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



Published: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:40:24 GMT2017-10-17T19:40:24Z

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



Cabinet split as Amber Rudd says no-deal Brexit ‘unthinkable’

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:58:14 GMT2017-10-17T18:58:14Z

Rudd dismisses idea of not getting agreement at least covering security, after David Davis says no deal remains an option

A cabinet split has emerged over whether the UK could walk away from the EU without any Brexit deal, as Amber Rudd said it was “unthinkable” but David Davis insisted it must remain an option.

Rudd, the home secretary, appeared to undermine the government’s position that “no deal is better than a bad deal” on Tuesday as she dismissed the idea of not getting an agreement that at the very least covered security.

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UK to begin registering EU nationals for 'settled status' by end of 2018

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:48:00 GMT2017-10-17T17:48:00Z

Amber Rudd says Home Office’s default position will be to accept applications from 3 million EU citizens living in Britain

The registration of 3 million EU nationals in Britain will begin by the end of next year with the “default position” of the Home Office to accept applications, the home secretary has told MPs.

Amber Rudd said 1,200 extra staff were to be recruited by next April to provide an “easy access” registration process she promised would be “completely different” from the troubled permanent residency application system that has undermined confidence in the Home Office.

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Two-child limit on benefit claims to be challenged in court

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:40:28 GMT2017-10-17T13:40:28Z

Campaigners are granted judicial review of policy, which stops benefits being paid for more than two children

The government is facing a high court challenge to its two-child limit on benefit claims, the basis for the hugely controversial “rape clause” policy, it has emerged.

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said it had been granted permission to seek a judicial review of the limit, which stops child tax credits or universal credits being paid for more than two children in most cases.

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Peers could be restricted to 15 years in Lords in drive to cut numbers

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:25:57 GMT2017-10-17T08:25:57Z

Report on reducing membership also expected to recommend new appointments on ‘two out, one in’ basis

New peers could be restricted to sitting in the House of Lords for 15 years rather than being given life peerages, and appointed only on a “two out, one in” basis under plans to slash their number in the upper house.

A report by the Lord Speaker’s committee is due to be published this month on reducing membership of the house, which has more than 800 peers who have no official retirement age and can serve until they die. Among its recommendations, the committee is likely to recommend two peers must retire or die in order for another to be appointed.

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Rising star: Ruth Davidson to appear on Great British Bake Off

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:32:56 GMT2017-10-17T11:32:56Z

Scottish Conservative leader will take part in charity special of Channel 4 programme to raise money for Stand Up to Cancer

Fresh from packing them in at the Conservative party conference, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson’s profile is set be further raised with an appearance on a celebrity episode of The Great British Bake Off.

Davidson, beloved by the party faithful for overseeing a remarkable revival in Conservative fortunes in Scotland, will take part in a charity special of the Channel 4 programme later this year to raise money for Stand Up to Cancer.

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Ministers urged to ditch plans to cut number of MPs by 50

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 23:01:22 GMT2017-10-16T23:01:22Z

Government does not have parliamentary support for revised boundary changes, which would boost Tory election win chances, say Labour and Lib Dems

A new map of MPs’ constituencies produced by the boundary commissions for England, Scotland and Wales would boost the Conservative party’s chances of winning an election and do away with Jeremy Corbyn’s north London constituency seat.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have called on ministers to abandon plans to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600, saying the government does not have enough Commons support to pass the revised boundary changes.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber quits as Conservative peer

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:56:20 GMT2017-10-16T18:56:20Z

Theatre impresario, who was given peerage in 1997, says his busy schedule is incompatible with demands of House of Lords

The theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has quit as a Conservative peer, saying his busy schedule is incompatible with the demands of the House of Lords with crucial Brexit legislation ahead.

Lloyd Webber, whose musicals include Cats and Phantom of the Opera, was given a peerage in 1997 but has not spoken in the House of Lords this year and only votes occasionally.

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Jeremy Corbyn urges Twitter and Facebook to tackle religious hatred

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 22:03:45 GMT2017-10-16T22:03:45Z

Labour leader speaks up in defence of Muslim women and condemns ‘vile, revolting’ language used on social media

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook must “shape up” to tackle racism and abuse, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

Speaking at a packed meeting at Finsbury Park mosque in north London called to address a rise in attacks on Muslim women over recent months, the Labour leader said: “A lot of abuse takes place on online media and on social media.”

