazoned across the Lib Dem manifesto for the 23 May poll – though more squeamish candidates will have the option of one that just says “Stop Brexit”. Buoyed by strong results in last week’s local council elections, and unencumbered by the nuance of Labour’s position, Cable insisted the Lib Dems were the best-equipped party to challenge the message of Nigel Farage at the poll later this month.
9th May 2019 - The Guardian

Swearing by the EU - UK's anti-Brexit Lib Dems opt for earthy election slogan

Britain’s pro-EU Liberal Democrats are showcasing their European election campaign with a down-to-earth slogan they hope will attract frustrated voters who want to remain in the bloc: “Bollocks to Brexit”. Fresh from a strong showing in local council elections, the opposition party posted a photograph on Twitter of its leader Vince Cable with a “special edition” of its manifesto for the May 23 European parliament vote. The document will be launched on Thursday evening.
9th May 2019 - Reuters

The Lib Dems’ ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ is crass, but it might just work

The colourful language has at least marked out the Lib Dems as a party with a bit of fight in them. On the back of encouraging results in the local elections, Vince Cable’s team has recovered some energy and momentum. The contrast with the less distinct and at times rather confused-sounding interventions of Change UK – who also want to stop Brexit, but without swearing – is stark. In addition, the slogan has the virtue of sincerity. The Lib Dems are unequivocal remainers who want to stop Brexit from happening. They think it’s all bollocks and are prepared to say so. Direct language can be effective. Matt Kelly, editor of the New European newspaper, tells me that since offering new subscribers a free “Bollocks to Brexit” mug if they sign up to receive the paper, subscription rates have trebled.
9th May 2019 - The Guardian

Can Jeremy Corbyn heal the Brexit divide?

Jeremy Corbyn wants to ditch the labels of Leave and Remain, to stop worrying about the "48" and the "52" and to concentrate on the country as a whole. He says only Labour can bring the two warring sides together. In other words - time to move on. The idea of turning the page will be tantalising to millions, but peeling those labels off our politics is, for now at least, probably wishful thinking. In his own party, the most fevered question is over whether to allow, even help Brexit on its way, or to have another referendum to try to stop it - that's an issue of Leave or Remain. Just after he gave his speech in Kent, launching Labour's European election campaign, two party activists expressed the difference precisely. One of them told us they were "disappointed with the party's half-and-half" approach to Brexit, and keen for another referendum to stay in.
10th May 2019 - BBC

What's in Labour's EU election manifesto? Corbyn unveils policies for 2019 poll

"Some people seem to look at the issue the wrong way around. They tend to think the first question is Leave or Remain as if either is an end in itself. "I think they're wrong. The first question is: what kind of society do we want to be?" As a result, Labour's manifesto is a wide-ranging document, which reads more like a general election manifesto that you might expect.
9th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

Jeremy Corbyn says second EU referendum could be 'healing process' for Britain's Brexit splits

Jeremy Corbyn has said that a second EU referendum could be seen as a “healing process” for the country that brings the Brexit impasse to a conclusion. Speaking at the party’s EU election launch in Kent the Labour leader said there should be an option of a public vote on the outcome of talks and negotiations, and that it could “bring people together”. Mr Corbyn said: “The view we put forward, the party conference put this forward, the national executive agreed this, [was] that we should include the option of having a ballot on a public vote on the outcome of the talks and negotiations on what we’re putting forward.
9th May 2019 - Politics Home

Jeremy Corbyn rejects calls for Labour to become an anti-Brexit party

Jeremy Corbyn has rejected growing calls for Labour to become an explicitly anti-Brexit party, at the launch of his party's European elections campaign on Thursday. Corbyn has been under intense pressure from Labour Party members and Members of Parliament to make a firmer commitment to a backing a new referendum and campaign for Remain in any new public vote. However, speaking in Medway in Kent, Corbyn said he would only back the "option" of a new referendum if either forcing a general election or changing Theresa May's "bad" Brexit deal were not possible outcomes.
9th May 2019 - Business Insider

European elections 2019: Labour can unite our country, says Corbyn

Labour can "unite our country" and heal the divisions caused by Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn said, as he launched his European elections campaign. Mr Corbyn said the party backed "the option of a public vote" if a "sensible" Brexit deal cannot be agreed and there is not a general election. He said cross-party talks on Brexit were "difficult" as the government's "red lines remain in place". The European elections take place in the UK on 23 May.
9th May 2019 - BBC

European elections 2019: Labour can unite our country, says Corbyn

Labour can "unite our country" and heal the divisions caused by Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn said, as he launched his European elections campaign. Mr Corbyn said the party backed "the option of a public vote" if a "sensible" Brexit deal cannot be agreed and there is not a general election. He said cross-party talks on Brexit were "difficult" as the government's "red lines remain in place". The European elections take place in the UK on 23 May.
9th May 2019 - BBC

Jeremy Corbyn urges voters to discard labels of leave and remain

Jeremy Corbyn has again rebuffed the demands of many of his own activists for Labour to become the party of remain at the European elections later this month, insisting he will stand on the “common ground”. Launching his party’s manifesto for the European elections in Chatham, Kent, the Labour leader said voters should resist being defined simply as leavers or remainers. “We could allow ourselves to be defined only as ‘remainers’ or ‘leavers’ labels that meant nothing to us only a few years ago. But where would that take us? Who wants to live in a country stuck in this endless loop?” he asked.
9th May 2019 - The Guardian

@BBCNormanSmith Jeremy Corbyn confirms Labour will seek to deliver on Brexit. Cannot ignore 17m who backed leave, he says

Jeremy Corbyn confirms Labour will seek to deliver on Brexit. Cannot ignore 17m who backed leave, he says
9th May 2019 - @BBCNormanSmith

Amber Rudd to set out Tory leadership credentials with vision of 21st century Conservative Party

Tory leadership contender Amber Rudd will today set out her vision of a modern-day Conservative Party, saying it must support workers of all backgrounds. Ms Rudd, seen by many as a prime candidate in the race to succeed Theresa May, is expected to use a major speech in London to set out her ambition for the Tories to be the party for 21st century workers. She will become the latest Cabinet member to set out her credentials, following in the recent footsteps of the likes of Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Andrea Leadsom. The work and pensions secretary will say: “As Conservatives, we want every person, no matter their background, to progress in the workplace and outperform what society says they should be able to do.
9th May 2019 - Evening Standard

Rudd: A no-deal PM would not command majority

The candidate who wins the Conservative leadership contest could fail to become prime minister if they back a no-deal Brexit, Amber Rudd has said. The work and pensions secretary told BBC Newsnight "a no deal prime minister would not be able to command a majority in the House". Convention dictates that a departing prime minister has to advise the Queen on a successor based on one criterion: an ability to command a majority in parliament. The convention is designed to protect the monarch from political turmoil. If the next Tory leader is a Brexiteer committed to no deal, Theresa May may struggle to offer clear advice to the Queen.
9th May 2019 - BBC

Esther McVey throws hat into the ring for Conservative leadership contest

Former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey has announced that she will stand for the Conservative leadership when Theresa May steps down. Ms McVey, who quit the Cabinet in November in protest at Mrs May’s Brexit deal, became the third Tory openly to declare her ambition to be Prime Minister, after Andrea Leadsom and Rory Stewart.
9th May 2019 - Herald Scotland

Esther McVey: Former minister will stand to succeed Theresa May

9th May 2019 - Sky News

@SkyNewsPolitics "At the moment, momentum is behind @Nigel_Farage, we want to stop that momentum." Lib Dem leader, @vincecable tells #Sunrise voters should get behind his party if they want to remain in the European Union

"At the moment, momentum is behind @Nigel_Farage, we want to stop that momentum." Lib Dem leader, @vincecable tells #Sunrise voters should get behind his party if they want to remain in the European Union. For all the latest political updates, visit: https://news.sky.com/politics
9th May 2019 - @SkyNewsPolitics

Ex-Sheffield councillor claims calls are growing ‘louder and louder’ for second EU referendum

An ex-councillor has claimed the calls for a second referendum to be held on leaving the European Union are growing 'louder and louder'. Former East Ecclesfield ward member Steve Wilson quit the Labour Party earlier this year and joined his wife, Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith, in joining the newly formed 'Change UK - The Independent Group'. The party is in favour of the People's Vote campaign for a second referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. The group has six candidates standing in the forthcoming European elections later this month and they were due to stage a public meeting at The Mowbray in Kelham Island this evening to make their case.
9th May 2019 - South Yorkshire Times

Sturgeon steps up call for pro-EU voters to shun Scottish Labour

Nicola Sturgeon has stepped up her appeals to pro-European voters in Scotland to abandon Labour, describing Jeremy Corbyn’s party as pro-Brexit and dishonest. Launching her European election campaign, the Scottish National party leader said voters needed to treat both Labour and the Conservatives as pro-Brexit parties, despite Corbyn’s attempt to “face both ways” on Europe. Describing the vote on 23 May as the most important European election in Scotland’s history, Sturgeon also reiterated her call for a fresh referendum on Scottish independence before 2021, regardless of whether Brexit happens. “It is striking, I would say depressingly so, just how close together Labour and the Tories are on Brexit. On this defining issue of our time, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May have so much more in common than they like to pretend. They both want to take Scotland and the UK out of the European Union,” she said.
9th May 2019 - The Guardian

European elections: I'm pro-remain, how should I vote?

From Change UK to the Lib Dems, there’s more than one party looking to overturn Brexit - guidance and advice for the tactical European Elections voter
9th May 2019 - The Guardian

Attempt to form pro-remain Peterborough byelection alliance fails

An attempt to form an alliance of pro-remain parties to support a single candidate in a byelection in Peterborough has collapsed, raising concerns the failure will hinder cooperation in the future. Representatives of the Liberal Democrats, the Green party, Renew and Change UK spent several hours unsuccessfully trying to reach an agreement on a single independent candidate before a 4pm deadline for nominations for the Cambridgeshire seat. It leaves the Lib Dems and the Greens supporting their own candidates. Change UK would support Renew’s candidate, sources said.
9th May 2019 - The Guardian

@AdamBienkov Comres finds the Lib Dems are the leading Remain party in every region apart from Scotland and Wales

Comres finds the Lib Dems are the leading Remain party in every region apart from Scotland and Wales. Brexit Party doing worst in Scotland (13%) and London (18%). Best in Eastern region (32%).
9th May 2019 - @AdamBienkov

Tories reveal obsession as leaflet mentions indyref2 more than Brexit

Ruth Davidson’s obsession with independence was laid bare yesterday when social media images emerged of a Tory leaflet which mentions either independence, Nicola Sturgeon, indyref2 or the SNP an astonishing 28 times in one page. The leaflet put out by the party mentions Brexit once. Sturgeon said this proved they were a “one-trick pony which is now really limping”.
9th May 2019 - The National

What failure to agree a Remain candidate in Peterborough means for Change UK

The withdrawal of second referendum campaigner Femi Oluwole means Liberal Democrats and Greens will run their own candidates, but Change won’t stand at all. A spokesperson said "senior Labour figures, including senior figures campaigning for a People’s Vote, made it clear that they would strenuously disrupt the campaign and obstruct an independent Candidate, driven by fears that it would harm their party in Peterborough.”
9th May 2019 - New Statesman

@BBCNewsnight “We’re not going to walk away from these talks lightly because we didn’t enter into these talks lightly” - Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon on the cross-party Brexit talks

“We’re not going to walk away from these talks lightly because we didn’t enter into these talks lightly” - Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon on the cross-party Brexit talks @Emmabarnett | @RichardBurgon | #newsnight
9th May 2019 - @BBCNewsnight

The Tories can only survive now if they become the party of no deal

The Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson calls on the Conservative Party to rebrand under a new leader and actively push an identity as the No Deal Brexit party.
9th May 2019 - The Telegraph

@TNewtonDunn May's mid ranks reshuffle is finally done - 4 loyalists promoted: Robert Buckland to Prisons Minister (next one into the Cabinet) Lucy Frazer to Solicitor General (talked of as a future PM one day)

May's mid ranks reshuffle is finally done - 4 loyalists promoted: Robert Buckland to Prisons Minister (next one into the Cabinet) Lucy Frazer to Solicitor General (talked of as a future PM one day) Andrew Murrison to Middle East Minister Paul Maynard to MoJ as a Parl Under Sec
9th May 2019 - @TNewtonDunn

May earns reprieve from Tories as talks with Labour gain new life

The government and the opposition Labour Party put out statements indicating progress in their talks to forge a consensus on Brexit. May’s office said both parties are acting “with seriousness” and plan to exchange documents, while Labour said in a statement “the negotiating teams are working to establish scope for agreement.”
8th May 2019 - Bloomberg

U.K. an Outsider at the EU Summit, Hinting at Post-Brexit Future

May’s absence did not mean there was no British representation in the bucolic Transylvanian setting. A few hours before leaders talked about Iran, nationalism and their own democratic failings, Stephen Barclay, the U.K. Brexit secretary, spoke about Britain’s place in the world at a conference close to the summit. Barclay lamented the “narrative within Europe on Brexit,” which ignores the view that it’s “an opportunity of confidence, of optimism, a desire to be more global.” Referring to one of the most vocal campaigners for the U.K.’s departure from the EU, he added that the U.K.’s decision to leave the club “certainly wasn’t the Nigel Farage, little-Englander portrayal of Brexit.”
9th May 2019 - Bloomberg

UK’s top Brexit minister accuses Europeans of ‘lazy thinking’ for seeing Brexit as isolationist

9th May 2019 - The Independent

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 9th May 2019

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Brexit: When will Theresa May actually go?

"She's leading us to oblivion - I don't understand why she is hanging on", says one former cabinet minister. "She's using up the oxygen her successor will need to breathe", says another. These are not wild claims from easily over excitable eurosceptics who have been the main cheerleaders to hurry Theresa May from her job. They are genuine frustrations from MPs who have worked alongside Theresa May who until recently have believed she should stay. Again today, Number 10 bought the prime minister more time with the promise that she will meet the 1922 committee next week. And again, the Tory backbenchers did not agree that the situation is so bad for the party and this Prime Minister that she must go. There are also many Tory MPs who believe sending the removal vans to Number 10 would be completely counterproductive, and present once more to the country a picture of a party that loves nothing more than fighting with itself.
9th May 2019 - BBC

Corbyn says Labour will heal the divisions opened up by Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn will claim that Labour can “unite our country” and heal the divisions caused by Brexit as he launches his campaign for the European elections. After a bitter internal row within Labour over whether to support a second referendum, Mr Corbyn will say that the party backs “the option of a public vote” if a “sensible” Brexit deal cannot be agreed and there is not a general election. He will promise to address the “inequalities that helped fuel” the 2016 Brexit vote, insisting that the “real divide in our country” is not over Europe. The May 23 election will take place because of Parliament’s deadlock over a Brexit deal and the failure of Labour-Tory talks.
9th May 2019 - ITV News

Customs compromise a 'million miles away' from Labour demand

Labour last night rejected a Brexit compromise deal put forward by Theresa May, claiming that it was a “million miles away” from what the party would be prepared to accept. After three hours of “robust” talks in Whitehall, Labour sources said that the government had tabled a “completely unrealistic” draft agreement on a customs compromise. Downing Street characterised the talks as “constructive and detailed”, saying that both sides had agreed to meet again to continue the negotiations. Asked about the description, one Labour figure said: “You’d have to ask the government about their choice of adjectives.”
9th May 2019 - The Times

Corbyn always dreamed of a revolution – just not one involving Brexit

Having rejected a no-deal Brexit, Labour’s choices are restricted to a miserable compromise or a slide back towards full EU membership. Neither option has the ring of bold adventure that Corbynism once promised. Socialism deferred until the pesky European question has been resolved is not much of a rallying cry. Meanwhile, the radical right is on the rampage and Labour MPs seem confused as to whether they are defending moderation or opening a new front against it from the left.
8th May 2019 - The Guardian

Labour Brexit talks with government 'near collapse', writes Robert Peston

Labour's negotiations on a Brexit pact with the Government may well be pronounced dead today - partly because the party is launching its EU elections manifesto tomorrow and would presumably need to say something about a possible pact other than "don't know". To be clear, there are more talks between the two sides this evening. But those involved tell me they have no expectation a breakthrough will be seized from the jaws of futility. Simultaneously Labour's leadership is consulting "all the elements" in and connected to the party, so there's no great backlash from MPs or union leaders as and when the hopes of a Brexit compromise are officially abandoned - which could happen tonight.
8th May 2019 - ITV News

Brexit Party candidate for Peterborough by-election Mike Greene is lifelong Tory voter and star of Channel 4's Secret Millionaire

A lifelong Conservative supporter who was an early investor in music app Shazam and appeared on Channel 4’s the Secret Millionaire is the Brexit Party’s candidate for next month’s Peterborough by-election. Mike Greene, a former trustee of Peterborough cathedral and local benefactor, will fight the June 6 by-election in a bid to give Nigel Farage’s party his first foothold in Westminster. Such is the pace of activity in the new Brexit Party that Mr Greene only met Mr Farage for the first time on Tuesday night at a rally in Peterborough. All candidates for the June 6 by-election have to be declared by 4pm on Thursday.
9th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Andrew Adonis: We must spell it out now, Labour is a Remain party

He’s standing for election under a party label that doesn’t quite exist, in a contest that shouldn’t be happening, in a place that isn’t a country — but none of this puts Andrew Adonis off. The Mediterranean sun glints off his EU electric-blue tie as he strides through Gibraltar’s old town, its solid limestone walls reeking of the days when the Royal Navy called this peculiar bastion home. Adonis — academic-turned-journalist-turned-Tony Blair policy wonk-turned-peer — is doing what he has never done before in a long career shaping Britain, and standing in a national election. He’s on the list for the Labour Party in the South West constituency which, thanks to a quirk, includes Gibraltar’s 20,000 voters even though they live as close to Sierra Leone as they do to Plymouth.
9th May 2019 - Evening Standard

Tory MP Mercer withdraws support from PM over veterans

In a letter to the PM, the Plymouth MP said it was "regrettable" that he could not continue to support the government. He called on Mrs May to end the "abhorrent process" of "elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland" to face possible prosecution. He has previously called for legislation to stop this happening. The former Army officer and member of the Commons Defence Committee told the BBC he had withdrawn support for Mrs May and that he would vote with the Conservatives on Brexit but nothing else. In his letter, he said: "As you know, the historical prosecution of our servicemen and women is a matter that is personally offensive to me. "Many are my friends; and I am from their tribe."
9th May 2019 - BBC

Brexit Bulletin: Losing Hope

One of the sticking points in the talks with Labour is that the opposition can’t trust that May’s eventual successor will stand by her team’s commitments. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says it’s like “trying to enter into a contract with a company that’s going into administration.” That problem is getting more acute as Conservatives increasingly lose patience with May. Graham Brady, the head of the rank-and-file Tories, has given May until 4 p.m. Wednesday to set out a timetable for leaving or find it forced upon her, according to the Telegraph. Stay tuned for the prime minister’s next checkmate-defying maneuver.
8th May 2019 - Bloomberg

