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Politics | The Guardian



Latest Politics news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Tue, 23 May 2017 23:01:24 GMT2017-05-23T23:01:24Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Soldiers to patrol UK streets as threat raised to critical after Manchester bombing

Tue, 23 May 2017 21:25:20 GMT2017-05-23T21:25:20Z

Theresa May raises level for first time since 2007, signalling that further attack may be imminent

Manchester attack – latest updates
What we know so far

Soldiers are being sent on to Britain’s streets to help the police and a second terror attack may be imminent following the Manchester concert bombing, Theresa May has said.

The prime minister raised the threat level from severe to critical for the first time since July 2007, meaning “not only that an attack remains highly likely but a further attack may be imminent”.

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Tories' £5m donations boost before May called snap general election

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:43:20 GMT2017-05-23T13:43:20Z

Party received £5.46m from January to March, more than twice the £2.65m given to Labour, official figures show

The Conservatives received a huge boost in donations in the three months before Theresa May called a surprise general election, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission.

The party received £5.46m from January to March this year, more than twice the £2.65m given to Labour.

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London economy subsidises rest of UK, ONS figures show

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:45:39 GMT2017-05-23T15:45:39Z

Breakdown of public finances shows how taxes and public spending are used to narrow north-south divide

London’s thriving economy generates a £26.5bn surplus that is recycled by the government to provide financial help to Britain’s less well-off regions, according to an official breakdown of the public finances.

The first attempt by the Office for National Statistics to break down the UK’s budget deficit by region has demonstrated the importance of the capital and highlighted how taxes and public spending are used to narrow the north-south divide.

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Unions say Tories' zero-hours workers' review doesn't go far enough

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:38:21 GMT2017-05-23T13:38:21Z

Review of contracts and gig economy expected to argue that new rules are needed but unions say proposals are weak

Unions have expressed anger at the proposal that workers on zero-hours contracts should be the given the right to request guaranteed hours, saying it does not go far enough.

A government-commissioned review into employment practices is expected to make the recommendation next month. Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, who is leading the review into insecure work and the gig economy, will argue that new rules are needed to ensure businesses are not exploiting workers.

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Theresa May faces 'chaos and confusion' claims after social care U-turn

Mon, 22 May 2017 19:44:05 GMT2017-05-22T19:44:05Z

Prime minister spends day battling against accusations of indecision after change to policy outlined in manifesto

Theresa May has been accused of “chaos, confusion and indecision” after announcing a U-turn on her plans to make people pay more for social care just days after they were first announced.

The prime minister battled throughout Monday to defend her decision to put in place an “absolute limit” on the amount that people would have to pay despite no mention of the idea in her party’s manifesto, published on Thursday.

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Jeremy Corbyn plans to speak to families of IRA Hyde Park bombing victims

Mon, 22 May 2017 17:34:50 GMT2017-05-22T17:34:50Z

It is understood Labour leader has expressed interest in campaign of families and supports their efforts to get justice

Jeremy Corbyn would like to speak to the families of victims killed in the IRA Hyde Park bombing, the Guardian has learned, as accusations surrounding the Labour leader’s past links to the organisation continue to dog the party.

Relatives of the four soldiers killed in the IRA attack in July 1982 are engaged in a fundraising campaign to finance a legal action against the only suspect connected to the bombing, John Downey.

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Big energy firms lobby Theresa May to water down price cap pledge

Mon, 22 May 2017 18:57:31 GMT2017-05-22T18:57:31Z

Electricity and gas suppliers push for compromise that would see price caps for 6m rather than 17m households

Energy companies are lobbying the Conservative party to water down its policy of a price cap on bills, with proposals that would protect millions fewer UK households from tariff rises.

Theresa May has promised to cap electricity and gas costs for 17 million families on default energy deals, called standard variable tariffs, after five of the big six suppliers increased prices. But under a compromise that has been put to the government, only 6m households would have their energy bills capped.

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Green party outlines plan for 'caring Britain' in manifesto launch

Mon, 22 May 2017 11:45:43 GMT2017-05-22T11:45:43Z

‘Green Guarantee’ centres on opposition to hard Brexit and aims to woo young voters with pledge to axe university tuition fees

The Green party has launched an election manifesto for what it calls a “confident and caring Britain”, centred on proposals including a universal basic income, opposition to a hard Brexit and an appeal to young voters.

