"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 16th May 2019
Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge
1.6m in north paid less than the real living wage of £9 per hour
- Think tank IPPR North has carried out a survey and found that one in four workers in northern England are paid less than the real living wage of £9 per hour. The rise of zero hours contracts and a decade of stagnant wages has left 1.6m notherners earnng less than they need to live on - with women affected disproportionately
Brexit driving firms to relocate to Germany
- A record 2,062 firms either set up shop or expanded their operations in Germany in 2018, according to a report released Monday. The government-backed development agency said there was a 38% increase in the number of British firms moving their operations to Germany, with most citing the Brexit vote as a main reason
Will drugs companies follow EMA from London to Amsterdam?
- Nuffield Trust policy analyst, Mark Dayan, told the FT that the 'physical departure of EMA is hardly going to help make the UK an attractive destination for pharmaceutical investment, but it is the legal departure of the UK from the Pan-European regulatory system that will cause all the real problems. The market easily available to the NHS and British pharmaceuticals companies would shrink to a sixth or less of what it is today'
- Bishop of Leeds speaks out over a lack of restraint in the language of politicians which is fuelling the violent bile over Brexit
- Europe's biggest holiday company, TUI, reported a 77% increase in the underlying seasonal financial loss - blaming diminishing demand from British holidaymakers due to Brexit
- Emanuel Macron is leading moves to cut British companies out of bidding for lucrative defence contracts in the EU after Brexit
- Merthyr Tydfil Hoover is set to lose 45 jobs at Hoover Candy's head office. The parent company, Haier Electronics is looking to centralise parts of its operations in Warrington by the spring of 2020 - redundancy consultations have begun
- A catalogue of errors by the Home Office has led to a loss of access to £600K of EU funds earmarked for the most deprived people in Britain and the Home Office has put a further £2.9m of EU funds at risk
- One million people look set to march against Donald Trump during his state visit to the UK, first week of June, according to a new YouGov poll
- The government announced that the probation service will be re-nationalised, recognising the failure of the Chris Grayling driven privatisation scheme
- Byline Times took apart Nigel Farage's claims that 16,000 visitors signed up to the Brexit Party on a particular day. It pulled the web traffic to the Brexit Party website for that day and it showed 1,200 visitors. Byline Times concluded that only a small proportion Nigel Farage is receiving comes from Paypal and his claims do not bear up to serious scrutiny
Lib Dems send activists a 'Jeremy Corbyn Dossier' as the party plots an assault on Labour heartlands
- The document, which is to be issued with Labour attack leaflets, collates pro-Brexit quotes from Labour frontbench MPs, including supporters of a second referendum. It also outlines in detail the party's voting record on a second referendum and its position on soft Brexit options - underlying the fact that Corbyn whipped his MPs to either abstain or vote with the Tories on 29 key Brexit votes
Why Theresa May faces defeat on her flagship Brexit bill
- The second it is published all the antagonistic criticism voiced before, during earlier votes on the withdrawl agreement, resurface only this time in even stronger form. For instance, on the issue of the Irish backstop, so loathed by the ERG and the DUP. The bill will maintain a limited role for the European Court of Justice in UK law after Britain leaves - another ERG/DUP favourite. The third lightening rod for attack will be on her agreement to pay the EU up to £39bn as part of leaving
May plods on in her death spiral as Farage circles his prey
- In a report on Prime Minister's Question Time, May and Corbyn struggle for substance and just 'dance around the subject of Brexit.' It took a question from the SNP leader Ian Blackford before Brexit even came up
Fourth time lucky: May's pitiful gambit
- Ian Dunt slams Theresa May 'her Prime Ministerial career is littered with moments in which she creates future problems in order to overcome more trivial immediate ones. Her tactics are predictable - 'survive the present and deal with the consequences later. She has made an endless number of promises whilst knowing she could not abide by any of them. She says things simply to survive the day'
Brexit Party is by far the most popular group for the European elections, but ONLY among the over-55s, according to a BMG opinion poll