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Grayling's claims that UK can grow more food dismissed as 'tripe'

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:14:32 GMT2017-10-16T18:14:32Z

Farmers’ leaders are incredulous about comments that UK can meet demand if Britain leaves EU with no deal

Farming leaders have accused Chris Grayling of “talking tripe” after he argued in a television interview that the UK could just grow more food to keep prices down if Britain crashes out of the EU.

The National Farmers’ Union, the British Summer Fruits association and the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) all voiced concerns about the cabinet minister’s comments about food production made on Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

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Universal credit: DWP withholding bad news, says senior MP

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:52:52 GMT2017-10-16T15:52:52Z

Frank Field, work and pensions committee chair, believes department has not revealed scale of problems with welfare changes

The chairman of the parliamentary committee investigating the rollout of universal credit has accused the government of withholding “bad news” over the faltering progress of its flagship welfare changes.

Frank Field said he suspected that ministers had only pressed ahead with the accelerated rollout of universal credit this month because civil servants at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had withheld the true scale of the problems.

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Scottish government set to refuse consent for Brexit bill over 'power-grab'

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:16:57 GMT2017-10-16T16:16:57Z

Scottish and Welsh administrations want more changes to EU withdrawal bill to avoid Westminster ‘power-grab’ on devolved policy areas

The Scottish government is set to refuse consent for the EU withdrawal bill unless it is significantly amended to protect devolution, after crunch talks with Theresa May’s deputy.

The Scottish Brexit minister, Michael Russell, said the Scottish government would continue to push for changes to the bill before it could recommend passing the legislation after a meeting with Damian Green, the first secretary of state, and Brexit secretary David Davis.

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Ikea UK chief calls for Brexit transition period and government clarity

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:37:21 GMT2017-10-16T10:37:21Z

Gillian Drakeford’s calls for transition period to help businesses follows fraught week in which Britain’s divorce talks with EU remained deadlocked

The UK chief of Ikea has thrown her weight behind a Brexit transition period as pressure mounts on the government to sign a deal to protect Britain’s businesses from a “cliff edge” departure from the EU.

Gillian Drakeford also demanded clarity from the prime minister as companies brace for a new trading relationship with Europe’s single market.

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Monarch owner should help to fly tourists home, says Chris Grayling

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:21:25 GMT2017-10-16T19:21:25Z

Transport secretary says Greybull Capital, which bought collapsed airline in 2014, has ‘moral obligation’ to stranded passengers

The investment firm behind the collapsed Monarch airline should help repay the £60m cost of the repatriation of its customers, the transport secretary has told MPs.

The Civil Aviation Authority operated more than 500 flights over the past two weeks to return 110,000 Monarch passengers home after the airline went into administration on 2 October.

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NHS data loss scandal deepens with further 162,000 files missing

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:27:09 GMT2017-10-16T21:27:09Z

Revelation that further documents are missing was made at inquiry into disappearance of original 702,000 pieces of paperwork

The scandal over the biggest ever loss of NHS medical correspondence has deepened with the revelation that a further 162,000 documents went missing, in addition to the 702,000 pieces of paperwork already known to have gone astray.

MPs said they were “dumbstruck” to learn that even more material relating to patients’ health had been mislaid, some of it by NHS Shared Business Services (SBS), the firm co-owned by the government that lost the documents.

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English school budgets facing 'breaking point', warn headteachers

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:00:50 GMT2017-10-16T05:00:50Z

MPs to be told standards under threat with university tuition fees and student loans crowding out school funding concerns

Headteachers are to warn MPs that school budgets in England are facing “breaking point” after a combined £2.8bn in cuts and costs imposed upon them by the government.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) is writing to all Westminster MPs to highlight the plight of state schools in England suffering from funding shortages, in which it tells the politicians that standards are at risk.

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MPs move to block Theresa May from signing ‘no deal’ Brexit

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:03:19 GMT2017-10-15T15:03:19Z

Cross-party group draws up plans to make it impossible for PM to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal

A powerful cross-party group of MPs is drawing up plans that would make it impossible for Theresa May to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal in 2019. The move comes amid new warnings that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would be catastrophic for the economy.

