The Liberal Democrats have won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, cutting the Government’s working majority to just one. Jane Dodds, the party’s leader in Wales, secured a tight majority of 1,425 over the Conservative candidate Chris Davies, overturning his 2017 majority of 8,038. The by-election was triggered after Mr Davies was convicted of filing false expenses claims and a recall petition gained over 18,000 signatures. The Lib Dems racked up 43.5 per cent of the vote, ahead of the Tories’ 39 per cent. Ms Dodds recalled the 1985 Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, which she said triggered a “Liberal revival” across the country and claimed: “We’ve done it again”. The party’s success came at the expense of Labour, who had a woeful night, winning just 1,680 votes, a little over 5 per cent.
Boris Johnson has suffered a significant blow after the Liberal Democrats won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, slashing the new prime minister’s Commons majority to just one. Jane Dodds, the Lib Dem candidate, overturned a Tory majority of 8,083 to defeat incumbent Chris Davies by 1,425 votes in the Welsh constituency. The party chose to field Mr Davies as its candidate despite him being ousted in a recall petition by 19 per cent of the electorate in the Welsh seat, after he admitted submitting false claims for expenses.
The Liberal Democrats have won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election – meaning Boris Johnson’s working majority in parliament has now fallen to just one. The result in the mid-Wales constituency is a significant blow to the new Tory leader, his first major defeat as PM. Jane Dodds, the Lib Dems’ leader in Wales, won with 43.5% of the vote, ahead of former Tory MP Chris Davies on 39% after he triggered the by-election following his conviction for submitting false expenses.
Boris Johnson suffered the first major setback of his infant premiership today as his Commons’ majority was reduced to just one after the Tories lost the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. The Liberal Democrats’ Jane Dodds gave the Prime Minister a political headache as she overcame an 8,000-vote Conservative majority to take the Welsh seat for the Remainer party. Disgraced expenses cheat Tory Chris Davies, whose conviction and expulsion via a recall petition forced the summer vote, held on to second with a better than expected showing despite the presence of the Brexit Party.
A leading Tory rebel who voted down Theresa May’s Brexit deal has warned Boris Johnson that he and dozens of colleagues will block any attempt to pass the agreement again – even if the Irish backstop is removed. Mark Francois, one of 28 Tory MPs who repeatedly held out against May’s deal, said Johnson had been very clear at a meeting of European Research Group MPs that the withdrawal agreement in its entirety was “dead”. He told the Telegraph’s Chopper’s Brexit podcast: “He was absolutely emphatic about it, so we took him at his word.
Moderate Conservatives have warned that hardline Brexiteers are determined to “force no-deal on the country” after a senior European Research Group official said its members would vote down a deal with Brussels even if the controversial backstop was removed. One former minister said Boris Johnson had made himself “the willing prisoner” of the group of eurosceptic backbenchers and was doing everything he could to make a “catastrophic” no-deal happen.
UNDER-FIRE Leo Varadkar yesterday admitted the whole of Ireland should be “afraid” of a No Deal – 24 hours after an apocalyptic warning. The testy Taoiseach said a cliff edge exit would have “very serious impacts on the economy north and south” as he came under attack for his handling of the Brexit negotiations. But he doubled down on his attacks on No10 by warning a No Deal would have “security implications”. And he urged Boris Johnson to read the Good Friday Agreement as he accused him of being biased. Asked whether the PM could be “impartial”, he said: “I think that remains to be seen
A NO deal Brexit would deliver a hit to Ireland’s economy amounting to an eye-watering £360million a year, with the country’s net contribution to the EU likely to cost £1billion in 2019, an Irish economist has said. Ray Bassett made his comments on the day Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faced harsh criticism from opposition politician Mark Daly, who accused him of failing to make the “necessary preparations” for a no deal outcome. And Mr Bassett, the former Irish ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, said it was further evidence that the Taoiseach was feeling the heat as the clock ticks down to October 31, the date UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the bloc. It’s something that we have to prepare for nonetheless. It is something we should be afraid about.”
IRELAND’S premier Leo Varadkar has warned of the “serious threats” to his nation in the event of a no deal Brexit. The Irish leader said everyone in Ireland should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit as he rejected criticism that he was engaging in “project fear”-style rhetoric over a united Ireland after the UK’s exit from the bloct. His remarks come after DUP leader Arlene Foster said the Taoiseach needed to “dial down the rhetoric”. But speaking in Kilkenny, Mr Varadkar hit back saying: “In terms of engagement, I have never refused a meeting request from the DUP and never refused a phone call from Arlene either and she has my number. I wouldn’t accept that criticism at all. What I would point out though that when it comes to negotiations on Brexit, they happen between the European Union, including Ireland on the one hand, and the UK Government on the other. “In terms of fear, I think we should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit.”
