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



Published: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 11:15:06 GMT2017-06-29T11:15:06Z

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



Vote on abortion amendment to Queen's speech set to cause tension between Tories and DUP - Politics live

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 11:09:03 GMT2017-06-29T11:09:03Z

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

Bradley stresses these are not her final decisions.

Bradley says she had given the parties 10 days to make representations on her “minded to” decisions.

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'No stone will be left unturned' in Grenfell Tower inquiry, says PM

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:56:41 GMT2017-06-29T09:56:41Z

PM’s statement comes as resident says it will be ‘impossible task’ for Sir Martin Moore-Bick to overcome mistrust of community in wake of fire

Theresa May has claimed “no stone will be left unturned” by the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower tragedy as she confirmed Sir Martin Moore-Bick, a retired judge, would lead the process.

The prime minister expects Moore-Bick will “want to produce an interim report as early as possible” to address the immediate lessons that need to be learned from the disaster.

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Power-sharing talks: Northern Ireland has until 4pm to avoid return of direct rule

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 07:19:27 GMT2017-06-29T07:19:27Z

Issue of Irish language remains main stumbling block between DUP and Sinn Féin as deadline looms

Northern Ireland’s politicians have until 4pm on Thursday to reach agreement on a deal to restore devolved power-sharing government in the region, or face the prospect of Westminster restoring direct rule in the country.

The deadline – imposed by the Northern Ireland secretary, James Brokenshire – approaches as it appears there has been no agreement between the two principal parties in the negotiations, the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin.

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Brexit could blow €20bn hole in EU budget, warns European commissioner

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 05:10:14 GMT2017-06-29T05:10:14Z

Günther Oettinger says need to finance new initiatives in areas such as defence and security means gap could be twice as much

Britain’s withdrawal from the EU could leave the remaining 27 countries with a €20bn a year hole in their budget, requiring additional EU taxes to fill the gap, the European commission has said.

Related: Philip Hammond: Brexit petty politics must not hinder ‘economic logic’

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Confusion after No 10 backtracks on end to public sector pay cap

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:48:41 GMT2017-06-28T18:48:41Z

PM’s spokesman insists annual 1% pay rise cap remains in place, hours after source suggested it could be eased

Government hints at a possible end to the cap on pay rises for public sector workers have descended into utter confusion after Downing Street rapidly changed tack, insisting that the policy of limiting annual rises to 1% would remain in place.

Hours after a senior Conservative source indicated that ministers would review the cap at the next budget, saying people were “weary” after years of belt-tightening, Theresa May’s spokesman said this was not the case. “The government policy has not changed,” he told a No 10 briefing, repeating the phrase or variants of it 16 times as he was pressed on how this could tally with the earlier comments.

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British minister accused of 'appeasing' China during human rights talks

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 07:06:28 GMT2017-06-29T07:06:28Z

Foreign office minister Mark Field said he was ‘pleased’ by the UK-China dialogue but failed to mention plight of dying dissident Liu Xiaobo

Activists have urged Britain to abandon its “appeasement” of Beijing after the foreign office hailed a “constructive and open” conversation with China over human rights even as that country wages what campaigners call its worst crackdown in decades.

British and Chinese officials met in Beijing for a two-day human rights “dialogue” this week as outrage over the treatment of China’s most famous dissident, the Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, grew.

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Man jailed for threatening to kill Labour MP Karin Smyth

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:36:11 GMT2017-06-28T16:36:11Z

Matthew Niblett phoned Smyth’s office in Bristol repeatedly one night in runup to election because of her campaign leaflets

A man has been jailed after threatening to kill a Labour candidate during the general election campaign. Matthew Niblett phoned Karin Smyth’s office in Bristol seven times in one hour because he had taken exception to her campaign leaflets.

He left messages in the early hours of 3 June claiming he would kill Smyth, who was re-elected on 8 June, and saying that he hoped that she would get stabbed in the street or caught in a bomb blast. Niblett was jailed for 14 weeks after pleading guilty to one count of harassment without violence.

