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Politics | The Guardian



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



Published: Sat, 18 Nov 2017 20:00:04 GMT2017-11-18T20:00:04Z

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



Richard Leonard wins Scottish Labour leadership in decisive victory

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:59:56 GMT2017-11-18T14:59:56Z

Pro-Corbyn candidate beats centrist rival Anas Sarwar as party stunned by Kezia Dugdale’s appearance on I’m a Celebrity

Jeremy Corbyn has strengthened his grip on the Labour party after Scottish members elected a leftwing trade unionist, Richard Leonard, as their seventh leader in the past decade.

Announced as the winner in front of cheering supporters in Glasgow, Leonard won a decisive victory over his rival Anas Sarwar, a former Scottish deputy leader, after a fractious contest between the party’s left and right wings in which the Unite union played a significant role.

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Hammond’s budget big five: cuts, pay, housing, roads and students

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:00:36 GMT2017-11-18T16:00:36Z

The chancellor has never faced a trickier budget day: does he upset some by loosening the purse strings, or imperil a government with no majority by wielding the axe? Whatever he decides, some topics will have to be addressed

Philip Hammond will face his toughest test as chancellor on Wednesday when he stands up to deliver his third and most important budget statement. By comparison, the 2016 autumn statement and this year’s spring budget were exercises in treading water. Conservative MPs expect him to set the agenda for the rest of the government’s term and deliver a vision of how Britain will prosper outside the European Union.

The task is daunting. Without an overall majority, and with factions inside the party calling for his head, Hammond is in a bind. Loosening the purse strings will upset Tories who want to eliminate the deficit some time in the next 10 years; keeping austerity in place risks further cuts to politically sensitive public services such as the NHS, schools and the police.

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Ireland will block progress of Brexit talks without border guarantee

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:41:32 GMT2017-11-17T19:41:32Z

Prime minister Leo Varadkar wants formal promise of no hard border between Northern Ireland and Republic

Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, issued a stark warning that the progress of the Brexit negotiations was at great risk of even further delay, during a day of stinging public rebukes for Theresa May as she met sceptical EU leaders at a Swedish summit.

The Irish taoiseach emerged from a frosty bilateral meeting with May at the European social summit and said: “I can’t say in any honesty that it’s close – on the Irish issue or on the financial settlement.”

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Voters still trust Tories with the economy over Labour, poll shows

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 18:28:15 GMT2017-11-18T18:28:15Z

Opinium/Observer poll finds younger voters favour Labour on the economy, but, overall, the Conservatives lead on the issue

Theresa May and Philip Hammond remain a more trusted team on the economy than their Labour counterparts, according to the latest Opinium/Observer poll.

Despite a mixed view on the state of the economy, the prime minister and her chancellor are still out in front, with 36% of respondents trusting them the most, while 28% have more trust in Jeremy Corbyn and the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.

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Lords push for new regulations to protect children online

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:00:32 GMT2017-11-18T13:00:32Z

Cross-party support for amendment looks likely to lead to defeat for the government, which favours a code of practice

Technology firms could be subjected to tough new regulations to protect the privacy and mental health of children as a result of a cross-party campaign that is likely to inflict a defeat on the government within weeks.

An amendment from the crossbencher and film director Beeban Kidron to a bill going through the House of Lords has won the support of senior Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems. Its backers warn that teenagers are being bombarded by bespoke advertising and endless notifications and can routinely have their locations tracked by GPS.

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Cross-party MPs request urgent non-partisan debate on future of NHS

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 11:15:54 GMT2017-11-18T11:15:54Z

Group tells Theresa May health system has been failing patients and calls for public sector pay cap for NHS workers to be lifted

Ninety MPs including several senior Tories have urged Theresa May to launch a cross-party convention on the future of the NHS and social care in England.

Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Commons health committee, organised a letter in conjunction with the Liberal Democrat former care minister Norman Lamb and Labour’s former shadow care minister Liz Kendall, that has been sent to the prime minister and the chancellor, Philip Hammond.

