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Politics | The Guardian

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

Published: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 22:31:09 GMT2017-04-25T22:31:09Z

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

Labour leadership agrees truce on immigration policy

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:00:16 GMT2017-04-25T21:00:16Z

Senior figures including Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott agree free movement of labour will have to end with Brexit

Labour’s leadership has reached a truce over the party’s immigration policy ahead of the election, with an agreement that free movement of labour across the EU will have to end at the point of Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn is understood to have signed up to the position along with other shadow cabinet members who have long been in favour of free movement, such as the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott.

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Conservative party ignored police requests to hand over internal bullying report

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:46:37 GMT2017-04-25T15:46:37Z

British Transport police say party has rebuffed repeated requests to see findings of inquiry launched following suicide of young activist Elliott Johnson

The Conservatives have failed to hand over a report on allegations of bullying within the party to police despite repeated requests from detectives, it has emerged.

British Transport police (BTP) have asked the Tory party to disclose the full report on the bullying inquiry, which was launched after allegations were made against the former election aide and failed parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke.

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Conservatives warned: don't take 'landslide' election win for granted

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:30:52 GMT2017-04-25T20:30:52Z

Strategists fear voters may turn to other parties to reduce scale of anticipated victory as Theresa May tries to woo people away from Labour in Wales

Conservative strategists are warning that the current crop of opinion polls suggesting Theresa May will cruise to victory in June’s general election could dissuade voters from turning out to vote for the party.

The belief is that a landslide “election narrative” may also encourage others to back Labour and other opposition parties simply in an attempt to minimise the scale of the anticipated majority, prompting the prime minister to warn about the issue on Tuesday.

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Leaked Labour script puts 'core party issues' above Brexit

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:22:25 GMT2017-04-25T18:22:25Z

Document for general election campaign pledges help for NHS, schools and social care in contrast to Tory ‘privilege’ policies

A leaked general election script for Labour MPs reveals that the party will direct its campaign focus to core issues including schools, social care and the NHS, rather than immigration, defence and Brexit.

The document passed to the Guardian reveals that the party’s dominant line of attack will be that the Conservatives are for “the privileged few” and that Labour will be “for the many, not the few”.

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McDonald’s offers fixed contracts to 115,000 UK zero-hours workers

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:23:29 GMT2017-04-25T17:23:29Z

Fast-food chain makes move after staff complained they were struggling to get loans, mortgages and phone contracts

McDonald’s is to offer 115,000 UK workers on controversial zero-hours contracts the option of moving to fixed contracts with a minimum number of guaranteed hours every week.

The move is a significant development in the debate about employee rights because McDonald’s is one of the biggest users of zero-hours contracts in the country. Sports Direct has also used workers on zero-hour contracts in its shops.

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Tories 'on very dodgy ground' over delay of air pollution plan, say experts

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:02:10 GMT2017-04-25T16:02:10Z

Constitutional experts say government is on ‘very dodgy ground’ claiming election purdah forces it to postpone publishing pollution strategy

The government’s attempt to delay publishing its air pollution strategy because of the election is “dishonest” and leaves ministers on “very dodgy ground”, according to constitutional experts.

The government had been under a court direction to produce tougher draft measures to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year, by 4pm on Monday. The original plans had been dismissed by judges as so poor as to be unlawful.

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Brexit economy: living standards are falling as the snap election looms

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:38:58 GMT2017-04-25T10:38:58Z

The latest monthly Guardian analysis finds rising prices, sluggish wage growth and a mood of uncertainty among employers as the UK heads to the polls

The pound’s sharp fall since the Brexit vote and a mood of uncertainty among employers has hit household budgets, creating a tough economic backdrop for Theresa May’s snap election, a Guardian analysis shows.

The prime minister will be hoping the resilience seen in the UK economy will hold over the coming months now that she has called an election for this June. But the Guardian’s monthly tracker of economic news shows living standards are already falling as rising prices outpace meagre pay growth.

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Labour predicted to lose hundreds of seats in local elections

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:26:53 GMT2017-04-25T13:26:53Z

Party expected to lose 75 councillors in England and more than 100 in Wales, and control of Glasgow and Cardiff city councils

Labour is set to lose hundreds of council seats across Britain next week and cede control of Glasgow and Cardiff city councils, according to leading psephologists.