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ID cards plan for EU nationals 'will be Brexit talks flashpoint'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:51:44 GMT2017-06-28T17:51:44Z

Labour MEP says mandatory biometric residence documents will meet tough opposition from Michel Barnier

The UK’s plans to introduce mandatory biometric residence identity cards for EU nationals and new rules on family members joining them are expected to prove major flashpoints in the next set of Brexit talks in a fortnight’s time, a leading British MEP has warned.

Claude Moraes, chairman of the European parliament’s civil liberties committee and a member of the parliament’s Brexit steering committee, says the UK offer on citizens’ rights has introduced a number of unexpected stumbling blocks into the negotiations, particularly those which seem to leave EU nationals as “second-class” citizens in Britain.

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Oliver Letwin: government must look at tax rises for sake of public services

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:21:54 GMT2017-06-28T08:21:54Z

Former head of policy for David Cameron believes people are willing to see taxes go up to fund NHS and social care

One of the key architects of David Cameron’s austerity programme has suggested the government must consider tax rises and increased spending on public services to respond to overwhelming pressure on social care, schools and the NHS.

Oliver Letwin, former chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who was Cameron’s head of policy, said he believed most people were prepared to see a modest rise in tax bills in order to fund investment in public services, but stopped short of saying that should mean an end to the public sector pay cap.

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Corbyn and May clash over Grenfell Tower at PMQs - video

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:42:04 GMT2017-06-28T12:42:04Z

The Grenfell Tower disaster has highlighted ‘the disastrous effects of austerity’, Jeremy Corbyn argues during the first PMQs since the general election. Theresa May replies saying that the practice of cladding high-rise towers in insulation and panels which are not properly fire resistant started some years ago, and that a Labour government had first relaxed inspection regimes

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Immigration detainees bring legal challenge against £1 an hour 'slave' wages

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:35:00 GMT2017-06-28T09:35:00Z

Lawyers for 10 people held in UK centres want Home Office to raise minimum pay for voluntary but ‘essential’ work by detainees

Ten people detained in UK immigration centres have launched a legal challenge against the Home Office for paying them “slave labour” wages of £1 per hour.

The detainees, from countries including Nigeria, Jamaica and Poland, are not covered by minimum wage legislation even though, unlike prisoners, they have committed no crime.

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Social mobility: radical reform urged to repair divided Britain

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 23:01:04 GMT2017-06-27T23:01:04Z

Damning study says successive governments have not done enough to tackle a fragmented society

Social mobility policies have failed to significantly reduce inequality between rich and poor despite two decades of interventions by successive governments, according to a highly critical new report.

The study by the government’s Social Mobility Commission warns that without radical and urgent reform, the social and economic divisions in British society will widen even further, threatening community cohesion and economic prosperity.

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Chris Patten: A craven Britain has demeaned itself with China, Brexit will make it worse

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 04:30:51 GMT2017-06-28T04:30:51Z

Hong Kong’s last governor is ‘astonished’ at Britain’s behaviour and says it must be firmer as it searches for a post-EU trade relationship

The British government’s “kowtowing” to China on issues including human rights and Hong Kong’s quest for democracy will become increasingly craven following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the former colony’s last governor has warned.

In an interview with the Guardian marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese control, on 1 July 1997, Lord Patten attacked what he called London’s repeated failure to challenge Beijing over its erosion of the territory’s freedoms and autonomy.

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Commons rejects Labour's amendment to Queen's speech - as it happened

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:44:20 GMT2017-06-28T19:44:20Z

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at the first PMQs of the new parliament

That concludes our live coverage. Here is a summary of the evening’s events:

The Lib Dems have now released a statement on the defeat of the amendment. The party’s leader, Tim Farron, said:

This evening, the DUP have stood alongside their Tory paymasters cheering at the fact that they have withheld more pay for our police, our firefighters, our nurses and our teachers. Shame on them.

After Theresa May’s disastrous missteps this shows nature of the government we have been left with.