Introducing the 23-page document, the party’s co-leader, Caroline Lucas, said young people had been betrayed by politicians.

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Labour suggests arts sector could be Brexit bargaining chip

Mon, 22 May 2017 11:53:12 GMT2017-05-22T11:53:12Z

Party pledges to seek good deal on Brexit and says creative industries will be at heart of industrial strategy

Labour has suggested it will use Britain’s artistic prowess as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations, despite the hostility of many artists and performers to the prospect of leaving the European Union.

The party’s culture manifesto, launched on Monday in Hull, the current UK capital of culture, by Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, acknowledges the opposition of many in the creative industries to Brexit. “Labour understands the serious concerns that the creative industries have about Brexit,” it says.

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More than 2.3m people have registered to vote since election was called

Mon, 22 May 2017 07:34:11 GMT2017-05-22T07:34:11Z

Electoral Commission says people have been registering at faster rate than before Brexit referendum

General election 2017 - lastest updates

About 2.3 million people have registered to vote since the general election was called just under five weeks ago, with registrations coming at a faster rate than before the Brexit referendum, the Electoral Commission has said.

This does not necessarily equate to the same number of new voters, as some of the applications could be duplicates from people already registered, said Emma Hartley, head of campaigns for the commission.

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Angela Rayner accuses Theresa May of sneering at her in the Commons

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:09:53 GMT2017-05-22T09:09:53Z

Shadow education secretary makes claim when asked about PM’s choice of ideal dinner guests, saying she was ‘probably not posh enough’ for May

The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, has accused Theresa May of “sneering” at her when they sit opposite each other in the Commons, saying she felt she was not sufficiently posh for the prime minister.

The comments by Rayner, who left school without any qualifications aged 16 when she was pregnant, came when she was asked about May’s choice of ideal dinner party guests.

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NHS funding pledges by major parties would still fall short, experts say

Sun, 21 May 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-05-21T23:01:07Z

Nuffield Trust thinktank says promises by Tories, Labour and Lib Dems fail to match lowest projections of what NHS will need

The major political parties have failed to guarantee the NHS the extra money it will need in the next few years to cope with the growing pressures on it, independent health experts have said.

Continued underfunding could lead to patients waiting longer for treatment, receiving lower quality care and being denied new drugs, according to the Nuffield Trust thinktank.

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Decision to raise terror level to critical will see 5,000 troops on streets

Tue, 23 May 2017 22:49:28 GMT2017-05-23T22:49:28Z

Move following Manchester bombing will be third time UK has been at highest level since inception, with soldiers to be deployed under Operation Temperer

The decision to raise the official threat level to critical and to deploy troops under Operation Temperer, meaning that an attack is expected imminently, is the first time for a decade that it has been set at its highest level.

The last time troops under Operation Temperer were deployed was immediately after the terrorist attacks in Brussels last year. But they were only used covertly as backup for the visible armed police presence at railway stations and airports.

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Campaign suspended – Election Daily podcast

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:55:49 GMT2017-05-23T10:55:49Z

Following the terrorist attack in Manchester, campaigning in the general election has been suspended – and so has this podcast. Jonathan Freedland and Owen Jones will be back soon

Message from Jonathan Freedland and Owen Jones:

Today we were due to present another edition of the Election Daily podcast. But, as we’re sure you can imagine, it doesn’t feel like a day to talk politics. Because of the terrorist attack in Manchester, all the political parties have suspended their election campaigns and so we’ve decided – for now – to suspend the podcast. You can follow all our reporting from our team in Manchester and around the UK on theguardian.com. We’ll be back soon.

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Brexit weekly briefing: 'dementia tax' debacle sidelines divorce talks

Tue, 23 May 2017 06:00:45 GMT2017-05-23T06:00:45Z

Theresa May wobbles over social care plans as it is announced that long-awaited Brexit talks will begin 10 days after election

Welcome to the Guardian’s weekly Brexit briefing, a summary of developments as the UK heads towards the EU door marked “exit”. If you’d like to receive it as a weekly early morning email, please sign up here.

