"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 15th May 2019
Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge
British Steel is on the cliff edge of administration
- British Steel is seeking emergency funds from the UK government, blaming politicians. Failure to strike a Brexit deal for a crisis has left one of the UK's last two steelworks (and 4,400 staff) facing an uncertain future. Orders from increasingly anxious EU customers have dried up. The company is owned by Greybull Capital, said they would consider putting it into administration if no government assistance was forthcoming
Ford plans to cut up to 550 UK jobs as part of its Europe restructuring
- Ford Motor co plans to cut as many as 550 Uk jobs as part of a revamp of its loss-making European businesses, announced last January. Around 5,000 German jobs will go and it will cut jobs in its salaried non-manufacturing areas in the UK
Brexit could push UK companies into greater contact with corrupt markets - if EU trade deals are lost
- The National Crime Agency has sent a top secret file to the government detailing countries of concern. It believes that with EU trade deals lost, British firms will cast their net wider for business and this increases the risk of bribery taking root
UK wage growth stalls despite record employment
- Pay growth rose to 3.3% on the three months up to March, from 3.5% a year earlier. The ONS said the growing number of vacancies, together with falling levels of unemployment mean the jobs market is beginning to tighten. However, Brexit uncertainty is discouraging firms from hiring or improving wages. Illustrating this lack of investment - labour productivity, which measures the labour force's output per hour, fell for the third consecutive quarter
Britain risks heading towards US levels of inequality top economist warns
- In a landmark review of inequality in the UK for the Institute of Fiscal Studies, Sir Angus Deaton said results point to the high risk that the UK would follow the U.S. example and replicate its extreme inequality levels in terms of pay, wealth and health
Theresa May to table vote on Brexit deal in early June, as she demands three more months in office
- Mrs May told ministers she can get a Brexit deal done if she is allowed to stay as Prime Minister until the end of July. She met Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday for cross-party talks and she told him there will be a vote on the Brexit divorce bill next month with or without a deal with Labour. She said it was imperative that Brexit legislation is passed before Parliament breaks for the summer
Nothing's changed - the ERG and DUP chiefs savage Theresa May's new vote
- Unless she can demonstrate something new that addresses the problem of the Irish backstop, it is highly likely that Theresa May's deal will go down to defeat again in a vote in Parliament - Mrs May was told
Tories face electoral oblivion if they do not satisfy Farage's Brexit demands, ERG's Steve Baker warns
- ERG arch-Eurosceptic Steve Baker called for a reconciliation between Nigel Farage's Brexit Party and the Conservative Party, after the EU elections, so that they could plan to meet Brexit Party voters' desire for a hard withdrawal from the EU
May uses 'High Noon' Cabinet to set a summer deadline for passing her Brexit deal and stepping down
- Mrs May told Cabinet she would bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement legislation in the week beginning June 3rd, with or without a deal with Labour, in the hope of getting her deal through Parliament at the fourth attempt. Observers also remarked that was the week when President Trump is scheduled to make a three day state visit to the UK
Brexit talks with Labour are going down a blind alley, senior Tories tell May
- Former defence secretary, Michael Fallon, said the talks should be stopped. He said it would be better to stay in the EU than sign up to a customs union. If you go into a customs union you cannot pursue independent trade deals
- Theresa May set the summer deadline for Brexit in a bid to defuse the new Tory leadership plot, according to the Huffington Post
- Police investigating the Leave campaign alleged breaches of election law during the 2016 Brexit referendum, may finally decide if they believe criminal offences were commited within weeks
People's Vote Campaign accused of taking orders from Labour
- Senior figures at Change UK expressed concern that the People's Vote campaign may fall foul of electoral law, accusing key staff at the non-partisan campaign of taking order from Labour. One area in particular is how the campaign is portraying Labour's position on a second referendum. The row spilled into the open when People's Vote staffers were accused of persuading a pro-remain activist, Femi Oluwole, to drop his independent candidacy in the Peterborough by-election
Boris Johnson could be challenged in court on his Brexit vote claims
- A judge will decide next week whether to summon Boris Johnson to court after a first hearing of a crowdfunded private prosecution over claims made by the MP during the 2016 EU referendum. The allegation of misconduct in public office relate to the claims emblazoned on the side of a bus used by the Vote Leave campaign, which said that the UK sends £350m each week to the EU
British Steel asks for state help to avert 'Brexit related' crisis
British Steel is seeking emergency funds from the government, blaming politicians’ failure to strike a Brexit deal for a crisis that leaves one of the UK’s last two steelworks – and 4,500 staff – facing an uncertain future. The company, which owns the Scunthorpe steelworks, is in rescue talks with its lenders over a £75m rescue package that is understood to be at risk of falling apart unless the government contributes. British Steel blamed “Brexit-related issues” for its difficulties, with one source saying orders from increasingly anxious customers in the European Union had “dried up”. The government is thought to have drafted contingency plans after lenders to the company, which is owned by private equity group Greybull Capital, said they would consider putting it into administration if no money was forthcoming.