One critical aim of the group – which includes the former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke and several Conservative ex-ministers, together with prominent Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MPs – is to give parliament the ability to veto, or prevent by other legal means, a “bad deal” or “no deal” outcome.

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Tony Blair: ‘We were wrong to boycott Hamas after its election win’

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 19:01:09 GMT2017-10-14T19:01:09Z

Former prime minister says international community should have tried to pull militant Islamic faction ‘into a dialogue’ over its refusal to recognise Israel

Tony Blair has said for the first time that he and other world leaders were wrong to yield to Israeli pressure to impose an immediate boycott of Hamas after the Islamic faction won Palestinian elections in 2006.

As prime minister at the time, Blair offered strong support for the decision – driven by the George W Bush White House – to halt aid to, and cut off relations with, the newly elected Hamas-led Palestinian Authority unless it agreed to recognise Israel, renounce violence and abide by previous agreements between its Fatah predecessors and Israel. The ultimatum was rejected by Hamas. The elections were judged free and fair by international monitors.

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Ministers warned of constitutional crisis risk over EU withdrawal bill

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 23:01:43 GMT2017-10-15T23:01:43Z

Senior figures in Welsh and Scottish governments say consent will not be given without amendments to devolve powers

Ministers have been warned they must amend the EU withdrawal bill to curtail any possibility of a power grab away from the Scottish and Welsh devolved administrations or risk a constitutional crisis.

The first secretary of state, Damian Green, is to meet senior figures in the Welsh assembly and Scottish government on Monday at the joint ministerial committee. They will warn that the devolved administrations will not give legislative consent unless the bill is significantly amended.

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Supersized chocolate bars and sweet bags banned from hospitals

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 23:01:43 GMT2017-10-15T23:01:43Z

Stepping up fight against obesity, NHS CEO instructs hospital shops not to stock confectionery with over 250 calories

Supersized chocolate bars and “grab bags” of sweets are to be banned from hospitals as the NHS ratchets up its fight against obesity.

Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive, has warned that obesity will bankrupt the health service and has stated his determination to do what he can on hospital premises.

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Philip Hammond under pressure to deliver bold budget, say Tory sources

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 19:01:47 GMT2017-10-15T19:01:47Z

Chancellor’s budget seen as a chance to reset image of party after Theresa May’s conference speech failed to do so

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, is under pressure to deliver a bold budget next month, aimed at resetting the agenda on intergenerational fairness on which the party feels it is being outdone by Labour, Tory sources have said.

Ministers have been asked to come up with strong proposals on issues such as housing and tax relief. One idea reportedly being examined by the chancellor is a proposal to link tax to age – and offer younger voters a cut in National Insurance contributions.

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With evidence of a failing Brexit, who needs prophecy? | Rafael Behr

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:35:18 GMT2017-10-17T19:35:18Z

It’s tempting for remainers to predict doom, but much better to judge the project against all of the leavers’ broken promises

Prophets of doom are not much fun to be around. Nobody wants a “Jeremiah next door”, which is how the Daily Mail recently described Philip Hammond’s relationship to Theresa May. The chancellor was accused of spooking the prime minister with Old Testament fire-and-brimstone economic forecasts. His refusal to spread the Good News about Brexit was cited as grounds for dismissal.

Related: The time has come for Theresa May to tell the nation: Brexit can’t be done | Alastair Campbell

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Donald Trump is ripping up the alliances that keep the world safe. We must defend them | Natalie Nougayrède

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:24:27 GMT2017-10-17T18:24:27Z

From the Iran deal to Unesco, the US president is undermining global cooperation. The fallout could be catastrophic, and Europe will not be immune

Five months ago, Donald Trump’s national security adviser HR McMaster penned a column attempting to persuade the world that “America first” did not mean “America alone”. Last week Trump took two decisions that landed the US in a strikingly lonely position: he pulled his country out of Unesco, and took a massive swipe at the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The two moves were very different, but both demonstrated utter disdain for the mechanisms and principles of multilateralism, as enshrined in the UN-based international order. Unesco was created to promote culture and education as a vehicle for peace. The Iran accord was painstakingly negotiated by Trump’s predecessor, along with America’s allies Russia and China, to thwart the danger of all-out war across the Middle East and possibly beyond. Importantly, it was unanimously endorsed by UN resolution 2231. That kind of consensus does not come easily – and now it is being wrecked.

