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Politics | The Guardian



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



Published: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 18:03:14 GMT2017-01-21T18:03:14Z

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



Northern Ireland's EU exit will destroy peace deal, says Gerry Adams

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 13:21:35 GMT2017-01-21T13:21:35Z

Sinn Féin president says Brexit would undermine the Good Friday agreement and would constitute ‘a hostile action’

Taking Northern Ireland out of the EU will destroy the Good Friday agreement, Gerry Adams has said.

He said fundamental human rights enshrined in the 1998 deal to end violence could be undermined, though the top legal adviser to Stormont ministers has said not a word of the agreement will be affected.

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Immigration is lowest concern on young voters’ Brexit list

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 14:56:32 GMT2017-01-21T14:56:32Z

Poll finds 18-34s put the issue at bottom of list of 22 priorities

Young voters aged 18 to 34 believe that reducing immigration is the least important issue Theresa May should focus on as she prepares to take the UK out of the EU, a new poll has found.

The survey by Opinium found that people in this age group put reducing numbers coming into the UK last out of 22 priorities, with the availability of jobs, protection of human rights and well-funded public services their main concerns.

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Paul Nuttall confirmed as Ukip candidate for Stoke byelection

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 12:59:17 GMT2017-01-21T12:59:17Z

Choice of party leader underlines Ukip’s belief that it has strong chance of seizing the former Labour stronghold

The Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, has been confirmed as the party’s candidate to fight the crucial Stoke-on-Trent Central byelection next month, underlining the party’s belief that it has a strong chance of seizing the former Labour stronghold.

Nuttall emerged triumphant after hustings alongside other shortlisted candidates on Friday night, setting the scene for a contest that will illuminate the shape of post-Brexit politics in England. Stoke voted 65.7% for leave in the EU referendum.

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Corbyn's choice to fight Copeland byelection rejected by local party

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:08:50 GMT2017-01-20T14:08:50Z

Gillian Troughton’s selection revealed just before Labour announced Copeland and Stoke Central polls will take place on 23 February

Labour will fight its two testing byelections on the same day in February, the party has announced, giving activists a month to campaign in Stoke Central and Copeland, where the party faces tough challenges from the Tories and Ukip.

The poll will take place in a month’s time on 23 February. Labour sources said they were keen for a short campaign, particularly in Stoke-on-Trent, where the Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall is expected to be a candidate. The constituency voted strongly to leave the EU in last June’s referendum.

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Nissan to review Sunderland plant's competitiveness after Brexit

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:17:27 GMT2017-01-20T19:17:27Z

Carmaker’s head says at WEF in Davos that company will ‘re-evaluate’ situation once UK’s relationship with EU is settled

Nissan will conduct a review of its Sunderland plant’s competitiveness once the UK’s future relationship with the EU is settled, the head of the Japanese carmaker has said.

Carlos Ghosn’s remarks on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos may raise concerns about the commitment of company to the UK, following its pledge in October to turn the factory into one of the biggest car plants in the world.

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Buy, George? World's largest fund manager hires Osborne as adviser

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:53:41 GMT2017-01-20T16:53:41Z

Former chancellor’s lucrative new role as BlackRock adviser follows controversial US speaking tour that netted £600,000

George Osborne is taking on a lucrative six-figure role as an adviser to BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager.

The former chancellor has already earned considerable amounts in the private sector since Theresa May sacked him as chancellor, with speeches to Wall Street banks helping to make him the highest earning MP in 2016.

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Davos 2017: Hammond fires Brexit warning; Kissinger says Trump must help rebuild world order - as it happened

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:56:23 GMT2017-01-20T16:56:23Z

UK chancellor tells WEF that Britain will reinvent itself if it has to, as Davos ends with comments from veteran diplomat Henry Kissinger

Oh, one last thing. You’ll never guess which Davos regular has just landed a swanky job.....

Related: World's largest fund manager to pay for George Osborne's investment advice

Our work here is done. Thanks for reading and commenting through the week.

Here’s Larry Elliott’s news story on today’s key developments:

Related: Philip Hammond blames Tony Blair for Brexit vote

Related: Davos 2017: what we learned at the WEF

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Nigel Farage to become commentator on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:12:20 GMT2017-01-20T18:12:20Z

Former Ukip leader’s love affair with Donald Trump’s America grows as he lands political analyst role on US news channel

Nigel Farage’s love affair with Donald Trump’s America has taken another leap forward with news the former Ukip leader is to become a commentator on Fox News.