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UK considers tax on single-use plastics to tackle ocean pollution

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:01:17 GMT2017-11-18T00:01:17Z

Chancellor to announce call for evidence on possible measures to cut use of plastics such as takeaway cartons and packaging

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, will announce in next week’s budget a “call for evidence” on how taxes or other charges on single-use plastics such as takeaway cartons and packaging could reduce the impact of discarded waste on marine and bird life, the Treasury has said.

The commitment was welcomed by environmental and wildlife groups, though they stressed that any eventual measures would need to be ambitious and coordinated.

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Up to 75,000 benefit claimants were underpaid for years

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:57:34 GMT2017-11-17T22:57:34Z

Mistake in payment of employment and support allowance could cost up to £500m to correct

Tens of thousands of disability and sickness benefit claimants may have been underpaid and it could cost up to £500m to correct the error.

The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed it had identified errors in the payment of employment and support allowance (ESA) that could affect 75,000 people who transferred to it from incapacity benefits.

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Councils to spend £1bn on commercial property amid housing shortage

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:00:09 GMT2017-11-17T18:00:09Z

Exclusive: Expert estimate suggests figure local authorities are on course to lay out this year could instead be used to fund 8,000 council homes

Councils are on course to spend more than £1bn on commercial property this year, investing more in shopping centres, country clubs, hotels, offices and other assets than in building council houses, figures show.

Town halls in England and Wales spent £758m buying up commercial property in the first eight months of this year, according to property market data from Savills, but are only building 1,730 council houses a year, government figures for 2016-17 show.

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MPs denounce food regulator after 2 Sisters chicken scandal

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:01:04 GMT2017-11-17T06:01:04Z

Scathing report by MPs attacks oversight and inspection regimes at Food Standards Agency and local authorities

The scandal at the 2 Sisters chicken factory should act as a “wake-up call” to the UK food regulator which has presided over a system in which it is simple to “hide infractions,” a report by a committee of MPs has found.

Related: 2 Sisters sacks worker filmed at scandal-hit chicken plant

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Autumn budget: Hammond urged to invest £7bn in transport for new towns

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:01:09 GMT2017-11-17T00:01:09Z

National infrastructure commission calls for the rate of housebuilding to be doubled across a swath of central England

Philip Hammond is being urged to earmark £7bn for new transport links in the “brain belt” spanning Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes in next week’s budget, and persuade local authorities to build the first new towns in half a century.

The national infrastructure commission, backed by the government and chaired by Labour peer Andrew Adonis, is calling for the rate of housebuilding to be doubled across a swath of central England, to deliver a million new homes.

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Ditch tax cuts to fund universal credit, says Iain Duncan Smith's thinktank

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:00:32 GMT2017-11-16T17:00:32Z

Centre for Social Justice urges chancellor to row back on manifesto pledge to reduce income tax and invest in benefits instead

Iain Duncan Smith’s thinktank is calling on the chancellor to renege on promised Tory tax cuts and instead plough billions of pounds into universal credit if he wants to help families that are just about managing.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), founded and chaired by the former Conservative leader, said that Philip Hammond should cancel plans to raise the threshold for personal allowance to £12,500 by 2021.

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I'm a Greggs pastry, get me out of here!

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:00:24 GMT2017-11-18T06:00:24Z

In a week that Jesus was replaced by a sausage roll, Boris Johnson’s dad escapes to the jungle

It’s not just MPs who have found their names on unwanted lists. My name appears to have been handed over to a marketing campaign that is doing nothing for my general sense of wellbeing - something that is fragile enough at the best of times. For the last three weeks I have been receiving regular mailshots inviting me on exclusive tours of sheltered accommodation for elderly people. The latest, which arrived this morning, was for Cheviot Gardens in south London and billed itself as “independent living for the young at heart”. I’ve seldom been made to feel older, but Cheviot Gardens have that taken care of because there appear to be extra care facilities on site. To add to my sense of gloom and depression, if I wanted to buy one of the flats – which admittedly look quite attractive – I could take advantage of the Older Person’s Shared Ownership scheme for the over-55s. So I wouldn’t even be one of the youngest people living there.