Boris Johnson will only secure a Commons majority at the next election if he goes to the country after a no-deal Brexit, a poll has revealed. The Conservatives would have a seven-point lead over Labour and neuter support for the Brexit Party if the Prime Minister held an election after a no-deal Brexit, according to the ComRes analysis.
Jeremy Corbyn has accused Boris Johnson of playing roulette with family finances by risking a huge hike in food prices with a no-deal Brexit . Analysis shows crashing out of the EU will add £220 to shopping bills next year – almost enough to feed the average family for a month. Experts at the University of Sussex estimate prices will rise by around 7%, due to tariffs and supply chain issues. Dairy could leap by 9.8%, meat 2.9% and oils and fats by as much as 13.2%.
Sajid Javid has demanded that the taxman makes No Deal preparations an ‘absolute top priority’ by recruiting 5,000 customs officials and setting up a hotline so businesses are ready. The Chancellor ordered HM Revenue and Customs to ensure hundreds of thousands of small business owners know what to do if the country leaves the EU on October 31 without a deal.
Mark Carney has been accused of undermining Brexit negotiations and failing to move on from Project Fear after issuing a stark warning about a no-deal Brexit. The Governor of the Bank of England said leaving without a deal would bring an “instantaneous shock” to the British economy and could sink the pound to a 34-year low. As the Government “turbocharged” its no-deal preparations, the Bank warned the UK had a one in three chance of the economy shrinking – even if the UK leaves with a deal. Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, said the comments should be taken with a “massive pinch of salt”.
No Deal would impose a major hit on the economy – and there is a one in three chance the country will plunge into recession even with an agreement. Bank of England governor Mark Carney delivered his latest chilling warning as he insisted the risk of a chaotic departure from the EU was already weighing heavily. Failure to secure an agreement would cause the Pound to tumble even further, push inflation up, and heighten even further the danger that UK plc goes into the red, Mr Carney suggested.
The Bank of England has cut its forecasts for UK growth over the next two years. It also warned that a no-deal Brexit would hit the economy and trigger a further drop in the value of the pound. The Bank left interest rates unchanged at 0.75% against a backdrop of weaker global growth and ongoing trade tensions between the US and China.
The Bank of England has downgraded UK growth for this year and next and warned that a no-deal Brexit would drive the pound lower, push up inflation and weaken the economy. In its quarterly update, the central bank cut its growth forecast to 1.3 per cent in both 2019 and 2020 from 1.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively. That would be the slowest since the 2009 financial crisis.
The term “Project Fear” first came into usage during the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, when it was coined by “Better Together” as an ironic description of the campaign’s own blitz of economic scaremongering. In the event, the scare tactics seemed to work; the case for independence was roundly rejected. It hardly needs saying that similar doom-laden predictions were not nearly as effective in the referendum on EU membership. Project Fear became common currency among Leave campaigners to mock the Government’s blood-curdling warnings of catastrophe to come. Voters chose to disbelieve those warnings and in important respects, they were proved correct.
They’ve only been out of government a week and already Philip Hammond and Gavin Barwell have been spied ramping up the plotting against the new Prime Minister. The pair were spotted out with their wives at the Wolseley last night. Guido’s mole in the room says there was extensive discussion both about thwarting Boris and revoking Article 50. Hammond has even been alienating committed Remainers with his ultra-hardline approach in recent weeks, purging anti-No Deal Tory WhatsApp groups of Remainers who dared to publicly back Boris. The fact that Theresa May’s most senior Cabinet Minister and Chief of Staff are busy scheming against Boris and Brexit just a week after leaving office speaks volumes about why May failed to deliver…
FORMER Chancellor Philip Hammond and Gavin Barwell, Theresa May’s Brexit adviser, have been accused of plotting against new Prime Minister Boris Johnson after they were snapped together in a London restaurant. Photos of the pair were published by the Guido Fawkes website, which it said had been taken by a “mole” at the Wolseley in swanky Mayfair last night. Mr Hammond is vehemently opposed to Britain leaving the European Union without a deal, and has pledged to do “everything in my power” to prevent such an outcome.
Up to 10 so-called free ports will be established in the UK after Brexit under new plans unveiled by the government. Shipping ports and airports across the UK will be invited to bid for “free port” status after Britain leaves the EU, in line with a pledge made by Boris Johnson during the Tory leadership contest. Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, claimed the move would create thousands of jobs and boost economic growth.
Up to 10 ‘tax-haven’ freeports could be established in Britain after Brexit under plans to be announced by Trade Secretary Liz Truss. Ahead of a visit to Teeside, Ms Truss said the Government plans to create “the world’s most advanced free port model” as soon as possible. Free ports are areas inside the UK geographically, but legally outside of the UK customs territory. The Department of International Trade say such areas would be “free of unnecessary checks and paperwork, and include customs and tax benefits”.