The party is forecast to lose 75 councillors in England and more than 100 in Wales, and is said to be “heading for disaster” in Scotland where it is unlikely to retain control of any council.

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Suspended MP Simon Danczuk likely to stand for Labour in election

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:31:47 GMT2017-04-25T14:31:47Z

Sources say party will have to allow MP to stand in Rochdale as it will not be able to conclude disciplinary process before poll

• General election 2017 - live updates

Simon Danczuk is likely to stand as a Labour candidate in Rochdale because the party cannot conclude its disciplinary process against the MP in time for the election, the Guardian understands.

Danczuk was suspended from the party in 2015, pending an investigation, after a tabloid newspaper revealed he had sent explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl.

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Pro-EU Tories quit Open Britain over plans to oust Brexit-backing MPs

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:34:28 GMT2017-04-25T10:34:28Z

Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve say it is ‘untenable’ for them to support successor organisation to remain campaign

General election 2017 - live updates

A group of pro-EU Conservatives have angrily cut their ties with the successor organisation to the remain campaign after it launched a push encouraging voters to unseat prominent pro-Brexit MPs, most of them Tories.

Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve released a joint statement saying it was “untenable” for them to support Open Britain any more after the group released an “attack list” of MPs to target, including Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villiers, as well as Labour’s Kate Hoey.

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Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood defends decision not to stand in election

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:31:20 GMT2017-04-25T13:31:20Z

Wood says she wants to focus on Welsh assembly’s 2021 elections but vows to do everything she can to ‘defend our country’ from Tory cuts

General election 2017 - live updates

Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru, has denied that she “bottled out” of standing as a general election candidate, arguing that strong voices were needed at the Welsh assembly to fight the next UK government.

Wood told the Guardian that a beefed-up Plaid Westminster team would help defend Wales against the Tories if they win a large majority – but despite being the most recognisable and charismatic Plaid figure by far she has decided not to put her name forward.

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High court orders UK government to explain clean air plan delay

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:12:30 GMT2017-04-25T11:12:30Z

Critics say air pollution issue is public health and not political issue and ministers must defend delay in high court

The government has been ordered back to the high court to explain its last-minute bid to delay publication of the UK’s clean air plan.

Politicians and environmental groups had complained that ministers were “hiding behind the election” after they said they could not publish the proposals because of election purdah.

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UK government borrowing at lowest level since 2008 financial crisis

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:15:30 GMT2017-04-25T14:15:30Z

Boost for chancellor as borrowing falls by £20bn to £52bn – but analysts say it is too soon to be complacent

Government borrowing fell to the lowest level since the financial crisis in the year to the end of March as the economy proved more resilient than expected in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Borrowing fell by £20bn to £52bn in the 2016-17 financial year after economic growth helped drive tax receipts higher, narrowing the gap between what the government spends and earns.

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Two-tier refugee system leaves many destitute and homeless, say MPs

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:01:32 GMT2017-04-24T23:01:32Z

Cross-party group report finds support differs for refugees who come to UK via asylum route rather than resettlement

A costly “two-tier system” of providing protection for refugees in Britain has developed, leaving many at risk of homelessness and destitution, according to a report from a cross-party group of MPs.

The study by the parliamentary group on refugees says the way the system is structured seriously damages the prospect of integrating new refugees and reports that the British Red Cross had to help more than 1,200 destitute refugees in just nine months last year.

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Virgin, Stagecoach and France's SNCF join forces for HS2 bid

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:29:35 GMT2017-04-25T16:29:35Z

Group to challenge First Group and others to run trains from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow

The French state railway SNCF is to partner with Virgin Trains for a bid to run the first HS2 high-speed trains.

The competition for the West Coast Partnership franchise will pit the Virgin, Stagecoach and SNCF consortium against First Group and the Italian state-owned Trenitalia, with other potential bidders still to come forward.

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UK overseas aid budget fraud levels do not seem credible, watchdog says

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:41:58 GMT2017-04-25T11:41:58Z

Commons committee questions official figures for how much the Department for International Development has lost

The government’s claims of low levels of fraud in Britain’s overseas aid budget do not seem credible given mounting evidence of missing money, the House of Commons financial watchdog has said.

The public accounts committee questioned official findings on how much the Department for International Development (DfID) has lost to overseas corruption after its budget increased by more than a quarter to nearly £10bn since 2011.