Ford to Cut Up to 550 U.K. Jobs as Part of Europe Restructuring
Ford Motor Co. will cut as many as 550 jobs in the U.K. as part of a revamp announced in January of its loss-making European business, according to a person familiar with the matter. The U.S. vehicle manufacturer, which has said it’ll reduce its German workforce by 5,000 positions, will cut jobs in its salaried non-manufacturing areas in the U.K., the person said. The move was reported earlier by London’s City AM newspaper.
Britain risks heading to US levels of inequality, warns top economist
Rising inequality in Britain risks putting the country on the same path as the US to become one of the most unequal nations on earth, according to a Nobel-prize winning economist. Sir Angus Deaton is leading a landmark review of inequality in the UK amid fears that the country is at a tipping point due to a decade of stagnant pay growth for British workers. The Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank, which is working with Deaton on the study, said the British-born economist would “point to the risk of the UK following the US” which has extreme inequality levels in pay, wealth and health.
UK wage growth stalls despite record employment
Wage growth has slowed in the UK to put a squeeze on living standards despite the unemployment rate falling to its lowest level for more than 40 years. The fall in pay growth to 3.3% on the year in the three months to March, from 3.5% in the three months to February, also came as the buoyant labour market recorded a rise in employment to a new high of 32.7 million. The Office for National Statistics said the growing number of vacancies, together with the falling level of unemployment, indicated the jobs market was continuing to tighten. The jobless rate fell from 3.9% to a record 3.8%, the lowest since 1974. However, analysts said the shadow of Brexit uncertainty, which has sent business investment plummeting, was likely to have discouraged firms from hiring and improving wage rates. Illustrating the lack of investment, labour productivity, which measures the labour force’s output per hour, fell for the third consecutive quarter
Brexit could push UK companies into 'greater contact with corrupt markets' if EU trade deals lost
Brexit could push British companies into “greater contact with corrupt markets” and increase bribery, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned. With only a handful of trade deals in place as the clock ticks down to EU exit in October, the agency has sent top-secret files to the government detailing countries of concern. “It is a realistic possibility that the UK’s exit from the EU will impact the prevalence of bribery and corruption over the next five years, as UK companies potentially come into greater contact with corrupt markets,” the NCA’s national strategic assessment said. Director-general Lynne Owens told The Independent that further details of “corrupt markets” could not be made public.
Welsh beaches and marinas named among the world's best
Wales has earned more than 100 accolades in the annual coast awards. Welsh beaches, marinas and a boat operator have once again been judged to be among the best in the world. Keep Wales Tidy has revealed the 86 coastal areas that met the high environmental and safety standards needed to receive the international Blue Flag, Green Coast Award and Seaside Award. Wales has more Blue Flags per mile than anywhere else in the UK. The Blue Flag is a world-renowned eco-label owned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
@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...
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.
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.
@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
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."
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.
@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
@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
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.”
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”.
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.