Fox announced Farage would be joining to provide political analysis on its main news channel and its business network in a short statement during Trump’s swearing-in as the 45th US president.

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MoD sacked doctor for raising alarm on missing morphine, tribunal hears

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:10:12 GMT2017-01-20T17:10:12Z

Dr Stephen Frost’s contract was terminated by text after he called for police inquiry into disappearance of painkillers at Weeton army base

The Ministry of Defence dismissed a senior doctor in order to cover up the disappearance of a large quantity of morphine from an army base, an employment tribunal has been told.

After Dr Stephen Frost’s contract was terminated, “Stasi-like” tactics were used to try to “sink him without trace”, including suggesting that he was a conspiracy theorist and a Kremlin sympathiser, it was claimed.

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Peter Hain: I will vote against article 50 as hard Brexit hits poor hardest

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:05:00 GMT2017-01-20T14:05:00Z

Labour peer’s decision to rebel puts him at odds with party leader’s decision to accept Theresa May’s plan to leave single market

A Labour peer has revealed that he and some colleagues will vote against triggering article 50 in the House of Lords because he believes Theresa May’s Brexit will be damaging for the poorest communities.

Peter Hain, a former minister for Europe, told the Guardian it was “a matter of principle and a matter of conscience” to oppose the government’s plans after the prime minister made clear she would not attempt to keep Britain in the single market.

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Keir Starmer: 'Lib Dem leader fanning flames of division over Brexit'

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:32:48 GMT2017-01-20T13:32:48Z

Shadow Brexit secretary says Tim Farron is widening split between leave and remain voters by speaking only for one side

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has accused the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, of “fanning the flames of division” in Britain by ignoring the needs of those who voted to leave the EU.

The senior Labour politician, who is leading the opposition response to Brexit, said Farron has “absolutely nothing to say to the 52%” who voted to leave the EU.

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Nigel Farage at Trump party: 'I was the patron saint of lost causes' – video

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:55:59 GMT2017-01-20T13:55:59Z

Nigel Farage, the former leader of Ukip, says the UK’s vote for Brexit and Donald Trump’s election victory form part of a ‘global revolution’. Farage is speaking at an inauguration party he was hosting in Washington on Thursday

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Lib Dem leader accuses Labour's Corbyn of giving up over Brexit

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:00:14 GMT2017-01-19T22:00:14Z

Tim Farron says the Labour party is failing and that his party’s clear pro-EU stance can help it become the main opposition

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has accused Jeremy Corbyn of “lamely giving up” while Britain “drives off a cliff” towards Brexit, and said future generations will not forgive Labour for failing to stand up to Theresa May’s plans.

In an overt attempt to steal votes from Labour in pro-remain constituencies, Farron said he believed Corbyn had put his party on the wrong side of the biggest political issue in a generation and was struggling because his MPs were increasingly split on how to respond.

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George Soros: Theresa May won't last and Trump is 'would-be dictator'

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:19:54 GMT2017-01-20T12:19:54Z

Billionaire investor delivers bleak Brexit forecast at World Economic Forum and says Donald Trump is ‘gearing up for trade war’ but will fail

Donald Trump inauguration live: the world holds its breath

Inauguration day schedule: our guide to the day

Theresa May will not remain in power long as Brexit cripples her government, while Donald Trump is a “would-be dictator” who is “going to fail”, the billionaire investor George Soros has told the Davos world economic forum.

On the eve of Trump’s inauguration as president, Soros delivered a scathing assessment, saying the “impostor and con-man” was “gearing up for a trade war” which would have “a very far-reaching effect in Europe and other parts of the world”.

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Labour picks Gillian Troughton to fight Copeland byelection

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:49:33 GMT2017-01-19T22:49:33Z

Former hospital doctor faces tough battle to retain seat from Conservatives, defending a majority of just 2,564

Labour has selected a former hospital doctor to be its standard bearer in the upcoming Copeland byelection.

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Martin McGuinness quits politics to recover from serious illness

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:38:24 GMT2017-01-19T19:38:24Z

Outgoing Sinn Féin deputy first minister of Northern Ireland announces he will not fight snap election due to health concerns

Martin McGuinness, the outgoing deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, has quit frontline politics to concentrate on recovering from “a very serious illness”.

McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister last week in protest at the handling of a botched energy scheme, forcing a snap election. He has now revealed that after “a lot of thinking” he will not be contesting those elections due to ill health.

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Politics Live - readers' edition: Friday 20 January

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:41:46 GMT2017-01-20T15:41:46Z

Discuss today’s politics and share links to breaking news, and to the most interesting stories and blogs on the web

A link of interest from below the line.

“We are all united in our belief that that world will be built on the foundations of free trade, partnership and globalisation,” she said in Davos. This was a remarkable thing to say, given that just days earlier she had announced she was pulling Britain out of the European single market and customs union, which eliminate tariffs for goods across borders, standardises regulation so products can be traded more easily and in many cases allow people to sell their services overseas without new qualifications.

Brexit? Tony Blair’s fault, according to chancellor Philip Hammond.

Related: Philip Hammond blames Tony Blair for Brexit vote

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Australia to seek UK migration deal in Brexit trade talks

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:19:26 GMT2017-01-21T10:19:26Z

High commissioner says country wants easier access for businesspeople, and exploratory talks have already begun

Britain will have to relax immigration rules for Australians if it wants to secure a free trade deal with the Commonwealth nation, its high commissioner to London has said.

Alexander Downer said Australia would seek better access for its businesspeople before agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

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How Thatcher and May’s EU speeches measure up – in data

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 09:00:31 GMT2017-01-21T09:00:31Z

Margaret Thatcher talked us in, and Theresa May is walking us out. But how else do the two prime ministers’ messages differ when it comes to Europe?

In April 1988 Margaret Thatcher gave a speech announcing the UK’s entry into the single market. This week Theresa May gave one confirming its departure. The two speeches, which define each prime minister’s relationship with the EU, were very different.

May used the terms “Britain”, “British”, “United Kingdom” and “country” more often than she used the words “European Union”, “EU” or “Europe”. Thatcher did the opposite, referring to the European Community, “European Union” and “Europe” more than the terms “Britain”, “British” and “country” (Thatcher doesn’t refer to the “United Kingdom” in her speech at all). The next most common topic in both speeches was trade and business. But Thatcher mentioned these terms at 1.5 times the rate May did. Similarly, Thatcher mentioned the single market at four times the rate that May does.

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Madam president: are female leaders better for women?

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 09:00:31 GMT2017-01-21T09:00:31Z

Hillary Clinton would have done more for women than Trump, but less than Bernie Sanders. What is ‘women’s politics’, anyway – and who does it best?

This piece started with the assumption that in 2017 we would have a feminised global stage: there’d be Hillary Clinton in the White House, Theresa May in Downing Street, Angela Merkel in the Bundeskanzleramt, and Marine Le Pen in a hollowed-out volcano. I wanted to know: what would such a spectrum of women in power, with their various viewpoints, tell us about “women’s politics”? Is there such a thing? Is it a good thing? And how do you square a feminist desire for female leaders with the ascension of non-feminist ones? But it didn’t quite turn out like that. Now, those questions seem peripheral.

When Donald Trump won, the notion of a broad, instinctive female solidarity was brutally exposed as myth: open misogyny in word, demeanour and the shape of a dozen sexual assault allegations deterred only a minority of women voters.

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Boris Johnson: Trump wants to put Britain at 'front of line' – video

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 08:52:44 GMT2017-01-21T08:52:44Z

Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Myanmar on Saturday, Boris Johnson says there is every reason to be positive and optimistic when it comes to the US and UK relationship. The foreign secretary added, ‘I think the new President (of the United States) has said that he wants to put Britain at the front of the line and he’s keen to get it done as fast as possible’

How the world reacted to Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president

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Ukip leader Paul Nuttall to contest Stoke Central byelection

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:58:13 GMT2017-01-20T15:58:13Z

Party’s new boss expected to be selected as candidate for strongly pro-Brexit seat of outgoing Labour MP Tristram Hunt

Ukip’s new leader, Paul Nuttall, is set to fight the Stoke Central byelection, party sources have confirmed – making the poll a key test of electoral support for the man seeking to escape the shadow of Nigel Farage.

The vote to replace the departing Labour MP, Tristram Hunt, is to take place on 23 February, the same day as a byelection in Copeland, which was prompted by the resignation of another Labour MP, Jamie Reed.

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The war on austerity has begun … in Surrey | Deborah Orr

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:23:34 GMT2017-01-20T17:23:34Z

Conservative councillors want to raise council tax by 15%. So why aren’t Labour and the Lib Dems more enthusiastic?