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Gerry Adams to announce retirement as Sinn Féin president

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:47:45 GMT2017-11-17T17:47:45Z

Move means party will be led by generation without links to violence, but 69-year-old is still expected to wield influence

Gerry Adams will announce his plans to retire after 34 years as president of Sinn Féin on Saturday, marking a generational shift that will break the leadership’s last link with republican violence.

Adams will take to the stage of Dublin’s RDS conference hall to set out an exit that some analysts say will improve Sinn Féin’s electoral chances in the Irish Republic.

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Scottish Labour expected to elect Corbyn ally as leader

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:54:43 GMT2017-11-17T16:54:43Z

Richard Leonard, a former union staffer, is strong favourite to beat centrist Anas Sarwar when result is announced

Scottish Labour is expected to elect a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader, further cementing Corbyn’s grip on the party.

Bookmakers have made Richard Leonard, a former GMB union political officer, the firm favourite to succeed Kezia Dugdale after a fractious contest that has pitted the left against Labour’s centrist parliamentary group.

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Sarah Clarke becomes first female Black Rod after 669 years

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:57:25 GMT2017-11-17T13:57:25Z

Queen appoints former director of Wimbledon tennis championships to take up parliamentary role early next year

The Queen has appointed Sarah Clarke, a former director of the Wimbledon tennis championships, as Black Rod. It is the first time a woman has held the now largely ceremonial parliamentary position in its 669-year history.

Clarke, who will formally be known as Lady Usher of the Black Rod, will take over early next year from David Leakey, who has been Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod since 2011.

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I help children cope, but too many are being failed as the system crumbles

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:53:28 GMT2017-11-18T09:53:28Z

My small charity team provides vital early help for vulnerable children, but devastating cuts mean we are being left to pick up the pieces when crisis hits

When a teenage girl came to our early intervention service recently to help her to work through past domestic violence, it soon became clear she was in a volatile and potentially dangerous situation, with continuing abuse at home.

We made a safeguarding referral and she and her family were quickly assigned a social worker while we kept working with her; but it’s very worrying that without our service, this could have been missed.

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From Peppa Pig to Trump, the web is shaping us. It’s time we fought back | Jonathan Freedland

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:18:40 GMT2017-11-17T19:18:40Z

Social media algorithms have assumed a sinister supremacy, directing us in ways we barely understand. Are we content to let them control our lives?

Forget the canary in the coal mine: these days, the warning comes from a cartoon pig in a dentist’s chair. And it’s no exaggeration to say it’s pointing to a threat facing all humanity.

The pig in question is Peppa, beloved by children everywhere. What could be safer than settling a child in front of a few Peppa Pig videos, served up in succession by YouTube, knowing they’ll be innocently amused while the adults chat among themselves?

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The Guardian view on climate talks: Brexit’s heavy weather | Editorial

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:14:34 GMT2017-11-17T19:14:34Z

If Brexit goes ahead, Britain will need to shape a green politics with devolution and social justice at its core. And make sure that politicians cannot renege on our international obligationsThe tragedy of climate change, as the governor of the Bank of England has put it, is one of the horizon. The catastrophic impacts of altering the atmosphere impose an enormous cost on future generations that the current generation creates but has no incentive to fix. To focus the minds of today’s decision-makers the 2015 Paris agreement sent a clear signal that the era of fossil-fuel-powered growth was coming to an end. The signatories agreed to limit global warming to no more than a two-degree celsius rise, the threshold of safety, beyond which climate change is likely to become irreversible. The real genius of Paris is not that it is rooted in science but its timing and its structure. While the 2C target was binding, the national targets agreed by each nation were not. Those non-binding targets do not add up to a 2C world – they would, if followed to the letter, lead us to a 3C one, unthinkable in terms of the devastation it would cause. So upping them was part of the point of this year’s UN climate meeting in Bonn, which closed on Friday, and will be the main issue at next year’s, and the year after next.The US under Donald Trump reneged on the deal before this year’s talks began. There is some solace in the fact that Washington cannot formally withdraw until 4 November 2020, the day after the next presidential election. The rest of the world, rightly, is moving on. Given what is at stake, it is worth pausing to consider where – and how quickly – the globe is going. Backwards – if one considers that China will almost single-handedly cause global emissions of carbon dioxide to grow in 2017. Canada and Britain, meanwhile, began a new 19-nation alliance in Bonn aimed at phasing out the use of coal power by 2030. This sounds like an important move until one realises that members of the “powering past coal alliance” account for less than 3% of coal use worldwide. Germany, which is not a member, held the climate talks an hour’s drive from a village that is being demolished to make way for a coalmine. These green talks, which are fundamentally about ethical concerns, are nevertheless becoming more like discussions about trade. In the case of climate change these involve transitions from one way of producing, distributing and consuming energy to another, cleaner way of doing so. It would be good if this could be seen only as a process of mutual support. However, as the talks in Bonn show, they are also hard-nosed negotiations which revolve around the exchange of concessions. Continue reading...[...]