You can listen to our latest Brexit Means podcast, updated every Wednesday, here. And with the general election under way in the UK, you can also sign up to the Snap, our daily email election briefing, here.

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The Snap: election campaign suspended after Manchester explosion

Tue, 23 May 2017 05:31:16 GMT2017-05-23T05:31:16Z

Prime minister will chair emergency Cobra meeting following suspected terrorist attack that has left 19 people dead and 50 injured

With campaigning in the general election suspended in the wake of the suspected terror attack in Manchester, this morning’s Snap will not follow its usual format, but will point you in the direction of the day’s unfolding news.

For the latest from Manchester:

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General election campaigning suspended after Manchester attack

Tue, 23 May 2017 03:17:44 GMT2017-05-23T03:17:44Z

PM and other political leaders including Tim Farron, Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon unite to condemn incident

Manchester Arena attack – latest updates

Theresa May and the leaders of other political parties have suspended campaigning for the general election following the terrorist attack in Manchester, which has killed at least 22 people.

The prime minister, who had been due to attend a campaign event in south-west England, instead chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee, before making a statement outside Downing Street.

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Maybot policy reboot ends in an embarrassing interview meltdown | John Crace

Mon, 22 May 2017 20:38:51 GMT2017-05-22T20:38:51Z

After some tough questioning from the BBC’s Grand Inquisitor Andrew Neil, the prime minister was left floundering on her dementia tax U-turn

“Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed,” the Supreme Leader snarled, her eyes narrowing into a death stare, her face contorted and her arms spread wide, twitching manically. “Nothing has changed.”

Everyone at Conservative party’s Welsh manifesto launch in Wrexham saw it rather differently. They had distinctly heard her say she would be reversing the Conservative party policy on social care that she had introduced in her English manifesto launch in Halifax the previous Thursday. Making it one of the quickest manifesto U-turns in history.

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Theresa May struggles in Andrew Neil interview – video

Mon, 22 May 2017 19:49:25 GMT2017-05-22T19:49:25Z

Speaking on BBC1’s The Andrew Neil Interviews, Theresa May struggles to defend her U-turn over the ‘dementia tax’. Last week, the Conservative manifesto rejected a cap on social care costs; now, May says there will be a cap

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General election 2017: Theresa May struggles to defend 'dementia tax' U-turn in BBC interview – as it happened

Mon, 22 May 2017 19:33:37 GMT2017-05-22T19:33:37Z

Andrew Neil grills PM on day that she was forced into a major climbdown over the plans for social car laid out in her manifesto

My colleague, Jessica Elgot, points out that the Conservatives are being attacked over their claim earlier in the day that “Jeremy Corbyn, supported by Nicola Sturgeon and Tim Farron, has already said he will accept any deal handed down by the EU”.

The Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesman, Tom Brake responded:

This is an absurd claim from an increasingly desperate Conservative party. David Davis and Theresa May want to impose their extreme Brexit agenda on the country no matter how bad it is for jobs, the NHS and our schools. We are offering the people the final say on Brexit, with a chance to reject a bad deal and remain in the EU.

At the end of a testing day, Theresa May faced the BBC’s Andrew Neil in the first in a series of interviews with party leaders. Neil repeatedly pressed her on the Tory social care U-turn, specifics on funding for the party’s manifesto pledges and on honesty in politics.

In the combative interview, May:

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Theresa May's responses to Andrew Neil's five toughest questions

Mon, 22 May 2017 19:24:41 GMT2017-05-22T19:24:41Z

Prime minister pressed on the social care U-turn and paying for manifesto promises in BBC interview

Theresa May faced the BBC’s Andrew Neil in a tense interview on Monday. He repeatedly pressed the prime minister on her social care policy U-turn and details of the costs of some of her manifesto pledges, among other issues. Here are some of his toughest questions.