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Jeremy Hunt accused of 'sleeping at the wheel' during NHS data loss scandal

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:28:40 GMT2017-06-27T14:28:40Z

Health secretary forced to respond to urgent Commons question after withering NAO report on loss of 700,000 health documents

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of being “asleep at the wheel” while a private firm co-owned by the Department of Health built up a backlog of over 700,000 pieces of medical correspondence it never delivered to GPs.

The health secretary was summoned to the House of Commons to answer questions from MPs after a damning National Audit Office report found that the scandal may have harmed the health of at least 1,788 patients and had so far cost £6.6m.

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Labour includes key manifesto pledges in new Queen’s speech amendment

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:05:56 GMT2017-06-29T09:05:56Z

Amendment calls for Brexit that has ‘exact same benefits’ as single market, with focus on outcome that prioritises jobs and economy

Labour will put key planks of its manifesto to the House of Commons on Thursday, including proposals to scrap tuition fees, end austerity measures and deliver a Brexit that has the “exact same benefits” as the single market.

The party has tabled a substantial new amendment to the Queen’s speech after the failure of Wednesday’s attempt, which called on the government to end the public sector pay cap and cuts to policing budgets.

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Combustible cladding found on 120 tower blocks so far, says PM

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:13:31 GMT2017-06-28T22:13:31Z

May confirms 100% failure rate and is asked during PMQs for ‘categorical’ answer on legality of Grenfell Tower’s cladding

A total of 120 tower blocks across 37 local authority areas in England so far have failed fire safety tests and have combustible cladding, Theresa May announced on Monday.

The prime minister said 100% of the cladding samples tested have been found to be combustible and urged councils and housing associations to “get on” with fire safety checks without waiting for test results.

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EU children may have to apply to stay in UK after Brexit – leaked report

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:12:09 GMT2017-06-28T20:12:09Z

European commission analysis of No 10’s proposals concludes there was a ‘lack of clarity’ and no reciprocity

Theresa May’s proposal on citizens’ rights after Brexit does not offer EU citizens the certainty being sought by Brussels, and it would even force children to apply to stay in the UK, according to a leaked European commission analysis of the British government’s position.

A preliminary assessment of what Downing Street has called its ‘generous offer’ showed up a series of problems that would need to be negotiated away, the EU’s remaining 27 member states were told during a presentation by the commission this week.

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PMQs returns – with a spot of role reversal for Corbyn and the Maybot | John Crace

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:30:57 GMT2017-06-28T18:30:57Z

May decides to let the Labour leader play at being prime minister for a little while, and he gratefully steps up to the plate

It was all most irregular. At the first prime minister’s questions of the new parliament, Jeremy Corbyn had asked serious and probing questions about the Grenfell Tower fire and the Maybot had more or less applied herself to answering them in intelligible sentences.

If not always with great conviction or logic. You can’t have everything. Her efforts to reassure the Labour leader that the government had indeed followed the coroner’s 2013 recommendation to encourage councils to retrofit sprinkler systems to all tower blocks were less than encouraging. No one has yet found any council that was sufficiently encouraged by the government’s encouragement to bother.

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Canterbury: 'We made a difference. You don’t have to accept things as they are'

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:13:03 GMT2017-06-28T14:13:03Z

After the most stunning election in recent history, Guardian reporters are writing from four key constituencies to make sense of the results. In Canterbury, Harriet Sherwood and photographer Martin Godwin find renewed enthusiasm for Labour in a previous Tory stronghold

The day before the deadline to register to vote in the general election, Conor Fitzmaurice went knocking on doors at the University of Kent’s halls of residence.

Clutching leaflets on how to register, he told his fellow students they needed to make their voices heard. Although a member of the Labour party for three years, the 25-year-old politics and international relations student did not proselytise for Jeremy Corbyn, nor for local candidate Rosie Duffield. He said. “It was just: get out and make a difference.”

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'Culture war' is sticking point in Northern Irish power-sharing talks

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:06:34 GMT2017-06-28T14:06:34Z

Sinn Féin wants rights for Irish language speakers while DUP argues for broader law covering Ulster Scots and Orange culture

A “culture war” between the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin is said to be the main obstacle to restoring power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.