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School holidays leave 3 million children at risk of hunger, report says

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:01:29 GMT2017-04-24T21:01:29Z

Cross-party group of MPs and peers cites evidence of children existing on diets of crisps when school canteens are shut

Up to 3 million children risk going hungry during the school holidays, leaving them vulnerable to malnutrition and undermining their education and life chances, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has warned.

Its report cited evidence of children existing on holiday diets of crisps, hungry youngsters unable to take part in a football tournament because “their bodies simply gave up”, and others surviving on stodgy, unhealthy diets “bought to fill hungry stomachs”.

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Sturgeon claims May called snap election because of fears over expenses

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:16:52 GMT2017-04-24T17:16:52Z

SNP leader says PM wants to avoid police investigation into Tory election expenses in the 2015 campaign catching up with party

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that Theresa May called the snap election in part because she feared that numerous Tory MPs would be prosecuted for fraud over their election expenses.

Speaking at the Scottish TUC conference in Aviemore, Sturgeon implied the Conservatives may have “bought” the last election, referring to a police investigation into the party’s election expenses in the 2015 campaign.

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Scottish Tories back in contention 20 years on from New Labour rout

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:20:54 GMT2017-04-24T12:20:54Z

With party on brink of Westminster revival under Ruth Davidson, the main political dynamic in Scotland is now SNP v Tories

For the first time in decades, Scotland’s Tories have a confident gleam in their eyes. Almost exactly 20 years after being wiped from Scotland’s electoral map by New Labour in 1997, losing all its MPs, the party is on the brink of a Westminster revival.

The first Scottish opinion polls published since Theresa May announced the snap election suggest the Scottish Tories could win up to a dozen Westminster seats, nearly all of them at the expense of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National party.

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Lib Dems target Brexit-backing Labour MP Kate Hoey in Vauxhall

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:15:39 GMT2017-04-24T18:15:39Z

Leaflet merging faces of MP and Nigel Farage distributed by campaigners in south London constituency

The Liberal Democrats are targeting a south London seat held by Labour with a 12,000 majority in a bid to unseat pro-Brexit MP Kate Hoey, publishing a leaflet showing her face merged with former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

The party distributed 20,000 purple leaflets with the Hoey-Farage graphic in the Labour MP’s Vauxhall constituency over the weekend, where 78% of residents backed remain.

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Theresa May: Labour majority government could happen – video

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 22:20:10 GMT2017-04-25T22:20:10Z

The prime minister, campaigning in Wales ahead of the general election on 8 June, says the Tory party intends to stop ‘ducking the issue’ of social care and instead come up with a sustainable solution to the problem. May also plays down the idea that the Conservatives are guaranteed to win, warning that opinion polls have been wrong before

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Has Tony Blair broken Labour party rules? | Letters

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:54:07 GMT2017-04-25T18:54:07Z

Blair breached the same rules that led to other members’ expulsions, write Lucy Craig and Andy Pegg

In 2005, after having been an active member of the Labour party for 25 years – 12 years as a Labour councillor in Haringey – I was expelled from the party. My crime? I had a letter published in the Guardian just before the 2005 general election urging Labour members to vote tactically. Specifically, I urged supporters to visit a Labour-supporting website which suggested for each constituency how voters could cast their vote in a way that would result in a Labour victory but one with a smaller majority. I hoped this would result in a government less arrogant and more accountable to its party members, backbenchers and indeed, the electorate generally. I did not – as Tony Blair has done (Corbyn hits back after Blair call to put party ties aside, 24 April) – urge voters to vote Lib Dem or Tory, but merely to consider their Labour candidate or MP’s record and use their own judgment as to whom to vote for or, indeed, whether to vote. Even though I am no longer in the Labour party, I would never urge anyone to vote Tory. I await with interest the party’s verdict on their former leader’s willingness to do so.
Lucy Craig

• Some 20 years ago, when I was chair of a constituency Labour party, one of our members, who had previously stood as a Labour party prospective parliamentary candidate, publicly called for members to vote Liberal Democrat. He was charged under Labour party rules with “bringing the party into disrepute”, and with the aid of the NEC (national executive committee) was expelled from the party. By calling for members to vote for “remainer” Lib Dem or Tory candidates, Tony Blair is in breach of exactly the same rule. He is undermining the elected Labour leader and bringing the party into disrepute, and should be expelled as soon as possible. Incidentally, that same expelled member later joined the Lib Dems and stood as a Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate. I suspect it won’t be long before Blair does the same!
Andy Pegg
Reading, Berkshire