Andrea Leadsom announces she's 'seriously considering' running for Tory leader

Ms Leadsom described Mrs May's Brexit agreement as "tolerable", but said she would be prepared to leave the EU without a deal. "I don't say that no-deal is better than the Prime Minister's deal. "I think the Prime Minister's deal is the best solution because it protects jobs and supply chains," said the Commons leader. "What I'm saying is at the same time I don't think no-deal would be the disaster some people portray it as."
8th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower signs book deal

The former Cambridge Analytica employee who spoke out on alleged ties between the data firm and the Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union has a book deal. Brittany Kaiser's 'Targeted: My Inside Story of Cambridge Analytica and how Trump and Facebook Broke Democracy' comes out on October 22, publisher HarperCollins announced Tuesday. Kaiser will share 'the dramatic and disturbing story' of her time at Cambridge Analytica, the British company where she was the business development director.
8th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Brexit: Panel to advise on Irish border solutions

A Brexit initiative chaired by two Conservative MPs has named a panel of 20 experts to advise them on technical solutions for the Irish border. Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan chair an "Alternative Arrangements Commission". Some members of the panel, such as Dutch customs expert Hans Maessen, have previously advised pro-Brexit groups. The only member with a significant Irish connection is Graham Gudgin, a former adviser to Brexit supporter Lord Trimble.
8th May 2019 - BBC

Tony Blair says Indyref2 could 'fundamentally' damage the UK

Former prime minister Tony Blair has spoken out against the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum, insisting such a vote should not take place "unless there is a really big groundswell of opinion for it". The one-time Labour leader, whose government created the Scottish Parliament, voiced his fears that a fresh vote on independence could "fundamentally" damage the UK. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already made clear her desire to hold a ballot within the next two years. The SNP leader cites Scotland being removed from the European Union against the wishes of voters north of the border as grounds for another referendum, arguing this is a "material change in circumstances" from the 2014 vote.
8th May 2019 - Daily Record

May buys herself a WEEK in leadership showdown: PM will face senior backbenchers next week

Theresa May has set up a showdown next week with MPs furious at her refusal to reveal when she will quit over Brexit failures. The Prime Minister will face senior backbenchers on the influential 1922 Committee next Wednesday after making an agreement with committee chairman Sir Graham Brady yesterday. It came after she faced a brutal public assault on her leadership today as backbench anger at her failure to stand down reached fever pitch in a row threatening to tear the Conservative Party apart. She had been given a 4pm deadline to set out a 'roadmap' for standing down but has been given a week's grace to explain her plans to the committee next week
8th May 2019 - Daily Mail

Peterborough by-election: Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK ‘to put forward single Remain candidate’

The Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Change UK are expected to put forward a single candidate between them to fight the upcoming Peterborough by-election. The Lib Dems (Beki Sellick) and Greens (Joseph Wells) have already chosen their candidates for the seat, so at least one of them would have to stand down.
8th May 2019 - Peterborough Evening Telegraph

Colum Eastwood: 'Brexit can still be stopped'

The SDLP's European election candidate Colum Eastwood says Brexit can be stopped. The party leader was speaking as he launched his bid to win a seat in the European elections on 23 May. The SDLP leader says the focus of his campaign will be to take a pro-European stance to the electorate and fight to stop the UK leaving the EU. He told the BBC: "The main priority is to stop Brexit and I think we still can."
8th May 2019 - BBC

How Theresa May's departure from No 10 could play out

The prime minister has rejected calls to resign as more Tories demand an exit date - how might her departure play out and when might it occur
8th May 2019 - The Guardian

EU elections may turn Brexit on its head

On these issues the outstanding guide is “The European Elections and Brexit”, a report by The UK in a Changing Europe, a research group at King’s College London. The May 23-26 elections seem certain to produce a more fragmented European Parliament. The two main party groups on the centre-right and centre-left are set to lose their combined majority. A hotchpotch of rightwing nationalists, anti-establishment populists and anti-EU critics may win 30 per cent or so of the assembly’s 751 seats. All this would undermine the prospects for a quick EU-UK deal on trade, security and other areas of post-Brexit co-operation. In fact, ratification of an EU-UK trade agreement might be a Herculean task in a European Parliament pushed one way by rightwing protectionism and another way by leftwing demands on climate change, regulatory standards and social policy.
8th May 2019 - Financial Times

David Cameron Is 'Distraught' About Brexit, According To Former Advisor Gabby Bertin

Since informing the country he would be stepping down as PM and humming a jaunty tune as he walked into Downing Street for the last time, David Cameron has said little about the Brexit process he set in motion. In January he surfaced to tell journalists he does not regret calling the EU referendum – just the result – but according to his former press secretary he is actually “distraught” about it all. Speaking to The Times, Baroness Bertin insisted the perception he has “travelled off into the sunset” is far from the truth.
8th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Labour tanked in the north east because it offered no clarity over Brexit, not because notherners are ‘angry leavers’

If your policy is for “all options to remain on the table”, then your intent is for all to remain seated at the table. Last week, many Labour voters in the north of England got up and walked away. Of course local elections are always and rightly about all kinds of local issues. But Brexit was the elephant in the room and, when that’s the case, there is little space for the kind of deliberate ambiguity my party’s leadership has tried to create around the biggest issue facing our country for years. There was a rejection of ambiguity in Barnsley where there as a 17.3 per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats. There was a rejection of ambiguity in Sunderland where there was a 13.4 per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats. There was a rejection of ambiguity in Wirral where there was a 11.1 per cent swing to the Greens. Others followed suit.
8th May 2019 - The Independent

Anti-Brexit parties considering a Remain candidate for by-election

It has been claimed there will be a Remain unity candidate at the Peterborough by-election to tackle the Brexit Party at the ballot box. Remain campaigners had criticised the likes of Change UK, Lib Dems and Greens for rejecting an electoral pact at the ballot box during the European election campaign after the idea was reportedly floated by Sir Vince Cable. It has allowed the anti-Brexit parties to appear fragmented up against Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, which has surged in opinion polls in recent weeks. But with a by-election set to take place in Peterborough, and the Brexit Party considering standing, it has been reported there may be a Remain candidate representing the smaller parties too
8th May 2019 - The New European

Anti-Brexit parties considering a Remain candidate to take on Nigel Farage

8th May 2019 - The New European

George Osborne: Former chancellor urges cabinet to move against Theresa May

The former chancellor has urged cabinet ministers to move against Theresa May as he says the Conservative Party needs new leadership. George Osborne says: "The Conservative Party in 2017 didn't want to confront the reality. "Eventually the party has to confront the truth. It needs a new leader, a new agenda, it needs to win over supporters who have disappeared and make an appeal to urban, metropolitan Britain that has turned its back on the Conservatives."
8th May 2019 - Sky News

Brexit: Theresa May targets July 1 for UK exit but Tories more focused on resignation date

Theresa May is targeting July 1 as the day Britain leaves the EU after abandoning a deadline for a Brexit agreement with Labour. David Lidington, the cabinet office minister, said the British government was "redoubling" its efforts to ensure a Brexit deal is passed by Parliament in time to prevent MEPs taking up their seats in Brussels. If that proves impossible, the government will make sure the EU Withdrawal Agreement is "done and dusted" before Parliament rises for the summer, meaning Brexit day would be August 1. It means that Mrs May has now set five separate dates for Britain to leave the EU.
8th May 2019 - Irish Independent

Who's the MONEY MAN, Nigel?

Ever since Nigel Farage revealed, in an interview with LBC’s Iain Dale, that the Brexit Party has had “one big donor”, questions have rightly been asked as to who this anonymous benefactor might be. It seems peculiar that a ‘grassroots movement’ which sells itself on being different to the traditional parties should be so unforthcoming about something as basic as funding. It’s also in stark contrast to the other new kid on the block – Change UK (also known as TIG – The Independent Group) which, for all its many flaws in presentation and style, has been transparent from the start. Even before it formally became a political party and had a legal requirement to declare its funding, Change UK revealed this on its website.
8th May 2019 - Byline Times

@ITVPeston Who is funding The Brexit Party @Peston asks @Nigel_Farage #Peston

Who is funding The Brexit Party @Peston asks @Nigel_Farage #Peston
8th May 2019 - @ITVPeston

@Peston There is now a war attrition between Theresa May and her own MPs

There is now a war of attrition between @theresa_may and her own MPs. Most of them want her to set an unconditional timetable for her departure. She is refusing to do so, saying she will only go when her divorce deal with the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement, is law.
8th May 2019 - @Peston

Tories try to limit European election damage with cut‑price campaign

Candidates received a confidential briefing at Conservative campaign headquarters (CCHQ) on what many admit will be a damage-limitation exercise. Party chiefs are said to be sending only taxpayer-funded mailshots with the first wave of literature targeting postal voters due within days. The Conservatives’ message will be that only the governing party can deliver Brexit as it pleads with voters not to back Nigel Farage’s insurgent Brexit Party, according to a senior figure. The first leaflet includes a photograph of Theresa May. “It’s aimed at Conservative supporters who think the prime minister is doing her best to get this over the line and that the delay is not her fault,” said another source, who had seen a draft.
8th May 2019 - The Times

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 8th May 2019

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The UK will take part in European Parliament elections, May's government confirms

The European Parliament elections will take place in the United Kingdom later this month, the government has confirmed. Theresa May's deputy David Lidington said on Tuesday there was no longer enough time to pass a Brexit deal through the UK House of Commons in order to prevent the elections going ahead. Lidington said in a statement that it was "not going to be possible to finish that process" before the date of the elections.
7th May 2019 - Business Insider

European Parliament Elections 2019 WILL Go Ahead In UK, Government Confirms

7th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

European Parliament Elections 2019 WILL Go Ahead In UK, Government Confirms

7th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Brexit: UK will take part in European elections, says David Lidington

7th May 2019 - BBC

May regrets Britain will hold European elections - spokesman

7th May 2019 - Reuters UK

Theresa May left red-faced as deputy PM admits UK will take part in European Parliament elections

7th May 2019 - Politics Home

European elections to go ahead because Theresa May can't do Brexit in time, government admits

8th May 2019 - The Independent

Whose side is Twitter on: misogynists or women in public life?

Away from Twitter, in real life, meanwhile, we have a Ukip candidate, the odious Carl Benjamin, who released a video suggesting he “might cave” and rape Jess Phillips. After he had previously written on social media “he wouldn’t even rape her”, his party leader defended him. You cannot stand for elected office if you are subject to bankruptcy proceedings. But somehow you can publicly discuss the rape of a female MP and it’s fine?
8th May 2019 - The Guardian

Theresa May’s Team Gloomy About Chances of Labour Brexit Deal, Sources Say

The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will face lawmakers in Parliament on Wednesday after another day of inconclusive talks with the opposition Labour Party further dented her hopes of reaching a Brexit deal. Already under pressure after a disastrous set of results for her Conservative Party in local elections last week, the beleaguered premier’s cabinet concluded on Tuesday that cross-party talks are stalling and unlikely to deliver an agreement on the way forward, according to people familiar with the matter. That means the government’s focus is likely to turn to what happens next, and how to offer Parliament a range of Plan B options to chose from, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing confidential issues.
7th May 2019 - Bloomberg

Jean-Claude Juncker says it was a ‘mistake’ for EU to stay silent during Brexit referendum ‘lies’

The president of the EU Commission has said he regrets not intervening in the UK’s Brexit referendum to correct “lies” about the bloc during the campaign. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Jean-Claude Juncker said it was a “big mistake” to listen to David Cameron, who he said had asked Brussels to “stay silent”. “The mistake I made was to listen too carefully to the British government – Cameron, because the then prime minister asked me not to interfere, not to intervene in the referendum campaign.
7th May 2019 - The Independent

Downing Street admits new UK MEPs may have to take their seats in Brussels

Britain's new MEPs may end up having to take their seats in the European Parliament after all, Downing Street has admitted. David Lidington, Theresa May's de facto deputy, had already confirmed that the UK will have to take part in the EU elections on 23 May because of the Government's failure to deliver Brexit. However, the Government had hoped that the UK would have left the bloc by 30 June, meaning the 73 successful candidates would not have to travel to Brussels when the new parliamentary session begins on 1 July.
7th May 2019 - Politics Home

Brexit: Will a cross-party deal happen?

Inside both leaders' camps, there is a genuine desire, more intense since they both had a bad night at the polls on Thursday, to see if they can sketch out a joint escape route from the mess of Brexit. But the historically awful result for the prime minister does not seem to have shocked her into ditching her red lines - at least not yet. One former minister, experienced and not prone to make wild prediction, told me Number 10 was in "la la land" if they believed that could happen. About half an hour later, another former and experienced minister told me they believe, in fact, it will fly and perhaps by the end of this month. Whoever you ask, it is clear it is not straightforward. So when the two teams sit down again on Wednesday afternoon, whether it is "constructive" or "robust", there's still an awful lot to do.
7th May 2019 - BBC

BBC BIAS: Farage confronts BBC on lack of coverage – 'we haven’t seen you at any rallies'

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage took a swipe at the BBC during a press conference on Tuesday. The Brexit Party has said it will contest all 650 seats at a future general election as leader Nigel Farage said the party would have to fight to leave the EU beyond the upcoming European elections at the end of this month. Jessica Parker, a BBC News political journalist, asked Mr Farage about the role the Brexit Party would like to play in future negotiations, and if the UK was to seek a WTO Brexit, how much negotiating would be needed. Mr Farage replied: “Well, it is very very nice to see the BBC here, I must say, no it really is. “I have been all over the country speaking at big rallies with a couple of thousand people at most of them, we haven’t seen the BBC at any of them. So it is jolly nice that you have made the effort to come.” The quick remark prompted some jeers from audience members as Mr Farage continued. He said: “I also notice that on no single major current affairs debate or news programme has a single person from the Brexit Party appeared.
7th May 2019 - Daily Express

British government source sees Brexit breakthrough but not this week - BBC political editor

A Brexit breakthrough in talks between Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and the opposition Labour Party is possible but unlikely this week, the BBC’s political editor cited an unidentified senior government source as saying. “Senior govt source says it IS possible though to see a way to a deal, but unlikely to be resolved this week,” the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said on Twitter. The aim is “to set out a path to get the Withdrawal Bill to Commons with a fair wind,” she said.
7th May 2019 - Reuters

Jeremy Hunt says voters are ‘very, very angry’ Brexit hasn’t been delivered – so Tories must reach compromise with Labour

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested he would reluctantly accept a Customs Union with the European Union in a compromise agreement with the Labour Party, saying “angry” voters want Brexit to be delivered. The Conservative frontbencher told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme that while he did not want a Customs Union with the EU, the drubbing his party had received in last week’s local elections meant a compromise needed to be reached.
7th May 2019 - iNews

Labour accuses government of refusing to compromise as Brexit deadlock continues

Labour has accused the Government of not being "willing to compromise" as negotiations on a joint-Brexit deal once again broke up without agreement. Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the Tories were still refusing to move on their red lines and that it was still "difficult to see how any agreement can be reached". Senior frontbenchers from both parties met in the Cabinet Office for nearly three hours as part of their ongoing attempts to thrash out a compromise to put to a Commons vote.
7th May 2019 - Politics Home

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party 'Recruiting Candidates For Next General Election'

The Brexit Party is recruiting candidates for the next General Election, Nigel Farage has revealed. The former Ukip leader said he was “confident” that his newly-formed party would be ready to fight a General Election by September. “We are, as of today, recruiting candidates to fight the next General Election,” Farage told journalists at a press conference on Tuesday. “We are looking for 650 men and women and we want people with real-world experience – people who either in civic life or in business life have got some achievements under their belt,” he said. “It will be a very new kind of politics.”
7th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Jean-Claude Juncker says it was a ‘mistake’ for EU to stay silent during Brexit referendum ‘lies’

The president of the EU Commission has said he regrets not intervening in the UK’s Brexit referendum to correct “lies” about the bloc during the campaign. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Jean-Claude Juncker said it was a “big mistake” to listen to David Cameron, who he said had asked Brussels to “stay silent”. “The mistake I made was to listen too carefully to the British government – Cameron, because the then prime minister asked me not to interfere, not to intervene in the referendum campaign.
7th May 2019 - The Independent

Labour Brexit negotiations failing after government concedes UK will take part in EU elections

Labour's Brexit negotiations with the government appear to be failing, it has been hinted, after the government conceded that the UK will take part in EU elections, despite comments to the contrary. Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow secretary for business and one of Labour's Brexit negotiators, gave an update on cross-party talks. She said: "Without a government that's willing to compromise it's difficult to see how any agreement can be reached." When quizzed on whether there's any point in continuing with negotiations, Ms Long-Bailey defiantly said "of course there's a point" before admitting there has been no movement or agreement.
7th May 2019 - ITV News

@JessicaElgot Rumours around Labour backbench circles that the party could do a deal with Tories but then promise to whip in favour Kyle-Wilson amendment on second referendum to show Labour members they are serious about fresh poll. With a nod and wink to Eurosceptic Labour backbenchers...

Rumours around Labour backbench circles that the party could do a deal with Tories but then promise to whip in favour Kyle-Wilson amendment on second referendum to show Labour members they are serious about fresh poll. With a nod and wink to Eurosceptic Labour backbenchers...
7th May 2019 - @JessicaElgot

Theresa May cannot ignore her party forever, writes Robert Peston

Close colleagues of the PM think she wants still to be PM and party leader at party conference, which on her view would be the showcase for the duo of potential leaders picked by MPs, prior to that final vote by members. I can find NO senior Tory who thinks the party will permit her to do that. And we should learn more about when and how she goes in the next 24 hours, because Brady will communicate the PM’s response to his executive tomorrow afternoon. And they in turn will have to decide whether she has either given an acceptable resignation timetable, or failing that whether to step up the pressure on her to do so by changing Tory party rules to permit a new vote of no confidence in her within weeks. As I have said before, she remains PM despite her party, not because of it. And although her superpower is to defy political gravity, even she can’t ignore her party forever.
7th May 2019 - ITV News

I Know You've Heard This Before But The Next Few Weeks Could Be Pivotal For Brexit. Here's Why.

We've entered the stage that Number 10 aides and political journalists are embarrassingly calling the "death zone". That’s because the next month is pivotal in deciding what happens next as the UK tries to leave the European Union — and will ultimately decide the fate of Theresa May’s premiership. Everything from a deal passing, to May being ousted from Downing Street, to a push for a second referendum, to a further impasse lasting until October are all in play.
7th May 2019 - BuzzFeed News

Would MPs back a Corbyn-May pact?