Related: Team May takes a hit to dampen 'dementia tax' backlash

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The Guardian view on Brazilian corruption: the public deserve a voice | Editorial

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:16:26 GMT2017-05-23T18:16:26Z

The explosive allegations faced by Brazil’s president Michel Temer are just the latest manifestation of a sprawling scandal. A quick political fix will not solve the problems

“I will not resign. Oust me if you want,” Michel Temer said this week. Brazilians would like to take the president at his word. After three years of political turmoil and public disgust, the “Carwash” investigation into corruption that involved some of the country’s biggest companies and a frightening number of its politicians was under growing pressure; some feared it was being neutered. Then came explosive allegations that a secret tape captured Mr Temer discussing hush-money. His ratings had fallen to single figures even before these latest claims. Now Brazil’s top prosecutor has formally accused him of conspiring to silence witnesses and obstruct a corruption investigation; and he has dropped a legal bid to have the case suspended.

Mr Temer denies wrongdoing, insisting the recording has been doctored, and says stepping down would be an admission of guilt. Other considerations are no doubt weighing on his mind – notably that he would lose legal protections. As president, impeachment would require approval by Congress to proceed, and he cannot be charged over allegations that precede his time in office. Support within his Brazilian Democratic Party and coalition is crumbling. Allies can see the attractions of letting him take the flak for weakening the Carwash inquiry, and handle a case beginning next month in the supreme electoral court, which could annul the 2014 election. But even so, Brazil could soon have its third leader in under a year.

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If London subsidises the rest of the UK, where does that leave Scotland? | Nils Pratley

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:38:06 GMT2017-05-23T17:38:06Z

ONS regional breakdown of taxes and spending highlights Brexit threat – and clouds case for Scottish independence

It hardly counts as news that the UK is really two economies but here are the hard numbers to demonstrate the point. London, the south-east and the east of England recorded net fiscal surpluses in 2016 – in order words, tax receipts exceeded public spending on a per-head basis. The rest of the UK was in deficit, says the Office for National Statistics in its first such regional breakdown.

Some differences were substantial. At one end of the scale, London showed a surplus of just over £3,000 per person – the difference between revenues of £15,756 per head and spending of £12,686. Northern Ireland had the biggest deficit – about £5,400 per person – and Wales was next at £4,500.

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The rule of law applies to everyone. Even Manchester hate peddlers like Katie Hopkins | Hugh Muir

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:16:40 GMT2017-05-23T15:16:40Z

Politicians have responded to the atrocity with the usual words. But if we really want unity, our laws of incitement should be applied thoroughly

Now we have seen enough horror and atrocity to recognise what comes after: the bewilderment, the shock and anguish – and then, in the cold light of day, the attempt to make sense of the senseless by way of context and community leadership.

By this morning, Manchester’s leaders and community figures were seeking to react, grasping for the right pitch and tone. Andy Burnham, the newly elected mayor of Greater Manchester, spoke well – as did local commentator Mohammed Shafiq, mindful of the need for a Muslim voice to be heard in condemnation.

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The economy is stagnant because people fear for the future | Robert Shiller

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:35:18 GMT2017-05-23T12:35:18Z

Consumers are reluctant to spend because of new technologies that could eventually replace many or most of their jobs

Since the “Great Recession” of 2007-09, the world’s major central banks have kept short-term interest rates at near-zero levels. In the United States, even after the Federal Reserve’s recent increases, short-term rates remain below 1%, and long-term interest rates on major government bonds are similarly low. Moreover, major central banks have supported markets at a record level by buying up huge amounts of debt and holding it.

Why is all this economic life support necessary, and why for so long?

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Theresa May must do more than just say she’s not Jeremy Corbyn | Gaby Hinsliff

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:05:13 GMT2017-05-23T12:05:13Z

May has risen to become prime minister without facing a public vote. Her Andrew Neil interview, hot on a manifesto U-turn, shows it’s time she spelled out who she is

Once upon a time, there was an unelected prime minister who rose into the job at least partly through sheer force of personality. This leader faced no real contest, because there frankly didn’t seem much point; there was only one obvious grownup in the room, whose record seemed to speak for itself. It was only after several months that people began to ask just how much they had taken on trust, and whether they had confused great moral certainty for something more.

But enough about Gordon Brown. Last night it was Theresa May getting the once-over from the BBC’s Andrew Neil, fast emerging as the interviewer no underprepared politician wants to meet down a dark alley. It did not go tremendously well.