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Millicent Fawcett was a heroine deserving of a statue | Letters

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:49:10 GMT2017-04-25T18:49:10Z


Rachel Holmes (Opinion, 15 April) does Millicent Fawcett less than justice. Of course Millicent was the daughter of her time and place (born in 1847 to a local businessman in a small coastal town in Suffolk). I spent several years writing a book largely about her (In the Steps of Exceptional Women: The Story of the Fawcett Society) and certainly did not always agree with her, particularly over her attitude to the first world war (she declined to join the brave women who went to the Hague in 1917 in an attempt to stop the war).

But on her fight for suffrage it is impossible to feel anything but intense admiration. Starting in 1866 when she was only 19, and thus too young to actually herself sign the petition for the suffrage amendment to John Start Mill’s reform bill, but for which she resolutely collected signatures, she spent the rest of the century building a movement, speaking in public (although she hated doing this) and endlessly lobbying politicians. She was joined in the early 20th century by what Holmes called the “full-blown, red-blooded” suffragettes of the WSPU, and the Pankhursts, but it is marked that in 1914 Emmeline Pankhurst chose to close the WSPU and devote herself to supporting the war effort. Millicent, also supportive of the war, continued to lobby the new prime minister Lloyd George until the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave a limited vote to women over 30 and those with property. Not satisfied, Millicent continued to lobby until the Equal Franchise Act 1928, which gave women the vote on the same terms as men – 62 years after she first started her campaign.

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We must leave the EU to renationalise rail | Letters

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:46:39 GMT2017-04-25T18:46:39Z

John Draper responds to Caroline Lucas on Brexit

Caroline Lucas of the Green party tells Sky News she wants to renationalise the railways. She also wants Britain to stay in the EU (Letters, 25 April). Her problem is that from 2019 all new railway franchises in member states must by law be open to competitive tender (the “Fourth railway package” ratified by the European parliament last December). The only route to nationalising Britain’s railways is to leave the EU, including the single market.
John Draper

• Join the debate – email

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Tim Farron says he doesn't believe gay sex is a sin

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:49:33 GMT2017-04-25T17:49:33Z

Lib Dem leader clarifies his views and says he does not want people to misunderstand his religious beliefs

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has confirmed that he does not believe gay sex to be a sin, saying that while he had no wish to “pontificate on theological matters”, he also did not want people to misunderstand his religious beliefs.

Farron, an evangelical Christian, has faced a series of questions about his views on the subject in recent days, prompted in part by an interview two years ago in which, when asked if homosexuality was a sin, he responded: “We are all sinners.”

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Andrew Tyrie to stand down as Conservative MP after 20 years

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:33:38 GMT2017-04-25T17:33:38Z

Treasury committee chair forged reputation as a fierce interrogator, with victims including Cameron, Osborne and bankers

Westminster is to lose one its most feared interrogators after Andrew Tyrie – the bane of prime ministers, chancellors, bankers and economists – made the surprise announcement that he is standing down as an MP.

After crossing swords with David Cameron, George Osborne, Mark Carney, Lord Chilcott and countless City bankers, Tyrie said he was quitting as Conservative MP for Chichester after two decades representing the seat.

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'It’s a horrible situation': Dutch pensioner's fears over UK residency bid

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:23:04 GMT2017-04-25T17:23:04Z

Elly Wright, who retired in 1993 after working in NHS and public housing, says she no longer has paperwork for application

Concerns have been raised about the future of elderly EU citizens settled in the UK after a Dutch widow who has lived in the country for 50 years said she feared she could be deported because she has not kept paperwork showing she is here legally.

Elly Wright came to the UK in 1967 after marrying a British serviceman in Germany and spent most of her adult life working in the NHS and public housing. She retired in 1993.