The people of Surrey have been invited to show the rest of Britain what they are made of. Sugar? Spice? All things nice? Either way, the leader of the county’s Conservative council, David Hodge, has done something politically bold and worthy of national attention.

Related: Surrey confirms plans to raise council tax by 15%

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They call it fun, but the digital giants are turning workers into robots | John Harris

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 17:19:50 GMT2017-01-20T17:19:50Z

With perfect timing, a new film highlights how employee monitoring is taking over people’s lives

“Secrets are lies; sharing is caring; privacy is theft.” So run the three Orwellian aphorisms at the heart of Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel The Circle, whose film version – starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks – will arrive in cinemas this spring. Given that the story centres on an omnipotent hybrid of Google, Twitter and Facebook, and asks exacting questions about their shared vision of the future, the timing is perfect – chiming with rising angst about the digital giants’ imperial approach to information, and the sense that their power and recklessness is now having so-called real-world impacts, and huge ones at that. Such, perhaps, is the zeitgeist of early 2017: tech-fear fusing with terror about Donald Trump and Brexit, leaving millions of us in a state of twitchy anxiety.

At the heart of the novel and film is the Circle corporation, whose logo suggests a stylised panopticon, and whose leaders want to shape the world in the image of their Californian HQ. There, privacy and autonomy count for almost nothing. Under a veneer of feelgoodism, employees are complicit in their own constant monitoring and a system of endless appraisal by their peers, who feed into a system called Participation Rank – or PartiRank, for short.

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Gove’s ‘snowflake’ tweet is symptomatic of the nastiness that’s ruining politics | Jamie Bartlett

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:44:10 GMT2017-01-20T13:44:10Z

Twitter storms, online spats and insults are making it impossible to talk to one another and reach the compromises on which public life depends

There’s a new consensus about what social media is doing to public life: it’s making us meaner to each other. From behind a screen, we have the licence to be nasty to strangers, insult celebrities and swear at politicians. It’s fuelling misunderstanding and catalysing the spread of fake news. And because of self-reinforcing algorithms and the logic of friendship networks, we’re all cocooned with like-minded people and news we already agree with.

Cyber-psychologists have known all this for ages. In 1990, the American lawyer and author Mike Godwin proposed a natural law of the behaviour of Usenet newsgroup conversations: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” In short, the more you talk online, the more likely you’ll be nasty; talk long enough, and it’s a certainty. (Godwin’s law can easily be observed today on newspapers’ online comment threads.)

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Digested week: more tales of Brexit, Trump ... and Uri Geller | John Crace

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:30:52 GMT2017-01-20T12:30:52Z

In a week when Theresa May buried the single market, an old book is dug up that seemingly predicted the rise of Trump

I spent Saturday night talking about Brexit to a packed – since you didn’t ask – audience at the Ropetackle arts centre in Shoreham. Apart from being a very enjoyable occasion, it confirmed what many others have been saying: that old party allegiances are breaking down. Where people used to politically identify as Conservative or Labour – or in some cases Liberal Democrat or Ukip – they now primarily identify themselves as leave or remain. If this turns out to be more than a passing trend, it will make for an interesting general election in 2020. Most commentators have focused their attention on the Labour heartlands in the north that voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU and would be vulnerable to a strong Brexit Conservative or Ukip candidate.

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A new concert hall for London? The artistic case is clear, the political one less so

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:38:14 GMT2017-01-20T11:38:14Z

Hamburg’s new world-class public venue trumpets its host city to the world. London is already a beacon, and doesn’t need Simon Rattle’s dream hall in quite the same way

Last week Hamburg got a big one. Now Munich wants one. Paris, which got its own a couple of years ago, is already planning a second. Los Angeles has one. Manchester and Birmingham got theirs in the not-so distant past. London, however, has none.

Big cities like to build modern state-of-the-art concert halls. They build them partly for artistic reasons – because good music matters, because a top-notch hall can offer top-notch performing and rehearsal conditions, excellent acoustics, exciting public spaces, flexibility to accommodate different repertoire and be a draw for performers and audiences.