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
Brexit Party Donations – “It Couldn’t Be Less Secure” Turlough Conway 14 May 2019 Subscribe Donate
Clearly a Political funding act nearly 20 years old cannot be fit for purpose in the digital age. In 2019, only suspicious transactions have faint or invisible traces and there is no reason why data on all contributions should not be comprehensive and available to the Electoral Commission on request. In my opinion, modern money laundering obligations on companies could provide the basis for a kind of system suited for modern elections and Political Parties. Architectures that allow transactions that are opaque or appear to be unnecessarily complex, making it difficult to identify the beneficial owner should be disallowed and preemptively punished. In 2018 the Electoral Commission’s guidelines stated: “We check the information parties provide to us, and evaluate the risk of those we regulate to prioritise our compliance monitoring. In the run-up to major elections and referendums we also carry out targeted campaign monitoring to check that people are complying with the rules on spending and donations.” The Electoral Commission must put action where these words are.
The cost of Labour party’s Brexit muddle
Labour is now paying for this confusion. As they prepare to go to the ballot box, many of these pro-Remain Labour voters face a stark choice: do they stick with Labour’s muddled position on Brexit or do they cast a clear vote for Remain by voting for the Lib Dems and others? According to Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, the YouGov poll shows that about 48 per cent of traditional Labour voters are preparing to vote for parties that are firmly pro-Remain and pro-second referendum. If that kind of shift is truly realised at the polls, Mr Corbyn will have a real problem on his hands.
Nigel Farage blasts Andrew Marr's 'ludicrous' BBC Brexit interview
Nigel Farage has again blasted Andrew Marr over his 'ludicrous' interview and accused the BBC of 'secretly' taking millions in EU cash while trying to keep him off TV. The Brexit Party leader, 55, clashed with the broadcaster, 59, on his Sunday morning show in a row that has shocked and split viewers. Mr Farage, who was asked about comments he had made about Putin, climate change and the NHS, said: 'It was bizarre that the ludicrous line of questioning persisted all the way through. This is a public service broadcaster that we all pay money to. We deserve better'.
Brexit Party candidate tries to claim the EU is stopping the UK from tackling child poverty
A candidate for the Brexit Party has falsely claimed that the European Union is responsible for 'child poverty'. During an interview with Radio 4's Today Programme Mike Greene, who is campaigning to win the Peterborough by-election, said that once Brexit takes place, Britain will have more control over 'education and child poverty'. We'll have more control about what we do in education, what we do in child poverty, how we spend the money that's going to the EU at the moment. BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins then questioned this notion from Greene, asking him which part of EU legislation is stopping the UK from doing those things. So which bit of European law or administration, or bureaucracy is stopping us from doing something that you would specifically like to do and address problems in child education and child poverty? Hawkins' question was met with relative silence as he didn't seem to know the answer to this query before blurting out this. I haven't gone into the detail of specific laws but what I do know is that we are hampered by laws that are being put in place by people that aren't elected. I don't see how the EU are helping.
BBC’s Radio 4 Today savaged on Brexit by Labour MP: ‘Echo chamber ignoring working class’
Brexiteer John Mann MP launched an offensive on editors at the licence fee-funded corporation after it featured an interview with ardent Remainer Nick Boles MP, who quit the Tory Party to join the Independent Group, now Change UK. He tweeted: “The editors of the Today programme put on a different Brexit remain perspective every day, sometimes several. An echo chamber of how the middle classes choose to ignore the perspectives of working class Britain.”
Even changing leader will not save Tories, as new poll shows them level with Brexit Party for general election
Ousting Theresa May and replacing her with a Brexiteer will not save the Tories from electoral annihilation, according to a new poll that shows the Conservatives 12 percentage points down. The ComRes survey on voting intention found Labour leading on 27 per cent, with the Tories neck-and-neck with the Brexit Party on 20 per cent, and the Lib Dems trailing on 13 per cent. That represents a five percentage point fall for Labour since last month while the Lib Dems vote share rose by six percentage points. If the parties were to achieve these vote shares at a general election it would result in Labour being the largest party but 13 seats short of a majority - with Nigel Farage’s party emerging...
Tommy Robinson faces new contempt case
After more than six months of complex legal delays, Lady Justice Sharp said the trial for contempt against Stephen Yaxley-Lennon- which carries a maximum sentence of two years - should go ahead. She said reasons for the decision would be given at a later date. Mr Robinson's supporters, who had gathered outside the Old Bailey, booed and chanted "shame on you" after it was announced.