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The Guardian view on Labour’s Brexit: out of the EU, but close to it | Editorial

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:42:38 GMT2017-04-25T18:42:38Z

Though Labour now has a plan to leave the EU, it has avoided spelling out in detail how Britain can depart without a deal in place. This may be embarrassing, but it is politically necessaryLabour’s policy on leaving the European Union is probably best summed up by the Rolling Stones line “you can’t always get what you want”. On Tuesday morning the party’s Brexit spokesman, and one of its brightest talents, Keir Starmer, tried to explain what Labour’s policy on leaving the EU was and what it was not. Until recently Labour had tried to be many things, understandably so because the party had to bridge the gulf between its remain-voting and leave-voting seats. Since parliament, with the support of most Labour MPs, voted to trigger Article 50, the party’s position has become clearer. Rightly, Sir Keir insisted that EU nationals won’t be bargaining chips in forthcoming talks. He also outlined a significant shift on immigration. Even a few weeks ago, Labour’s position was perceived to be soft on freedom of movement. Labour’s policy is now to prioritise jobs, workers’ rights, and living standards in Britain over the right for people to work and travel around the continent. It is undeniable – and a tragedy – that Britain’s vote to leave the EU was founded on fears over immigration.Sir Keir’s position, at first glance, looks very much like the one offered by his Conservative opponents. Both Labour and the Tories now accept restrictions on freedom of movement despite the implications for access to the single market. Both will have a vote in parliament on the deal, although Labour envisages time to go back to Brussels if MPs reject it. Both parties want the best deal possible for Britain. Sir Keir differs from the Tories in that he would start negotiations with all options on the table and drop them one by one until a deal is reached. Theresa May would start from a blank sheet of paper and work out a deal that both sides could agree on. So far, so similar. The difference is that Sir Keir has declined to explain what would happen if the EU told Britain that the deal on offer in March 2019 was a “take it or leave it” one. When pressed he said the country could fall back on transitional arrangements and contingency measures – an answer that felt like a political deus ex machina conjured up to escape a seemingly unsolvable problem. If Mrs May could not get a deal from EU that she found agreeable, then Britain would crash out of the EU. This would be a disaster for the country, and a warning about the strength of the hardline Euroscepticism in the Tory party that seeks to remould the country as regulation-lite tax haven on the edge of Europe. Continue reading...[...]

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If ever there was a time to vote Labour, it is now | George Monbiot

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:28:55 GMT2017-04-25T18:28:55Z

I’d rather live with Jeremy Corbyn’s gentle dithering in pursuit of a better world than give May a mandate to destroy what remains of British decency

Where are the nose-pegs this time? Those who tolerated anything the Labour party did under Blair tolerate nothing under Corbyn. Those who insisted that we should vote Labour at any cost turn their backs as it seeks to recover its principles.

They proclaimed undying loyalty when the party stood for the creeping privatisation of the NHS, the abandonment of the biggest corruption case in British history, the collapse of Britain’s social housing programme, bans on peaceful protest, detention without trial, the kidnap and torture of innocent people and an illegal war in which hundreds of thousands died. They proclaim disenchantment now that it calls for the protection of the poor, the containment of the rich and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

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Andrew Tyrie, bankers' Commons scourge, deserves new City role | Nils Pratley

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:18:25 GMT2017-04-25T18:18:25Z

Chair of the influential Treasury select committee may be stepping down as an MP, but he still has much to contribute

Andrew Tyrie is “a man who would insult the Queen if he thought she deserved it,” the late Simon Hoggart wrote in this paper after the Conservative member for Chichester gave one of his characteristically acerbic performances in committee. The victim of that occasion was a hapless Lord Stevenson, who had failed to explain adequately how HBOS had sunk on his chairmanship. Tyrie called him “delusional” as well as “evasive, repetitive and unrealistic”.

After the catastrophe of the 2008 banking crash, such language was exactly what was required. Tyrie was a tenacious interrogator who believed in proper accountability in boardrooms. The insults only flowed when the witnesses had dug their own holes. Now he is leaving parliament, a surprise announcement that should depress anyone who has listened to hours of select committee hearings over the years.

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May is stealing Ed Miliband’s clothes – but no one’s shouting ‘Red Theresa’ | Abi Wilkinson

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:10:28 GMT2017-04-25T14:10:28Z

‘Red Ed’ was denounced in the Tory press for his energy price cap. But don’t expect the prime minister to be challenged – this is an uneven playing field

How long ago 2015 feels. So much has happened since the last general election, it would be easy to assume that the dynamics of that contest have little to teach us now. Though Ed Miliband had some trouble holding together the various Labour factions, the level of internal conflict was nothing like it is today. And he wasn’t forced to deal with the additional struggle of Brexit, which has sharply divided voters in a way that cuts across traditional party lines.