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Theresa May’s U-turn is a chance to rethink social care | David Brindle

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:00:01 GMT2017-05-23T11:00:01Z

The swiftly introduced cap on care liability underlines the need for a green paper that deals with the quality of care, not just the cost

Were it not so serious, the Conservatives’ remarkably ham-fisted approach to deciding how we should pay for care and support in our old age would win high marks for entertainment value. How did they miss the signs warning: “Danger – quicksand”?

Related: Theresa May ditches manifesto plan with 'dementia tax' U-turn

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For young people, Labour’s tuition fees pledge is a real game-changer | Eli Aldridge

Tue, 23 May 2017 07:30:46 GMT2017-05-23T07:30:46Z

As an 18-year-old Labour candidate, I know our policy to lift the debt burden off students has politicised my generation, and electrified the campaign

It can sometimes be hard as an 18-year-old trying to get your friends interested in politics. It’s an occupational hazard for me, an A-level student standing as a Labour candidate in this election. But our brilliant manifesto has made my job a lot easier, and I have lost count of the number of people who have stopped me to talk about our pledge to scrap tuition fees.

Related: Labour pledges to abolish tuition fees as early as autumn 2017

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A progressive alliance is an idea whose time has come | Neal Lawson

Tue, 23 May 2017 07:00:46 GMT2017-05-23T07:00:46Z

In an increasingly complex world, no one party has a monopoly on wisdom. People at the grassroots understand this – now the parties need to catch up

As the polls narrow, the Tories attack the idea of a progressive alliance and the possibility of coalition government because they know these could deny them their landslide. In the long term they fear a progressive realignment breaking their stranglehold on office and power. They are right to be scared because while on the surface all for them seems strong and stable, just below a new politics is bubbling up.

If Antonio Gramsci’s haunting phrase “the old is dying and the new cannot be born” was ever applicable to a UK general election, then it is this one. The old election is taking place in party headquarters, at the daily press briefings and meet-the-people events with no real people. But what is most old-school about this election is the main parties’ tribalism: “Only Labour can defend the NHS”; “Only the Tories can provide strong and stable blah”. It’s all about them: they believe they have a monopoly on the wisdom, superiority and singular ability to manage a world that is becoming more complex by the day. They are out of their depth. We know it and inwardly they do too.

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It’s time to give London students more money | Nick Hillman

Tue, 23 May 2017 05:45:44 GMT2017-05-23T05:45:44Z

A new official ranking of universities will soon reveal how badly off London students are. They need more help with rent and travel

In higher education, general elections generally mean endless discussion of tuition fees and little of anything else. One area being overlooked is the relatively poor student experience in London.

Before the election was called, this issue was about to hit the headlines. The first results from the Teaching Excellence Framework – the government’s new gold, silver and bronze ranking system for universities – were expected to show London’s institutions struggling to match their provincial competitors. The results have been delayed until the middle of next month but we know what they are likely to show. When Times Higher Education produced a mock set of TEF results last year, the top London institution was Imperial, placed at 37 out of 120. Most other London institutions were in the bottom half of the list.

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We are well-suited to sit beside Saudi Arabia when it comes to human rights | First Dog on the Moon

Mon, 22 May 2017 07:39:43 GMT2017-05-22T07:39:43Z

We proudly punch above our weight when it comes to cliches and gold-standard non-speak about flouting international law

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London must remain open to the world

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:55:27 GMT2017-01-31T11:55:27Z

The capital should have its own migration system to help it to help Britain survive leaving the EU

There are always exceptions. Since the nation voted to leave the European Union, the mayor of its capital city, Sadiq Khan, has declared that “London Is Open”, but he wouldn’t mind it being closed to Donald Trump. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners sympathise, judging by the map of signatories of the petition to stop the US president paying a state visit and making life difficult for the Queen.

This isn’t typical behaviour. In general, the capital welcomes foreigners, including those who, unlike Trump, plan to stick around and do something useful. About two million of the city’s work force of five million were born overseas, of which at least half come from elsewhere in the EU. London-haters find this frightening, a foretaste of foreignness eating the green and pleasant land. They hope Brexit will stem the alien tide, buttressing a fading Britannia of yore. They may not have yet grasped how damaging for them a cut in incomers from overseas could be.