Plans to create up to 10 duty-free or low-tax ports and airports across the UK – promised by Boris Johnson in his Tory leadership campaign – are being launched by the government. Liz Truss, the new International Trade Secretary, is creating a new Freeports Advisory Panel to advise the government on setting them up in areas such as Teesside, Aberdeen, and Belfast. The government aims to create the first new freeports after the UK leaves the EU and claims they will “turbocharge” growth and ensure towns and cities across the UK benefit from a Brexit trade boost.
The government is planning to create up to 10 free ports across the UK after Brexit. They allow firms to import goods and then re-export them outside of normal tax and customs rules. The UK last had such zones in 2012 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes they could create jobs in “left-behind areas”. Labour said the move involved no new investment and could attract money launderers and tax dodgers. Seaports and airports will be able to apply for free port status, to be set up after the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October.
BRITISH fisheries will be one of the biggest unexpected winners after Britain leaves the EU – along with fish themselves, according to a Brexiteer who has hailed the UK’s take back of its fishing policies that will be “kinder to our fish”. Brexiteer John Redwood said one of the “big wins” from Brexit will be the UK regaining control of the UK’s waters which the MP believes will not only be kinder to fishermen, but also to the fish themselves. He said: “One of the big wins from leaving will be regaining control of our fishing grounds and seas around us.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has fired a shot across the bows of Angela Merkel’s government over its refusal to participate in a mission to protect shipping from Iranian aggression, highlighting how much Americans have sacrificed for the European country. German foreign minister Heiko Maas, of the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD) which keeps Angela Merkel in office had said that Germany “will not participate in the planned and presented sea mission by the U.S.” This is in part because they do not want to be seen to support the Trump administration’s strategy of applying “maximum pressure” on Tehran, as Berlin is following the European Union line on trying to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive. “We are in close co-ordination with our French partners,” Maas added.
Security workers at Gatwick Airport are to strike for 48 hours in a dispute over pay. Members of the Unite union employed by private security firm ICTS will walk out at 6am on August 10. The union said most of the 130 workers – who scan passengers’ luggage – are paid less than £9 an hour. Unite’s Jamie Major said: ‘Security and safety should be the absolute top priorities and yet these workers feel under-valued, demotivated and fed up with working for an employer that doles out poverty wages.’
British Airways pilots are set to go on a summer holiday-wrecking strike because the £20,000 pay increase they’ve been offered is ‘not enough’. Four thousand plane captains could walk out in mid-August after the Court of Appeal rejected BA’s application for an injunction to prevent strike action. The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) rejected an above-inflation pay deal worth 11.5 per cent over three years, the Times reported, even though it has been accepted by unions representing other BA staff. BA captains are paid an average of £167,000, including a flying allowance, which means the offered 11.5 per cent increase would be worth more than £20,000 over three years for senior pilots.
Universities that fail to admit enough poor students could be forced to lower their fees under radical new regulations. Most universities charge fees of up to £9,250 per year, but this could change if their ‘access plans’ to encourage disadvantaged youngsters are not approved. From today the Office for Students (OfS) watchdog will have the power to reject these plans. Since universities must have their plans approved to charge the maximum fees, institutions would be forced to lower theirs if they do not do enough to make their intakes more diverse. The change comes amid an ongoing row over whether top universities are too elitist, with many still dominated by rich youngsters from private schools.
Almost 44,000 dementia patients are being prescribed dangerous ‘chemical cosh’ drugs, which increase the risk of strokes and death. Despite the Government promising to crack down on their use a decade ago, the numbers using the medication are actually going up. The latest NHS figures show that 43,678 dementia patients were taking antipsychotics in March this year, up from 42,038 in April 2018. This is nearly one in ten of all patients registered with the illness, and in some trusts the rate is as high as one in six.
A host of papers have latched on to a fake meme that hoards of Brits are travelling to Iceland in order to trophy hunt puffins, in a call to ban the practice. The only problem is there’s no evidence that such trophy hunting is actually taking place… The Telegraph alleged that “Puffins are being hunted 100 at a time by trophy collectors who are allowed to bring the carcasses back to the UK”. The Mirror said that “British trophy hunters are flocking to Iceland to shoot up to 100 puffins at a time – before bringing the carcasses back home.” The Independent went with “British trophy hunters are killing up to 100 puffins at a time during hunting trips to Iceland”. But Iceland only hands out 100 hunting licences to foreigners each year, mostly for reindeer or goose hunting. The Icelandic Hunting Association was bemused by the stories, explaining “foreigners can only hunt less than 250 meters from the shore and the puffin is beyond that.” The articles cite the figure of Brits paying £3,000 to hunt, but that turns out to be just a crude conversion from a $3450 price listed on an American website based in Montana and aimed at American tourists. Not to do with ‘British trophy hunters’ at all… More bizarrely still, each article is accompanied by photos that have nothing to do with Britain.