- In a fresh survey for The Independent, BMG pollsters found that Nigel Farage's Brexit Party will finish ahead of the established parties on 23rd May. But, interestingly it also showed that the party boasts 30% support among the 55-64 age range, significantly higher than the Conservatives on 8% and Labour on 15%
Brexit secretary admits Theresa May's deal is dead if MPs reject it again
- The Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay indicated that early June's vote would be the 'last chance saloon' for Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal bill. He told a House of Lords EU Committee in evidence that 'if the House of Commons does not approve the WAB then the 'Barnier' deal is dead in that form'
- The BBC's political correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, said a loyal lieutenant of Theresa May who has been fighting off attempts to oust her for months said 'losing the bill would have to be it - we have reached the end now'
- Mrs May is still insisting that her departure depends on delivering Brexit and she meets the 1922 Committee leadership again today to put her case to stay once more
More shade being cast on Theresa May
- May is set to come under fire for rejecting a new definition of Islamophobia which was proposed by an all-party parliamentary group on British muslims
- Tory chairman Brandon Lewis met Tory MEP candidates standing for election next week and told them 'if you are not an MEP already you have little chance of winning'
- Theresa May has been accused of secretly blocking a bid to halt thousands of ageing Northern Ireland army veterans from being investigated - to appease Sinn Fein and keep the Stormont power sharing talks alive
- A Daily Telegraph headline says the 1922 Committee will pull no punches when they meet Theresa May today. 'Give us your leaving date now or you'll be gone inside a month'
Both parties are 'frozen in terror' as Brexit looks set to destroy the system
- Ian Dunt said; 'regardless of the Brexit outcome, politicians need to change the way they speak about this issue. They need to be honest, plain-spoken and precise as voters deserve that. Politicians' failure to do this is now destroying them'
With so many alienated by Westminster, it should be no surprise that Welsh independence is gaining strength
- Wales Online speaks of 10 years of austerity pushing hundreds of Welsh communities into the grip of poverty combianed with a Brexit process that has left large swathes of the population feeling powerless. A perfect recipe for the growing momentum behind the independence for Wales campaign
Labour's refusal to oppose Brexit is killing it on the doorstep. It should quit the Brexit talks right away.
- Loyal Corbynista and ex-Channel 4 correspondent Paul Mason describes the plight of Labour candidates and canvassers as they meet voters on the doorstep who ask them 'why Labour is in talks to deliver Brexit yet telling them they want a second referendum'
Merthyr Tydfil Hoover jobs could move to Warrington
About 45 jobs are at risk at Hoover Candy's head office in Merthyr Tydfil. Hoover's parent company Haier Electronics is looking to centralise parts of it operations in Warrington by spring 2020. The Chinese company said it has begun a consultation process with those employees at risk of redundancy and their representatives. A distribution centre, which employs about 60 staff, is set to remain at the south Wales site. A Hoover spokesman said: "As part of the company's wish to centralise some functions and support our long-term expansion plans, some jobs may move to our new offices in Warrington, over the next year.
One in four northerners earn less than 'real living wage', says study
One in four workers in the north of England are paid less than the “real living wage” of £9 an hour, a study has found. The rise of zero-hours contracts and a decade of stagnant wages has left 1.6 million northerners earning less than what they need to live, according to the thinktank IPPR North. Women are most affected by what it describes as the “job quality crisis”, with one in three women paid less than the real living wage compared with one in five men.
Emmanuel Macron infuriates Nato allies by freezing UK firms out of EU defence contracts after Brexit
Emmanuel Macron is manoeuvring to cut British companies out of bidding for lucrative defence contracts in the EU after Brexit, in a move that has infuriated France’s Nato allies. The French president is leading a blocking minority of EU countries to freeze the UK and non-EU Nato allies out of bidding for project contracts in the Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) initiative. US defence chiefs and EU diplomats warned that the hardline French stance would risk dividing Nato members, despite regular protestations from Brussels that its pooled EU military programme would never undermine the alliance that has guaranteed European security for 70 years.