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The Guardian view on the Brexit talks: it’s the economy, stupid | Editorial

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:13:04 GMT2017-10-17T18:13:04Z

The economic skies are darkening over Britain. Theresa May has little alternative but to make concessions that will protect UK jobs and businesses

When she became prime minister in 2016, Theresa May gave the impression of knowing exactly what kind of Brexit she wanted. In speeches and interviews, she made clear that Brexit was about breaking with the EU in line with the referendum, taking control of national borders, leaving European institutions including the court of justice, becoming a global free trader and, almost as an afterthought, remaining good neighbours with Europe. To the domestic audience she insisted that the essential message of the referendum was about migration control, and she implied that, though there might be economic blips along the way, she had the leadership skills to persuade the country that the gain was worth the pain.

That strategy now looks very threadbare. Parts are in tatters. Others have been turned on their heads. The underlying problem for Mrs May and her government is that the fantasy of 2016 is running ever harder and more often into the reality of 2017. The reality is that the impact of Brexit on jobs, living standards and the economy is proving much more severe and much more fundamental that she had hoped in the early months of her premiership. The reality is that “global Britain” is a delusion cooked up by the Tory party’s obsessive anti-Europeans. The reality is that the UK’s post-Brexit relationship to the EU, its single market and its customs union is far more consequential than anything else on her agenda. The reality is that Mrs May threw away her authority in June, and that public opinion is losing confidence in the Brexit vision she promoted a year ago.

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Inflation is back. And this time the effects could be much worse | Patrick Collinson

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:02:57 GMT2017-10-17T17:02:57Z

Consumer prices are at a five-year high – and rising. If you’re young, you may be OK. For the rest of us, it could be a nightmare

In 1972 my father bought a home on the south coast of England for the shockingly high price of £11,500. His mortgage was £8,000, or a little under three times his salary. Within a few years, galloping inflation had sparked the near collapse of the British economy, a run on sterling, and an IMF bailout. Yet by 1980 the ravages of runaway 1970s price rises had somehow left my father, and many like him, a fair bit better off.

Related: State pension to rise after UK inflation increases to 3%

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From the continent, remainers’ sudden love for the EU looks like plain hypocrisy | Ragnar Weilandt

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:06:26 GMT2017-10-17T14:06:26Z

Having sneered at the project for decades, many members of the anti-Brexit brigade are now draped in EU flags. Is this any better than those who voted out?

If Britain’s remainers feel at home in the EU, they have a funny way of showing it. From a continental perspective, the undying love some remainers have been professing for Europe ever since the Brexit referendum is puzzling. Because for decades, politicians and commentators in Britain either ignored, misrepresented or sneered at the European project. Now the UK is on its way out, people are suddenly taking to the streets draped in EU flags.

Yet it wasn’t too long ago that many of today’s die-hard remainers used much the same denigrating tone about the EU as the Brexiteers and their tabloid cheerleaders. Take Anna Soubry, the Tory rebel remainer who has even talked about creating a new pro-European party. Back in 2011 she was telling her constituents: “I believe the EU has become a huge, overly costly, bureaucratic organisation fundamentally lacking in both democracy and accountability to the many millions of people who pay for it through their taxes and who are bound to live by its rules”.

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What to do if you’re a Londoner worried about gonorrhoea? Test yourself, apparently | Nichi Hodgson

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:13:50 GMT2017-10-17T12:13:50Z

Make no mistake: the closure of sexual health clinics and promotion of self-testing is a money-saving exercise – when STI rates are rising in the capital

Like any thriving cosmopolis, London is a place of risk and reward. You’re never more than a hot breath away from someone throwing caution to the wind.

This happens with the things we shouldn’t be risking as much as with those we should. London has significantly higher rates of STI infection than the rest of the country, for instance, with more than 100,000 cases a year – with Chelsea being the seat of the most new infections.