As talks in Belfast aimed at restoring a cross-community coalition reach their final phase before Thursday’s deadline, the main point of contention is Sinn Féin’s demand for an Irish Language Act.

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Grenfell Tower tragedy shows effects of austerity, Corbyn tells May

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:42:57 GMT2017-06-28T12:42:57Z

Labour leader uses first PMQs since Conservatives lost their Commons majority to hammer Theresa May on cuts he said led to west London blaze

The Grenfell Tower fire highlighted “the disastrous effects of austerity”, Jeremy Corbyn told Theresa May during a sometimes noisy first prime minister’s questions since the general election.

In exchanges dominated by the west London blaze, which killed at least 79 people, the Labour leader said the tragedy must be “a wake-up call” for the government after years of cuts to council funding.

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The Tories need a lot more than a new driver for their clapped-out machine | Ian Birrell

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 10:20:00 GMT2017-06-29T10:20:00Z

Only a complete makeover can revive a party that has given up fighting for its core beliefs. Without fresh ideas, they might as well hand the keys to Corbyn

The Conservative party has often been seen as a well-oiled fighting machine, feared by foes for its ruthless focus on winning and retaining power. During its long history as the country’s most successful political force it has displayed skill at ditching deadweight leaders and for drastic reinvention to reflect changing times. Yet suddenly it appears like a clapped-out contraption, having expended all its energy on a stupid election that has left it spluttering and wheezing while rivals run rings around it.

Related: How the Tory election machine fell apart

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Brexodus has begun. We EU nationals know staying on is too big a gamble | Joris Luyendijk

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 08:00:17 GMT2017-06-29T08:00:17Z

Who would sacrifice EU citizenship for life in a country we now know could turn on us at any moment? It makes sense to get ahead of the returning herd

It will not happen in spectacular ways, so do not expect TV footage of hordes of well-heeled EU nationals making for Heathrow airport or the Channel tunnel. Rather it will be a steady, inexorable drip-feed. It has already started and as the true implications of Brexit sink in the number will swell. Call it the Brexodus: well-educated EU nationals with the global job market at their feet turning their back on a country they had thought of as a good and safe place to make their homes.

Related: I’m an EU citizen in the UK. Theresa May’s offer leaves us in limbo | Tanja Bueltmann

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I took Gavin Barwell's seat in Croydon. Here's how I intend to keep it

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 06:10:15 GMT2017-06-29T06:10:15Z

In Croydon, over 1,000 families were made homeless last year alone. Residents fought back by ousting the housing minister from his seat

As a Labour candidate in a marginal outer-London seat at this election, housing was always going to be an important element of my campaign.

With over 350,000 residents, Croydon is London’s most populated borough, and the housing crisis is very real here. We have 4,500 households on the waiting list for council homes and a further 10,000 households were forced into temporary accommodation last year.

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Theresa May’s DUP deal could put confidence back into provincial Britain | Simon Jenkins

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 05:00:14 GMT2017-06-29T05:00:14Z

If the prime minister can give money to Northern Ireland to prop up her government for two years, she must now do the same for the rest of the union

Can anything rescue Theresa May’s reputation from this week’s DUP fiasco? There is not the remotest public interest in political blackmail and bribery, in grinding self-interest, in the dollop of £540 a head to Northern Irish voters who are already subsidy addicts. It merely tells us what two years in No 10 costs these days: a billion pounds of other people’s money.

Of course pork barrel politics is not new, even in Britain. In a similar predicament in 1978-9, Labour’s Jim Callaghan wrestled the same demons in trying (and failing) to buy off the Ulster Unionists. This was despite offering them five more seats in parliament. Callaghan still fell.

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Scotland’s indyref2 may have been delayed. But expect it by 2021 | Ruth Wishart

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:59:30 GMT2017-06-28T17:59:30Z

Those who think Nicola Sturgeon’s statement this week means the end of the independence movement don’t understand her, or the SNP

Doubtless the verb was carefully chosen. Nicola Sturgeon would “reset” the timetable for a second independence referendum, she told the Scottish parliament in Holyrood this week. Having, in March, demanded another poll between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, Sturgeon now indicated that another date with destiny would wait till after Brexit. She would, she said, concentrate on influencing these negotiations mindful that Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a 62/38 margin.