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Banks are moving workers, inflation is up. Project Fear is coming true | Simon Jenkins

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:49:54 GMT2017-01-20T10:49:54Z

This week two big banks, HSBC and UBS, honoured their threats about moving jobs from the UK. The grim reality is ‘hard’ Brexit will be tough for many of us

The tumult and the shouting dies. From hysterical prediction slowly emerges the grim reality. Now the prospect comes into view that the remainers’ Project Fear might just have been true after all. They just got the timing wrong.

Related: Goldman Sachs stalls plan to move jobs to UK amid Brexit uncertainty

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Migrants aren't to blame for the housing crisis, Theresa May

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:15:41 GMT2017-01-20T09:15:41Z

The prime minister’s Brexit speech accused migrants of putting pressure on public services - especially housing. This bears no resemblance to the reality

We were given a taste this week of what lies ahead as the United Kingdom careers towards a future outside the European Union. In Theresa May’s speech on the government’s Brexit plan, she stated: “In the last decade or so, we have seen record levels of net migration in Britain, and that sheer volume has put pressure on public services, like schools, stretched our infrastructure, especially housing.” This would be of great concern if it were true.

The NHS, already overstretched and at crisis point, would have collapsed long ago without migrants making up a sizeable chunk of the workforce: we are simply not training enough doctors and nurses in the UK, and failing to keep those we do train, thanks to Jeremy Hunt’s best efforts.

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The President Trump effect may be a whole new British focus on Europe | Martin Kettle

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-01-20T06:00:00Z

His views have little support here or on the mainland. But then, he is a uniquely American phenomenon, and most politics is local

A cold January week has brought the west a chill new-year reality check. First Theresa May confirmed that Britain really is closing the door on the European Union not lingering by its fireside. Now, the stage is set in Washington for the words “I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear …” to usher America over the threshold and into the unknown.

Later this year similar thresholds may be crossed in other lands. A Dutch general election in March in which the nationalist anti-immigrant Freedom party (PVV) may outscore all rivals and double its representation. A French presidential election in April and May, which the Front National’s Marine Le Pen may even win. A German election in the autumn where the anti-immigrant AfD, one of whose regional leaders condemned Berlin’s holocaust memorial in a speech in a beer hall this week, is expected to make gains.

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Is the City of London going to hell in a Brexit handcart?

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:41:32 GMT2017-01-19T19:41:32Z

Shifting banking jobs out of London to Frankfurt or Paris is not the pre-Brexit start of the City’s demise. But in the Trump era, any move to New York might be

Is the City of London going to hell in a Brexit handcart? If you believe so, you might point to the growls from the bankers in Davos about shifting jobs to the continent. We could move 1,000 roles, says HSBC, with Paris the main beneficiary. Same figure for us, replies UBS, but possibly Frankfurt and Madrid. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is stalling on its plan to expand in London.

On the other hand, here’s Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays, breathing easily: “I don’t believe that the financial centre of Europe will leave the City of London. There are all sorts of reasons why I think the UK will continue to be the financial lungs for Europe.”

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Labour is in a unique bind over article 50 | Owen Jones

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:40:50 GMT2017-01-19T17:40:50Z

Jeremy Corbyn has no choice but to back article 50 – but some of his MPs have no choice but to defy his order

Jeremy Corbyn has no choice but to back article 50, and some of his MPs have no choice but to defy his order to back the triggering of it. Labour is in a unique bind. Most of its supporters voted to remain in the EU; most of its constituencies voted to leave. Its electoral coalition embraces younger and black and minority ethnic voters in major cities who are upset, angry, even traumatised by the referendum and its aftermath. It also includes older voters in places like Doncaster and Oldham who feel that they have finally got their country back. Even a Labour leadership that wasn’t beset by many other challenges and problems would struggle with such a plight.

Consider this. If Corbyn refused to activate article 50, the Tories would accuse Labour of subverting the will of the people. Polls show that a large majority of people expect the referendum result to be honoured, including millions of remain voters. The Tory press would launch a campaign bordering on hysteria. Theresa May would play a populist card – the political elite are trying to obstruct the will of the people – and call a snap general election that would decimate Labour. Polling already shows that Labour is haemorrhaging the support of leave voters. The Tories would have a huge pool of potential support: not just leave supporters, but people who voted both Tory and remain who will stick with their party.