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will this afternoon resume efforts on a cross-party deal that can get Brexit across the line. But as their teams prepare to meet, MPs are asking whether any pact could possibly win majority support in the House of Commons? If Mrs May does a deal with Mr Corbyn, there would inevitably be a hefty Conservative rebellion. Any pact would require the prime minister to make a bolder commitment to membership of Europe’s customs union. This would make it very hard for the UK to do trade deals with non-EU states and there would be significant Tory discontent. Nigel Evans, executive secretary of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, told the BBC at the weekend (reported in The Times): “If there is a compromise that turns out to be a kind of ‘Brexit in name only’ involving anything close to a customs union, there would be more than 100 Tory MPs who would never support it.”
7th May 2019 - Financial Times

Brexit discussion to be banned from EU leaders’ summit this week

Europe has breathed a collective sight of relief after EU officials announced that serious discussion of Brexit would be banned at an upcoming leaders’ summit. Ahead of Thursday’s meeting in the Romanian city of Sibiu, one senior EU official said the summit would be “in principle Brexit-free”. For two years now the UK has repeatedly crashed EU meetings about other issues and steered discussions towards Brexit – often to the great annoyance of other countries. But since April, when the leaders agreed to delay the UK’s departure until October, the continent has gone on a “Brexit holiday” and is using the time to discuss other issues.
7th May 2019 - The Independent

Brexit block: Corbyn facing MAJOR REBELLION from MPs who DEMAND another referendum

Ardant Remainers within the opposition party are demanding any deal to leave the European Union is sealed with a confirmatory vote by the British people. The Prime Minister and Mr Corbyn have been at logger-heads over any potential cross-party deal with a dispute over a customs arrangement being the main stumbling block for both parties. However, even with a closer alignment to the bloc, it is feared my Labour parliamentarians will still not vote to back an agreement in the House of Commons. One shadow cabinet minister told the Guardian: “Jeremy cannot be sure he has the numbers – even if he whipped it – so he cannot do a deal without a confirmatory vote.” Discussions between the opposition parties will continue this afternoon with ministers set to outline proposals for a ‘temporary customs arrangement’ with Brussels until the next general election.
7th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

Downing Street admits new UK MEPs may have to take their seats in Brussels

David Lidington, Theresa May's de facto deputy, had already confirmed that the UK will have to take part in the EU elections on 23 May because of the Government's failure to deliver Brexit. However, the Government had hoped that the UK would have left the bloc by 30 June, meaning the 73 successful candidates would not have to travel to Brussels when the new parliamentary session begins on 1 July. Mr Lidington hinted that the timetable could slip once again when he said hopes to "certainly to get this done and dusted by the summer recess", which will begin at the end of July. The Prime Minister's spokesman later admitted that would push the exit date back to 1 August, meaning the MEPs would have to take their seats for a month. That would be yet another major embarrassment for Theresa May, who has already seen two Brexit deadlines come and go without success.
7th May 2019 - Politics Home

Theresa May pushes Brexit deadline back to July

The European elections will go ahead and MEPs are likely to take their seats it emerged today after No 10 set a new deadline of mid-July to complete Brexit. Senior ministers said the government had abandoned attempts to claim that it may be able to meet a Brexit deadline that stops European elections going ahead on May 23. No 10 has instead set a new deadline of the Commons summer recess, likely to be the end of the third or fourth week of July, to finalise Brexit and pass legislation, suggesting that they expect MEPs are all but certain to take their seats on July 2. This suggests that Mrs May wants to stay until summer recess as prime minister, potentially pushing a leadership contest to the autumn, which could prompt a backlash from restive Tory MPs.
7th May 2019 - The Times

@BBCLauraK Cabinet source says 'Cabinet decided it was untenable to pursue no deal in March - they have to decide whether it would be justifiable to the country if we end up in the same position again in October'

Cabinet source says 'Cabinet decided it was untenable to pursue no deal in March - they have to decide whether it would be justifiable to the country if we end up in the same position again in October'
7th May 2019 - @BBCLauraK

Brexit: Theresa May meets Sir Graham Brady amid calls to resign

Theresa May has met the chairman of an influential committee of backbench Tory MPs, Sir Graham Brady, amid calls for her to set a firm resignation date. It followed a request from the 1922 Committee for "clarity" on the issue. No 10 insisted the meeting was routine, but pressure is mounting on the PM, with local Tory associations confirming they will hold a vote of confidence in her leadership on 15 June. Meanwhile, cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock resumed.
7th May 2019 - BBC

Tory MPs give Theresa May one day to set out 'roadmap' for her exit

7th May 2019 - The Telegraph

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 7th May 2019

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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?
6th May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
6th May 2019 - BBC

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.
6th May 2019 - The Independent

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.
7th May 2019 - Sky News

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.
6th May 2019 - Herald Scotland

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.”
6th May 2019 - The New European

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.”
6th May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

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.
6th May 2019 - The Times

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.
6th May 2019 - BBC

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.
6th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

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
6th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

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 ...
6th May 2019 - The Sun

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.
6th May 2019 - iNews

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.
6th May 2019 - Daily Record

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.
6th May 2019 - Evening Standard

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
6th May 2019 - The Independent

‘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.
6th May 2019 - In Facts

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.
6th May 2019 - Bloomberg

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.
6th May 2019 - Financial Times

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.
6th May 2019 - The Guardian

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.”
6th May 2019 - Quartz

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.
5th May 2019 - iNews

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 6th May 2019

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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.”
5th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

John McDonnell: No trust left in PM over Brexit talks

5th May 2019 - BBC

Brexit: John McDonnell says that a public vote on any deal 'may well' happen

5th May 2019 - Daily Mirror

John McDonnell says he does not trust Theresa May after terms of potential Brexit deal emerge

5th May 2019 - Politics Home

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”.
5th May 2019 - The Independent

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.
5th May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
5th May 2019 - The Telegraph

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.”
5th May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
5th May 2019 - The Scotsman

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”.
5th May 2019 - Herald Scotland

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.
5th May 2019 - Financial Times

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
5th May 2019 - The Guardian

Government safeguards UK elections

Government announces a range of new measures to crack down on intimidation, influence and disinformation, and safeguard UK elections
5th May 2019 - GOV.UK

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
5th May 2019 - The Telegraph

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.
5th May 2019 - iNews

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
5th May 2019 - The Telegraph

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."
5th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

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.
5th May 2019 - iNews

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.
5th May 2019 - Sky News

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.
5th May 2019 - Sky News

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.
5th May 2019 - The Sun

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.”
5th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

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.
5th May 2019 - CNN

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.
5th May 2019 - Express.co.uk

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.
5th May 2019 - The New European

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.
5th May 2019 - Daily Mail

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."
5th May 2019 - BBC

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 ...
5th May 2019 - Prospect Magazine

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.
5th May 2019 - The Telegraph

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.
4th May 2019 - Reuters

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.
4th May 2019 - ITV News

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.
4th May 2019 - Reuters

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.
4th May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
4th May 2019 - Reuters

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.
4th May 2019 - Deutsche Welle

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.
4th May 2019 - Reuters

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.
4th May 2019 - The Independent

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.
4th May 2019 - The Telegraph

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.
4th May 2019 - The Times

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.
4th May 2019 - The Independent

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”.
4th May 2019 - The Independent

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.
4th May 2019 - The Independent

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.”
4th May 2019 - Evening Standard

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.
4th May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
4th May 2019 - Buzzfeed News

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.
4th May 2019 - BBC

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.
4th May 2019 - The Independent

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.”
4th May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
4th May 2019 - The Sun

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.
3rd May 2019 - Herald Scotland

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.
3rd May 2019 - Herald Scotland

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.
3rd May 2019 - The Scotsman

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.
3rd May 2019 - The Scotsman

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”
3rd May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

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.
3rd May 2019 - The New European

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.
3rd May 2019 - ITV News

@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.
3rd May 2019 - @Channel4News

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.”
3rd May 2019 - The Guardian

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"
3rd May 2019 - The Telegraph

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.”
3rd May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
3rd May 2019 - Sky News

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.
3rd May 2019 - The Guardian

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.
3rd May 2019 - The Scotsman

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."
3rd May 2019 - LBC

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.”
2nd May 2019 - The Guardian

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 3rd May 2019

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Theresa May has just days to seal her Brexit destiny

Well there are three failure scenarios, all of which could almost simultaneously happen. 1) She could call Corbyn's bluff and in the end find out that he has been negotiating in bad faith; it may turn out that he simply could not bring himself to do a deal with any Tory prime minister. But that would probably reflect worse on him than her. 2) She could so enrage her party that they find a way to throw her out double quick. But she knows that's going to happen in pretty short order any way. So in that sense she has literally nothing to lose from doing what she thinks is the right thing by the country. 3) She could so alienate her Brexiter MPs and Northern Ireland's DUP, whose support is vital to the Tories remaining in office, that they would join forces with Labour to force a general election. But May knows that the parliamentary arithmetic may make it impossible to secure any kind of Brexit ahead of an election in any case. So again she would have lost nothing if an election was precipitated. Or to put it another way, even though the prospect of Theresa May securing a pact with Labour for a managed departure from the EU is a remote one, trying and failing is not such a terrible thing for her - because she knows that whatever happens, her time in 10 Downing Street is almost up. Her destiny is sealed. Her time as prime minister is drawing to a close. So why wouldn't she boldly go where she has never gone before, and seek a genuine Brexit alliance with her implacable opponent, Jeremy Corbyn?
3rd May 2019 - ITV News

Gavin Williamson ‘planning’ bombshell speech likely to trigger Theresa May’s downfall

Some MPs have called for Mr Williamson to be prosecuted while others believe he should be allowed a chance to defend himself in an official investigation. However, he is reportedly thinking of delivering a speech like Geoffrey Howe’s resignation speech which sparked Margaret Thatcher’s downfall. Political editor Nicholas Watt said on BBC Newsnight: “Make no mistake, Gavin Williamson is on the war path. “I spoke to a friend tonight who said he is thinking of delivering a speech on the level of Geoffrey Howe’s resignation speech which famously precipitated the downfall of Margaret Thatcher.”
3rd May 2019 - Express.co.uk

Labour and Tories hit by Brexit backlash in local elections

Labour and the Conservatives have been hit by a Brexit backlash, while the Liberal Democrats, Greens and independents are enjoying a Brexit bounce. On a night of town hall turmoil in the local elections, broadly speaking Labour have done badly in the pro-Brexit north of England and better in the pro-Remain south. For the Tories it's the opposite: struggling in the south and yet embarrassing Labour in its northern heartlands. The Lib Dems have gained some spectacular scalps and independents are on the march. The two big parties wanted these elections to be about bins, not Brexit. Fat chance. Brexit has dominated and polarised UK politics for three years and threatens to continue to do so for years to come.
3rd May 2019 - Sky News

Labour 'trying to bail out' Tories on Brexit

Labour MP Barry Gardiner has said his party is trying to "bail out" the Conservatives over Brexit - trying to find a compromise which will break the current deadlock. Mr Gardiner, who is shadow international trade secretary, clashed with Conservative Brexit minister James Cleverly during the BBC News Channel's local election coverage on Thursday. He said: "We are now trying to negotiate with you because your prime minister, who's lost control of her party, who's lost any chance of getting her deal through Parliament, has had to come to us and say 'please, I now need to listen to the ideas that you've been putting forward'".
3rd May 2019 - BBC

Chris Philp MP: The local elections are about the everyday services in your area, not the politics in Westminster

For everyone voting tomorrow, it will be a simple choice of who you want running everyday services in your area, and how much you want to be charged for them, says Conservative Chris Philp MP.
2nd May 2019 - Politics Home

Conservative donors abandon Theresa May's party to back new Brexit referendum campaign

Pro-European Conservative donors are diverting their cash from Theresa May's party in order to fund efforts to stop Brexit, as funding for the national party dries up, Business Insider can reveal. The Right to Vote campaign for a second Brexit referendum, set up by Conservative MPs, has already raised hundreds of thousands of pounds from disgruntled Conservative donors since it was set up in January. One donor to the campaign, City Pub Group chairman Clive Watson, which operates 44 sites across England and Wales, told Business Insider that he has donated £35,000 in a personal capacity, having previously donated £25,000 to the Conservative party through his business.
2nd May 2019 - Business Insider

Chris Grayling's no-deal Brexit ferry services scrapped at cost of £83m

Chris Grayling faced fresh calls to resign today after the government wasted £83 million on no-deal Brexit ferries that have been running half-empty for more than a month. The transport secretary was criticised over his handling of contracts signed to create extra freight capacity across the Channel in the event of Britain leaving the EU without a deal. It was announced that contracts with two ferry companies were being scrapped five weeks into a six-month deal, costing the taxpayer about £50 million. This is on top of a £33 million settlement to the Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel after it was unfairly excluded from bidding for contracts. The additional space was bought from Brittany Ferries and the Danish operator DFDS to keep essential medicines and food flowing if there were lengthy delays at French ports.
2nd May 2019 - The Times

Conservatives and Labour fear 'plague on both your houses' as Brexit anger dominates local elections

Both the Conservative party and Labour fear a disappointing set of results as voters go to the polls in the first major set of elections since Theresa May's decision to delay Brexit. The country will on Thursday elect candidates to 8,200 seats covering 259 councils in England and Northern Ireland. Six directly-elected mayor positions are up for grabs in regions across England, too. For Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the results will provide a clear insight into how the country feels about their handling of an extremely turbulent period in British politics
2nd May 2019 - Business Insider

Rory Stewart: I'd bring country together as PM

New International Development Secretary Rory Stewart has said he intends to stand for the Conservative leadership after Theresa May steps down. He told the BBC's Political Thinking With Nick Robinson podcast he could "help bring the country together". Mr Stewart also said he wanted to move "beyond my brief", laying out his opinions on "other issues". Mrs May has told Conservative MPs she will stand down if her Brexit deal is passed by Parliament. Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom are among those who have been touted as possible replacements.
2nd May 2019 - BBC

Toby Harris: We need to detoxify political debate in Britain

I am introducing a debate in the Lords next Thursday on the toxicity of debate in public life and the divisions being fostered within our society. Such toxicity led to the murder of Jo Cox in the run up to the European referendum, since when politics has – if anything – become even more fractured. Threats to MPs have rocketed with 142 offences recorded in 2017, rising to 270 last year. Death threats are now commonplace. MPs’ homes and offices are attacked and their constituency staff intimidated.
2nd May 2019 - New Statesman

Woman who's voted for 66 years turned away from local elections for having no ID

An 87-year-old woman has been turned away from today's local elections for not having ID - despite voting in every election in her adult life. The pensioner attacked the “stupid” system after taking a taxi to her local polling station in Pendle, Lancashire, only to be told she couldn’t vote.
2nd May 2019 - Daily Mirror

This County Isn’t Voting Today Because They Don’t Have Enough Money To Run Elections

Crisis-hit Northampton County council is desperately trying to make savings after years of overspending, so district and borough council elections are off.
2nd May 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Brexit: Guy Verhofstadt to knock on doors for Lib Dems in European parliament elections

The European parliament’s outspoken Brexit chief is coming to Britain next week to knock on doors in the European elections on behalf of the Liberal Democrats. Guy Verhofstadt, who is himself seeking re-election as a Belgian liberal MEP, will hop on the Eurostar from Brussels to join Lib Dem canvassers on the doorstep on Friday. While Mr Verhofstadt is best known in Britain for being the parliament’s voice in Brexit talks, the former Belgian prime minister is also leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe​ group in the European parliament, in which the Lib Dems sit.
2nd May 2019 - The Independent

Andrew Adonis - Remain supporters need to back Labour to make a People's Vote happen

The three elements are Labour's 'alternative Brexit plan', a general election, and a second referendum with an option to remain. Behind them is the reality that, despite all the political developments of recent months, including the launch of Change UK, Labour continues to be both the dominant opposition party and the only alternative government to the Conservatives, although a range of Tory leaders and Brexit policies are possible in the months ahead. Crucially, Labour alone can now stop Nigel Farage from topping the poll in the European elections on May 23. If Farage comes first, he will be rampant and the dynamic of Brexit will be his.
2nd May 2019 - The New European

Cabinet leaks are undermining Brexit, says Jeremy Hunt after the sacking of Gavin Williamson as defence secretary over secret Huawei meeting breach

Jeremy Hunt last night criticised Cabinet colleagues for damaging leaks which he warned had undermined Brexit. Backing Theresa May's decision to sack Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson over the Huawei leak, the Foreign Secretary said no Premier could have a minister at the table she did not have confidence in. He also defended Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill against Mr Williamson's criticism of the investigation, calling him a 'man of utmost integrity'. Mr Hunt insisted it was right the Huawei leak was treated differently because it had been from the 'inner sanctum' of the National Security Council which discusses highly-classified information.
2nd May 2019 - Daily Mail

@BBCLauraK Papers snapped by the inimitable ⁦@PoliticalPics⁩ show document carried by David Lidington say Williamson stays in the privy council

Papers snapped by the inimitable ⁦@PoliticalPics⁩ show document carried by David Lidington say Williamson stays in the privy council
2nd May 2019 - @BBCLauraK

May prepares to keep EU customs rules

Theresa May is preparing to accept that Britain will remain in lockstep with the European Union’s customs rules for years after Brexit in a deal with Labour. Under the terms of a tentative agreement Mrs May is close to signing up to a long-term customs union with the EU in all but name in return for Labour supporting her withdrawal agreement. Details of internal discussions began to leak as Mrs May gave her strongest hint yet that she was prepared to give ground. She told MPs that both sides now agreed on “some of the benefits of a customs union”. It is understood that under the proposal, which has yet to be agreed, the government would agree to enter a “customs arrangement” with the EU at the end of the transition period. This would include Britain aligning all tariffs on goods with the EU and allowing it to negotiate trade deals on Britain’s behalf.
2nd May 2019 - The Times

@SkyNewsPolitics Brexit minister James Cleverly says the Conservatives will "disproportionately" face a Brexit backlash from voters

Brexit minister James Cleverly says the Conservatives will "disproportionately" face a Brexit backlash from voters. Polls have closed in local elections,
2nd May 2019 - @SkyNewsPolitics

@Plaid_Cymru The Welsh Senedd has voted in favour of the Plaid Cymru motion declaring a #ClimateEmergency. Wales has just made history becoming the first parliament in the world to do so.

VICTORY. The Welsh Senedd has voted in favour of the Plaid Cymru motion declaring a #ClimateEmergency. Wales has just made history becoming the first parliament in the world to do so.
1st May 2019 - @Plaid_Cymru

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 2nd May 2019

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Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak

Gavin Williamson has been sacked as defence secretary following an inquiry into a leak from a top-level National Security Council meeting. Downing Street said the PM had "lost confidence in his ability to serve" and Penny Mordaunt will take on the role. The inquiry followed reports over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK's new 5G network. Mr Williamson, who has been defence secretary since 2017, "strenuously" denies leaking the information. In a meeting with Mr Williamson on Wednesday evening, Theresa May told him she had information that provided "compelling evidence" that he was responsible for the unauthorised disclosure. In a letter confirming his dismissal, she said: "No other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified." Responding in a letter to the PM, Mr Williamson said he was "confident" that a "thorough and formal inquiry" would have "vindicated" his position.
1st May 2019 - BBC

May Fires Defense Secretary in Clampdown After Huawei Leak

2nd May 2019 - Bloomberg

@Tom_Watson If he has leaked from the National Security Council, Gavin Williamson should be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. And he should forgo his ministerial severance pay.