Brexit drives firms to relocate to Germany
A record 2,062 foreign companies either set up shop or expanded their operations in Germany in 2018, acording to a report released Monday. The government-backed economic development agency German Trade and Invest (GTAI) said some 168 British companies had made Germany their home — or at least resettle part of their operations — in 2018. GTAI credited Brexit as a likely reason, with a 38% increase in the number of British firms moving operations to Germany since the Brexit vote in June 2016. "The figures prove clearly, Germany is a popular investment location for foreign companies," said Robert Hermann, GTAI's chief executive. "It's particularly noteworthy that never have so many British companies settled in Germany as they did last year." Hermann said those compiling the study had asked companies why they had relocated. "For almost a half — 45 percent Brexit was the reason for it," he said.
Will drugs companies follow EU agency from London to Amsterdam?
Mark Dayan, policy analyst for the Nuffield Trust think-tank, and an authority on the impact of Brexit on health and life sciences, said that the physical departure of the EMA was “hardly going to help make the UK an attractive destination for pharmaceutical investment”, but it was the legal departure of the UK from the pan-European regulatory system that would cause the real problems. The market easily available to the NHS and British pharmaceutical companies would “shrink to a sixth or less of what it is today”, he added, because approvals granted in the UK would no longer be recognised by the remaining member states.
Holiday company Tui hit by Brexit uncertainty and 737 Max grounding
Europe’s biggest holiday company is being badly affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, as well as uncertainty over Brexit. In its results for the six months to the end of March 2019, the Anglo-German firm reported a 77 per cent increase in the usual underlying seasonal loss, up from €170m (£148m) to €301m. Blames diminishing demand among British holidaymakers
Lack of restraint fuelling “violent bile” over Brexit as Bishop of Leeds speaks out
One of the country’s top clergymen is urging politicians to challenge “classic populist language” which is fuelling even deeper divisions over Brexit ahead of next week’s European elections. Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, suggests the “lack of any legal or political restraint” has fuelled an increase in “violent bile” in the three years since the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox during the EU referendum.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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”.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
'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.
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
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".
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.
@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
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.
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.
The PM's legacy could soon be the Conservative Party's destruction
History is littered with the remnants of long-established political parties having been annihilated at the ballot box. Anyone thinking it could never happen to them does so at their peril. Yet that smug, complacent attitude is, astonishingly, exactly what has been adopted by the Conservative Party leadership. Assuming that the old order will carry on, come what may, is a fatal mistake. One need only look at the long litany of electoral disasters across the world to see that. Christian Democracy in Italy, which supplied 26 of the 28 Italian Prime Ministers between 1946 and 1992, holding office for 40 of those 45 years, has disappeared.
Jeremy Corbyn says he’ll fight for underpaid workers. How about the ones in his party?
Jeremy Corbyn must be kicking himself. At PMQs today, he had a golden opportunity to stick up for the underpaid staff of a well-known British employer. But somehow, it completely slipped his mind. Which was odd, because low pay was the theme of his questions. “Mr Speaker, real wages are lower than they were 10 years ago!” he barked, not once but twice. “Some of the lowest rates of pay are among young workers… Why does this Government continue to punish our young people?” To cap it all, he added, the Government’s own Department for Business had had to set up a food bank for its “very low-paid” staff.
Tommy Robinson sued by Syrian schoolboy he accused of assault
The Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being attacked in a playground in Huddersfield is suing the far-right campaigner Tommy Robinson for accusing him of assaulting white schoolgirls. Jamal Hijazi, 16, has filed papers to the high court seeking libel action against the founder of the English Defence League after he was alleged to have “peddled false and defamatory lies” about the schoolboy. Footage of the refugee student being pushed to the ground and having water poured on his face was watched millions of times and attracted widespread condemnation, including from Theresa May, in December. In March this year a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified, was given a caution for racially aggravated assault on Jamal.