Related: Tony Blair should zip it. Interventions from its right wing won’t help Labour | Sam Glover

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Tony Blair should zip it. Interventions from its right wing won’t help Labour | Sam Glover

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:30:39 GMT2017-04-25T13:30:39Z

The former prime minister’s idea of putting Brexit at the centre of the party’s election campaign is wrongheaded, insulting and dangerous

In an article for the Guardian, Tony Blair makes the case that the strategy of opposing “Brexit at any cost” would help rather than hinder Labour. He goes as far as to say that even in constituencies that voted heavily leave, Labour MPs should campaign to remain. The party is already in crisis among leave voters – polling in February suggested that only 45% of leave voters who voted Labour in 2015 still back the party. The equivalent figure with remain voters is 15 points higher. Blair’s article, masquerading as a coherent strategy for a Labour victory, is really a blueprint to keep us in the single market, party be damned.

In any case, if you were to try to imagine an intervention that would elicit the most contempt and indignation from the people who are going to decide Labour’s next leader, I don’t think you could do much better. Though he was at pains to underline the fact that he had not “urged tactical voting”, his advice to “make sure that voters know where candidates stand on the Brexit issue before they cast their vote, whether Tory, Lib Dem or Labour” can easily be read as such. The three-time election winner is really deluded enough to believe that making sure people know that voting Conservative is always an option will somehow help the centre left.

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Has Labour found a way to secure a good Brexit deal?

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:48:57 GMT2017-04-25T11:48:57Z

As the party walks a tightrope between leave and remain voters, Keir Starmer has put forward what could be a third option

General election 2017 - live updates

Strip away differences of tone and timing, and the clearest political dividing line over Brexit boils down to one thing: what will happen if Britain emerges from EU negotiations with an unappealing exit deal?

For the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the answer is relatively straightforward. Theresa May believes the government should, in that case, walk away from talks and leave with no deal. The Liberal Democrats believe the British electorate should have a second chance to reconsider their decision to leave.

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Tories pinched Labour's energy price cap – but now we need detail | Nils Pratley

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:45:14 GMT2017-04-25T11:45:14Z

Without manifesto ideas for ‘resetting’ the market, the government’s proposals are just shameless headline-grabbing

The Conservative party’s proposed price cap on energy bills is “very different” from the price freeze advocated by Ed Miliband at the last general election, according to Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary and former energy minister. Really? In their initial impact, the two policies look almost identical.

Fallon’s thin argument is that a cap is more flexible because it would allow tariffs to be cut when the wholesale price of energy fell. That is a gross misrepresentation of the final version of Miliband’s proposal, which was tweaked to take account of falling wholesale prices. As the former Labour leader pointed out, his party’s manifesto at the 2015 general election was clear: “Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017, ensuring that bills can fall but not rise.”

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Labour has a real Brexit alternative. Now it must get the message to voters | Owen Jones

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:20:06 GMT2017-04-25T11:20:06Z

The party will ensure that workers, consumers and the environment are protected. There will be no blank cheque for a reckless Tory Brexit

Labour will rip up Theresa May’s Brexit plan but respect the referendum result. The benefits of the single market and the customs union will be on the table. EU nationals will be protected from day one. Human beings won’t be bargaining chips. The great repeal bill will be scrapped; Labour will introduce a EU rights and protections bill instead. All workers’, consumers’ and environmental rights will be protected. Much of the country craves unity: Labour will offer it. A “Brexit that brings people together,” not a “reckless Tory Brexit”. MPs will get a final say. If they reject the deal, Labour will return to the negotiating table.

Related: General election 2017: Labour pledges to wipe Brexit slate clean – politics live

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France’s terrorism is largely home grown – yet both Macron and Le Pen look away | Iman Amrani

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:01:36 GMT2017-04-25T11:01:36Z

Neither candidate has a coherent plan to tackle the very real issue of fundamentalism in France. This is shocking and inexcusable

In her victory speech last night, Marine Le Pen described the results of the first round of the French elections as “historic”. In many ways she’s right. The traditional parties suffered severe blows with neither the socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, who received a humiliating 6.3% of the national vote, nor the republican one, François Fillon, even making it through to the second round.

But it’s not just the collapse of the traditional parties that has made this election like no other. The ongoing state of emergency and the continuation of extremist attacks in France have dominated the campaign, and the one on the Champs Élysées last Thursday made many ask whether Le Pen was going to be able to win more votes in the presidential election. In the local elections that took place the week after the Bataclan attacks in 2015 the popularity of Le Pen’s Front National spiked, as she capitalised on the fear that followed the most deadly act of terrorism in France for decades.