If he has leaked from the National Security Council, Gavin Williamson should be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act. And he should forgo his ministerial severance pay.
1st May 2019 - @Tom_Watson

MPs make history by passing Commons motion to declare ‘environment and climate change emergency’

Introducing the motion on Wednesday, Mr Corbyn called on MPs to recognise the “devastating impact” that volatile and extreme weather will have on all walks of life, as he urged them to “declare an environment and climate emergency”. “We have no time to waste,” he added. “We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now. “This is no longer about a distant future. We are talking about nothing less than the irreversible destruction of the environment within our lifetimes.” During the debate on the motion environment secretary Michael Gove, who met with climate activists at Westminster on Tuesday, also said the government recognises “the situation we face is an emergency”, but stopped short of meeting Labour’s demands to officially declare one.
1st May 2019 - The Independent

UK Parliament declares climate change emergency

1st May 2019 - BBC

U.K.'s May and Corbyn Hint That a Brexit Deal Could Be in Sight

Theresa May and her arch political rival Jeremy Corbyn are both signaling they may be edging closer to a Brexit deal after a month of talks between their teams that seemed to be going nowhere. Both the U.K. government and the main opposition Labour Party talked up the prospects for a compromise plan and will hold more negotiations in the days ahead. The prime minister is aiming to wrap up the talks next week, either with an agreement or without one. On Wednesday, May signaled she could move on one of her key red lines and allow the U.K. to sign up to some kind of permanent customs union with the EU. The pound strengthened. “There is a greater commonality in terms of some of the benefits of a customs union that we’ve already identified between ourselves and the official opposition,” May told a parliamentary committee. “Looking at the balance of these issues is part of the discussion. Can we come to an agreement on that? I hope we will be able to.”
1st May 2019 - Bloomberg

'Brexit customs union the only option left for Theresa May,' says Corbyn ally

Rebecca Long-Bailey made clear, however, that Mrs May will have to make a decisive shift towards Labour’s policy for a customs union. “I think, pragmatically, that they potentially may have no option in order to be able to push this deal through,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. A Tory source said the key question was whether Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell “are willing to dip their hands in the blood of Brexit” and risk a split with pro-EU colleagues such as shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson.
1st May 2019 - Evening Standard

Tories delay Theresa May’s showdown with furious members so she can host Donald Trump

Tory party chiefs are to delay Theresa May’s showdown reckoning with furious members to allow her to host Donald Trump. An unprecedented Emergency General Meeting is due to be called in early June amid a grassroots activists’ revolt over Brexit.
2nd May 2019 - The Sun

Brexit makes the case for an independent Scotland - At the whim of the Tory party, Scots have been told to surrender their European identity

When Scotland voted to maintain the union with England, the argument that separation would diminish both nations seemed compelling. Five years on, Nicola Sturgeon says Brexit has broken the bargain. Scotland’s first minister and leader of the Scottish National party is preparing for a possible second referendum by mid-2021. Ms Sturgeon may be a touch impatient. She is also essentially right. Leaving the EU unpicks the logic of Scotland’s place in the UK. The independence vote in September 2014 saw 55 per cent support the union and 45 per cent opt for independence. The decision was clear, and yet still close enough to represent a reprieve rather than an unequivocal commitment to the status quo. The unspoken message was that the cloak of Britishness thrown over England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could not be taken for granted.
2nd May 2019 - Financial Times

Corbyn’s attempt to play the electorate over Brexit has backfired. Now neither side needs Labour to get what they want

Next year, ringed in the calendar by the Labour leader and shadow chancellor as the likely date of the next election, might then mark the beginning of the end of Corbynism. “People are starting to think about life after Jeremy,” said one Corbyn loyalist. It is a process that will gather pace now that Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) has rejected grassroots calls for the party to support a Final Say referendum on any Brexit deal. Corbyn now risks alienating the very members who ensured his 2015 victory.
1st May 2019 - The Independent

Elephant on the doorstep: Plymouth’s politicians don’t mention Brexit

A third of the council’s seats are up for grabs on 2 May. There are currently only Conservative and Labour councillors in Plymouth (26 and 31 respectively), meaning the Tories would need to gain three seats to steal Labour’s majority. Neither party thinks that is likely to happen. “I think it will be tough,” says the council’s Conservative group leader, Ian Bowyer. “There are no two ways about that.” Plymouth voted to leave the European Union by 60% to 40% and Bowyer is open about the fact that the Brexit stalemate in Westminster has damaged his party’s chances. “Without the raging Brexit arguments and the lack of performance that people see in Westminster, I think we would have had a better chance,” he says. Mercer puts it rather more strongly. “I think the electorate are in no mood to vote Conservative,” he says. “Because we have signally failed to deliver our primary policy. The prime minister has said for two and a half years that if we don’t get a good deal we will be leaving anyway. I and thousands of others believed her and it was not the case.”
1st May 2019 - The Guardian

Dear Corbyn: If you fail to challenge Brexit, you will throw away your support

Take Lara McNeill, the NEC representative for Young Labour: in a blog post yesterday – posted just after she had retweeted a meme which claimed that the Communications Union’s rejection of a second referendum was “quality socialism” – how, exactly? – she made claimed that “it is clear that the electorate’s desire to honour the 2016 referendum result is hardening rather than dissipating.” In fact, the number of those who thought the UK was wrong to vote to leave, rather than right, at close to an all time high. Remain now has a consistent lead in the polls, with the lead among those who think the decision to leave the EU being wrong having grown to as much as eight points in recent months. And the overwhelming majority of young Labour members, voters, and activists backing a fresh referendum. Yet McNeill supplies no positive evidence for her claim. It’s not what the statistics say – and not what I hear from local party, Momentum and activist meetings. She also claims that it is the role of the NEC to decide which parts of established policy to include in the manifesto, not “turn existing policy on its head.” Fine – but a public vote on any deal was voted for by Jeremy Corbyn and the vast majority of the front bench on April 1st. Were they making up policy then?
1st May 2019 - Left Foot Forward

@BethRigby The PM's letter firing Gavin Williamson

The PM's letter firing Gavin Williamson
1st May 2019 - @BethRigby

May weighs up remaining in an EU customs union

Theresa May is considering agreeing to keep the UK inside the EU’s tariff wall to secure a Brexit deal, which would restrict the country’s ability to do trade deals on goods but allow it to strike agreements on services. The move could satisfy the opposition Labour party’s demand that Britain stay within the bloc’s common external tariff. The prime minister has been warned by Conservative chief whip Julian Smith that unless she strikes a deal on a customs union with Labour a second referendum would be a likely outcome, prompting ministers to scramble to find a possible compromise. Mrs May insisted to MPs on Wednesday she wanted to maintain an “independent trade policy” after Brexit but her allies said that this did not necessarily cover all parts of the British economy. “You could come up with a solution where you have freedom to do trade deals in some areas but not others,” said one person close to Mrs May. Downing Street declined to comment.
1st May 2019 - Financial Times

Cabinet ministers split over customs union Brexit deal with Labour

Cabinet ministers are bitterly divided over whether Brexit talks with Labour should broach the possibility of a customs union, with several sceptical that such a deal could even command a majority in parliament or survive hostile backbench amendments. A senior cabinet minister suggested a deal involving a customs union could be backed by as few as 90 Tory MPs and would mean a slew of resignations from the government payroll. It is also likely to be opposed by the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and other smaller parties, as well as dozens of Labour MPs who would only back a deal if it included a confirmatory referendum.
1st May 2019 - The Guardian

Chief whip warned cabinet that referendum or customs union are price of Brexit

I imagine you all know this, but I am told it is true that Julian Smith told cabinet that the only way to get the Brexit deal through the Commons is for the Government and Theresa May to agree either to hold a confirmatory ballot or to commit to a customs union. Which sounds to me like the chief whip telling the PM and ministers that the only way to secure Brexit is to ignore dearest preferences of the majority of Tory MPs and get her Brexit ratified by relying on the official opposition. Which would probably destroy the Tory party. And therefore maybe he was in practice saying that there is no Brexit without a General Election (presumably with a new Tory leader). Apparently the PM did not make any comment on the chief whip's briefing.
1st May 2019 - ITV News

Michael Gove tells Cabinet it would be better to have 'unpalatable' deal with Labour than no Brexit

In a boost for ongoing cross-party talks, the Environment Secretary is said to have told Cabinet colleagues this week that the Conservatives might need to give ground to the opposition to reach an agreement. According to The Telegraph, Mr Gove - who campaigned for Brexit in 2016 - warned that an "unpalatable" deal with the opposition would be better than the "disastrous" outcome of Brexit being shelved altogether.
1st May 2019 - Politics Home

Brexit: Theresa May admits she could cave in to Labour demands to stay in customs union

Theresa May has admitted she could agree to stay in a customs union in a bid to rescue Brexit, saying she “can’t pre-empt” the result of the talks with Labour. The prime minister’s spokesman refused – four times – to rule out the concession, which would enrage many Conservative MPs and almost certainly trigger cabinet resignations. “I can’t pre-empt what will come out of talks,” he said, asked if Ms May was prepared to agree to the central demand made by Jeremy Corbyn.
1st May 2019 - The Independent

Is an independent Scotland now inevitable? I'm beginning to believe it might be

Fast forward a year and a bit, and Britain has finally left the European Union, even if the nature of its future relationship with Brussels has yet to be settled. Unfortunately, another problem has loomed into view. By a comfortable majority, Scots have voted for an independent Scotland. A triumphant Nicola Sturgeon stands before Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s House, seat of the Scottish government, to announce that two years hence, the more than three centuries old Act of Union with England will be dissolved. Now fast forward to the moment of departure, and the Scottish government is finding that, like Brexit, actually leaving a union of such long standing in a manner that is not going to be economically that straight forward
1st May 2019 - The Telegraph

Brexit: May hopes UK will leave 'well before' 31 October deadline

Theresa May has said she hopes the UK will leave the EU well before the new 31 October Brexit deadline. She told MPs there was no reason the UK could not leave in a matter of weeks once MPs backed an agreement, which they have so far rejected three times. She signalled she hoped to get Labour backing for any new customs proposal before putting it to Parliament again. She said their aims were "very similar" and "sometimes people use different terms to mean the same thing". Labour wants the PM to sign up to the idea of a customs union with the EU, something she has adamantly opposed up to now, and some have suggested she is moving in their direction. Most Conservative MPs have said they would not support the move, saying it would mean the UK would not have an independent trade policy.
1st May 2019 - BBC

'Stop stereotyping the north as Brexitland' say four Labour MPs

Four North Labour MPs, Mary Creagh, Anna Turley, Phil Wilson, and Catherine McKinnell, set out why they believe 'published opinion' is wrong about the region's voters. “THERE is no such thing as public opinion,” said Winston Churchill. “There is only published opinion.” If you are an MP in the North of England, as we are, “published opinion” (and Nigel Farage) tells you we are surrounded by shouty people who all voted for Brexit; whose entire lives are dominated by anger that the “elites” are betraying them. “Published opinion” states that we Northern Labour MPs live in constant fear of losing our seats, unless we repeat that mantra that Leave Means Leave, and if we don’t deliver “the will of the people”, we are all heading for the political scrapyard. How dare the media use our constituents to reaffirm Brexit stereotypes of 2016? They were stereotypes then and they still are. Yes, we all know Leavers who still want Brexit. But we also know Leavers who, now they know what Brexit will mean for their families, jobs and incomes, have changed their mind. We know people who are adamantly opposed to a People’s Vote. We know others who were opposed but who now see it as the only democratic way out of the mess we are in.
30th Apr 2019 - The Northern Echo

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 1st May 2019

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Ukip releases video to discredit Farage | News

Ukip has released a video of its former leader Nigel Farage making alleged anti-Muslim statements. Ukip ridiculed the claim that Mr Farage’s new Brexit Party will be “deeply intolerant of intolerance”. The video showed Mr Farage, who recently accused Ukip of a “lurch towards extremism”, talking about a “fifth column” of Muslim jihadists living in Britain. “They carry our passports. They speak our language and they hate us . . . they want to kill us . . . they want to overthrow our culture, our constitution, our whole way of life,” Mr Farage is recorded as saying at the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe. It is not clear when the comments were made.
1st May 2019 - The Times

Scottish Labour activists pile pressure on Corbyn and Leonard over People's Vote

Ten members of the party's Scottish Executive Committee have called on the Labour leaders to recognise the need for a second Brexit referendum.
30th Apr 2019 - Daily Record

Theresa May preparing to cave in to Labour demands on Brexit, Eurosceptics fear

Theresa May is preparing to cave in to Labour demands on Brexit, Eurosceptic ministers fear, after they were told an “unpalatable” outcome would be better than a “disastrous” one. The Prime Minister has made it clear that she wants cross-party talks wrapped up by the middle of next week, adding to suspicions that she is waiting until after tomorrow’s local elections before announcing a climbdown. A Cabinet meeting yesterday was dominated by discussion of how the Government can get a Brexit deal through Parliament so that Britain can leave the EU before the current deadline of October. Brexiteers still believe Mrs May can win round Tory rebels by making changes to the Northern Irish backstop
30th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

SNP hit out at Labour over 'cowardice' of People's Vote manifesto move

Key SNP figures have slammed Labour for failing to properly back a second EU referendum in its European manifesto, with Ian Blackford calling the move “supreme cowardice”. The new policy only commits Labour to backing a new vote if no agreement is reached with the Tories on an alternative Brexit deal including a customs union membership, or if there is no General Election. "@jeremycorbyn has failed to recognise there is no such thing as a good Brexit. A People’s Vote allows for folk to have a say on the Brexit consequence. A failure to lead is supreme cowardice. Scotland has a choice #It’s time for indy”.
30th Apr 2019 - The National

Brexit: Labour NEC agrees position on second referendum after 5 hour meeting

Labour's ruling body has come to an agreement on a second Brexit referendum after a marathon five-hour meeting. In a victory for Jeremy Corbyn's allies on the ruling National Executive Committee, the party will support a new public vote - but only in certain circumstances.
30th Apr 2019 - Daily Mirror

Jeremy Hunt: Tories may have to embrace no deal

Jeremy Hunt's picture rich tour of Africa shows he will be a formidable candidate in the Conservative leadership contest. Snapped taking the wheel of a Royal Marines rigid inflatable boat, he strikes the pose of a clear frontrunner among the cabinet contenders. From thousands of miles away, Hunt has also been showcasing his Brexit credentials by warning Theresa May against agreeing a deal with Labour involving a customs union. But Hunt has one fundamental weakness, that could undermine his chances when he comes up against Brexiteer candidates such as Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab. The foreign secretary is, in the eyes of many Tories, a nouveau Brexiteer.
30th Apr 2019 - BBC

Alyn Smith: Unhappy Labour voters – join a party which supports Europe!

Much as Labour are not looking at a great result, the Tories are guaranteed an awful time. So I do think the elections are happening, and as to the second question, of what comes next, I think it will be largely decided by the result of the election itself. If there is a huge Remain vote for clearly pro-Remain parties, then I think that tends towards a second EU referendum; if there is a huge Leave vote then I think that tends towards them sitting down and quietly agreeing the Withdrawal Agreement. So this really matters – this is our chance to stop Brexit.
30th Apr 2019 - The National

Labour agrees to put current Brexit policy in European manifesto

In an emergency meeting this afternoon, Labour’s ruling body agreed to include current party policy on Brexit in the European manifesto. The result means MEP candidates will be officially standing on a commitment to back Labour’s alternative Brexit plan and only support another public vote if the opposition cannot secure either changes to the current deal or a general election. It is a victory for Jeremy Corbyn and the party leadership, which faced attempts – led by deputy leader and national executive committee (NEC) member Tom Watson – to shift policy towards a clear public vote pledge that would apply to any deal.
30th Apr 2019 - Labour List

Jeremy Hunt Warns Backing Customs Union Would Cost More Tory Votes Than It Would Gain Labour

Jeremy Hunt has warned Theresa May she would lose the support of more Tory MPs than she would gain Labour MPs if she backed a customs union in an attempt to strike a Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn. The foreign secretary said on Tuesday he believed a deal would “definitely” be done and insisted there was still a “great sense of urgency” despite Brexit reportedly not even being on the agenda of today’s cabinet meeting. “The reality of Brexit is that it is the most controversial issue, certainly in my political lifetime, but we have a hung parliament so we cannot get it through without talking to other parties,” Hunt told BBC Radio 4′s today programme. “If we were proposing, which I very much hope we don’t, to sign up to the customs union, then I think there is a risk that you would lose more Conservative MPs than you would gain Labour MPs.
30th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Labour's European election manifesto to restate referendum position

MPs campaigning for the party to back another poll declare victory, after the five-hour meeting of Labour's ruling body breaks up.
30th Apr 2019 - Sky News

Judging by the Home Office, it’s now Tory policy to ruin Britain

Since Windrush, all we have seen is pathetic attempts at compensating victims, and more scandals. Presiding over it all is the new benevolent dictator Sajid Javid, who speaks in the language of a man who knows how to pay lip service to the forces that removed his predecessor, while doubling down on policies that have not changed, but are merely fronted by a new, more media-friendly face. One that does not hesitate to point out – as often as possible – that it is a brown one.
30th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Labour Fudges Brexit Referendum Pledge For European Parliament Elections

Labour will fight the European parliament elections without a firm pledge to hold a fresh referendum on Brexit, its ruling body has decided. In a bid to unite the party’s warring factions, the National Executive Committee (NEC) decided the manifesto for its MEP candidates should include a reference to the “option” of a fresh public vote on the UK’s membership of the EU. But the NEC rejected more radical proposals, pushed by deputy leader Tom Watson and the TSSA union, for a tougher anti-Brexit stance that would have committed the party to a referendum on any deal, not just Theresa May’s. HuffPost UK understands that the party’s Euro campaign leaflets will now be amended to reflect the new position, following a huge backlash from MPs and MEPs over a draft version that omitted any mention of a new public vote.
30th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Campaigners react as Labour continues to push for Brexit with new manifesto

Bridget Phillipson, the Labour MP for Houghton & Sunderland South and a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said: “Labour has done the bare minimum needed and I can only hope it will be enough to secure the support of all those millions of our voters demanding the final say on Brexit. “There is no deal on the table other than the one negotiated by the government and there is no majority for it in parliament without a confirmatory referendum to show there is a majority for it the country too. “The decision of the NEC today reaffirms conference policy and means Labour will have little choice except to back a new public vote on the most likely outcome of this vexed process.
30th Apr 2019 - The New European

UK government is grinding to a halt

Brexit is bringing government and policymaking in Whitehall and Westminster to a juddering halt. Since the June 2017 election, it has been increasingly clear that Theresa May and her ministers don’t have the capacity to contemplate much policy that isn’t connected with Britain’s departure from the EU. But the past few days have brought home how the business of government has slowed to a snail’s pace thanks in large part to the impasse over Mrs May’s Brexit deal. On April 12, chancellor Philip Hammond revealed that he can’t be sure of finalising the three-year spending review for government departments and local authorities over the summer. A new spending review is vital if Mr Hammond is to begin ending austerity. But he told reporters: “If we don’t have a [Brexit] deal done, the level of uncertainty that will remain probably makes it inappropriate to do a long-term spending review.” Yesterday, Downing Street admitted that another major setpiece parliamentary event for later this year could also be postponed: the Queen’s Speech setting out the government’s domestic legislation programme for the next year. There have been only five years since 1900 when a Queen’s Speech hasn’t taken place. The annual address is an important sign that a government has both a robust policy programme and a Commons majority to boot.
30th Apr 2019 - Financial Times

Labour ‘must commit to People’s Vote’ before EU elections

Labour needs to confirm its commitment to a public vote on Brexit, according to nearly 90 of its elected politicians. Jeremy Corbyn is facing growing calls from key members of his team to confirm whether the party backs a referendum on a Brexit deal or not. More than 90 MPs and MEPs have said the issue needs to be urgently clarified in its manifesto for the European elections next month. Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet on Tuesday and there are calls for a decision to be made by then.
30th Apr 2019 - Metro

European elections: Which parties back a second Brexit referendum in your constituency?