Labour Brexiteers could BACK May deal as Farage turns up the heat in Leave seats
Sources said between 20 and 25 of Jeremy Corbyn’s backbenchers are becoming so rattled by the looming threat of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party that they might back the unpopular deal to get the UK out of Europe. Speaking after the Prime Minister confirmed he deal was going back before the Commons, a Cabinet source said: “There is a chance — I accept it’s a small one — that certain Labour MPs will get cold feet once the actual bill is before them.” A Labour insider refused to rule out the possibility of battle-weary Labour MPs voting with the Government. The source told the Mirror: “Up to two dozen backbenchers have said they won’t be able to hold out much longer. “They’re getting so much grief in their constituencies over the failure to deliver Brexit.
Change UK: European election candidate David Macdonald quits to support Liberal Democrats
One of Change UK‘s lead European election candidates has quit to back the Liberal Democrats over concerns the new party could split the Remain vote in the upcoming contest. David Macdonald is the second person to resign as lead candidate for the party in Scotland after Joseph Russo withdrew from the race after one day over scrutiny of his old social media posts. Speaking at Holyrood, Mr Macdonald expressed fears about splitting the Remain vote by standing as a candidate for the newly-formed party, as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party soars in the polls.
PMQs: Peter Bone repeats call for Theresa May to resign
Brexiteer Peter Bone said Conservative activists in his Wellingborough constituency want Theresa May to resign before next seek's EU elections. The Tory MP said they told him the PM's Brexit deal was "worse than staying in the European Union", and they want the UK to leave the EU now on a no-deal basis. Mrs May thanked them for their time, and said her party "wants to deliver Brexit".
The Tories are deluded if they think the Brexit Party can't supplant them
Nothing to see here: risibly, that remains how many senior Tories view the remarkable rise of the Brexit Party. To them, Nigel Farage’s return is a spectacular but ultimately meaningless final act, a last howl of rage by an angry minority exercising its right to protest at an irrelevant election. But a real, serious, game-changing threat to the political duopoly that has governed the UK for so long? Don’t be ridiculous. There is something in the Conservative psyche that breeds this kind of deranged complacency: the conceit that theirs is the “natural party of government” is especially toxic.
Edinburgh reacts as leaflets for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party are delivered around city
Residents in the capital didn't hold back as the Brexit party's first leaflets arrived
Brexit energy drink denied EU trademark after claims brand was 'offensive'
In energy drink called Brexit will not get Europe-wide trademark protection after an EU agency initially decided its name was “offensive” before later ruling the brand name was too confusing instead. Polish entrepreneurs Pawel Tumilowicz and Mariusz Majchrzak, who run the business in Prestwich, Greater Manchester insist they called their drink, which boasts Union Jack branding, Brexit “for a laugh”. But the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo) did not see the funny side. An official castigated the cheeky Poles for causing offence with their trademark protection.“
Labour's refusal to oppose Brexit is killing it on the doorstep. It should quit the talks
With Corbyn stuck in the talks, they said, voters were confused about Labour’s position. “How can you be fighting a Tory Brexit when you are in talks with the Tories to deliver one?” is a frequent argument on the doorstep, and is driving Labour voters to the Libdems and Greens. “It’s killing us not being able to give one word answer,” the candidate told me. “Corbyn was always about straight, honest politics – now candidates have to take a breath and launch into a long sentence. The lack of clarity is hurting us.”
Tory ministers condemned for rejecting MPs’ definition of Islamophobia
Ministers have been criticised after it emerged they will not adopt a definition of Islamophobia demanded by MPs and Muslim groups. In December, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims called on the Government to accept guidelines on anti-Islamic abuse which states: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” In a Commons debate on Thursday however ministers will say that unlike the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition on anti-semitism, which it supports, the proposal on Islamophobia “has not been broadly accepted”.