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This is a call to arms on climate change. And by arms I mean flippers! | First Dog on the Moon

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 05:43:33 GMT2017-01-20T05:43:33Z

On Penguin Awareness Day Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin issues a rallying cry to fight climate change. It’s so easy to fall into despair

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Garden Bridge: don't bank on it not being built

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:09:54 GMT2017-01-20T08:09:54Z

The mayor’s stance on the controversial Thames crossing project and the optimism of those behind it show that predictions of its demise may prove premature Enemies of the Garden Bridge, potentially the most permanent of Boris Johnson’s mayoral follies, have been encouraged by the trust responsible for building it saying in its latest annual report that it is “unable to conclude” that the project “is a going concern”. Its tardily released accounts for the year ending 31 March 2016 show that it needs to raise a further £56m to hit its target of £185m. On Wednesday, Johnson’s successor Sadiq Khan reaffirmed to the London Assembly that his support for the bridge is subject to “no new public funds being required” having declared last May that it would cost the taxpayer more to cancel it that have it built. Meanwhile, Dame Margaret Hodge MP is working on a review, commissioned by Khan, “to look in detail at the procurement process around the project”.So what are the chances of the bridge being built? Recognising that its future is at risk, the trust’s chair Lord Mervyn Davies concedes that unless rights to the necessary land on both sides of the Thames are secured and the further private funding raised, trustees “will need to consider further delay to the project, and in a worst case scenario, whether the project remains viable”. Yet pre-construction work has already been done, using the £60m received from the Department for Transport and Transport for London (of which £20m is being treated as a repayable TfL loan). Davies states that “our funding pipeline is strong” and that he “looks forward to starting construction in 2017”. In a letter to the Financial Times last October, he said he expected to “make major announcements involving international companies soon”. Continue reading...[...]


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Theresa May's Brexit wishlist – Politics Weekly podcast

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:03:45 GMT2017-01-18T17:03:45Z

Anushka Asthana is joined in Westminster by Hugo Dixon, Heather Stewart and Jonathan Isaby to discuss Theresa May’s list of negotiating positions ahead of Brexit talks with the EU. We hear from Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and from two MPs on the Brexit committee: Labour’s Seema Malhotra and John Whittingdale of the Conservatives

Theresa May has set out what she calls a ‘plan for a global Britain’ in her most significant speech on Brexit yet. She announced that Britain would not seek to stay a member of the EU’s single market or of the customs union but acknowledged that a transition deal may be required. Despite this, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tells us that this does not necessarily mean Britain is headed for a ‘hard Brexit’ but he is critical of threats to turn Britain into a ‘bargain basement’ tax haven.

Also this week: we hear from two members of the new Commons select committee on Brexit: Conservative MP John Whittingdale (a Brexit supporter) and Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP who supported Remain.

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Leadsom's Commons display shows things could be even worse | John Crace

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:20:18 GMT2017-01-19T17:20:18Z

Defra secretary, who came perilously close to being Tory leader, is unable to talk in anything but the most pointless platitudes

Be thankful for small mercies. In a not-so-parallel universe, it would have been Andrea Leadsom speaking to world leaders at Davos. Just imagine. “As a mother, we need a globalisation that works for everyone. As a mother, we want an EU that works for everyone. Just not for us.” But what the World Economic Forum was spared, the Commons wasn’t. Rather it just had to console itself with the thought that at least environment, food and rural affairs questions only comes round once a month.

Five months on, it’s easy to forget just how close Leadsom came to becoming the prime minister. Having seen off Liam Fox, Stephen Crabb and Michael Gove, she was the Brexiteers choice – the sight of Tim Loughton and Theresa Villiers marching on parliament from a Leadsom rally shouting, “What do we want?” “Andrea Leadsom!” “When do we want her?” “Sometime in September!” remains one of the more surreal images of last summer – as Theresa May was seen as a remoaning lightweight. Then Leadsom managed to self-destruct by choosing to open her mouth while May kept hers firmly closed.

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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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Voters back Tories to deliver best Brexit by more than two to one

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 00:05:01 GMT2017-01-15T00:05:01Z

Labour Party is not trusted to negotiate terms of exit from the EU, according to Opinium/Observer poll

More than two times as many people trust the Conservatives to deliver the best Brexit deal for the UK as Labour, according to a new Opinium/Observer poll. The survey comes before a keynote speech on Brexit to be delivered by Theresa May at Lancaster House in London on Tuesday. It shows the Conservatives also enjoy stronger backing than Labour over the key issue of immigration.