Related: What Nicola Sturgeon can learn from Jeremy Corbyn | Kevin McKenna

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Grenfell Tower fire: was Tory austerity to blame or do problems date back to Blair?

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:18:23 GMT2017-06-28T15:18:23Z

Jeremy Corbyn has linked tragedy to Conservative spending cuts but PM says matter has arisen after decades of neglect

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have clashed over whether the tragic deaths of 80 people in Grenfell Tower fire is “one of the disastrous effects of austerity” or has been developing as a result of decades of neglect dating back at least to Tony Blair’s government in the 2000s.

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Labour’s shift has been vindicated. The public is tired of austerity | Owen Jones

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:46:58 GMT2017-06-28T14:46:58Z

Two years ago, Jeremy Corbyn challenged political orthodoxy by not attacking benefits claimants. Now public opinion has aligned with his stance

Do you resign yourself to public opinion as it is now, or do you attempt to change it? That is a question that has long divided Britain’s left and produced two competing strategies. The “centrist” approach is one that amounts to resignation. Voters are where they are, and it is largely futile to campaign to change minds when Labour is in opposition. It will simply render the party out of touch. A longstanding centrist argument was that the public believes austerity is unfortunate but necessary, and so economic credibility is defined by signing up to spending cuts. Labour’s left, on the other hand, refutes this pessimism. Public opinion can change – and dramatically so – if the counter-arguments to rightwing orthodoxy are heard loudly and forcefully.

Related: Dear Andrea Leadsom, shrinking the state is the opposite of patriotism | Polly Toynbee

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What if the will of the people is now for a second referendum on Brexit? | Karan Bilimoria

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 13:00:20 GMT2017-06-28T13:00:20Z

Britain’s weakness outside the EU is clear, and public opinion has swung sharply against Theresa May’s approach. Don’t think there is no turning back

The UK is in turmoil. Sixteen months ago, when David Cameron announced the date of the EU referendum, we were the fastest growing economy in the western world and the envy of Europe. The Brexiteers were convinced that Europe was on its way to ruin. Now Britain is becoming the laughing stock of Europe. The pound has weakened. Inflation is six times higher than the 0.5% it was a year ago. Today, inflation is 2.9% and wage growth is 1.7%. Europe is growing faster than Britain.

And the prime minister, Theresa May, who has suffered heavy defeats in the House of Lords and in the general election that she chose to call, has not listened to parliament, business or the people.

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Need to strike a tough deal? Here’s how to channel your inner Arlene Foster | Jack Bernhardt

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:35:41 GMT2017-06-28T12:35:41Z

The DUP leader squeezed £1.5bn out of the Tories by a variety of means. But it certainly helped that in Theresa May, she was up against a wounded pushover

History is full of great dealmakers: Harry Truman at the Potsdam conference, the banker from Deal or No Deal, not Donald Trump, that guy who sold London Bridge to that American who thought he was buying Tower Bridge and then got it home and he was, like, “Aw, this bridge is boring, I wanted the one that goes up in the middle, phooey”... the list goes on. This week we add another name to that list: Arlene Isabel Foster, the leader of the DUP.

Foster secured a scarcely believable £1.5bn deal for Northern Ireland from the Conservative government despite the DUP’s limited power, likability and general understanding of science (I’m fairly sure the DUP MP Sammy Wilson thinks of those taps that can go both hot and cold as “an unholy matrimony of the temperatures”). You’re probably asking yourself how you could make yourself more like Arlene Foster, maybe minus the homophobia and rampant sectarianism. Well, ask no more!