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Brexiters, beware: if the ties that bind us unravel, tyranny may soon follow | George Monbiot

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:38:37 GMT2017-11-17T16:38:37Z

Public projects such as the NHS, BBC and social security define us as a nation. Without that cohesion, authoritarianism could flourish

So what is this country we are asked to love? This might once have been an easy question to answer. National identity was built around a range of institutions, considered to represent the national interest. Rebellion against them was characterised as treason. But one by one, these institutions have been subverted from within. Look to the top to see treachery at work.

The most obvious – and most trivial – example is the way in which the crown has used investment vehicles based in offshore secrecy regimes to enhance its wealth. The Paradise Papers show that both the Queen’s investors (the Duchy of Lancaster) and Prince Charles’s private estate (the Duchy of Cornwall) have been conducting their affairs beyond the view of government. If the crown mocks its own agencies in this way, why should anyone else respect them? But this, by comparison to other recent revelations, is froth.

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‘Putting politics above prosperity’ – wait, isn’t that what the Brexiteers are doing? | Christian Odendahl

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:17:12 GMT2017-11-17T16:17:12Z

David Davis’s ill-advised remark to an audience of German businessmen reveals an alarming ignorance about the way in which the EU is conducting negotiations

Putting politics above prosperity is never a good idea – that’s what David Davis told an audience of businessmen in Berlin on Thursday in a speech about the continuing negotiations. It’s not clear if he was trying to be funny, but the comment elicited no laughter among those gathered at the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s economic summit. Instead there was genuine befuddlement. Wasn’t that exactly what the UK was doing: putting politics above prosperity? And if, as Davis said, Britain wanted to cooperate as closely as possible with the EU and Germany, a journalist asked, why is it leaving the EU in the first place? The audience applauded that question.

Related: David Davis warns EU not to put 'politics above prosperity' in Brexit talks

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Here’s what Russians think: Brexit is your creature – don’t blame it on us | Alexey Kovalev

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:57:41 GMT2017-11-17T12:57:41Z

Russian trolling had little effect on the referendum outcome – it was like pouring a bucket of water into the ocean

It’s become a staple of “Russiagate” coverage in the US: a “bombshell report” promises to once and for all prove that Donald Trump owes his presidency to Russian dirty money, political meddling or bots, trolls and hackers. But buried deep inside the article, a reluctant qualifier completely undermines the bombastic headline.

Recent case in point: BuzzFeed’s article titled Secret Findings 60 Russian Payments “To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016”, complete with an eye-poppingly red banner which hammers home the above quote. Even more suggestive – and intentionally misleading, as it appears – was a push notification sent by BuzzFeed to promote the article. The most plausible explanation for wire transfers from a Russian bank to Russian embassies across the world makes it clear that the money was intended to fund the Russian election campaign of 2016, not the American one. It’s well hidden inside the article and surrounded by unnecessary, irrelevant details (“Seven nations had federal elections during the span when the funds were sent”.)

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Government plans to reform England's social care are an opportunity missed | David Brindle

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:49:54 GMT2017-11-17T12:49:54Z

Long-awaited green paper will be published by next summer, but will focus just on care for older people

At last we have some details of the government’s long-awaited consultation on reform of long-term care. But let’s be clear: this will not be a social care green paper.