The findings will sound alarm bells within Labour before two impending byelections, the first in Copeland, Cumbria, and the second in Stoke-on-Trent Central, triggered by Labour’s Tristram Hunt stepping down. Hunt announced on Friday that he is to become director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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Jeremy Corbyn suggests he will order Labour MPs to vote in favour of triggering article 50 - Politics live

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:12:27 GMT2017-01-19T17:12:27Z

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

I made it absolutely clear at today’s meeting that Scotland must not be treated with contempt but as an equal partner in the negotiating process ...

It is extremely disappointing that the prime minister chose to ... and make a significant announcement about her position two days before the JMC even considered our paper [on how Scotland could stay in the single market]. It is now clear that single market membership for the whole of the UK is no longer an option and this is hugely disappointing.

Clive Lewis, the shadow business secretary, has told his local paper, the Eastern Daily Press, that he wants to hear more assurances from the government before he backs legislation giving Theresa May the right to trigger article 50. He said:

It is safe to say that I am deeply concerned at the direction that Theresa May and the Conservative government is taking these negotiations, and the developments that are taking place.

I am very mindful of what the majority of constituents in Norwich South voted for, which is remain.

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Carbon capture scheme collapsed 'over government department disagreements'

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:01:16 GMT2017-01-20T00:01:16Z

Publicly funded competition had already cost £100m when it was cancelled by the Treasury amid concerns over cost to consumers

A publicly funded scheme to reduce carbon emissions collapsed, after running up costs of £100m, following a disagreement between government departments, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has concluded.

Ministers launched a competition for developing technology to capture carbon emissions before Treasury officials cancelled the project, a report by the National Audit Office has found.

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Donald Trump inauguration: parade and protesters take to streets of DC – as it happened

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:26:44 GMT2017-01-21T02:26:44Z

With the inaugural balls well underway, we’re going to close our rolling coverage of the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States with a summary of the day’s events.

Related: 'American carnage': Trump's vision casts shadow over day of pageantry

At one of the inaugural balls, there is riverdancing. Michael Flattery, the self-proclaimed “Lord of the Dance” is one of the inaugural performers, but the actual company called Riverdance is not.

Trump is supposed to attend three balls this evening. He is late to the first.

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How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next | William Davies

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 06:00:29 GMT2017-01-19T06:00:29Z

The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over – and putting democracy in peril

In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on. Yet in recent years, divergent levels of trust in statistics has become one of the key schisms that have opened up in western liberal democracies. Shortly before the November presidential election, a study in the US discovered that 68% of Trump supporters distrusted the economic data published by the federal government. In the UK, a research project by Cambridge University and YouGov looking at conspiracy theories discovered that 55% of the population believes that the government “is hiding the truth about the number of immigrants living here”.

Rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. Antipathy to statistics has become one of the hallmarks of the populist right, with statisticians and economists chief among the various “experts” that were ostensibly rejected by voters in 2016. Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, there appears to be something almost insulting or arrogant about them. Reducing social and economic issues to numerical aggregates and averages seems to violate some people’s sense of political decency.

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Scotland cannot afford to become independent, says Jeremy Corbyn

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:59:12 GMT2017-01-20T13:59:12Z

Remark to Scottish Labour audience in Glasgow rubbished by Nicola Sturgeon, who attacked Labour’s ‘pitifully ineffective opposition’

Jeremy Corbyn has goaded Nicola Sturgeon into an attack on his leadership of the Labour party after he claimed Scotland could not afford to become independent.

Corbyn told an audience of Scottish Labour MSPs and activists in Glasgow that independence would be a serious mistake, and would lead to “turbocharged austerity and a glaring hole in the money required to fund essential services”.

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Corbyn to order Labour MPs to vote for article 50 trigger

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:43:05 GMT2017-01-19T18:43:05Z

Leader signals his MPs will be instructed to vote to start EU divorce after expected loss of government’s supreme court challenge

Jeremy Corbyn will order Labour to vote in favour of triggering article 50 in a move likely to prompt a rebellion of around 30 MPs, including several frontbenchers.

The Labour leader signalled on Thursday that he would impose a three-line whip if the government lost its supreme court challenge and brought a Brexit bill to parliament.

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Hundreds of thousands of retired Britons in EU 'may be forced to return'

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:02:38 GMT2017-01-18T17:02:38Z

Campaigners say pensioners in countries such as Spain will have to go back to UK if they can no longer get free healthcare

Hundreds of thousands of elderly Britons living in Europe may be forced to return to the UK unless the government guarantees that their healthcare will continue to be reimbursed by the NHS, campaigners for British people settled in Spain and France have warned.