Do Brexit Party supporters know who they are really voting for?
Brendan O’Neill, formerly of the Revolutionary Communist Party and Living Marxism, now of Spiked, has had me reaching for mine. He accuses me of lying, a charge which might send a less liberal journalist than me to his lawyers. He says my charge that his comrades and the Brexit Party’s European Parliament candidates Claire Fox, James Heartfield and Alka Sehgal Cuthbert are cavalier about the abuse of children “are lies, straight-up, low-down lies,” “character assassination”, and an act of desperation by the remain side.
Boris Johnson could be prosecuted over Brexit bus claim
Boris Johnson could be prosecuted over claims that the U.K. sends £350 million a week to the EU that were plastered all over a bus that toured Britain during the Brexit referendum campaign. According to the Financial Times, a businessman called Marcus Ball is bringing a private case against Johnson, a former foreign secretary, alleging that he committed misconduct in public office by endorsing the claim on the bus while knowing it to be untrue.
Nigel Farage's Brexit Party lets 'Vladimir Putin' sign up as a supporter
Nigel Farage has been accused of allowing “fake members” to join his Brexit Party – as the Mirror signed up as Vladimir Putin. The revelation shows how the party could be opening the door to millions in donations from foreign sources.
EXCL Labour MP tells Jeremy Corbyn to his face he must quit as party leader
A Labour MP has told Jeremy Corbyn to his face that he must quit as Labour leader if the party is to stand any chance of winning the next general election. Wes Streeting confronted his boss at an ill-tempered meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Mr Corbyn also faced a wave of criticism over Labour position on Brexit and European election campaign at the 90-minute gathering in Parliament. Some angry backbenchers claimed that they were being banned from putting out their own campaign literature by Labour HQ, while others said the party's policy on the EU was confusing and needed to be simplified. The Labour leader said he understood the "frustration" of his MPs, but insisted the party's anti-austerity message would bear fruit when the country goes to the polls on 23 May.
Nigel Farage can't just shout ‘Brexit betrayal’ and expect to be taken seriously
If Farage wants to be a serious politician, he needs to do more than shout ‘Brexit betrayal’ at rallies around the UK. Farage needs to have something to say about our country. And, at the moment, I’m not hearing it. When he appeared on The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC last Sunday (12 May), Marr tried to ask Farage where he stood on some of the most important issues facing us in Britain, such as climate change and the NHS. His response? An explosion of rage about how the BBC wasn’t paying him enough attention. Brexit aside, Farage has nothing positive to say about issues that the British people care most about: the NHS, the economy, crime and the environment (he once claimed climate change is a ‘scam’).
May plods on in her death spiral as Farage circles his prey
It could have been worse. Corbyn could have asked her about the European elections and Brexit. But luckily Labour is also pretending that neither of these things are happening as it too doesn’t quite know what to say about them, so May was temporarily let off the hook. It took the Scottish National party’s Ian Blackford to mention the B word, when he suggested the Tories and Labour were agreeing a stitch-up deal behind closed doors. Quite possibly one of the stupidest questions anyone has ever asked as Blackford must be the only person alive who hasn’t realised the whole purpose of the talks was that they wouldn’t agree on anything.