Campaigners for a second Brexit referendum have launched a website allowing voters in next month’s European elections to find out which parties in their constituency are backing a fresh vote. The People’s Vote campaign, which set up the site, says it will increase pressure on Labour to match pledges by other parties to back a new say on EU membership. Voters can enter their constituency on the site to see who matches their views. The Liberal Democrats, Change UK, the Green Party, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are all backing a second referendum.
30th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Labour's Jess Phillips says party will get a 'drubbing' at European elections if they don't offer second referendum

Labour's Jess Phillips predicts the party will get a "drubbing" if the party doesn't offer a second referendum in their European elections manifesto. The MP spoke to ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand on the ITV News podcast Acting Prime Minister as Labour's National Executive Committee meets on Tuesday to finalise the party's position on Brexit for the elections in May. Asked what will happen if Labour goes into European elections without a clear promise on a second referendum, Ms Phillips said: "I think people who voted remain and voted Labour will not vote Labour again."
30th Apr 2019 - ITV News

Corbyn sees off calls to back second Brexit referendum

Jeremy Corbyn has seen off a challenge from Labour’s Europhile wing, defeating a bid to commit the party to holding a second EU referendum in all circumstances. After a lengthy meeting of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee to decide the manifesto for European elections, the Labour leader’s position on Brexit was opposed by a minority of delegates, including his deputy Tom Watson, who had argued that the party should give unequivocal backing to a second vote. The Labour leader announced afterwards that the party would maintain its existing policy of backing a soft Brexit with a customs union. He added that Labour would support the “option” of a public vote only if it was unable to secure the changes to the government’s existing withdrawal deal — and could not force a general election.
30th Apr 2019 - Financial Times

Brexit: Theresa May threatens Labour she will abandon talks if deal not reached by next week

Theresa May will abandon attempts to strike a Brexit deal with Labour if no cross-party agreement can be struck within one week. The prime minister has bowed to pressure to finally set a deadline for ending the talks with Jeremy Corbyn if necessary – deciding the Labour leader must be on board with seven days, a government source said. If Labour agrees not to block the withdrawal agreement bill, it would then be put to the Commons – but the government will “move in another direction” if no guarantee is given, The Independent was told.
30th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Exclusive: Theresa May Blocks Cabinet Demands To Speed Up Deadlocked Brexit Process

Theresa May blocked cabinet demands to speed up the stalled Brexit process this week, HuffPost UK has learned. Brexiteer ministers had expected the withdrawal agreement bill (WAB) to be brought before the Commons, but were overruled by Downing Street. The prime minister is concerned that MPs could simply vote down the laws at the first attempt, potentially triggering a general election. She is willing to give talks with Labour another week to reach either a cross-party deal or agreement on backing whatever solution comes out of a fresh round of parliamentary votes on alternatives.
30th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

@BBCPolitics "A second referendum would have no credibility," says Leave-supporting Labour MP Graham Stringer, "the first referendum should be implemented in full, it was unambiguous and unconditional"

"A second referendum would have no credibility," says Leave-supporting Labour MP Graham Stringer, "the first referendum should be implemented in full, it was unambiguous and unconditional"
30th Apr 2019 - @BBCPolitics

The Labour party agrees to reject calls to fully back new Brexit referendum

Labour party rejects calls to explicitly back a second referendum in all circumstances, in defeat for party's pro-Europeans. Jeremy Corbyn's party is heavily split over the question of a second referendum. The ruling NEC agreed to maintain Labour's existing policy of maintaining the "option" of a second referendum.
30th Apr 2019 - Business Insider

Labour needn’t worry: in its northern heartlands, Brexiters are not the only voices

You can cherrypick your vox pops to suit, but Mary Creagh, the local Labour MP, and the local People’s Vote campaigners, say they’ve found a marked change in the past two months. And this isn’t just wishful thinking from remainers. YouGov this month polled 5,000 Labour heartland voters in the north-east, north-west, Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside. Did these Labour voters back “a new public vote on whether Britain should leave on the deal negotiated or stay in the EU”? Three-quarters supported the idea, and 43% said that if Labour backed a vote they would feel greater affinity for the party. Only 8% said it would make them feel less keen on Labour; only 11% backed Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Labour never was the party of Brexit and it’s become even less so now. Don’t mythologise “northern working-class Labour man” when Brexit is overwhelmingly a Tory disease
30th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

The Guardian view on May’s elections: resolve Brexit, defend democracy

Politicians need to come clean about the costs of pursuing Brexit – about how it is likely to render poorer many of those places that voted leave; about how it risks peace in Ireland; about the awkward task of redefining the national interest, and trying to give it new meaning while preserving the integrity of the UK. Instead, amid indifference and confusion, politicians have dodged the problem of Brexit. They ought to instead re-engage in these polls, by first organising the millions of EU citizens who have most to lose from Brexit and need to be registered to vote in a week’s time for European elections. Brexit is not going away just because it seems more convenient to ignore it. Politicians have not found a way out; they will only do so by reconnecting with the public.
30th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 30th Apr 2019

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Will Labour commit to referendum on any Brexit proposed by this government?

Sources close to the Labour leader believe the emergency NEC meeting on Tuesday, which determines the Labour manifesto for the EU elections, will agree a formula that is "a restatement" of the party's equivocal and prolix party conference resolution of last September. But a senior trade union source tells me that if Unison, GMB and Usdaw are bulldozed on Tuesday, if their demand for Labour to commit to a "confirmatory" referendum on any Brexit deal is simply ignored, Corbyn and his colleagues are "being delusional about the likely consequences". The well-placed trade unionist added: "They have no idea what's going to hit them and the scale of the backlash they will face" - which captures for you how emotions are running very high. And given that Unison, the GMB and Usdaw are respectively the first, third and fourth biggest trade unions in the UK, they can certainly cause trouble for Corbyn, if so minded.
30th Apr 2019 - ITV News

Just days to stop EU elections but Minister says 'no deadline' to sort Brexit

Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission's chief spokesman, said Brussels would not speak of Brexit until London says there have been significative developments. He said: "There is nothing else we can do, there is nothing else we can say. I will not speak on Brexit again unless there are developments in London. "It is universally known that we are on a Brexit break. Cross-party talks between the Government and the Labour Party are resuming today after the Easter break. The talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have entered the fifth week. But Downing Street's official spokesman has announced Labours and Tories still have to find a “way forward” on how to reach a compromise on Brexit.
30th Apr 2019 - Express.co.uk

'This is not about Brexit': Labour faces credibility test in Stoke

In next week’s local election Stoke-on-Trent faces a curious paradox: it is being closely watched as a bellwether for national trends, but at the same time no one directly involved in the battle seems able to predict what could happen, or what lessons might be learned. In the most simple terms, whether or not Labour can regain control of the Staffordshire city would seem a fairly basic test of the party’s electability under Jeremy Corbyn, and failure to do so would be a blow.
30th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

New IRA says Brexit has provided it with opportunity - Sunday Times

Brexit has provided the militant Irish nationalist group that admitted killing journalist Lyra McKee with a chance to further its campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland, the Sunday Times quoted its leadership as saying. The New IRA, one of a small number of groups that opposes Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace deal, has said one of its members shot the 29-year-old reporter dead in Londonderry last week when opening fire on police during a riot McKee was watching. The killing, which followed a large car bomb in Londonderry in January that police also blamed on the New IRA, has raised fears that small marginalised militant groups are exploiting a political vacuum in the province and tensions caused by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. “Brexit has forced the IRA to refocus and has underlined how Ireland remains partitioned. It would be remiss of us not to capitalise on the opportunity,” the newspaper quoted one of its members as saying
30th Apr 2019 - Reuters

EXCL Unions urge Jeremy Corbyn to put referendum pledge in Labour manifesto

The general secretaries of Unison, the GMB and Usdaw have thrown their weight behind the move as a crunch meeting of the party's ruling national executive committee looms. Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer are pushing for a clear promise that any Brexit deal approved by the House of Commons should be put to the country in a so-called "confirmatory ballot". Reports on Sunday suggested that Unison boss Dave Prentis had give the Labour leader assurances that he would support his more equivocal stance that a second referendum should only be held to stop a "Tory Brexit" or the UK leaving without a deal. But PoliticsHome understands that Mr Prentis has joined forces with GMB boss Tim Roache and Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis in backing Mr Watson and Sir Keir. Labour's NEC will meet on Tuesday to finalise the party's position in what promises to be a defining moment.
30th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Theresa May's Former Universities Minister Has Warned The Government Risks Being Seen As "Against Young People"

The government risks being seen as "against young people", a former Tory education minister said on Monday amid a cabinet row over plans to hike university tuition fees for EU students after Brexit. Sam Gyimah, who was Theresa May's universities minister until he resigned in November last year, said the plans — revealed by BuzzFeed News on Saturday — meant the government was "undermining the university sector and taking steps that would make it more difficult for young people in this country to live, work and study abroad".
30th Apr 2019 - BuzzFeed News

Labour members know what we need: a referendum and a campaign for remain

The challenge we face in the forthcoming European elections is not whether Labour should back a “confirmatory vote” or a “public vote on a Tory deal”, or any of the other variations on these themes circulating in Westminster’s WhatsApp world. The real challenges we face are those described by the phenomenal Greta Thunberg – and the rise of the far right.
30th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Brexit compromise talks to end deadlock move on to 'nuts and bolts'

Cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock have moved on to the "nuts and bolts" after the latest "positive" set of meetings. Sue Hayman, Labour's shadow environment secretary, emerged from the Cabinet Office on Monday to declare the day's negotiations with senior government ministers as "very constructive". There is still "a lot more to discuss", she added, but suggested the government had shown willingness to drop some of its red lines.
30th Apr 2019 - Sky News

Labour to discuss 'confirmatory ballot' for Brexit

Labour's governing body will meet on Tuesday to discuss whether to call for a public vote on Brexit as part of its European election manifesto. The National Executive Committee is split between holding a referendum on any deal; holding one with caveats; or rejecting the idea altogether. The party is also holding talks with ministers to try to agree a Brexit deal and break the deadlock in Parliament.
30th Apr 2019 - BBC

Brexit talks take positive turn towards possible compromise

Talks with senior shadow ministers and officials are likely to continue this week, including on key areas of previous disagreement that had previously been swerved, including a customs union, single market alignment and dynamic alignment of workers’ rights and environmental protections. It is understood no new offer from the government has been put on the table but participants emerged with a new optimism about a change in tone and a feeling that there were grounds to continue discussions, a marked contrast to last week’s talks. May’s spokesman said cross-party talks would continue as long as there was “still a prospect of reaching a single position to put to parliament”, but added that the prime minister would then look to bring forward “a small number of votes to try and find a way through parliament”. Asked whether that would be votes on new options for a Brexit deal or on legislation, the spokesman said: “I’m referring to options.”
30th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Melanie Onn MP: Labour must stop its sleight-of-hand on a second Brexit referendum or risk alienating working people

Continuing to back a second referendum, a sleight-of-hand position which by nudging and cajoling incrementally, really only has one definitive intention, to revoke the 2016 referendum and remain in the EU. It will send a message of a tin-eared Labour Party, unconcerned by the views of the heartlands it needs to hang on to in order to form a Government. Any decision about the Labour Party fully endorsing a second referendum on any deal must be made, not on the basis of bolstering potential future leadership ambitions, but in the full knowledge of the impact that decision will have on the future electability of Labour as a potential Government, whether that is in 2022 or later this year.
29th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Remaining In EU Should Not Be An Option In Any New Brexit Referendum, Young Labour Rep On Ruling Body Warns

Staying in the EU should not be on the ballot paper of any fresh Brexit referendum, Labour’s representative for young people has declared. Ahead of a crunch vote by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday, Lara McNeill said that it would “not be wise” to commit to putting Remain on any ballot paper in another public vote. McNeill, a final year medical student, is one of the 39-strong body due to decide Labour’s European manifesto policy as the party’s senior figures gather ahead of the May 23 elections.
29th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Second referendum part of cross-party Brexit talks, says David Lidington

Conservative MP David Lidington has confirmed that the prospect of a confirmatory referendum has been discussed as part of the cross-party Brexit talks. Labour policy is to have a second referendum on any agreed Brexit deal but Mr Lidington is cool on the idea. "We've always known this is part of Labour's policy platform, so it's something I would have expected them to raise at these meetings and they have," Mr Lidington said when asked about a second referendum after Monday's talks. "Equally, they know this is not something that is government policy and the last couple of time it has come before the House of Commons, it has been defeated."
29th Apr 2019 - ITV News

Brexit: Labour braced for showdown over second referendum

Labour is braced for a showdown over whether to back a referendum on any Brexit deal when the party’s governing body meets to agree its draft European elections manifesto on Tuesday. Party sources suggested the party was likely to agree a compromise option where it would support a referendum in order to prevent Theresa May’s Brexit deal or leaving without a deal, describing that wording as “the path of least resistance”. However, a public drive for a stronger line has been led by the party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, who has urged remain-supporting members to write to the national executive committee’s members, including Jeremy Corbyn.
29th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

'No decision' on post-Brexit EU student fees, says minister

No decision has been made about whether to charge EU students more to study at English universities after Brexit, the government has insisted. They currently pay the same as those from the UK, but it has been reported fees could rise from 2021. Labour's Angela Rayner accused the government of "building walls" between top British universities and the EU. Lib Dem Tom Brake warned the EU would likely reciprocate, meaning only the richest from the UK could study abroad.
29th Apr 2019 - BBC

Labour's John McDonnell says UK economy requires 'revolution'

Labour is planning a "revolution" for the UK economy, John McDonnell has told the BBC. The shadow chancellor was speaking to Newsnight for a series of reports to mark 40 years since the election of Margaret Thatcher. He said he saw parallels between today and 1979 when Mrs Thatcher swept to power in a major political sea-change. "Things aren't working for people, so they're looking for change," Mr McDonnell said. Asked whether Labour's plans represented evolution or revolution he said: "OK it will be a revolution. Transformative - because we are going to change society and that's what's demanded of us now." He added: "And do you know? I think most people accept that now. We'll do it by taking people with us. But it will be done on a very pragmatic basis.
29th Apr 2019 - BBC

How the German Right Wing Dominates Social Media

Help apparently isn't just coming from Germany. Davis has found countless photos among the AfD posts that come from Russian image databases, leading him to wonder if perhaps the party is getting some social media assistance from Moscow. The AfD's spokesperson rejects this claim, at least when it comes to the accounts run by party headquarters. He said he can't be sure about the other accounts. In intelligence circles, analysts believe such a scenario to be plausible. Experts believe that support for the AfD is consistent with Moscow's strategic intention of destabilizing Western democracies by strengthening extremist forces. Just a few weeks ago, DER SPIEGEL revealed just how close Russia's relationship is with some AfD politicians.
29th Apr 2019 - Der Spiegel

@Haggis_UK Nigel Evans - We have a £50billion trade surplus with the U.S. @adamboultonSKY - While we're still a member of the EU.. so being a member is not actually holding us back.

Nigel Evans - We have a £50billion trade surplus with the U.S. @adamboultonSKY - While we're still a member of the EU.. so being a member is not actually holding us back. #PeoplesVote #FinalSay #alloutpolitics
29th Apr 2019 - @Haggis_UK

@NedSimons Ex-WTO director Pascal Lamy has an opinion on Iain Duncan Smith's Brexit plan.

Ex-WTO director Pascal Lamy has an opinion on Iain Duncan Smith's Brexit plan.
29th Apr 2019 - @NedSimons

MPs could vote again on Brexit options if talks break down

May’s spokesman said cross-party talks would continue as long as there was “still a prospect of reaching a single position to put to parliament”, but added that the prime minister would then look to bring forward “a small number of votes to try and find a way through parliament”. Asked whether that would be votes on new options for a Brexit deal or on legislation, the spokesman said: “I’m referring to options.”
29th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Brexit: Cross-party talks 'productive' and 'constructive'

The latest talks between ministers and Labour to try to end the Brexit impasse were "positive" and "productive", the PM's de facto deputy has said. Speaking afterwards, David Lidington said he was "encouraged" by a sense from both sides about the "need to inject greater urgency" into the talks. He said there would be further meetings between the parties this week. Labour's shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said there had been "really constructive discussion" on Monday. She said the two parties were "getting much more into the nuts and bolts of the detail", and that she believed the government was "open to moving forward in our direction". Cross-party negotiations have been taking place for a number of weeks after Theresa May's Brexit deal with the EU was effectively rejected for a third time by MPs.
29th Apr 2019 - BBC

@Peston Sources close to the Labour leader believe that tomorrow the emergency NEC meeting, which determines the Labour manifesto for the EU elections, will agree a formula that is "a restatement" of the party's equivocal and prolix party conference resolution of last September. BUT...