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Tory power is only sustained by cruel confidence tricks | Frankie Boyle

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:16:17 GMT2017-10-17T11:16:17Z

The Conservatives exist largely to misinform the public, to convince austerity-crippled voters they have the same interests as billionaires

Many people are shocked that Theresa May having a cough during a speech is considered a sackable offence; especially from a party that could witness someone having a full-blown epileptic fit and still have them assessed as fit to drive a crane. Theresa is no stranger to coughs: her total lack of charisma means she has do at least a dozen of them to get her reflection to come to the mirror. Admittedly, she had the kind of conference breakdown where if she was a car she’d have been set on fire and rolled into a quarry. May’s attempts to deal with Brexit have all the conviction of someone whose long-term partner has developed a new fetish. You feel like saying, “Look, your heart isn’t in this, stop clinging to the pain and pass it on to someone who’s already bought the rubber sheets.”

Related: A Tory tale of feuds and farce: it’s The Shapps Ultimatum | Marina Hyde

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Labour could do more to stop the Tories rigging our democracy | Owen Jones

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:35:47 GMT2017-10-17T10:35:47Z

Of course boundary changes that will favour the Tories should be opposed. But Labour needs an alternative plan to expand the electorate and make voting easier

The Tories are determined to rig our democracy in their favour. Having lost their majority – and panicking at the prospect of a Corbyn-led government – they are even more desperate to embed an inherent advantage for their flailing party.

Related: Ministers urged to ditch plans to cut number of MPs by 50

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It's a folly to dismiss City warnings over Brexit transition deal delay | Nils Pratley

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 05:20:27 GMT2017-10-17T05:20:27Z

It is no longer possible to dismiss gloomy predictions, as some Brexiters do, as a flight of fancy – there is a real shift on the ground

TheCityUK is a lobbying group whose dire warnings about the potential loss of trade and jobs from the City of London tend to infuriate true believers in Brexit. Too gloomy, say hardcore Brexiters. A few jobs may go, runs their argument, but Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg and Dublin are too small to inflict lasting damage on London. Besides, the rest of the EU will come to its senses eventually and realise that a fragmented European financial industry would serve nobody’s interests, apart from perhaps New York’s.

There is some truth in those objections, of course, since it is true that London currently plays in a different league as a European financial centre. But it is also time for all sides to acknowledge TheCityUK was 100% correct on a common-sense point it has shouted from the rooftops from the outset: a transitional deal that is signed at the eleventh hour of negotiations won’t be worth much.

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Who’s to blame for Brexit’s fantasy politics? The experts, of course | Aditya Chakrabortty

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 05:00:05 GMT2017-10-17T05:00:05Z

Magical thinking about the future is not confined to the cabinet. Just ask the Office for Budget Responsibility

Politics, runs the cliche, is the art of the possible. The compromise. The curbed expectation.

Not any more. Not in the age of Brexit and Trump. In 2017, politics is the art of the impossible. Of writing blank cheques and scattering them to the wind. Of peddling fantasies and promising the voters they will be made flesh by tomorrow.

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With Harvey Weinstein, the Society to Dismantle Patriarchy from Within has doubled in size! | First Dog on the Moon

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 06:49:20 GMT2017-10-13T06:49:20Z

Now there are two of us in The Society for Men Uncomfortable with Toxic Masculinity Who Also Want to Dismantle Patriarchy from Within!

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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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Universal credit, SNP conference and the Green party – Politics Weekly podcast

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 16:46:12 GMT2017-10-10T16:46:12Z

Heather Stewart is joined by Patrick Butler, Deven Ghelani and Chris Goulden to discuss the acceleration in the rollout of universal credit. Plus we hear from Severin Carrell at the SNP conference and the Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley

Universal credit – the government’s flagship welfare policy – gets a major new rollout across the country this week. But is it fit for purpose? Could it end up harming the people it is supposed to help? And how did a system meant to simplify benefits end up so complicated?

Heather Stewart is joined by Chris Goulden of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, our social policy editor Patrick Butler and Deven Ghelani, an architect of the universal credit system and director of Policy in Practice.

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After five rounds of Brexit talks, David Davis runs out of bluster | John Crace

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:51:33 GMT2017-10-17T15:51:33Z

The Brexit secretary could barely bring himself to look at the opposition as he reported back on negotiations

Same time, same place, same speech. The humiliation is now almost complete. Five times David Davis has come back to the Commons to report on the progress of his talks with Michel Barnier, and on each occasion the Brexit secretary has had little to say. In the early days, he used to claim that the lack of progress was a sign of how much progress had been made, but now he has lost the will to even bluster. The former SAS man has barely got the strength to fight his way out of a paper bag.