How one week in June could prove to be May's 'Waterloo' in a summer plagued by Brexit stumbling blocks
For someone famed for kicking the can down the road, Theresa May’s sudden decision to push the withdrawal agreement bill through parliament before the summer recess appears decisively suicidal. While Downing Street’s quest to get the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement on to the statute book by July may look like progress of sorts for Brexit, it sounds the death nell for a premiership that has plunged the Tories into what some have described as an existential crisis. Having hailed her “resilience” as one of her few leadership qualities, even Mrs May’s staunchest supporters are now wondering if there is something positively masochistic about clinging on through a summer which promises to give her nightmares
Probation will be renationalised after disastrous Grayling reforms
The supervision of all offenders in the community is to be undertaken by the state in a major renationalisation of the probation sector, just five years after Chris Grayling introduced a widely derided programme of privatisation while justice secretary. Under his disastrous shake-up in 2014, the probation sector was separated into a public sector organisation managing high-risk criminals and 21 private companies responsible for the supervision of 150,000 low- to medium-risk offenders. Following years of damning criticism from MPs, inspectorates and former probation officers, the justice secretary, David Gauke, has decided to bring all offender management under the National Probation Service (NPS) by spring 2021
When the centre cannot hold Britain’s bizarre, unwanted European election
Mr Farage, who went from private school to a career in the City, is himself a prime elite specimen. Yet he manages to pose as an anti-establishment rebel. In a Labour stronghold, he raises cheers by denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an Islington leftie. He offers no policies—they are promised only after the election—and does not even explain why Brexit is a good idea. His message is simple: we must walk out in October with no deal.
Brexit Party Donations – Farage’s Miracle Claims Do Not Add Up
The traffic shows that on the launch day of the Brexit Party only received 1,200 visitors – a fraction of the 16,000 £25 supporters Farage claimed had signed up that day. For the nine following days he said 60,000 had signed up, the actual total of visitors looks like less than 10,000. Even if every single visitor paid money to Brexit Party PayPal account this is only 10% of the total needed for launch day and 16% for the following nine days. The only conclusion that can be reached is that only a small proportion of PayPal payments were made via the website.
Brexit: Liam Fox claims UK could accept chlorinated chicken in US trade deal without lowering food standards
The UK could accept chlorinated chicken in a post-Brexit trade deal with the US without cutting food standards, Liam Fox has claimed. The international trade secretary vowed to protect food quality after withdrawal from the EU – but insisted the controversy about washing poultry in chlorine was purely an “animal welfare” issue. Dr Fox also suggested it would be impossible, under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, for Britain to ban the practice as part of a trade agreement with Donald Trump
Sky Views: Will Theresa May be remembered as one of UK's worst prime ministers?
"There is only one person who wants her to go on, and that's John Major," remarked one of her backbench detractors. "Every passing day she remains as prime minister she is seizing from John Major the mantle of the worst prime minister in living memory." Actually, it is not Sir John whom academics have crowned with that dishonour but the architect of the Suez crisis Sir Anthony Eden. A poll of academics specialising in British politics and contemporary British history rated Sir Anthony as the worst-performing of all post-war prime ministers.
Fourth time lucky: May's pitiful gambit
Her prime ministerial career is littered with moments in which she creates severe future problems in order to overcome more trivial immediate ones. Her tactics are very predictable: survive the present, deal with the consequences later. She has made countless promises - on a free trade deal, on transition, on talk sequencing, on the divorce bill, on free movement, on a border in the Irish Sea, on renegotiating the backstop, on alternative arrangements, on Article 50 extension, on the need to hold the European elections - while knowing that she could not abide by them. Anyone who has taken an interest in the detail of Brexit has watched her say things she could not possibly believe simple in order to survive the day.
Brexit Party most popular group for European elections, but only among over-55s, poll shows
The newly formed Brexit Party enjoys more support than Westminster’s major political parties for the European elections only among those over the age of 55, new polling shows. In a fresh survey for The Independent, BMG pollsters also found the party spearheaded by Nigel Farage will emerge ahead of the established parties on 23 May – despite being formed just weeks ago. The survey shows that among the 55-64 age range, the party boasts 30 per cent support – significantly above the Conservatives on 8 per cent and Labour on 15 per cent.