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It’s no easy job to capture the nation’s mood, but the PM did it well | John Crace

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:43:46 GMT2017-05-23T15:43:46Z

When Theresa May spoke after the Manchester bombing, her sadness was touched with an edge of real anger, a feeling shared by everyone present

There were many who wouldn’t have got much sleep on Monday night and Theresa May was one of them. The prime minister looked haunted, slightly diminished even, as she walked out of Downing Street to address the media. The previous evening she had been a mere party leader campaigning hard to keep her job; now she was having to act as the voice of the country after the worst terrorist attack on the UK since 2005.

Related: Manchester Arena bombing: Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, named as second victim of suicide attack – latest

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Team May takes a hit to dampen 'dementia tax' backlash

Mon, 22 May 2017 19:17:27 GMT2017-05-22T19:17:27Z

Change of tack on social care policy will renew concerns about the way the PM and her tight group of aides make decisions

“Thank God, what a relief.” That was the verdict of one Tory candidate in a marginal seat on Monday upon hearing that while he’d been out knocking on doors, Theresa May had announced a crucial “clarification” of her social care policy by adding a cap on overall care costs.

May and her tight group of close aides, including campaign supremo Sir Lynton Crosby, had decided to take the political hit of a U-turn rather than allow the “dementia tax” to go on dominating the campaign narrative for another day.

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‘Mrs Thatcher saw dragons to be slain. Theresa is tough, too, but the dragons are very different’

Sat, 20 May 2017 23:05:39 GMT2017-05-20T23:05:39Z

Work and pensions secretary Damian Green says the PM is pragmatic, not politically hidebound

Of all the people who sit in her cabinet, Damian Green has known the Supreme Leader for the longest. They first met four decades ago when they were students at Oxford and no one but Theresa May thought she could end up running the country.

“Ever since Theresa became prime minister, people have asked me, ‘What’s she really like?’ And the answer I give is, ‘What you see is what you get’. She’s hardworking, conscientious – as a student she had a sort of sense of public duty, and was incredibly determined and calm.”

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Theresa May leads condemnation of 'cowardly' Manchester attack

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:01:29 GMT2017-05-23T18:01:29Z

Prime minister promises to bring attackers to justice as political parties agree to suspend general election campaigning
What we know so far
Full report

Leaders of all the main political parties have spoken of their horror at the attack on Manchester Arena and praised the work of the emergency services after the decision to suspend national political campaigning until at least Thursday.

Related: Manchester Arena bombing: thousands gather for vigil at Albert Square – latest updates

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Who should I vote for? The UK election manifestos compared

Fri, 19 May 2017 14:36:24 GMT2017-05-19T14:36:24Z

The key pledges made by Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems in the run-up to the UK general election

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General election 2017 poll tracker: latest soundings suggest Tory wobble

Mon, 22 May 2017 11:29:30 GMT2017-05-22T11:29:30Z

Find out what the pollsters are expecting on 8 June as Theresa May seeks to turn an opinion poll lead into an increased majority. We’re compiling daily updates from all the main polling firms and tracking the trend

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Harrow West: 'Corbyn? People are more likely to raise fly-tipping'

Thu, 18 May 2017 14:00:08 GMT2017-05-18T14:00:08Z

In the run-up to the general election, six Guardian reporters are writing from constituencies around the country. In the second of their dispatches from the Labour seat, Gary Younge and photographer Graeme Robertson join campaigners on the doorstep to hear about the issues motivating voters in the London suburb

Last April, shortly before Brexit but eight months after Jeremy Corbyn had been made leader of the opposition, Alice Cann, 34, joined the Labour party in Harrow West. “I almost always voted Labour but otherwise wasn’t that aware of all that was going on around politics,” she says. “But Corbyn’s views on the potential of the Labour party and how he wanted to change society matched mine.”

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Somerset: can the Lib Dems flourish after Tim Farron leaves the stage?