Throughout his five-minute statement, Davis could barely bring himself to raise his eyes towards the opposition benches. The contempt he could have taken. But it was the pity that got him every time. Some important steps had been made, he said in a barely audible mumble. He couldn’t say exactly what they were but they had been made. The negotiations were being conducted in a good spirit. As in, no one had actually walked out yet. But he was reaching the limits of what was possible.

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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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Conservatives split on whether May should sack Johnson or Hammond

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 16:56:04 GMT2017-10-13T16:56:04Z

Brexiters and remainers divided as pressure for fresh talent increases on prime minister, whose position may be too weak for a reshuffle

Conservative MPs are split between Brexiters who want Philip Hammond sacked and remainers who would like to see Boris Johnson out of a job, but believe the prime minister may be too weak to get rid of either of them in a reshuffle in the coming weeks.

In conversations with dozens of Tories, the Guardian found MPs divided along their views on the EU referendum over whether they would like to see Johnson or Hammond given the boot.

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PM will not reduce six-week wait for universal credit despite MPs' warnings

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:27:39 GMT2017-10-17T19:27:39Z

Government says it believes advance payments system solves problems around delays as Labour urges Tories to support motion to pause rollout of benefit

Theresa May will not reduce the six-week delay faced by many universal credit claimants despite being warned by Conservative MPs that the policy is hurting vulnerable families, sources have told the Guardian.

The prime minister’s decision not to budge on the issue, after a private discussion with Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Johnny Mercer, could lead to confrontation as Labour urged Tories to support its motion to pause the rollout of the benefit.

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Davis and Rudd contradict each other over whether 'no deal' Brexit 'unthinkable' - Politics live

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:43:39 GMT2017-10-17T16:43:39Z

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including David Davis’s Commons statement on Brexit and Boris Johnson taking Foreign Office questions

Speaking at a news conference in Luxembourg, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has denied that the EU is to blame for the slow pace of the Brexit talks. He said:

If you take a look at the timetable, take a look at the date of the Brexit referendum, the date when we received Theresa May’s letter which triggered the negotiating process almost a year later and then we had to await the general election to allow us to begin at the end of June.

In the light of that, just look at the timetable. The EU is not holding anything or anybody back. We are ready and willing to even speed up the negotiations.

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British MEPs who voted to delay trade talks 'facing witch-hunt'

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:40:31 GMT2017-10-17T10:40:31Z

European parliament’s Brexit coordinator attacks David Davis for calling for MEPs to be sacked ‘in national interest’

Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, has condemned David Davis for running a “witch-hunt” against British MEPs who recently voted in favour of delaying trade talks because of insufficient progress in the negotiations.

Davis, the UK’s Brexit secretary, has called – with the support of Theresa May – for 18 Labour MEPs and one Liberal Democrat who supported a recent European parliament resolution critical of the British government to be sacked for acting contrary to the national interest.

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Democracy counts: why the average political party lasts for only 43 years

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:25:31 GMT2017-10-17T14:25:31Z

Britain has a tradition of long-established political groupings – but in other democratic countries, the left, right and centre constantly reinvent themselves. Vive la change?

England’s – later Britain’s – parliamentary system has been around in some form since at least the 13th century. So it ought not to come as a surprise that our political parties have proved to be unusually durable, too.

After all, the Conservative party emerged in its modern configuration in the years after the 1832 Reform Act. Labour was founded in 1900. The SNP, in many ways the new kid on the block at Westminster, dates from 1928, and Plaid Cymru from 1925. Sinn Féin is older still, established in 1905. But, by international standards, they are all dinosaurs.

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Brussels trip by PM fails to unblock stalemate as both sides harden stance

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:54:35 GMT2017-10-16T19:54:35Z

Intensive lobbying of EU leaders by Theresa May not enough to win agreement to open talks on transition period

Theresa May’s last-ditch attempt to persuade European leaders to open talks on a transition period look doomed to fail as Downing Street appeared to rule out fresh concessions on the UK’s divorce bill and Brussels hardened its approach days away from a crunch summit.

Calls to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, along with a 90-minute dinner in Brussels with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and his chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, failed to move the dial in the prime minister’s favour, with senior diplomats insisting the UK had not done enough.