Jeremy Hunt flounders on why people should vote Conservative
With Nigel Farage’s Brexit party riding high in the polls, the foreign secretary was questioned on why people should vote for his party but he initially could only come up with: “Because you believe in Conservative policies.” Challenged for a better answer, he said: “OK, let me give you another reason. Let me have another stab at it … Because we are not going to solve this problem by retreating to populist extremes.” Hunt, who is known to be building a leadership campaign team, said both the Conservatives and Labour would be “crucified by our bases” if they failed to implement Brexit by a general election.
How broken is our politics?
Or to put it another way, the political system is paralysed; disillusionment with the big established parties is seemingly at an all-time high; the traditional purgative of a general election is hard to administer (because of David Cameron’s fixed term parliament act). Even if it could be administered there is only a slim prospect the country would give a decisive answer to the question of who we want in charge (another hide-bound minority government looks likely). If the system is as bankrupt so one thng follows - we need electoral reform as adversorial politics is not working
Boris Johnson could be challenged in court on Brexit vote claim
A judge will next week decide whether to summon Boris Johnson to court after the first hearing of a crowd-funded private prosecution over claims made by the MP during the 2016 EU referendum. Marcus Ball, who has accused Johnson of misconduct in public office, was applauded outside Westminster magistrates court on Tuesday by supporters who have helped him to raise more than £200,000 to finance the case. It relates to claims, emblazoned on the side of a bus used by the Vote Leave campaign during the referendum, that the UK sends £350m each week to the European Union. The hearing took place in private in front of district judge Margot Coleman ahead of a public hearing next Thursday, where an application for a summons will be considered. A legal team assembled by Johnson was in court. They included Adrian Darbishire QC and lawyers from BCL solicitors. Johnson was not present.
Nigel Farage forced to admit claim about black people in Oldham was false
Nigel Farage has rowed back on a claim he made about black people in Oldham. But he immediately made another false claim about "Asian" people in the town, complaining that he was getting "caught up in terminology." The Brexit Party leader was branded "dangerous" after falsely claiming there was a street in Oldham where one side was populated by black people and the other entirely by white people. No such street exists.
EU settlement scheme doesn't work, say couple held at airport
The first flaws in the new immigration scheme for EU citizens who want to remain in the UK after Brexit have been exposed after a couple who live in Oxford were blocked from getting a flight back from Turkey to the UK. Arthur Vissing, a Danish citizen, and his Turkish wife, Ezgi Vissing, called on the government to urgently review its procedures to allow those who hold residency rights in the UK to travel unhindered. Their ordeal started last Thursday at Istanbul airport when British Airways told them a number of times Ezgi did not have the right paperwork to get on the flight. It took 24 hours, seven phone calls to the Home Office and others and the intervention of their Liberal Democrat MP, Layla Moran, before BA let them on the plane.
WATCH: The video Nigel Farage 'doesn't want you to see'
An old video has resurfaced of Nigel Farage waving cash around boasting about how little work he has to do as a Member of European Parliament to earn his money. Holding a wad of cash, he boasts to cameras: "Everyone's a winner!" He explains: "That represents four working days and one journey." Asked about how much it represents in English money, he says gleefully: "We're talking about £1,900." He proudly proclaims: "It's jobless!" While Farage produced the video to show how much money was on offer to MEPs at the European Parliament, they point to how much money he has claimed for poor attendance to brand him a "conman." He is ranked 745th out of the 751 politicians for the number of votes he has attended, according to Vote Watch Europe, and recently shrugged off the point that he had attended just one meeting of the EU fisheries committee out of 43.
Theresa May could have neutralised Nigel Farage. Now he's her worst nightmare
If you were asked to name, as I was recently, the most influential politician of the past 40 years, who would it be? My immediate response was Margaret Thatcher since she changed so much that had previously been taken for granted. But coming in second must be Nigel Farage, given the shattering impact Brexit has had on our national politics. It is a different sort of influence, of course. While Mrs T brought about far-reaching reforms that have affected the lives of millions – from presiding over City deregulation and the privatisation of the utilities to removing the power of the trade unions to hold the nation to ransom – Farage has been disruptive. He has become a lightning rod for the grievances of millions