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Metro mayors sound great. But they can’t save local parks and pools | Peter Hetherington

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:00:05 GMT2017-04-25T11:00:05Z

New mayors will be elected on 4 May in England. But what good are they in the face of chronic local government cuts?

City parks lie overgrown and abandoned; swimming pools and leisure centres shuttered; libraries locked up; local bus services axed; youth services scrapped; roads so badly potholed that hundreds of miles face closure. If the list of cutbacks is endless across the country, you can be sure of one thing. There’s worse to come.

Related: England's new metro mayors will have influential role in NHS | Richard Vize

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Australian values, as defined by First Dog on the Moon

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 01:08:46 GMT2017-04-21T01:08:46Z

The rule of law? A fair go? Chicken salt? It seems like there’s confusion across the board about what Australian values actually are

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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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The mother of all U-turns? A snap election special - podcast

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:57:26 GMT2017-04-19T16:57:26Z

Anushka Asthana is joined by an expert panel to discuss the prime minister Theresa May’s historic decision to call a snap election

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

It surely is the mother of all U-turns as the prime minister, Theresa May, announces she will go to the polls after all. The Guardian’s political editor Anushka Asthana is joined by the Observer’s chief leader writer, Sonia Sodha, Guardian political correspondent Rafael Behr and former head of political press for David Cameron, Giles Kenningham, to sum up the risks for May, the Labour party and why so much can change between now and 8 June.

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Kim Jong-May received with rapture and adulation in Bridgend

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:54:41 GMT2017-04-25T16:54:41Z

The Supreme Leader tells ecstatic devotees they must annihilate all opposition to her strong and stable leadership

The Tory drill sergeant was putting his troops through their final paces in the Brackla community centre just outside Bridgend in Wales. “Present arms,” he shouted. Several dozen activists held up their Strong and Stable Leadership placards. After about five minutes, almost everyone had had enough. One bloke near the back was complaining that his arm was aching. The drill sergeant wasn’t happy. He had told everyone to keep their placards up until after the Supreme Leader had left and that heads would roll if her reception wasn’t anything other than ecstatic. Starting with his.

Eight minutes earlier than planned, a commotion at the main entrance put everyone on full alert. Once again the placards, all of them identical, were thrust into the air and this time they stayed there as Kim Jong-May was greeted with rapture. She smiled awkwardly. The Supreme Leader isn’t entirely comfortable meeting ordinary people, even when they have been hand-picked for their devotion.

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Three-minute election: How did David Cameron and the Tories do it? And what happens now? – video

Fri, 08 May 2015 11:05:00 GMT2015-05-08T11:05:00Z

Columnists Jonathan Freedland and Matthew d'Ancona discuss the general election result: a bloody night for Labour and the Lib Dems and a stunning victory for David Cameron. How were the media and political class beguiled into believing that Labour could get away with being behind on the economy? And are the Conservatives as surprised at the result as everyone else? Continue reading...140x84 trailpic for Three minute video - What just happened? And what's next for the Tories?140x84 trailpic for Three minute video - What just happened? And what's next for the Tories?

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How May kept her secret – and left rivals scrambling

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 23:05:27 GMT2017-04-22T23:05:27Z

The PM brilliantly outwitted her opponents after weeks of denying she was going to go to the country

On the Thursday before Easter, Westminster journalists were invited to bring their children to No 10 Downing Street for an Easter egg hunt. Gold chocolate eggs of all sizes were hidden in the flowerbeds. There was much excitement as the young guests tore around the lawns in pursuit of the hidden treasure. But for the parents, the occasion lacked one vital element. “There were loads of eggs, just no prime minister,” remarked one. Officials explained that the PM was “otherwise engaged” and unfortunately could not be there.

There had been signals earlier in the same week that, with hindsight, should have invited suspicion that Theresa May was up to something. Why, with Easter approaching, was there was there still no date in the political calendar for the Queen’s speech, normally held in May? The education secretary, Justine Greening, had spoken of the prime minister’s passion for grammar schools days before, but it was strange that no one would say whether there would be legislation to create more of them in the next parliamentary session.