Tue, 16 May 2017 16:00:32 GMT2017-05-16T16:00:32Z

In the run-up to the general election, six Guardian reporters are writing from constituencies across the country to find out what matters to you and in your area. In the second of their dispatches, Steven Morris and photographer Sam Frost move from Wells to Burnham-on-Sea and find voters underwhelmed and undecided

In 2015, Boris Johnson donned a jumpsuit, lifebelt, and crash helmet for an election photo opportunity on a hovercraft in Burnham-on-Sea.

If that was a predictable bit of Johnson electioneering, it is less the sort of thing that you might associate with Tim Farron. Still, last week, he followed in his Conservative counterpart’s footsteps, clambering on to the rescue craft and zooming around the treacherous mudflats of the Somerset coast with his party’s candidate for the Wells constituency, Tessa Munt.

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Cambridge: 'We don't talk politics. The cruel thing is it doesn't affect us'

Sun, 21 May 2017 13:00:06 GMT2017-05-21T13:00:06Z

In the run-up to the general election, six Guardian reporters are writing from constituencies across the country to find out what matters to you and your area. In the second dispatch from Cambridge, Amelia Gentleman and photographer Antonio Olmos meet people in the city’s video games industry who feel disengaged from the election but seriously concerned about Brexit

The longer you spend with the entrepreneurs behind the video game industry cluster in Cambridge, the more the forthcoming general election begins to seem a trifling, parochial concern.

Compared with the momentous significance of the vote to leave the EU, next month’s election barely registers for people such as Mark Gerhard, CEO of Playfusion, a video game company (pictured above) employing 58 people, of whom about 60% are from the EU. “We don’t talk politics here. Almost all of us are disengaged from it. The cruel thing is that it doesn’t affect us; if it goes really bad we can change our situation, we can solve it,” he says.

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Glasgow East: 'This election is negative and full of hate'

Fri, 19 May 2017 12:31:21 GMT2017-05-19T12:31:21Z

In the run-up to the general election, six Guardian reporters are writing from constituencies across the UK to find out what matters in your area. In our second visit to Glasgow East, Lisa O’Carroll meets a former Labour-supporting family who have become politically divided. Photographs by Murdo MacLeod

Karen and Douglas Connell are proud of their three daughters: they think for themselves and are active citizens. “I’m glad I brought up my girls to be politically minded,” Karen tells me from the family’s sandstone house in Shettleston, Glasgow. “They would never not vote.” But close as they are, when it comes to this general election, this once Labour-supporting family of five could not be more politically divided. In a sign of the disconnect between national leadership and local interests, come polling day family members are intending to vote Liberal Democrat, Labour and Tory.

Perched on the arm of her sofa in her pristine period home where she and Douglas live with the youngest of their daughters, Karen, 53, explains she is a “working-class girl” from Glasgow’s East End who has always been interested in politics.

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Mandelson legacy looms large as Hartlepool approaches crossroads

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:30:11 GMT2017-05-22T13:30:11Z

In the run-up to the general election, six Guardian reporters are writing from constituencies across the country to find out what matters in your area. In the latest dispatch from Hartlepool, Josh Halliday and photographer Gary Calton find opinion divided on the man who was the local MP for more than a decade

It was 9am on 24 June 2016. Peter Mandelson stood shellshocked on College Green in Westminster as Britain woke to its decision to leave the EU. It was, he told the television cameras, the worst day in British postwar history.

It did not feel like that 270 miles north, in Mandelson’s former constituency. For drinkers in Hartlepool’s Cosmopolitan pub, it felt like Britain’s independence day. “They were cheering and carrying on all day,” says the landlord, Tim Fleming, a Ukip councillor. “There was a state of shock because most didn’t believe they were going to win.”

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May school lunch cut ‘would hit 900,000 children of struggling families’

Sat, 20 May 2017 20:00:34 GMT2017-05-20T20:00:34Z

Move could undermine key Tory target of helping families ‘just about managing’, as concerns grow over social care pledge

About 900,000 children from struggling families will lose their right to free school lunches under a cut unveiled in the Conservative manifesto.

The total includes more than 600,000 young children recently defined as coming from “ordinary working families”, according to analysis for the Observer by the Education Policy Institute.

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