The House of Commons Brexit select committee was told on Wednesday that an unintended consequence of Brexit could be a surge in immigration of British migrants both working and retired.

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Polish workers, Indian students and Italian politicians voice fears over Brexit effect on British culture

Sat, 08 Oct 2016 21:00:18 GMT2016-10-08T21:00:18Z

Following the Tory conference, many European nationals fear they will be forced to leave. We look at how this concern is now affecting the UK’s image overseas

Two young Polish women on the train from Gatwick into London are chattering away, bags at their feet. Off the flight from Kraków after five days at home with family, they followed the news, and the speeches, from Britain all week. “You have to – so as to get an idea of how long before we will be driven out of England. I’m sure it will happen,” said Angela, who is the manager of a gastropub near Oxford.

“It’s sad this is the way things are going because I was pleased to have a woman prime minister, but my boss said to me it will be bad. He’s angry because he wants to choose staff for how good they are, not their nationality. He says it will be hard to replace me, which is nice to hear,” she said.

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UK will pay huge price for prioritising migration curbs, says Dutch PM

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:14:37 GMT2017-01-19T17:14:37Z

Mark Rutte says leaving single market will hit British economy hard, while German minister warns against tax haven plan

European leaders and officials have reiterated their criticism of Theresa May’s plans for leaving the EU, and warned the government against slashing taxes to attract business after Brexit.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, said the UK would pay a “huge price” for prioritising immigration curbs over single market membership.

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EU referendum: youth turnout almost twice as high as first thought

Sun, 10 Jul 2016 12:49:22 GMT2016-07-10T12:49:22Z

About 64% of registered voters aged 18-24 went to polls, study reveals, but 90% of over-65s voted

The turnout among young people aged 18 to 24 in the EU referendum was almost double the level that has been widely reported since polling day, according to evidence compiled at the London School of Economics.

The new findings – based on detailed polling conducted since the referendum by Opinium, and analysed by Michael Bruter, professor of political science and European politics at the LSE, and his colleague, Dr Sarah Harrison – suggests the turnout was 64% among this age group.

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Brexit: May’s threat to Europe: 'no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal'

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:17:32 GMT2017-01-18T07:17:32Z

Prime minister gives tough speech outlining government’s 12 priorities for Brexit negotiations as EU leaders warn that country is heading for ‘hard Brexit’

Theresa May warned European leaders that the UK is prepared to crash out of the EU if she cannot negotiate a reasonable exit deal in a speech where her tough talking rhetoric prompted key figures in Brussels to say that the country was on track for a “hard Brexit”.

Related: Theresa May's Brexit speech: 'No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal' - Politics live

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Theresa May's Brexit speech shows UK getting 'more realistic', says Tusk – as it happened

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:33:04 GMT2017-01-17T18:33:04Z

The day’s coverage of Theresa May’s Brexit speech, with reaction and analysis

Just over six hours after Theresa May began her much-touted speech on Brexit, it’s time for a summary of what we’ve learned today.

Guy Verhofstadt, who will lead on Brexit talks for the European parliament, has taken to Twitter to give is slightly sceptical reaction to May’s speech:

Britain has chosen a hard Brexit. May's clarity is welcome—but the days of UK cherry-picking and Europe a la cart are over.

Threatening to turn the UK into a deregulated tax heaven will not only hurt British people—it is a counterproductive negotiating tactic

May must take the concerns of the 48% on board. The current lack of clarity for UK citizens in the UK & vice versa is disrupting many lives

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Jean McConville's son says Gerry Adams warned of 'backlash'

Mon, 05 May 2014 13:18:00 GMT2014-05-05T13:18:00Z

Michael McConville says he took Sinn Féin president warning of backlash if he disclosed suspects' identities as a threat

A son of IRA murder victim Jean McConville has said Gerry Adams warned of a "backlash" if he released the names of those he believed were responsible.

Michael McConville said his family's fight for justice would go on after the Sinn Féin president was freed, but maintained he could be shot if he disclosed the identities of suspects to police.

Continue reading...Gerry Adams at a press conference on Sunday following his release from custody. Photograph: Mark Winter/ Mark Winter/Demotix/CorbisGerry Adams at a press conference on Sunday following his release from custody. Photograph: Mark Winter/ Mark Winter/Demotix/Corbis


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