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We reveal shocking revelation about census which is amount of garbage made up about census! | First Dog on the Moon

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 06:12:59 GMT2017-06-28T06:12:59Z

Despite being marred by massive incompetence, the 2016 census data has been given the all clear by a ‘panel of experts’. Here are some fun facts

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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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Can May's minority government last? Politics Weekly podcast

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:21:39 GMT2017-06-23T15:21:39Z

Jessica Elgot is joined by Anne Perkins, Dawn Foster and Rafael Behr to discuss Theresa May’s modest legislative agenda and the government’s faltering response to the Grenfell Tower disaster. We also hear from a cross-party selection of new MPs on their first week in parliament

It is a year since Britain voted to leave the EU and, after a turbulent 12 months in politics, Theresa May has been in Brussels to offer a new deal on European citizens’ rights as one of the first moves in the formal exit talks. Meanwhile, back in parliament, her government has served up a heavily watered-down legislative agenda for the coming session. With the Conservatives in a minority, the prime minister still has not secured the formal backing of the DUP.

Joining Jessica Elgot to discuss it all are the Guardian’s political commentators Anne Perkins and Rafael Behr, and social affairs writer Dawn Foster.

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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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Jeremy Corbyn to put pressure on Tories over public sector pay cap

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:00:01 GMT2017-06-27T21:00:01Z

Labour leader will table amendment to Queen’s speech calling for 1% ceiling on public sector pay to be scrapped

Jeremy Corbyn will seek to exploit the anti-austerity mood in the new House of Commons and put pressure on Conservative MPs by tabling an amendment to the Queen’s speech calling for the public sector pay cap to be scrapped.

Many public sector workers have seen their real living standards fall as a result of the 1% a year ceiling imposed by George Osborne in 2012 after two years of freezes, and rolled over for another four years in 2015.

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Michael Fallon defends £1bn DUP deal amid backlash

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 08:41:00 GMT2017-06-27T08:41:00Z

Defence secretary says cash is not a ‘bung’ and it is in all the UK’s interests to help Northern Ireland

A leading cabinet minister has rejected the idea that the £1bn of extra spending for Northern Ireland is a “bung” to the Democratic Unionists to prop up the government, arguing it is necessary investment for a more deprived part of the UK.

Following a backlash over the deal in Scotland, Wales and parts of England, Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, said the money for hospitals, schools and roads in the region was good news for the entire UK.

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A strong stable? The Tory factions Theresa May needs to appease | Rowena Mason and Jessica Elgot

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 05:00:48 GMT2017-06-13T05:00:48Z

From Boris and his henchmen to Gove’s full-fat Brexiters, the PM must face party groupings with conflicting policy priorities

After a bruising election campaign, a chastened Theresa May has the backing of her party publicly, but behind the scenes she will need to keep multiple factions happy, including several with conflicting priorities on Brexit, the economy and social justice. These are the main Tory groupings:

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‘Back soft Brexit,’ unions urge Labour

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 07:25:56 GMT2017-06-25T07:25:56Z

50 senior party figures tell party leader Jeremy Corbyn ‘to fight unambiguously for membership of the single market’

Jeremy Corbyn was under pressure from across the labour movement last night to support a softer form of Brexit as the TUC joined senior party figures in calling for Britain to retain the option of staying in the single market.

The unions’ intervention followed a call from Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Brexit select committee, who wants the party leadership to shift position and support staying in the customs union rather than rejecting the possibility outright.

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Suicide and self-harm in prisons hit worst ever levels

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 23:01:07 GMT2017-06-28T23:01:07Z

Public spending watchdog says it is unclear how inmates’ mental health can be improved with current levels of funding and insufficient data

Prisons have “struggled to cope” with record rates of suicide and self-harm among inmates following cuts to funding and staff numbers, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it remains unclear how the authorities will meet aims for improving prisoners’ mental health or get value for money because of a lack of relevant data.

Auditors said that self-harm incidents increased by 73% between 2012 and 2016 to 40,161, while the 120 self-inflicted deaths in prison in 2016 was the highest figure on record and almost double that for 2012. Since 2010, when David Cameron became prime minister, funding of offender management has been reduced by 13%, while staff numbers have been cut by 30%, the report said.