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'No-deal' Brexit likely to hit low-income families hardest

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 23:01:22 GMT2017-10-16T23:01:22Z

Sharp price rises could cost average household £260 a year if UK leaves EU without a trade deal while richest will be least affected

Leaving the European Union without a trade deal would likely result in a sharp increase in prices for food and other goods, costing the average UK household £260 and hitting low-income families hardest, according to new research.

Following Theresa May’s attempt in Brussels on Monday night to unblock Brexit talks, a joint report by the Resolution Foundation thinktank and academics at Sussex University predicted that “just about managing” families in the UK’s poorer regions had most to lose from the negotiations failing.

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Boris Johnson refuses to apologise for Libyan 'dead bodies' remark

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:17:17 GMT2017-10-17T13:17:17Z

Foreign secretary had said town of Sirte could be like Dubai once the dead bodies were cleared away

Boris Johnson is facing fresh calls to resign after he sidestepped calls to apologise over his claim that a Libyan coastal town could be turned into a luxury resort once the dead bodies were removed.

The foreign secretary was also challenged over why he described war-torn Mogadishu as a thriving international city.

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Have you spotted any anti-EU slogans?

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:15:19 GMT2017-10-17T07:15:19Z

Whether it’s stickers on cars heading to the continent, or Jean-Claude Juncker costumes for Guy Fawkes night or Halloween, let us know if you’ve spotted any anti-EU products or literature

As Theresa May heads to Brussels for a diplomacy blitz to try to convince key EU figures to move negotiations along, the odd sign of frustration with the Brexit process has been spotted this side of the channel.

Related: Brussels trip by PM fails to unblock stalemate as both sides harden stance

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May: I’ll rip up human rights laws that impede new terror legislation

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:35:37 GMT2017-06-06T19:35:37Z

PM says she is looking at making it easier to deport foreign suspects as she seeks to gain control of security agenda before election

Theresa May has declared she is prepared to rip up human rights laws to impose new restrictions on terror suspects, as she sought to gain control over the security agenda just 36 hours before the polls open.

The prime minister said she was looking at how to make it easier to deport foreign terror suspects and how to increase controls on extremists where it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them.

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May faces rebellion over Brexit as MPs call for vote and transition deal

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:00:19 GMT2017-10-16T21:00:19Z

Cross-bench MPs cooperate over EU withdrawal bill, calling for implementation of two-year transition period and for binding vote on final deal

Theresa May could face significant defeats over Brexit as Tory rebels agree to coalesce around amendments to give MPs a binding vote on the final deal and to delay Britain’s exit from the EU if a transition period is not agreed.

The government is urgently trying to quell a potential rebellion after the scale of cross-bench cooperation over the EU withdrawal bill intensified, with newer MPs called in for meetings with chief whip Gavin Williamson.

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Brexit vote was 'tantrum' by British working class, says Alan Duncan

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:09:36 GMT2017-10-03T13:09:36Z

Europe minister strays from official government line, warning that labour shortages after Brexit could damage UK

Leave supporters among the British working class threw a tantrum in the Brexit referendum about immigration, and often complained about Europeans taking the jobs they themselves had refused to do, the Europe minister, Sir Alan Duncan, has said.

Related: Conservative conference 2017: Theresa May says she does not want 'yes men' in her cabinet

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Brexit: May offering EU workers in UK 'second-class citizenship' – MEPs

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:26:46 GMT2017-07-10T10:26:46Z

EU parliament’s Brexit coordinator among group of MEPs saying PM’s opening offer falls short of EU proposal and even Vote Leave’s campaign pledges

Theresa May has been accused of offering EU workers in the UK “second-class citizenship” in a warning from the European parliament that it would reject her “damp squib” opening offer on the Brexit negotiations.

The prime minister, who will on Monday attempt to relaunch her struggling tenure in Downing Street, was told that the EU legislature would “reserve its right to reject any agreement that treats EU citizens less favourably than they are at present”.

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MI5 chief warns of 'unprecedented' UK terror threat – video

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:09:56 GMT2017-10-17T18:09:56Z

Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5, says the UK is facing an unprecedented terror threat, saying it is at the 'highest tempo' he has seen in his 34-year career

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