Plans for the consultation were announced on Thursday in a written statement to parliament by Damian Green, the first secretary of state. He did call it a green paper – something that had been in doubt – and said it would be published “by summer recess 2018”. Recess is likely to be late July.

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Now it’s official: the less you have, the more austerity will take from you | Frances Ryan

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:00:09 GMT2017-11-17T12:00:09Z

The government’s own figures have proved what has been obvious since 2010: minorities, women and disabled people are the ones being hit the hardest

If the point of government is to make the already disadvantaged worse off, then the Conservatives have used the last seven years in power exceptionally well. Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission released a major report calculating the impact austerity is having on Britain – painstakingly calculating the impact that changes to all tax, social security and public spending since 2010 will have on each of us by 2022.

Black households (as the report puts it) will lose 5% of income – more than double the loss for white households

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The Senate should focus on things we care about - like Aussie baked goods! | First Dog on the Moon

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:52:05 GMT2017-11-17T06:52:05Z

Other countries seem to believe ‘climate change’ is a threat to the planet. Ridiculous. But enough of that, let’s instead celebrate the humble friand!

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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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Britain's housing crisis and the Brexit bill – Politics Weekly podcast

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 18:18:13 GMT2017-11-15T18:18:13Z

Anushka Asthana is joined by Nick Boles MP, Dawn Foster and Ian Mulheirn to discuss the UK’s housing crisis and the return to the Commons of the EU withdrawal bill. Plus Labour MP Tulip Siddiq on her constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is in prison in Iran

Last month, the prime minister vowed to fix Britain’s broken housing market. So with homelessness on the rise, private rents soaring and young people frozen out of the mortgage market, what would a solution look like?

Joining Anushka Asthana this week are Shelter’s Steve Akehurst, Conservative MP Nick Boles, commentator Dawn Foster and Ian Mulheirn of Oxford Economics.

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Cometh the hour, cometh John McDonnell, the man with a plan | John Crace

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:42:45 GMT2017-11-16T17:42:45Z

The shadow chancellor was like a news anchor reading a list of casualties as he rattled off the catastrophes of austerity

Not so long ago, no one felt obliged to take much notice of a pre-budget speech from John McDonnell. The Labour shadow chancellor was free to suggest almost anything he wanted – nationalisation of the Isle of Man, an SAS assault on Bermuda – and no one would bat an eye because there didn’t seem to be a chance of him ever getting the top job. It was just John being John. But with the Tories behaving like a series of accidents that either have already happened or are waiting to happen, the ante has been considerably upped.

This time round, the hall in Church House was packed and the shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, was quick to point out the significance in her introduction. “I give you the next chancellor of the exchequer,” she said.

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The Snap: Theresa May – still prime minister, but for how long?

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 05:48:17 GMT2017-06-10T05:48:17Z

Tories (and press) turn on May … Labour wins in Kensington …most diverse parliament ever … and can DUP deal survive questions over hardline beliefs?

Here we are, the morning after the morning after, with Theresa May still in No 10, still prime minister and still without a majority.

Related: General election 2017: chastened Theresa May to name her team – live

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David Davis warns EU not to put 'politics above prosperity' in Brexit talks

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:20 GMT2017-11-17T00:00:20Z

Brexit secretary says UK will be a ‘third country partner like no other’, and says EU states shouldn’t punish Britain at the expense of their own economies

David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has warned Germany and other European nations not to “put politics above prosperity” as they negotiate the UK’s split from the EU.

The senior cabinet minister made the plea at an economic conference in Berlin, as he acknowledged talks with the EU remain difficult.

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May faces defeat by MPs demanding meaningful vote on final Brexit deal

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 09:28:17 GMT2017-11-12T09:28:17Z

Remainers in Commons say they have the numbers to veto a bad deal or no deal

Theresa May faces a devastating Commons defeat over Brexit within weeks if she continues to deny parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal with the EU, Tory and Labour MPs have warned.