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Rebel Tories could back Northern Ireland abortion amendment

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 10:40:03 GMT2017-06-29T10:40:03Z

About a dozen Tories understood to have expressed concerns as amendment to Queen’s speech is to be put to MPs

MPs will vote on Thursday one whether to give Northern Irish women access to terminations on the NHS in Great Britain, in an opposition amendment that could be backed by rebel Conservative MPs and therefore succeed.

About a dozen Conservative MPs are understood to have expressed concerns about the issue where women from Northern Ireland are charged around £900 for terminations if they travel to have the procedure on the mainland, a policy upheld by a supreme court case earlier this month. Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

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PMQs verdict: Jeremy Corbyn hits powerful notes but May unshaken

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:57:10 GMT2017-06-28T11:57:10Z

In the first prime minister’s questions since the election, a civil exchange gave way to a blame game over Grenfell Tower

The first PMQs since the election began on a civil note, with both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn welcoming the criminal charges brought as a result of the Hillsborough inquiry, before moving on to some fairly procedural questions from Corbyn about the fallout from the Grenfell Tower fire, during which May revealed that 120 tower blocks had now failed cladding safety tests.

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Brexit: EU citizens living in UK will have to join special ID register

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:25:04 GMT2017-06-26T14:25:04Z

Theresa May sets out policy paper that says 3m EU citizens resident in Britain must reapply for ‘settled status’ under new regime

All 3 million EU citizens resident in Britain will have to apply for inclusion on a “settled status” register if they want to stay in the country after Brexit under Home Office proposals.

A 15-page policy paper proposes a “light touch” online system to process applications that will give applicants the same “indefinite leave to remain” status as many non-European nationals who have also lived in Britain for five years.

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British citizens living in EU fear they will become May's 'sacrificial lambs'

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:54:03 GMT2017-06-27T16:54:03Z

Campaign groups for Britons living abroad urge UK government to reciprocate EU proposals that would maintain status quo

British citizens settled in Europe have expressed concern that Theresa May is willing to sacrifice some of their rights post-Brexit to cement immigration limits on EU citizens coming to the UK.

They have renewed calls on the UK to reciprocate the proposals made by the EU rather than continue with the plan unveiled by May in the House of Commons on Monday.

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Brexit will cement disenfranchisement of millions of citizens

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:54:22 GMT2017-06-27T13:54:22Z

Democracy will be poorer with millions of long-term residents who have no power at ballot box to influence national government

Brexit Britain will be home to 3 million second-class European Union “settled citizens” who have been fingerprinted, registered and issued with a residence identity document and with no vote in general elections.

That is the “between the lines” message of the British government’s offer on EU citizens’ rights after Brexit. The 3 million EU nationals will be joining the ranks of at least 1 million foreign nationals from outside the EU with “indefinite leave to remain” status who already form a largely invisible disenfranchised subclass in Britain.

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Momentum drops pledge to nonviolence from code of ethics

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 15:29:36 GMT2016-08-19T15:29:36Z

Pro-Corbyn grassroots group drops word after several members argued they should have right to defend themselves if attacked

The leftwing grassroots organisation Momentum has dropped a commitment to nonviolence from its ethical code following interventions by some of its committee members.

An interim code of ethics for the group, which supports the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn, had included a pledge to support peaceful political change.

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Philip Hammond at odds with David Davis over Brexit transition

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:45:04 GMT2017-06-27T19:45:04Z

Chancellor takes jab at Boris Johnson and advocates softer EU departure while Brexit secretary says UK will be out of customs union by 2019

Philip Hammond has taken a swipe at Boris Johnson and appeared at odds with David Davis over a post-Brexit transitional deal, in fresh evidence of tensions between cabinet colleagues.

The chancellor warned in a speech in Berlin that negotiations would be jeopardised if parties allowed “petty politics to interfere with economic logic”.

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Theresa May faces backlash from Scotland and Wales over £1bn Tory-DUP deal

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:38:11 GMT2017-06-26T18:38:11Z

Political figures line up to demand more money for their regions after DUP agrees confidence and supply arrangement

Theresa May has faced a backlash from politicians in Scotland, Wales and parts of England after completing a £1bn deal with the Democratic Unionist party to prop up her Conservative minority government.