Sources close to the Labour leader believe that tomorrow the emergency NEC meeting, which determines the Labour manifesto for the EU elections, will agree a formula that is "a restatement" of the party's equivocal and prolix party conference resolution of last September. BUT...
29th Apr 2019 - @Peston

May's spokesman - No way forward yet in Brexit talks with Labour

The British government has yet to find a way forward in talks with the Labour Party on how to reach a compromise Brexit deal, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday. The spokesman said the talks would continue later on Monday.
29th Apr 2019 - Reuters UK

Labour’s NEC must commit to a public vote on any Brexit deal

Over 700 Labour party members and trade unionists call on the party’s NEC to make an explicit commitment to a public vote on any Brexit deal, with an option to remain.
29th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

My constituents backed Brexit - but they have a right to a say on how we leave

We came up with a compromise that sought to pass the Brexit deal through Parliament provided it was put to the British people in a confirmatory ballot. I am the Leave half of the Kyle-Wilson compromise, Peter is the Remain half. Our approach, with the support of parliamentary colleagues from across the House, twice came top in the indicative voting process held recently in Parliament, but unfortunately it fell short of an overall majority.
29th Apr 2019 - Daily Mirror

Labour set to force Commons vote on declaring climate emergency

The party will demand on Wednesday that the country acts with urgency to slash global emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero before 2050, according to the Observer. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the recent climate change protests were a “massive and necessary wake-up call” and that Parliament backing the party’s bid would make it the first national legislature to declare a climate emergency.
29th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Brexit: Tom Watson steps up call for Labour referendum pledge

Labour's deputy leader has stepped up calls for his party to promise a referendum on any Brexit deal in its European elections manifesto. Tom Watson urged party members to message Labour's ruling national executive committee to call for a "confirmatory ballot" pledge. The NEC meets on Tuesday to decide on Labour's campaign manifesto. But frontbencher Barry Gardiner said a referendum on any Brexit deal would be a change in Labour policy. The shadow international trade secretary told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics that the party's policy agreed at last year's conference was to go for a referendum "to stop a no-deal or a bad Tory Brexit." He added: "If we are being pushed into a no-deal by this government, we will have a second referendum. But we want to try - and that's why we're in there with the government now - trying to deliver on what people voted for."
29th Apr 2019 - BBC

AA finance boss nicknamed 'the sledgehammer' quits to support anti-Brexit party Change UK

The AA's finance boss has quit after five years so he can devote his time to anti-Brexit party Change UK. Martin Clarke has stepped down immediately and does not have another job. He previously worked for private equity companies, where his robust approach earned him the nickname 'the sledgehammer'.
29th Apr 2019 - This is Money

Labour split as Shadow Cabinet minister suggests party could back Brexit deal without second referendum

Ms Long-Bailey has been among the top team involved in cross-party talks alongside colleagues Mr Starmer and John McDonnell, in a bid to break the deadlock over Britain’s departure from the bloc. However when asked if a second Brexit referendum was a “red line” for the opposition in the talks, the Shadow Business Secretary said: “I wouldn’t couch it in terms of a second referendum, but our party policy has always been that firstly we want to get a Brexit deal that puts our economy and living standards first and protects our environmental protections, workplace protections, health and safety standards.” “We want a customs union arrangement in order to keep our borders open, so that our manufacturing industry isn’t detrimentally affected, and we keep the movement of goods flowing as freely as possible. And we want a strong single market relationship.”
28th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 29th Apr 2019

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Nicola Sturgeon: Time for Scotland to become independent

Nicola Sturgeon has declared it is "time for Scotland to become independent" and called on the SNP to make sure there is a "surge" in support for leaving. Addressing her party's conference in Edinburgh, Scotland's first minister said events since the last Holyrood elections "have shown, beyond any doubt, that for Scotland the Westminster system is broken". Referring to Brexit, Ms Sturgeon said that if the UK "cannot be persuaded to change course" and reverse it, "Scotland must". She added: "We must have the choice of a better future. Scotland must have the choice of an independent future."
28th Apr 2019 - Sky News

Brexit drives support for Scottish independence to 49 percent - YouGov

28th Apr 2019 - Reuters UK

Scottish independence now 'WITHIN OUR GRASP' claims SNP

28th Apr 2019 - Express.co.uk

Sturgeon: 'Scotland needs protection from Brexit and Boris'

27th Apr 2019 - BBC

Nicola Sturgeon says world is facing a climate emergency

Nicola Sturgeon has said she believes the world is facing a climate emergency and pledged to speed up efforts to achieve zero carbon emissions. Following similar moves by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, this weekend, the Scottish first minister said she was declaring the emergency because the science showed global warming was worsening. She told the Scottish National party’s spring conference in Edinburgh that if the UK’s expert advisory committee on climate recommended more urgent action to cut CO2 emissions in a report later this week, her government would act.
28th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Nicola Sturgeon calls for SNP to ensure 'surging' support for independence

Nicola Sturgeon has declared it is "time for Scotland to become independent" and called on the SNP to make sure there is a "surge" in support for leaving. Addressing her party's conference in Edinburgh, Scotland's first minister said events since the last Holyrood elections "have shown, beyond any doubt, that for Scotland the Westminster system is broken". Referring to Brexit, Ms Sturgeon said that if the UK "cannot be persuaded to change course" and reverse it, "Scotland must". She added: "We must have the choice of a better future. Scotland must have the choice of an independent future."
28th Apr 2019 - Sky News

@Channel4News “If the UK can’t be persuaded to change its course, Scotland must.”

“If the UK can’t be persuaded to change its course, Scotland must.” First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon tells the SNP Spring Conference that she plans to pass legislation for a second independence referendum by the end of 2019.
28th Apr 2019 - @Channel4News

Nicola Sturgeon keeps Indy vote option even if no Brexit

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has refused to rule out pursuing an independence referendum, even if Brexit does not happen. Ms Sturgeon had already announced she wants a so-called 'Indyref 2', citing Britain's exit from the European Union as the reason. In an interview with Sky News ahead of her SNP party's spring conference, she declined to say whether or not she would drop plans for a referendum if Brexit did not take place.
27th Apr 2019 - Sky News

U.K. Conservatives Still Seeking Brexit Deal Before EU Election

Theresa May is still pursuing a Brexit deal that would get the U.K. out of the European Union before elections next month.
28th Apr 2019 - Bloomberg

Time has run out. Labour must seize its last chance to take a stand on Brexit

Over the next 48 hours, a battle will take place that will settle the future of the Labour party – and arguably the country. Is Labour to be the party of Europe in uncompromising opposition to the rise of an ugly, hard-right, English nationalism? Or will it continue to temporise over Europe, so enabling the centre of political gravity to shift towards the English nationalist right?
28th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Labour could sign up to Brexit deal without a second referendum, shadow minister says

Labour could sign up to a Brexit deal without a fresh referendum attached if the government makes significant concessions in the ongoing talks, the shadow business secretary has suggested. In a blow to pro-EU supporters, Rebecca Long-Bailey said the party was not “hugely prescriptive” on its terms, when asked if the inclusion of a public vote was a “red line” for Labour in the negotiations. Ms Long-Bailey, who has attended cross-party talks alongside shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor John McDonnell, said meetings had been “productive” with discussions about workers’ rights – a key ask for Labour.
28th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Conservative Party Faces Losing More Than 800 Seats In Local Elections Amid Brexit Backlash

A polling expert has predicted the Conservative Party will lose more than 800 local council seats as at faces an electoral backlash over Brexit as senior Tories acknowledged the party faces a “difficult night”. Voters prepare to go to the polls in England on Thursday against expectations of a hammering and fears that worse could follow in May 23′s European elections. Election pundit and Tory peer Lord Hayward said he expected the Conservatives to lose more than 800 councillors and “marked losses of control of authorities”. “The Tories are at an historic high for a governing party after nine years in power,” he said. “A fall from that level is therefore inevitable at some stage and it will come this year - with force.” He suggested that Labour would gain around 300 seats from the Tories and the Liberal Democrats 500.
28th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Labour takes sizeable poll lead over Tories as Brexit Party surges, ahead of European elections

Labour has taken a seven-point lead over the Conservatives ahead of the European elections, a new poll has found. A study by Opinium put Labour on 33 per cent, the Conservatives on 26 per cent and the insurgent Brexit Party on 17 per cent, when the public was grilled on how they would vote in a general election. The Liberal Democrats were on 6 per cent, with Ukip, the Green Party and the new centrist party Change UK all on 4 per cent. In a fresh headache for Theresa May, the former Ukip leader’s new party was neck and neck with Labour on 28 per cent for next month’s European elections, while Tory support collapsed to 14 per cent in the 23 May contest. Support for the Brexit Party ahead of the European elections has surged from 12 per cent in the past two weeks, with voters apparently flocking to it from Ukip.
28th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Brexit news: Remain forges eight-point lead over Leave in new poll as Labour faces backlash over election leaflets

27th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Labour hints at backing Brexit deal without promise of referendum

Labour is prepared to sign up to a Brexit deal with the government without the promise of a referendum attached if cross-party talks make significant progress in the coming days, one of the party’s negotiators has said. With talks set to resume on Monday, Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, made clear that if Labour’s Brexit demands were met, she would not expect the party to insist it be put to a public vote. “Our party policy has always been that firstly we want to get a Brexit deal that puts our economy and living standards first and protects our environmental protections, workplace protections, health and safety standards,” she said.
28th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

2019 European elections: Tories aim not to have to fight campaign

Brandon Lewis has refused to say when the Tories' European election campaign will launch, saying his priority is not to have to fight them at all. The UK is due to elect new MEPs on 23 May, after Brexit was delayed amid continuing parliamentary deadlock. Several parties have launched their campaigns already but Conservative chair Mr Lewis told the BBC his focus was on next week's local elections. The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, or sooner if a deal is agreed
28th Apr 2019 - BBC

Labour set to retain 'equivocal' referendum position

A concerted attempt by Labour MPs and MEPs to engineer that their party would campaign unambiguously for a “confirmatory” Brexit referendum in the EU elections looks set to flop. Instead Jeremy Corbyn’s preferred position of characterising a new public vote only as an option is likely to prevail, because he seems to have retained the backing of most of the leaders of the big trade unions. The decision on how strongly to push for a referendum, and how Labour’s position on it should be worded in its manifesto, will be taken at a crunch emergency meeting of the party’s ruling NEC on Tuesday. I am told by senior party sources that in talks last Tuesday with the leaders of the so-called five big trade unions - Unison, Unite, the GMB, Usdaw and the CWU - only the GMB signalled a strong preference for a confirmatory referendum to be upgraded from an option to a clear policy preference. Unison and Usdaw are in theory aligned with the GMB on this, but sources close to Corbyn do not believe they will vote against the Labour leader’s preferred and more ambiguous referendum formulation in a couple of days.
28th Apr 2019 - ITV News

Conservatives in for 'difficult night' in local elections

The Conservatives are in for a "difficult night" in Thursday's local elections, a senior party figure has admitted. Deputy chairwoman Helen Whately admitted the poll will be a chance to "kick the government", amid predictions of a backlash over the delay to Brexit.
28th Apr 2019 - Sky News

Lib Dems accuse Change UK of 'petty tribalism' after anti-Brexit party rejects electoral alliance

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable urges Change UK to ditch "petty tribalism" and form an electoral alliance. Cable has failed to persuade the new anti-Brexit party of former Conservative and Labour MPs to form a pro-Remain alliance for the upcoming European elections and beyond. Supporters fear this refusal to cooperate will split the Remain vote and hurt anti-Brexit parties. Cable told Business Insider that an electoral alliance was "common sense" and that millions of Remain voters would feel "angry and betrayed" if parties did not work together. Lib Dem Tom Brake hit back at Change UK suggestions that Lib Dem members should quit the party and join Change UK.
28th Apr 2019 - Business Insider

'Hold Wales independence vote if no further Brexit poll'

Wales should hold an independence referendum if Brexit happens without a further EU poll, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said. People could then choose between an independent Wales at Europe's "heart" or a "forgotten second-class region in a dying British state," he said. The independence call goes further than his party conference speech in March. Polling for BBC Wales has put support for independence at less than 10% since 2011. Mr Price said Wales should hold a "new national conversation" about the country's future whatever happens with the UK's departure from the European Union
26th Apr 2019 - BBC

Plaid Cymru demands a Welsh independence second referendum if a 'people's vote' on Brexit is refused

28th Apr 2019 - South Wales Argus

Farage's Brexit Party spends big on Facebook ads

The Brexit Party of arch-eurosceptic Nigel Farage outspent both the Labour and Conservative Parties on political advertising ahead of the European elections during the Easter break, according to data published by Facebook. The Brexit Party, which is campaigning for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU at the earliest opportunity, spent £11,523 on Facebook ads between April 14 and April 20, a figure that dwarfs the £6,646 and £6,251 spent by the Labour and Conservative parties respectively, across the same period. Meanwhile, Change UK, a new party established by pro-EU advocates only begun advertising on Facebook on Tuesday, and has so far spent considerably less.
28th Apr 2019 - Euractiv.com

The Observer view on the Labour manifesto: get off the fence, Mr Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn put honesty and integrity – the idea of doing politics in a different way – at the heart of his pitch for the Labour leadership four years ago. That makes Labour’s long-standing failure to clarify whether or not it is decisively in favour of a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal all the more depressing. Ambiguity remains the name of the game as we approach the European elections in just a few weeks. A draft campaign leaflet that was leaked last week did not even mention a referendum, pledging that Labour would seek “a better deal with Europe” after Brexit.
28th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Support for EU membership above 80% in most member states amid Brexit mess

Support for remaining in the EU stands at well over 80 per cent in the majority of member states, a new continent-wide poll has found – with Britain’s political crisis apparently a poor advert for leaving. The survey by Kantar asked people how they would vote in an in-out referendum and found that Luxembourg (94 per cent), Portugal (92 per cent), Ireland (91 per cent), and the Netherlands (91 per cent) had the highest support for EU membership out of the 28 countries in the bloc. Apart from the UK the highest level of support for leaving was in the Czech Republic, where 66 per cent supported Remain and 34 per cent Leave. Italy was close behind as the next most Eurosceptic country, with 72 per cent Remain and 28 per cent Leave. Austria and France were the third and fourth most Eurosceptic.
28th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Labour: Government still refusing to move on Brexit red lines in cross-party talks

There appears to be no end to the Brexit deadlock in sight, with Labour again accusing the government of refusing to budge on its red lines in cross-party talks. Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey told Sky News there needed to be "hard and fast" progress in the discussions, which will continue this week. She also denied suggestions from the Conservatives that her party was stalling, saying "we're certainly not dragging our heels". Ms Long-Bailey told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "Honestly I think the discussions so far have been productive, they've gone into a lot of detail, there seems to be a willingness on both sides to move towards some form of consensus.
28th Apr 2019 - Sky News

Labour frontbencher Rebecca Long-Bailey refuses to say if second referendum is a 'red line' if government agrees to party's proposals

A Labour frontbencher today refused to say if a second referendum is a “red line” for the party if the government meets its Brexit proposals. Talks between the Conservatives and Labour are set to resume this week in an effort to find a solution to the stalemate. When shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey was asked on Sky News’ Sophie Ridge on Sunday whether a second poll was one of the party’s demands in the talks, she said Jeremy Corbyn and his team were "not being hugely prescriptive on the minute detail of specific elements because we are willing to compromise and we are willing to be flexible".
28th Apr 2019 - Evening Standard

2019 European elections: Tories aim not to have to fight campaign

Brandon Lewis has refused to say when the Tories' European election campaign will launch, saying his priority is not to have to fight them at all. The UK is due to elect new MEPs on 23 May, after Brexit was delayed amid continuing parliamentary deadlock. Several parties have launched their campaigns already but Conservative chair Mr Lewis told the BBC his focus was on next week's local elections. The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, or sooner if a deal is agreed. This means the UK must now hold European Parliament elections on 23 May if it wants to avoid leaving the EU without a deal. But if agreement can be reached among MPs before 22 May, the UK could cancel its participation in the elections.
28th Apr 2019 - BBC

No-deal Brexit option should be on ballot paper says second referendum backer

The option of a no-deal Brexit should be on the ballot paper in a second referendum, the interim leader of Change UK has suggested. Heidi Allen said she felt that the choice should be offered to voters as to some people it represents a "clean Brexit" - but added that an option to "remain as we are" must also be included. Ms Allen, who quit the Tories in February to join the Independent Group, also said the new party had to be about more than just Brexit. In an interview with The House magazine, Ms Allen said she has "some sympathy" for allowing a no-deal option on the ballot paper in a second referendum.
27th Apr 2019 - Irish Independent

Here's Why Brexit Wasn't Followed By Frexit, Swexit Or Nexit

Instead of becoming a harbinger of the EU's demise, the United Kingdom descended into political chaos and became a cautionary tale for other EU countries. Isabell Hoffmann, who tracks opinion in the EU for Bertelsmann Stiftung, a German independent foundation, says Brexit hasn't hurt the EU's standing — it's helped it. "We do see a Brexit effect in the numbers when it comes to support for the European Union," says Hoffmann. "Actually, they go up in a significant manner, and they stay up ever since." That support is up by 10 percentage points since the 2016 referendum, she says. "There are now roughly 70 percent of people who'd say 'we would vote for our country to stay in the European Union.' "
27th Apr 2019 - NPR

Brexit: Irish backstop could undermine EU standards, report says

A new report, commissioned by the German Green party and seen by the Guardian, will exacerbate concerns in Berlin over the small print of the withdrawal agreement in its current form. As the dust settles after months of chaos in Westminster, suspicions are growing on the other side of the Channel that the backstop could in fact be the very opposite: a brilliant deception device constructed by crack UK negotiators, which would allow a more reckless British prime minister to undermine the EU’s green and social standards while still keeping access to the European single market.
27th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Brexit Party candidate 'sick and tired' of Leave voters being branded 'racist' and 'homophobic'

A candidate for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party has said he's 'sick and tired' of Leave voters being branded 'homophobic' and 'racist' by the media. Louis Stedman-Bryce, a black openly gay man, announced his candidacy for the party on Thursday at a press conference in Manchester. Speaking at the conference, he said: Our democracy has been betrayed by the media’s portrayal of the type of person that voted for Brexit. The perception out there is that we’re white, we’re homophobic, we’re definitely racist and we didn’t know what we voted for. I stand before you as a gay black man and I can definitely tell you I know what I was voting for when I voted for Brexit. Stedman-Bryce, who is a property investor, will head up the EU's Parliamentary Election campaign in Scotland, reports Pink News.
27th Apr 2019 - The indy100

Why the European Parliament elections will be the most European yet

With both the Far Right and the Pro-European political parties gearing up to fight the European elections in May, The Economist believes it looks set to be the most 'European' election to date
27th Apr 2019 - The Economist

Hammond optimistic of finding Brexit compromise with Corbyn's Labour

Chancellor Philip Hammond said on Friday that he was hopeful of clinching a Brexit compromise with the Labour Party to allow the ratification of Prime Minister Theresa May’s thrice-defeated divorce deal.
27th Apr 2019 - Reuters UK

Gavin Esler: In just 10 minutes I knew I had to run as an MEP

Esler hadn’t been interviewed for a job since he applied to be North America Correspondent at the BBC in 1989. Over Skype, Heidi Allen “with two or three other people in the room” asked him questions. “‘Why do you want to do it?’ and so on.” It lasted around three-quarters of an hour. “I didn’t think I would get it,” he adds. But at six o’clock on Easter Sunday he answered the phone to Chris Leslie, who said they would like him to run, at the top of the list.
27th Apr 2019 - Evening Standard

Triumph for Extinction Rebellion as protests spark huge surge in ‘climate change’ web traffic

Alanna Byrne, a press coordinator for Extinction Rebellion, said the protests were “hugely successful” and they were pleased with the way the “message has travelled”. “Most of the feedback that we’ve had has been very positive, and even the right-wing press has been covering us pretty well,” she added. She also claimed that the protests were justified, despite criticism of the organisation’s techniques. “People have to understand that this is urgent and we have to act now,” she said. “We think the government has to do their part and take action now as well. We’re really sorry to the public for being disruptive – but at the end of the day if we don’t cause this temporary disruption now, the disruption in the future is going to be horrifying.”
27th Apr 2019 - The Independent

2019 European elections: Lib Dems stand on 'stop Brexit' message

The Liberal Democrats have launched their European election campaign with an "unambiguous" pledge to stop Brexit. Leader Sir Vince Cable accused the Conservatives and Labour of a "stitch-up" and said a "people's vote" was the only way to end the Brexit "paralysis". He added it was "a pity" that fellow Remain-backing party Change UK had not agreed to running a combined campaign. The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, after Brexit was delayed, amid continuing parliamentary deadlock.
27th Apr 2019 - BBC