With the withdrawal bill returning to the Commons on Tuesday, a cross-party group who oppose a hard Brexit and are co-operating on tactics say they believe they have the numbers to defeat the government if they are denied such a vote.

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Goldman Sachs boss calls for second Brexit referendum - Politics live

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:11:33 GMT2017-11-16T17:11:33Z

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

The Times revelation that Michael Gove’s colleagues think he is auditioning for the job of chancellor because he has taken to using “long, economicky words” in cabinet (see 9.42am) is generating much comment.

Stefan Stern has written an article for the Guardian suggesting some more “economicky” words Gove could try.

Related: The ‘economicky words’ you need to bluff your way into No 11 Downing Street | Stefan Stern

Any cabinet minister who doesn’t know what MIFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) is, should go away and do some reading. MIFID – and MIFID II – which deal with equivalence and financial services, is hardly obscure and is a crucial part of the Brexit negotiations. If the EU deemed the UK as having an equivalent set of financial regulations under MIFID II (which comes into force next year), it would make it significantly easier for the City to have fairly smooth access to the European financial services market after Brexit.

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EU compound allegedly at centre of Kabul alcohol-smuggling ring

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:33:13 GMT2017-11-17T17:33:13Z

Exclusive: EU to investigate claims disused fridges and adapted gas canisters were used to sneak whisky out of Afghan compound

EU investigators are examining claims that the organisation’s compound in Kabul is at the centre of an alleged alcohol-smuggling ring in Afghanistan.

Disused fridges and adapted gas canisters have been used to sneak bottles of alcohol brands such as Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker out of the official EU-designated area, it is alleged.

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Frankfurt prepares for Brexit: 'It has put extra wind into our sails'

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:44:20 GMT2017-11-17T13:44:20Z

Recently praised by the chief of Goldman Sachs, Germany’s financial capital is in pole position to gain banking jobs from the UK

Peter Ferres, founder-headteacher of Frankfurt’s Metropolitan school, knows a thing or two about London bankers: he used to be one. For seven years, Ferres worked as a managing director for Credit Suisse in the City, marshalling billion-dollar stock market flotations of emerging market companies.

In 2005, he chucked in his career in the Square Mile. After completing a teacher training course, he headed to Frankfurt’s Rödelheim district to found one of the city’s 13 international private schools.

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Ireland threatens to block progress of Brexit talks over border issue

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:49:10 GMT2017-11-17T12:49:10Z

PM Leo Varadkar says UK must give written guarantee of no hard border with Northern Ireland before negotiations can move on

Ireland has issued a stark warning that it will block progress of the Brexit negotiations in December unless the UK gives a formal written guarantee that there will be no hard border with Northern Ireland.

In sharp remarks before a breakfast meeting with Theresa May, the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said Brexit-backing politicians had not “thought all this through” in the years they had been pushing for the UK to leave the EU.

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Politics quiz of the week: Brexit, Grenfell and smashed avocados

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:02:35 GMT2017-11-17T11:02:35Z

Appearing in this weeks quiz are Boris Johnson, universal credit and the question of whether fancy fruits are keeping young people off the housing ladder

The EU withdrawal bill continues to make its way through parliament, while Boris Johnson continues to make a variety of headlines as foreign secretary.

Universal credit has come under further scrutiny, while the question of whether cash-strapped young people should be allowed to buy avocados rages furiously across the land.

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David Davis blames Germany and France for Brexit talks deadlock

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:15:24 GMT2017-11-17T10:15:24Z

Brexit secretary accuses two most powerful players in Europe of blocking UK’s attempts to start trade negotiations

The Brexit secretary, David Davis, is seeking to drive a wedge between Germany and France, and the rest of the countries in the European Union, over the stalled negotiations to leave the bloc.

Related: David Davis warns EU not to put 'politics above prosperity' in Brexit talks

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Brexit talks: where are the negotiations up to?