Political figures lined up on Monday to demand more money for their regions after Arlene Foster’s DUP agreed to a confidence and supply arrangement in return for the additional funding alongside relaxed spending rules relating to a further £500m previously committed.

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Almost half of highly skilled EU workers 'could leave UK within five years'

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:01:14 GMT2017-06-26T23:01:14Z

Deloitte study finds 47% were considering leaving after Brexit, while overall one-third of non-British workers could leave

One third of non-British workers are considering leaving the UK, with highly skilled workers from the EU most likely to go, according to new research into the impact of Brexit on the jobs market.

The consultancy firm Deloitte found 47% of highly skilled workers from the EU were considering leaving the UK in the next five years. In a report on Tuesday, it warns of serious implications for employers, raising the pressure on ministers to come up with sensible immigration plans and to find ways to improve the skills of UK workers and make better use of robots in the workplace.

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How the Tory election machine fell apart

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:29:46 GMT2017-06-26T17:29:46Z

The conventional wisdom is that the Conservatives are good at elections. Last month they failed spectacularly. But do recriminations about negative tactics mask deeper problems for a party that hasn’t won convincingly since the Thatcher era?

In September 2015, a few months after the Conservatives had won that year’s general election, more comfortably than even their most optimistic supporters had hoped, a veteran Tory politician and journalist was waiting to appear on a BBC radio show. Still smiling about the election, he was in expansive mood. The party’s targeting of voters had become so precise, he told me, thanks to the latest marketing software, that it would take Labour many years to catch up.

During this year’s general election, as in 2015, Tory activists across Britain were supplied with computer-generated lists of amenable voters by Conservative campaign headquarters in London. But this time, many canvassers got a shock when they knocked on doors. “The data was only 65% accurate,” says a local Tory organiser who has worked in the party’s heartlands in southern England for decades. “In the marginals, it was less than 50%.” In some cases, canvassers were accidentally sent to the addresses of activists for rival parties. The organiser says: “I despair of our national campaign.”

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Troubled past: the paramilitary connection that still haunts the DUP

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:18:27 GMT2017-06-27T17:18:27Z

On Monday, the Northern Irish party agreed to prop up Theresa May’s government. But 30 years ago some of its key figures were central to the creation of the paramilitary Ulster Resistance group, whose gun-running activities still cast a long shadow

On the night of 10 November 1986, more than 2,000 men descended on Ulster Hall, a grand Victorian concert venue in the centre of Belfast, for an invitation-only event organised by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). They had been bussed into the city from across Northern Ireland to protest against the Anglo-Irish agreement, a treaty that gave Dublin an advisory role in the government of the north.

Inside the hall, a lone piper led a parade of flag-bearing men in red berets and matching military-style uniforms. Those assembled then sang a hymn, O God, Our Help in Ages Past, which they described as “Ulster’s battle hymn”.

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Theresa May’s offer does little to relieve the anxiety of EU citizens in Britain

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:55:14 GMT2017-06-27T18:55:14Z

Pierre Makhlouf and Ivon Sampson on legal uncertainties that remain; Philip Grönberg on those who own UK homes; Lucy Wills on why the ECJ should have no say; Magda Cavanna on unfair discrimination; Damian Chalmers on a lack of detail on judicial oversight; Lib Dem lord Chris Rennard on voting rights

Your article (Checklist: What does the Home Office offer mean for Europeans in Britain?, 27 June) suggests all that EU nationals will lose is the right to vote and to bring in spouses without meeting the UK’s minimum income threshold requirement. That assumption also accepts the Home Office line that EU nationals will gain equal rights to UK nationals. That is wholly wrong. The rights that nationals of the European Union currently have are similar to the rights of British nationals in the UK where families – including parents, dependant adults and children – can move from one country to another, eg from Wales or Scotland to England.

EU nationals who have planned their lives and their futures with their families’ interests and ability to move in mind will now be deprived of these rights. They will not be treated like UK nationals. They will be foreigners who are granted permission to remain in the UK, on the condition that they keep apart from their families and homes in the rest of the EU.
Pierre Makhlouf
London

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