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General election 2017: former Labour deputy leader says Corbyn's policies 'doomed to failure' – as it happened

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:46:59 GMT2017-04-25T16:46:59Z

Prime minister campaigns in Wales while Keir Starmer announces Labour will guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK

Support in Scotland for independence has hit one of its lowest levels in recent years, down to 37%, according to a new poll by Kantar, the polling company formerly known as TNS.

In the latest of several sobering polls for Nicola Sturgeon, Kantar also found only 26% of voters favoured a new referendum within the first minister’s preferred timeframe of autumn 2018 to spring 2019. While 11% backed one later in 2019 or in 2020, and 7% supported on after 2020, 46% of voters (including 20% of SNP voters) wanted no new referendum at any time.

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Remain campaigners urge voters to unseat Brexit-backing MPs

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:00:20 GMT2017-04-24T20:00:20Z

Open Britain draws up attack list of 20 seats where constituents backed remain but their MPs did not

Voters are being urged to unseat prominent Brexit-supporting MPs such as Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers and Kate Hoey by the successor organisation to Britain’s pro-EU remain campaign.

Open Britain has drawn up an “attack list” of 20 seats, held mostly by Conservative MPs, where constituents voted to stay in the EU but their representatives are Brexit supporters.

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Labour would end free movement but not 'sever ties' with EU, Starmer says

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:34:29 GMT2017-04-25T11:34:29Z

Shadow Brexit secretary says party accepts referendum result but will not shut door on UK participation in EU agencies

General election 2017 - live updates

Labour will not make controlling immigration the overarching priority as the UK leaves the EU but freedom of movement will have to end, the shadow Brexit secretary has said.

Revealing his party’s Brexit strategy, Keir Starmer said Theresa May’s approach to leaving the EU was “rigid and reckless”, putting the economy at risk.

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The case for an anti-Tory electoral alliance | Letters

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:34:23 GMT2017-04-24T17:34:23Z

Letters from Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion; Dick Taverne, Lib Dem member of the House of Lords; Christopher Clayton of Waverton in Cheshire; and Rosemary Chamberlin of Bristol

Martin Robbins’ acerbic attack on progressive alliances (Tactical voting to beat the Tories: does the maths equal a coalition?,, 20 April) is both misinformed and misleading. For a start, he assumes that any alliances would be the only tactic used to beat the Conservatives when that’s clearly absurd. It’s self-evident that parties on the left need to win more votes off the Tories, and alliances would simply make the immensely difficult task of overturning the Tory majority a lot easier. According to analysis by Compass, progressive alliances at this election could help Labour win up to 29 Tory seats – and help them defend vulnerable ones too. They could allow the Lib Dems to pick off some Tories in the south-west and it would give the Greens a chance to topple the Tories in places like the Isle of Wight. With Ukip now planning to stand aside for Tories like Philip Davies and Jacob Rees-Mogg, it’s more important than ever that progressives think again about how we might work together in a handful of places too. Though the polls are not looking pretty right now for the left, let’s not forget that the Tory majority is small – and a lot can happen in seven short weeks.

It’s crucial also to remember the context for such alliances. A crumbling NHS, a jilted generation of young people being let down and a hardline government pursuing an extreme Brexit. For us, proportional representation must be central to this project, because our hugely undemocratic electoral system is so stacked in the establishment’s favour that the Tories can win a majority on just 24% of the eligible vote. To crack open our politics we must hack the system – and respect the fact that no single party has a monopoly on wisdom. So rather than talking down the idea of working together, let’s stick to the facts. Unity between those who want to topple the Tories is our best bet of a more progressive politics in Britain, let’s not squander this opportunity.
Caroline Lucas MP
Green, Brighton Pavilion

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Corbyn hits back at Blair after former PM's call to put party allegiances aside

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:54:03 GMT2017-04-23T18:54:03Z

Blair’s call for voters to consider backing Conservatives or Lib Dems to maximise MPs willing to vote against ‘hard Brexit’ seen as unhelpful by party figures

Jeremy Corbyn hit back at Tony Blair after the former Labour prime minister advised voters to consider backing Conservative or Liberal Democrat candidates in June’s general election, if they promise to have an open mind about the terms of the final Brexit deal.

As Labour embarks on a tough election campaign, Blair urged the public to set party allegiance aside, in order to avoid the 8 June poll becoming a “steamroller election”, and maximise the number of MPs willing to vote against a “hard Brexit” when Theresa May brings the deal back to the House of Commons.

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