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:42:49 GMT2017-11-17T12:42:49Z

Theresa May’s speech in Florence aimed, it seemed, to revive stalled Brexit negotiations. We review progress in the talks so far, and assess what progress has been made

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Brexit: Netherlands told to prepare for a no-deal 'chaos scenario'

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:51:27 GMT2017-11-16T14:51:27Z

Dutch parliament says a no-deal Brexit is suddenly thinkable and blames Britain’s ‘unrealistic expectations’

The Netherlands must prepare for a chaotic, no-deal Brexit, the Dutch parliament’s European affairs committee has said, in a strongly worded report blaming the stalled exit talks on Britain’s “unrealistic expectations” and “inconsistency”.

“What was long considered impossible is suddenly thinkable: a chaos scenario in which the UK abruptly leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without an exit agreement, a transition period or a framework for future relations,” the committee said.

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Leaked EU paper dents May's hopes for bespoke Brexit trade deal

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:16:56 GMT2017-11-16T15:16:56Z

PM may want ‘deep and special’ relationship, but paper says UK will have to make do with ‘standard FTA’ like Canada’s

Theresa May’s hopes of negotiating a “deep and special” trading relationship with the EU have been dealt a fresh blow by leaked documents which emphasise that only a basic free trade deal similar to that struck with Canada will be offered.

An internal discussion paper prepared by the European commission spells out how the British government’s rejection of membership of the single market and the customs union leaves the member states with little wriggle room in trade talks.

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Downing Street denies it will back down over fixing date of Brexit

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:22:40 GMT2017-11-17T12:22:40Z

Despite the serious prospect of losing a vote on the issue in the Commons, No 10 says setting a Brexit date will provide some certainty

Downing Street has slapped down suggestions that the government is preparing to drop its attempt to fix the date of Brexit as 29 March 2019, despite the serious prospect of losing a vote on the issue in the Commons.

David Lidington, the justice secretary, had suggested on Thursday that the prime minister was open to listening to suggestions from rebel Conservative MPs who are concerned enshrining the exit date in law could tie the UK’s hands in negotiations with Brussels.

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Sex, slang, steak: views that show remainers and leavers are worlds apart

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:18:55 GMT2017-11-14T15:18:55Z

YouGov’s quirkier survey questions reveal a nation divided on everything from homosexuality to cooking – not just Brexit

If you think Britain has felt like a divided country since the European Union referendum, you are not alone. Since June 2016, YouGov’s surveys have consistently shown that leave voters and remain voters are likely to argue about just about everything. Here are some of the things that set them apart.

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'£90k is a lot of avocados': Javid defends millennials who can't afford a home

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:08:11 GMT2017-11-16T15:08:11Z

Communities secretary criticises baby boomers who have long paid off their mortgages for saying young people are too profligate to own property

The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, has lambasted baby boomers who believe young people could afford a home if they cut back on nights out and avocados, saying such critics were out of touch with a broken housing system.

Javid warned that without urgent action to make homes more affordable, an entire generation could becomes rootless, and resentful of both capitalism and politicians.

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PMQs and MPs debate EU withdrawal bill – as it happened

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 22:59:11 GMT2017-11-15T22:59:11Z

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs and MPs debating the EU withdrawal bill

When somebody is leaving the club then such a person or such a member state has to pay the open bill. That is what we are asking for - simply fairness, simply to do what you promised to do.

For the so-called sufficient progress question for the December council, the most important thing is not the figure. The most important thing is to clarify the commitments - the areas where Great Britain has to see its commitments.

Another win for the government. The amendment sought to incorporate the principles of the Good Friday Agreement in the EU withdrawal bill. 313 against, 48 in favour.

That’s the end of the voting tonight.

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Britain has two weeks to prevent itself from falling off a Brexit cliff | Dan Roberts

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 14:00:19 GMT2017-11-10T14:00:19Z

Michel Barnier and David Davis appeared further apart than ever after their sixth round of talks in Brussels

There are just two weeks, it is now confirmed, to stop the UK sliding off a Brexit precipice. But the two men charged with rescuing the situation still cannot even agree about which cliff edge they are standing on.

Michel Barnier and David Davis waved courteously but appeared further apart than ever at the press conference to review their sixth, heavily truncated round of talks in Brussels on Friday.

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