BBC's Katya Adler WARNS EU could let UK 'walk away' with no deal if October deadline met

BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler has claimed the European Union may just let the UK walk away from the bloc without a Brexit deal if an agreement is not reached before the end of October.
27th Apr 2019 - Express.co.uk

Brexiteer Conservatives are KILLING the Union claims former Theresa May aide

Mr Wilkins said Prime Minister Theresa May had gone back on her election pledge to bring back the former Conservative and Unionists party name. Speaking on BBC Newsnight, he argued that Mrs May had not stuck to that pledge. When quizzed by the show’s host Emily Maitlis, Mr Wilkins said: “The Prime Minister talked about going back to the real name of the party and made it a central plank with a lot of narrative. Ms Maitlis then asked whether this meant she had forgotten about the union, he added: “There is a big element in the Conservative Party who would like it to be an English national party, with a Scottish version, a Welsh version. “But for them, Brexit and ideally no deal Brexit in their eyes is far more important than maintaining the union.”
27th Apr 2019 - Express.co.uk

Inside the dark world of the Tory whips and their dirty tricks

In a party so ill-disciplined that top secret decisions like Huawei landing Britain’s 5G contract get leaked to the Telegraph, it is perhaps no wonder Government whips have had their work cut out of late. As the MPs responsible for making sure as many members of their party as possible vote the way Theresa May wants, it is fair to say Brexit hasn’t brought out the best in the current crop of whips. Reports of dirty tricks and skullduggery lie at the heart of an aggressive campaign to persuade Tories to back the Prime Minister’s widely unpopular withdrawal agreement. Yesterday Johnny Mercer, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, once again accused the Government’s enforcement officers of skullduggery
27th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

Nearly 90 MPs And MEPs Demand Labour Backs Second Referendum In Euro-Elections

Amid growing frustration among the party’s pro-EU rank and file that the leadership will block any campaign for a second vote. HuffPost UK understands trade union figures met today and jointly agreed to press Jeremy Corbyn to include the words “confirmatory vote” in the manifesto for the June 23 poll. But while the leadership was ready to agree the phrase would be in Corbyn’s foreword, it would be banned from the main body of the manifesto, sources have said. Unite, arguably the labour movement’s most influential union, was not at the meeting. A draft leaflet for the Euro-elections, passed to HuffPost UK on Thursday, suggested the party had decided on a pro-Brexit stance, trumpeting a “better deal with Europe” and making no mention of a second referendum.
27th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post

I'm An EU Citizen And NHS Nurse – Here's Why I'm Standing For Change UK

Brexit has turned our lives upside down and I had two options: to sit down and wait for my fate to be delivered to me, or fight for my rights and my beliefs. I choose to stand up.
27th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters to stand in European elections

Environmental activists who participated in the recent Extinction Rebellion protests have announced they are standing in next month’s European elections. Nine candidates are running to be MEPs under the banner of Climate and Ecological Emergency Independents – including seven in London and two in the south-west England region – having been “inspired” by the disruptive demonstration across the capital. In a statement, the collective said they wanted to see Europe reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and have new citizen assemblies set up to give ordinary people a voice in shaping environmental policy.
27th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Kit Malthouse: Don't pin blame for Brexit chaos on local Tories

While some ministers have found themselves cast into relative obscurity by the Brexit debate, Kit Malthouse planted himself squarely in the middle of it. In January the housing minister brokered a compromise plan formed by an extraordinary coalition of pro-EU and stridently Brexiteer Tories. For a brief period it appeared that the plan could give Theresa May a lifeline in the form of a Brexit plan that might just break the Commons impasse. But the Prime Minister chose not to adopt it as a new negotiating position with the EU. Now, Mr Malthouse, 52, who was a councillor for eight years in Westminster, is concerned that the “unedifying” mess in Westminster could harm the Tories in this week’s local elections
27th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

Labour to decide on Brexit public vote on Tuesday, says Corbyn

Labour’s ruling body will decide on Tuesday whether the party will campaign for a public vote on any Brexit deal, Jeremy Corbyn has said on the campaign trail in leave-voting Peterborough. Almost 90 Labour MPs and MEPs, including a number of frontbenchers, wrote to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to demand that its European election manifesto include a “clear commitment to a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal”. However, Corbyn declined to guarantee the commitment. He stressed that he was not a dictator and that the matter would be for the NEC to decide.
27th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Corbyn launches bid to declare a national climate emergency

Labour will this week force a vote in parliament to declare a national environmental and climate change emergency as confidential documents show the government has spent only a fraction of a £100m fund allocated in 2015 to support clean air projects.Jeremy Corbyn’s party will demand on Wednesday that the country wakes up to the threat and acts with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, which will require global emissions to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” before 2050.
27th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Labour wants UK to be first country in the world to declare climate emergency

27th Apr 2019 - Daily Mirror

We must have a green industrial revolution. And Labour will lead it

27th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

'Young people have the power to swing these elections' says one of the youngest candidates

23-year-old Carmen Smith is one of the youngest candidates standing for any party (Plaid Cymru) in the European elections. Here she writes why she thinks young people have the power to swing the election.
27th Apr 2019 - The New European

Heidi Allen: “The fact people are trying to pick holes shows we must be a bit of a threat”

Ever since she railed against George Osborne’s welfare cuts, Heidi Allen’s relationship with the Conservatives looked fragile. After months of feeling disillusioned with her adopted party, she helped to form The Independent Group. Now interim leader of the rebranded Change UK, the South Cambridgeshire MP is hopeful for success at the European elections – but says Brexit cannot be everything that her party’s about. She talks to Sebastian Whale
26th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Vince Cable: Let’s train our guns on breaking Brexit and create a new brand of politics

The fact that European elections are happening at all is testament to the dismal failure of Brexiteers to have any real plan for how to deliver what they promised. They now seek to blame Remainers for not “falling in line”, as though we should somehow have ceased to believe what we do because a narrow majority of others disagreed. Yet the real reason Brexit has been delayed — and may well be cancelled — is that those who advocate it cannot agree on what it should look like. The whole project has run into the sand, as it deserved to.
26th Apr 2019 - Evening Standard

SDLP 'want to demonstrate politics work'

The SDLP leader has urged politicians to show those who murdered journalist Lyra McKee that "politics does work ... to have a Brexit committee to deal with the fallout from the UK leaving the EU.
26th Apr 2019 - BBC

Pro-Brexit newspaper puts spin on 8% Remain poll lead

A survey has found that Remain now have an 8% lead over Leave, but one newspaper has put a pro-Brexit spin on its headline. The European Parliament Spring Eurobarometer polls people Europe-wide for attitudes towards the union. It found that while 45% of UK respondents would vote to remain today, just 37% would vote to leave, giving Remain an 8% lead. The other 18% of respondents were unsure.
26th Apr 2019 - The New European

Brexit Party Threatens Tories and They Aren't Even Fighting Back

Nigel Farage is back, doing what he does best: Terrifying Conservative members of Parliament. Theresa May’s deeply divided Conservative Party can’t agree on how to tackle the threat posed by the veteran anti-EU campaigner and founder of the new Brexit Party -- a threat one Cabinet minister described as existential.As long as the Tories fail to deliver Brexit, the minister said, Farage will strip them of votes. The first test of that will be on May 23, when the country is likely to take part in an election to the European Union’s parliament -- even though Britain voted to leave the bloc three years ago.
26th Apr 2019 - Bloomberg

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 26th Apr 2019

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Sir Graham Brady urges PM to support bid to strip Irish backstop from Brexit deal

The Tories’ most powerful backbencher has called on Theresa May to support a fresh Commons bid by Brexiteers to strip the Irish backstop from her EU deal. The Sun can reveal that senior Tory Eurosceptics are planning to table an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to remove the controversial insurance plan that keeps Britain tied to the EU indefinitely.
25th Apr 2019 - The Sun

Fury As Corbyn European Elections Leaflet Suggests Labour Backs Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn is facing a fierce backlash from Labour members after a draft leaflet for the European elections said the party would press ahead with Brexit. The leaflet, passed to HuffPost UK, makes no mention of the party’s policy to push for a second referendum on quitting the EU, was sent out to MEPs on Thursday. One Labour insider said: “MEPs were not given these leaflets to review, they were just told: this is what the party is printing and this is what they would have to put out.” The leaflet claims the party will seek a “better deal with Europe” which ensures the UK has “a say on trade deals”, while also underlining party policy on domestic issues. It has left the party’s pro-EU membership furious and dismayed, with one activist telling HuffPost UK: “In what will be an utterly polarised election, standing in the middle will be a bad move.” HuffPost UK also understands that staunch pro-European former minister Lord Adonis, who is standing for Labour in the South West region, was forced to sign a ‘loyalty’ statement or face being blocked as an MEP candidate.
25th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Government refuses public inquiry into 2016 EU Referendum misconduct

The Government has responded to a petition “To establish a Public Inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 EU Referendum,” insisting there are no plans for an inquiry. The response by the Cabinet Office insists that electoral offences “are investigated thoroughly by the appropriate agencies,” but adds “this Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented… This Government stands by this commitment.”
25th Apr 2019 - The London Economic

May plans Withdrawal Agreement Bill vote as early as next week following leadership reprieve

Theresa May is preparing for her next Brexit battle, with a plan to give MPs a vote on the key piece of legislation to take the UK out of the European Union as early as next week. Having just survived another attempted coup on the part of her angry parliamentary party on Wednesday night, the prime minister is now getting ready to ask MPs to ratify her Brexit deal by introducing the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), which enshrines her Brexit plan into UK law, in the coming days. The move comes amid growing despair over Mrs May's leadership, with the officers of the 1922 committee on Wednesday only narrowly voting against a rule change to allow an early confidence vote in the prime minister.
25th Apr 2019 - Sky News

Accept the British Empire is dead and Brexit has failed, top MEP tells Farage and Brexiteers

Brexiteers must accept that the British Empire is dead and buried, a leading MEP has said before challenging Nigel Farage and his Brexit party to “bring it on” in May’s European elections. Philippe Lamberts, the leader of the European greens and member of the European Parliament’s six strong and influential Brexit Steering Group, said the Brexit Party would be powerless in Brussels even if it triumphs in May’s elections. He backed a second Brexit referendum but warned putting no deal on the ballot paper would turn Britain into a “rogue state”. He told Brexiteers that they never stood a chance of making Brexit a success before attacking Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn for caring more about their parties than the country
25th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

Next Tory Leader Must 'Believe In Brexit', Says Ex-Remainer Jeremy Hunt

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has refused to rule himself out as a candidate to be next Tory leader. Asked directly if he would run to replace Theresa May if she stands down, the cabinet minister replied “wait and see”. Hunt, who stepped into the role when Boris Johnson resigned over Brexit, said the next PM must be someone who “believes in Brexit”. While the former health secretary voted Remain in 2016, he has signalled his leadership ambitions by aligning himself with Conservative members and taking a strongly pro-Leave stance. Speaking to journalists in central London on Thursday, he said the next leader should support Brexit “as I do” even if they failed to vote Leave in the past.
25th Apr 2019 - Huffington Post UK

Brexit deadlock: Is there any way out of the logjam before the European Elections?

Westminster is still paralysed by Brexit. Things might be a little less techy now that MPs have been able to have their first proper break since Christmas, but the fundamentals haven’t changed. There are several key reasons for the deadlock and only a few things that might break them. Theresa May just won’t quit This week there was yet another failed attempt to oust Theresa May from Number 10. Brexiteer MPs had hoped to curtail her 12-month amnesty from leadership challenges, but the backbench 1922 Committee voted against the idea.
25th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

No-deal better than no Brexit, Jeremy Hunt claims

Pro-Brexit convert Jeremy Hunt has claimed no-deal would be better than no Brexit, as he all but confirmed he will run for Tory leader. In a speech to political journalists in Westminster, the formerly pro-Remain foreign secretary spelled out his new pro-Brexit credentials. Quizzed about the Tory succession, in which he is expected to be a candidate, he said the next leader should support Brexit, "as I do", even if they failed to vote Leave in the past. "It's got to be someone who believes in Brexit, because that is the fundamental mission of the government at the moment," said Mr Hunt.
25th Apr 2019 - Sky News

Scottish independence: UK government 'will not grant indyref2 consent'

Theresa May's deputy has said the Scottish Parliament will not be given the power to hold an independence referendum by 2021. Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said there was "no evidence" of a surge in support for another vote. And he said the referendum in 2014 had settled matters for a generation. Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday she wants a referendum before the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021 if the UK leaves the EU. But the first minister also indicated that Westminster's approval was needed to put the legal status of any vote "beyond doubt". She has not yet made a fresh request to the UK government for this to happen, but told BBC Scotland that Mr Lidington was a member of a UK government that is "clinging to power by its fingertips" and has "zero authority or credibility"
25th Apr 2019 - BBC

IndyRef2 vote will not be allowed by UK Government says top Tory

25th Apr 2019 - Daily Record

Nigel Farage reveals for the first time his Brexit Party WILL stand in next General Election

The Brexit Party is planning to take on the Tories and Labour in the next General Election, Sun Online can reveal. Nigel Farage has confirmed he wants to run candidates for Parliament in future to stop Remainer MPs blocking Brexit. His new party is on course to come top in next month's EU elections just months after it was founded. And in an interview with The Sun, Mr Farage pledged to use the Brussels poll as a "springboard" to take the party into power in Westminster.
25th Apr 2019 - The Sun

Nigel Farage says Brexit Party WILL stand in next General Election

25th Apr 2019 - Daily Mail

Nigel Farage reveals Brexit Party will stand in next General Election

25th Apr 2019 - Evening Standard

Brexit There will be no soft Brexit now. It’s no deal or another vote

The larger Brexit choices of 2019 are starker, too. With the centre option on Brexit collapsing, the decision lies between extremes. We are back to remain or leave, but now in their 2019 versions. The times will inevitably be very divided again. The effective Brexit choice will lie between no deal, promoted by May’s successor and much of the Tory party, and a second vote, hopefully but by no means certainly promoted by Corbyn, and by other parties too. But the choice for pro-Europeans has now been clarified, and no pro-European can doubt where they must stand.
25th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Jeremy Hunt: I would choose no-deal over no Brexit

The Foreign Secretary, who voted Remain in the referendum, said he wanted a "clean" Brexit in order to deliver on the result of the 2016 vote. Mr Hunt also said "wait and see" when asked whether he would throw his hat into the ring to be Tory leader when Theresa May stands down.
25th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Would Brussels even allow an independent Scotland to join the EU?

Could the European Union allow a newly independent Scotland to rejoin the bloc after Brexit and what conditions would Brussels demand from Edinburgh? Nicola Sturgeon wants a Scottish independence referendum by 2021 if Brexit happens. “Independence,” she said on Wednesday in Holyrood, “would allow us to protect our place in Europe.” But as with so much to do with the European Union, things are nowhere near as simple as that. The European Commission today appeared to rule out any preferential treatment for an independent Scotland. It is possible with enough political will from Brussels and across the EU that rules could be bent to ease Scottish membership. But there are significant reasons why that could be tricky to achieve
25th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

May sets new deadline with Britons to vote in EU elections – ‘GREAT SHAME’

Government insiders say the Prime Minister given up hope of cancelling UK participation in the European Parliament poll by securing Commons approval for her withdrawal deal within the next three weeks. Instead, she is preparing for a determined push to force crucial withdrawal legislation through Parliament in time for the country to quit the EU by the end of June. Her new timetable will mean British voters are set to elect a new troop of MEPs next month - likely to include figures from the new Brexit Party including Nigel Farage and former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe - who will have lost their jobs by the time the new European Parliament assembles on July 2. One source said: “The focus now is on hitting the June 30 deadline so the MEPs don’t take up their seats.” Most Tory MPs expect the party to be hammered in the euro elections scheduled for May 22, with the Brexit Party tipped by many to top the poll.
25th Apr 2019 - Express.co.uk

Vince Cable: Liberal Democrat campaign to stop Brexit is like opposition to Iraq war

Sir Vince Cable will liken the Liberal Democrats’ campaign to stop Brexit to Charles Kennedy's opposition to the Iraq war as he launches the party’s EU election campaign. The Lib Dem leader and Twickenham MP is to say that only his party have the determined army of volunteers standing against the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc. He will say it should be remembered that the Lib Dems had been against Brexit from the start, even though they stood alone.
25th Apr 2019 - Evening Standard

May drops plan for new Brexit vote before local elections

Theresa May has dropped a plan to try to secure parliamentary approval for her moribund EU withdrawal agreement before next week’s local elections, as hopes fade for any cross-party accord with Labour on Brexit. The prime minister wants to ask MPs to vote on legislation to approve Britain’s exit from the EU, but the withdrawal agreement bill was not included in next week’s business for the House of Commons because of fears it would face certain defeat. Mrs May had been considering holding a vote on the bill ahead of the local elections on Thursday.
25th Apr 2019 - Financial Times

Defence Secretary accuses civil servants of ‘leaking details of Huawei’s 5G role’

Gavin Williamson has infuriated Whitehall mandarins by accusing them of leaking a secret decision about the Huawei telecoms giant. The Sun can reveal the Defence Secretary pointed the finger of blame at civil servants in the Cabinet Office for the major security breach.
25th Apr 2019 - The Sun

'Hold Wales independence vote if no further Brexit poll'

Wales should hold an independence referendum if Brexit happens without a further EU poll, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said. People could then choose between an independent Wales at Europe's "heart" or a "forgotten second-class region in a dying British state," he said. The independence call goes further than his party conference speech in March. Polling for BBC Wales has put support for independence at less than 10% since 2011. Mr Price said Wales should hold a "new national conversation" about the country's future whatever happens with the UK's departure from the European Union.
25th Apr 2019 - BBC

Labour's National Policy Forum wants party to campaign for Brexit referendum

The International Commission of Labour’s National Policy Forum - which consists of MPs, trade unionists, MEPs, and constituency representatives - has voted unanimously that Labour’s manifesto for European elections should pledge to hold a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal. My sources say there were no dissenting voices. On Wednesday all Labour MEPs voted in precisely the same unanimous way, for a referendum. Friday's Labour’s Trade Union Liaison Organisation is likely to inform the party’s ruling NEC that its big union supporters - including Unison, the GMB and USDAW, but obviously not Unite - also want a referendum. So it is increasingly hard to see how Labour’s ruling NEC can at its emergency meeting next Tuesday ignore such widespread membership pressure and do anything but adopt a confirmatory referendum as the foundation of its manifesto.
25th Apr 2019 - ITV News

Brexit: Losing Control

Andrew Duff argues that neither the EU nor the UK is now fully in control. Both are being badly destabilised by Brexit. An accidental no deal is a live possibility. Unless the British have made real progress towards the exit by the time of the next EUCO in June, attitudes will harden — including those of Angela Merkel. Talks between pro-European Tory ministers and the Labour frontbench have a 30% chance of success. If they fail, both leaders are expected to commit to more indicative votes in the Commons, this time rather more ‘meaningful’. Mr Corbyn may want to delay his agreement until after the UK has been obliged by the EUCO to fight a mock election to the European Parliament. But the June EUCO is the next important deadline if British MEPs are to be stopped from taking their seats. The proposal for a ‘confirmatory public vote’ to second guess the House of Commons is badly misconceived. It reduces the chance that the Commons can reach a solid majority on anything and would throw the nation into bitter division, enfeebling further the Westminster parliament and parties. Mr Tusk apart, the rest of the EU knows that another referendum will not resolve its British problem.
24th Apr 2019 - European Policy Centre