Yorkshire Brexit Party candidate brands Nigel Farage a 'dictator' and an ‘out-and-out b***ard' in 2016 tweet
A European election candidate for the Brexit Party in Yorkshire and the Humber referred to his party leader Nigel Farage as an “out-and-out b***ard” in a 2016 tweet, The Yorkshire Post can reveal. In a now-deleted post, Andrew Allison lashed out at Mr Farage after a bitter internal Ukip row led to the suspension of the party’s high-profile spokeswoman, Suzanne Evans. In the outburst, he also accused the ex-Ukip leader of running the party like a "dictatorship". In the wake of the showdown, Mr Allison tweeted: “The suspension of @SuzanneEvans1 highlights what an out-and-out bastard @NigelFarage is. “@Ukip is a Farage dictatorship - not democratic.”
EU elections: Change UK's lead candidate in Scotland quits
Change UK's lead candidate for the EU elections in Scotland has quit the race and is now endorsing the Lib Dems. David Macdonald is top of the Change UK list in Scotland, but said the party "don't stand much of a chance" of winning a seat in the 23 May poll.
May's fate 'already voted on' by chief Tories - Lame duck PM 'has to go'
The bill, which has not yet been published, looks set to spark outrage among Brexiteers with sources describing it as a “political hand grenade”. Politico said the deal is likely to “enshrine into British law” many aspects of the exit deal Eurosceptics within the Tory party will be angry about. Indeed, sources from the influential 1922 backbench committee have told ITV's Shehab Khan they have already voted to ensure Mrs May confirms her departure date and will be told she has to go if the deal fails.
If Theresa May resigns, we can still deliver the Brexit people voted for
For the good of Britain and for the good of my party, May must follow Margaret Thatcher’s example and stand down
Labour MP tells Jeremy Corbyn to his face he must quit as party leader
A Labour MP has told Jeremy Corbyn to his face that he must quit as Labour leader if the party is to stand any chance of winning the next general election. Some angry backbenchers claimed that they were being banned from putting out their own campaign literature by Labour HQ, while others said the party's policy on the EU was confusing and needed to be simplified. The Labour leader said he understood the "frustration" of his MPs, but insisted the party's anti-austerity message would bear fruit when the country goes to the polls on 23 May. In the final contribution to the meeting, Ilford North MP Mr Streeting told Mr Corbyn: "What is being heard on the doorstep across the country and what people are saying in the tea room, but won’t say to your face, is that you are a bigger issue for us than Brexit. “If you’re prepared to sacrifice our place in Europe because you think it will deliver a Labour government, why won’t you make way for a leader who can win a general election?"
Boris Johnson could face private prosecution over alleged Brexit bus claim
Boris Johnson could be privately prosecuted over allegations he misled the public during the EU referendum campaign by claiming the UK sends £350m to Brussels each week. Marcus Ball, a 29-year-old businessman, is bringing the private case against the former foreign secretary, who he alleges committed misconduct in public office by endorsing the £350m figure, knowing it to be untrue. On Tuesday, a judge agreed to hold a public hearing on May 23, the same day the UK heads to the polls to vote in the European Parliament elections. A big red bus emblazoned with the words “we send the EU £350m a week, let’s fund our NHS instead” is credited as being influential in Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the EU. The £350m figure did not take into account the UK’s rebate or the money that comes back via farming subsidies, regional development funds or grants to the private sector. The UK Statistics Authority has said these factors need to be taken into account.
Home Office misses deadline to access EU poverty relief funds
A catalogue of errors by the Home Office has led to a loss of access to £600,000 of EU funds earmarked for the most deprived people in Britain and has put a further £2.9m at risk, it can be revealed. The government had tried to claim the money for Theresa May’s flagship policy of helping the victims of modern slavery, but Sajid Javid’s department missed the deadline to recoup the ringfenced money. Under the watch of the home secretary, who has ambitions to replace May in Downing Street, the UK has been left as the only EU member state to fail to deliver aid to its citizens through the programme, and it is still yet to make an application for the remainder of the £3.5m that was available.