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 25th Apr 2019

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The Tories must reinvent themselves as the National Party – or be eclipsed by Nigel Farage

Delivering Brexit and embracing cultural conservatism are key. At the 2015 election, I helped to run the Conservative campaign that stopped Nigel Farage getting into Parliament. Four years on, I wonder if we made a terrible mistake. Back then, Farage forced the Tories to listen to millions of ignored voters. So they promised the Brexit referendum, and said they’d cut immigration. Now, without Farage breathing down their necks, they are breaking both promises.Like many other Brexit supporters, Farage seemed to believe that the will of the people would be implemented by the Government and Parliament. But we were wrong
25th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

Lord Adonis praises Jeremy Corbyn's 'sensible' Brexit plan

Adonis said on Facebook that Labour wanted to unite Remain and Leave voters. He has previously demanded a second referendum to 'save Britain from Brexit'. Pro-Europe MPs were left bewildered and said it 'read like a hostage statement.'
25th Apr 2019 - Daily Mail

Theresa May rejects Nicola Sturgeon indyref2 demand and insists UK must 'pull together'

Theresa May has rejected Nicola Sturgeon's demand for a second Scottish referendum, insisting now is the time for the UK to "pull together". The First Minister announced that she wants to have another poll before the next Scottish Parliament elections in two years' time, so long as the UK has left the European Union. In a statement to MSPs, Ms Sturgeon said she would bring forward legislation before the end of this year outlining the rules for another referendum.
24th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon outlines plan for second referendum in next two years

25th Apr 2019 - The Independent

Nicola Sturgeon slapped down by No10 after she vows to hold new referendum on Scottish independence

24th Apr 2019 - The Sun

Scottish leader aims to hold new independence vote by 2021

24th Apr 2019 - Myrtle Beach Online

Nicola Sturgeon calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence by 2021 to give residents 'a choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland'

Scots should be given the opportunity to vote again on independence before the next Holyrood elections in 2021 - if Brexit goes ahead, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today. The SNP leader said she would try to pass plans for a second referendum into law by the end of the year - and dared Theresa May to stop Scotland voting on it again. Speaking in Edinburgh today Mrs Sturgeon argued the current Brexit deadlock at Westminster makes indyref2 necessary, five years after she lost the last one. She said: 'A choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland as an independent European nation should be offered in the lifetime of this Parliament.
24th Apr 2019 - Daily Mail

Sturgeon wants Scottish independence referendum by 2021

Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence by 2021 if the country is taken out of the EU. The first minister told Holyrood that she would introduce legislation soon to set the rules for another vote. But she indicated that she would need the agreement of the UK government before actually holding a referendum. Downing Street has previously said it will not grant a new Section 30 order, which underpinned the 2014 referendum. Ms Sturgeon claimed this position was "unsustainable" and challenged her party to increase support and demand for independence. But the prime minister's official spokesman said: "As we have been repeatedly clear, Scotland has already had an independence referendum in 2014 and voted decisively to remain in the United Kingdom. This should be respected. Our position hasn't changed."
24th Apr 2019 - BBC

@BBCPolitics Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says #IndyRef2 should happen before end of current parliament in 2021

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says #IndyRef2 should happen before end of current parliament in 2021, saying it is "our route to avoiding the worst of the damage #Brexit will do"
24th Apr 2019 - @BBCPolitics

Theresa May is safe until December as party chiefs refuse to change rules so she can be kicked out earlier

Theresa May is safe from a Brexiteer challenge after Tory bosses refused to change party rules so she can be forced out. Conservative grandees tonight voted against allowing a fresh bid to oust the PM to take place within weeks. But Mrs May will have to lay out a "clear timetable" for leaving 10 Downing Street, backbench boss Sir Graham Brady warned. Under Tory party rules, the leader can't be subjected to a no-confidence vote until December after seeing off the last bid to unseat her four months ago.
24th Apr 2019 - The Sun

Secretive hard-Brexit Facebook campaign got 1m responses

A million Britons responded to a secretive Facebook campaign for a hard Brexit overseen by Lynton Crosby’s company, according to the information commissioner, who said the respondents’ email addresses may have been harvested for future use. Elizabeth Denham told MPs her investigation into the Mainstream Network campaign group had raised concerns about how valuable voter data was being collected by the under-the-radar campaign, potentially in breach of data protection rules. Mainstream Network was designed to look like a grassroots campaign and give the impression that the British public was rising up in support of a no-deal exit from the European Union, by encouraging the public to flood MPs’ inboxes with emails demanding one. However, the Guardian has revealed that the supposedly independent pro-Brexit Facebook pages were part of a series overseen by Crosby’s company, CTF Partners. They were backed by up to £1m in online advertising, paid for by an unknown source in a bid to push MPs to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
24th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Tory MPs decide not to change leadership rules to allow fresh bid to oust Theresa May

Tory MPs have rejected the idea of changing the party's leadership rules in order to allow sooner a fresh bid to oust Theresa May, Sir Graham Brady has confirmed.
24th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

Boost for Theresa May as senior Tory MPs agree not to make it easier to oust her

24th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party Is Outspending Bigger Rivals On Facebook In A Push For Voters Over 40

Nigel Farage’s Brexit party was the top-spending political campaign on Facebook in Britain last week as it ramped up a push for the support of over-40 voters in the European elections. Widely perceived as a serious threat to Theresa May’s Conservatives, Farage’s new party spent £11,523 pushing its pro-Brexit messages on the UK’s most widely used social network, according to Facebook data — nearly twice as much as that of the main parties, Labour and the Tories. In total, the Brexit party has spent around £20,000 since it formally launched two weeks ago. In contrast, the Remain-supporting Change UK, another new party with big ambitions for next month’s European ballot, only just started its Facebook push today. Separate data reviewed by BuzzFeed News reveal that Farage’s new party has been given a significant publicity boost by Facebook users organically sharing news articles relating to the launch, without the Brexit party having to pay anything for it. A column written by Farage for the Daily Telegraph newspaper on the morning of the Brexit party launch on April 11 received more than 110,000 engagements on social media, making it the fourth-most-shared UK politics story of the last month, according to BuzzFeed News’ analysis of data from BuzzSumo, a company that tracks social sharing.
24th Apr 2019 - BuzzFeed news

As Theresa May's Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn face collapse, all sides have massive choices to make

There were no political decisions of any substance taken over Easter. The PM, ministers, all politicians were seemingly too exhausted to do anything but roll the Brexit egg down the hill. So all the political news is about process, after the Cabinet and shadow made no Brexit decisions on Tuesday, and the 1922 executive (guardian of Tory party rules) could not agree whether to expedite a new procedure to evict Theresa May.
24th Apr 2019 - ITV News

European elections: Rachel Johnson will stand for Change UK

Boris Johnson’s sister, a former BBC broadcaster and John Major’s health secretary will all stand for Change UK in next month’s European elections, but the party’s launch yesterday was marred when one of its candidates was forced to stand down within hours over comments about Romanians. The pro-Remain party announced its MEP hopefuls from almost 4,000 applicants at a campaign launch in Bristol yesterday. Rachel Johnson, Gavin Esler, a former Newsnight presenter, and Stephen Dorrell, a cabinet minister from 1994 to 1997, were among dozens of candidates on the stage. Heidi Allen, 44, the interim leader, described them as coming from “every corner of the UK” and from “all walks of life”, adding: “These elections are a chance to send the clearest possible message: we demand a People’s Vote and the right to campaign to remain in the European Union.” Ali Sadjady, one of the candidates, rapidly came under scrutiny for a comment he posted on Twitter in 2017: “When I hear that 70 per cent of pickpockets caught on the [London Underground] are Romanian it kind [of] makes me want #Brexit”. The tweet was uncovered by The Independent, prompting the former Conservative supporter, who was running in London, to say that he would stand down “so as not to tarnish” Change UK’s reputation.
24th Apr 2019 - The Times

Ex-Tory minister Stephen Dorrell stands as candidate for anti-Brexit party Change UK

24th Apr 2019 - Coventry Telegraph

As Theresa May's Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn face collapse, all sides have massive choices to make

There were no political decisions of any substance taken over Easter. The PM, ministers, all politicians were seemingly too exhausted to do anything but roll the Brexit egg down the hill. So all the political news is about process, after the Cabinet and shadow made no Brexit decisions on Tuesday, and the 1922 executive (guardian of Tory party rules) could not agree whether to expedite a new procedure to evict Theresa May.
24th Apr 2019 - ITV News

Senior Tories demand Theresa May sets a 'clear roadmap' for her departure as Brexiteer coup against her fizzles out

Another Brexiteer coup against Theresa May fizzled out as the party’s senior backbenchers decided not to change the party’s rules to allow an early leadership challenge against her. However, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s 1922 committee, said that it was time Mrs May set a date for her departure by giving a “clear roadmap” for her exit from 10 Downing Street. Under the party's rules, Mrs May cannot be challenged until December after winning a no confidence vote last December by 200 votes to 117. Some members the party’s ruling 1922 committee had sought to change the rules to allow another vote after just six months.
24th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

John Bercow confirms voters to be given chance to unseat convicted Tory MP

Tory MP Chris Davies was fined £1,500 and ordered to carry out 50 hours' community service at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday. The Commons Speaker told MPs that a recall petition will now be held in his Brecon and Radnorshire constituency.
24th Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Boris Johnson’s rivals trying to destroy Tory leadership bid by keeping May in power

Boris Johnson’s rivals are desperately trying to keep Theresa May in power for as long as possible - because it is the only way to destroy his bid to become Conservative Party leader, insiders have claimed.
24th Apr 2019 - Express.co.uk

Labour can stop the poisonous Brexit Party winning if we back a People’s Vote

Farage has no real interest in the deep-seated problems people face — insecure jobs and wages, crumbling public services, poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity. He has no ideas for how to address the real challenges facing our country. Just bigoted politics and empty slogans. The antidote to the poison Farage is pushing is the same as it has always been — a strong dose of progressive values, the championing of international solidarity and a willingness to face down the hatred that he represents directly and without fear. That’s what I’ve always tried to do in my role as an MEP, and it’s what I will continue to do if I’m re-elected in the upcoming European parliament elections.
24th Apr 2019 - The Times

Boris Johnson’s rivals trying to DESTROY Tory leadership bid by KEEPING May in power

The former Foreign Secretary is surging ahead in the popularity stakes in the race to become the next Prime Minister. In a further blow to Theresa May, several Brexiteers today sought to change the party's rules to enable MPs to force her out within a matter of weeks. However, the executive of the 1922 committee rejected the rule change but indicated they want a clearer timetable for her departure.
24th Apr 2019 - Express.co.uk

Support for Extinction Rebellion soars after Easter protests

Support for Extinction Rebellion in the UK has quadrupled in the past nine days as public concern about the scale of the ecological crisis grows. Since the wave of protests began more than a week ago, 30,000 new backers or volunteers have offered their support to the environmental activist group. In the same period it has raised almost £200,000 – mostly in donations of between £10 and £50 – reaching a total of £365,000 since January. The group said the figures showed the public was waking up to the scale of the crisis, adding that pressure was growing on politicians to act.
24th Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Could the tragedy of Lyra McKee unite a divided Northern Ireland?

There have been many dreadful murders followed by high-profile funerals over the years in Northern Ireland. Several during the Troubles were themselves targets for bombings and shootings. Others became opportunities for paramilitary parades which merely deepened community enmities and exacerbated personal animosities. Funerals too often were not salutary moments from which people concluded that violence was destructive and futile; they were the warp and woof of the province’s tragic sectarianism. The funeral of Lyra McKee in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, was as far removed from that grisly past as can be. An author and journalist, she was killed last week when a terrorist claiming allegiance to the new IRA opened fire on police and a bullet hit poor Lyra
24th Apr 2019 - The Telegraph

A no-deal Conservative Party has no future

Dumping May and building a new angrier, more working-class coalition is superficially appealing but doomed to fail. No-dealers would not come away empty handed. For they would still have that most valuable political commodity: a sense of resentment. Around this a new Conservative coalition can be built — angrier, whiter, more working class, more northern. This no-deal Conservative Party would have chosen new allies, new champions and new seats to win. It’s a plausible political strategy, but will it produce a new majority? And if it did, would it be a majority the right would want? The no-deal Conservative Party will struggle in cities, struggle to win over ethnic minorities, struggle to persuade younger voters. Maybe there is a protest European election victory in that, maybe at a pinch even one solid general election performance, but there isn’t a sustainable new majority.
23rd Apr 2019 - The Times

‘Scots voted to stay in the UK and Europe but cannot do both’ - Keating

The United Kingdom and Scotland are both caught in their own constitutional deadlocks. Westminster is caught in a Brexit bind, with no majority for anything. Both Conservative and Labour leaderships seem to accept that the voters gave Parliament a mandate in June 2016 – but nobody can explain what the mandate was for, given the multiple versions of Brexit on offer. So the critical decision is constantly postponed. Scotland voted to stay in the UK in 2014 and to stay in the EU in 2016 but has been told that it cannot do both. The Scottish Parliament has a pro-independence majority but in the nation at large there is no combination of Yes/No and Remain/leave commands majority support.
24th Apr 2019 - The Scotsman

Political Shenanigans - News from the Brexit Cliff Edge - 24th Apr 2019

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Rachel Johnson and Gavin Esler to stand for Change UK

The anti-Brexit party Change UK has launched its European elections campaign, revealing a slate of 70 candidates that includes Boris Johnson’s sister, seasoned politicians disillusioned with their parties, and people completely new to politics. Rachel Johnson said she was standing to make sure Brexit did not wreck the chances of a bright future for her children and other young people, and that her decision to stand was not an attack on her Brexiter brother. Johnson, a writer and journalist who will stand in south-west England, did not speak from the stage at the launch event in Bristol but said afterwards: “I’m sure that Boris understands why this is not a vote against Boris. This is a vote for change. We need to move the dial. People need to have a say.”
23rd Apr 2019 - The Guardian

Join the Remain alliance, urges Change UK at Euro election launch

23rd Apr 2019 - BBC

Boris Johnson’s sister to stand as anti-Brexit European elections candidate

23rd Apr 2019 - Metro UK

Rachel Johnson Change UK candidate: Why is Boris Johnson's sister standing in EU election?

23rd Apr 2019 - Daily Express

Change UK – The Independent Group launches European election campaign in Bristol

23rd Apr 2019 - Bristol24/7

Rachel Johnson reveals plans to stand as European elections candidate for Change UK and takes swipe at brother Boris

23rd Apr 2019 - Evening Standard

Nicola Sturgeon set to unveil party’s Scottish independence plans

Nicola Sturgeon is being urged to “take independence off the table” as she prepares to make a statement in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday on her plans for a second referendum. The SNP leader will make a “detailed and substantive” address to MSPs on Wednesday afternoon on Scotland’s future in light of the Brexit turmoil and set out her thinking on the staging of a second independence referendum, which she has pledged to hold. “The First Minister will give a detailed and substantive statement, setting out a path forward for Scotland amid the ongoing Brexit confusion at Westminster,” a spokesman for the SNP leader said. “The First Minister will take time to set out her thoughts on that front and, in doing so, she will seek to strike an inclusive tone.”
23rd Apr 2019 - The Scotsman

Sturgeon to set out case for second independence vote

23rd Apr 2019 - Financial Times

Greta Thunberg: Teen activist says UK is 'irresponsible' on climate

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has described the UK's response to climate change as "beyond absurd". In a speech to MPs, the Swedish 16-year-old criticised the UK for supporting new exploitation of fossil fuels and exaggerating cuts to carbon emissions. She was invited to Westminster after inspiring the school climate strikes movement. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said "we have not done nearly enough". In her speech in Parliament on Tuesday, Miss Thunberg said the UK was supporting shale gas fracking, greater exploitation of North Sea oil and gas fields and expanding airports. "This ongoing irresponsible behaviour will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind," she said. She also described the UK's carbon emissions reduction as the result of "very creative" accounting. The country's reported 37% reduction in emissions since 1990 was only 10% when aviation, shipping, imports and exports were counted, she said.
23rd Apr 2019 - BBC

Swedish teen accuses UK of 'irresponsible behaviour' over climate

Britain’s opposition leaders met Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday to discuss what the teenager calls an “existential crisis” for humanity. After months of Brexit tumult, climate change has leapt back up Britain’s political agenda due to protests that closed some of London’s traffic arteries. Thunberg, who rose to global prominence by staging a school strike to protest about the climate, has praised the “Extinction Rebellion” sits-ins in London. The police have arrested 1,065 people and charged 71 in connection with the Extinction Rebellion protests that targeted Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge and other parts of London.
23rd Apr 2019 - Reuters

Climate change: Miliband says UK should declare emergency

Ed Miliband has called on the energy minister to persuade Theresa May to declare a “climate emergency” in the UK. The former Labour leader asked Claire Perry about the Extinction Rebellion protests in London over the last week, saying it was "no wonder" activists were taking such a stand given the seriousness of the threat. Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg was watching from the public gallery in the Commons.
23rd Apr 2019 - BBC

'You did not act in time': Greta Thunberg's full speech to MPs

Around the year 2030, 10 years 252 days and 10 hours away from now, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. That is unless in that time, permanent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society have taken place, including a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 50%. And please note that these calculations are depending on inventions that have not yet been invented at scale, inventions that are supposed to clear the atmosphere of astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide.
23rd Apr 2019 - The Guardian

What the Papers Don’t Say about Extinction Rebellion

Much of XR's resilience is due to its decentralised collection of autonomous Affinity Groups of about 12 activists, based on the Spanish Civil War model. They follow a three-stage process of action, reflection and rest. In practice, this means that activists can create their own groups and decide their own actions as long as they follow XR’s Ten Principles and sense check with another group. Of course, these groups do work together for larger actions, but they do this as equals. This means that XR itself is like a living organism and much more sustainable than previous activist groups.
23rd Apr 2019 - Byline Times

Donald Trump's state visit to the UK set for 3 June

Mrs May said June's state visit was an "opportunity to strengthen our already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment, security and defence, and to discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead". But shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry voiced concerns about the visit, saying: "It beggars belief that on the very same day Donald Trump is threatening to veto a United Nations resolution against the use of rape as a weapon of war, Theresa May is pressing ahead with her plans to honour him with a state visit to the UK."
23rd Apr 2019 - BBC

Nick Thomas-Symonds: "Brexit has produced a more assertive parliament"

Like his political hero, Nye Bevan, Nick Thomas-Symonds hails from the South Wales Valleys. From excelling at school to a successful career as a barrister, his trajectory has always been upwards. Now shadow solicitor general, does the 38-year-old have higher ambitions? He talks to Sebastian Whale
23rd Apr 2019 - Politics Home

Chuka Umunna: European elections are a chance to tell Parliament what Britain really wants