English voters used local elections to punish both Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party for the deadlock over Brexit, partial results showed on Friday. With just under a third of English local council vote results declared, the Conservative Party had lost 212 councillors and the Labour Party had lost 54 councillors, according to a BBC tally. The Liberal Democrats gained 145. More than 8,000 seats on English councils – administrative bodies responsible for day-to-day decisions on local policy from education to waste management – are up for grabs.
Voters have turned away from the two main parties in a sign the public is fed up of the Brexit turmoil at Westminster. Local elections across England saw both the Conservatives and Labour lose control of councils, following a significant swell in support for the Liberal Democrats. The Greens and independent candidates also enjoyed success. More than 8,400 council positions were up for grabs across 248 English local authority areas on Thursday, while Northern Ireland was electing 462 seats in 11 councils.
THERESA MAY’s Conservatives are haemorrhaging councillors as the Liberal Democrats and Independent candidates endured a spectacular night in the 2019 local elections. The Tories lost hundreds of seats, enduring a night of mass councillor and council loses as frustrated Brexit voters took to the polls to vent their fury. The Liberal Democrats secured around 200 new councillors, mainly picking up seats in safe Conservative and Labour areas. Labour also suffered to the Lib Dems, and the Green Party.
Voters have vented their anger at the two main parties over the Brexit deadlock as both the Tories and Labour suffered major losses in the English council elections – and the Liberal Democrats enjoyed significant gains. Labour and the Conservatives suffered the biggest losses in their heartlands of the North and South East as their traditional voters abandoned the two main parties. The Tories had already been braced for a tough night amid frustration at Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to take Britain out of the EU on March 29 as planned.
THERESA MAY was braced for a local election “doomsday” – amid fears of a brutal Brexit backlash. Experts claimed the Tories could lose at least 600 councillors as voters vented their fury over the state of the EU talks. In early results the party lost Basildon in Essex and was heading for defeat in Tandridge, Surrey. But Labour was also heading for disappointment in key target seats as turnout plunged. In a big blow, Jeremy Corbyn failed to take Swindon from the Tories and lost overall control of Hartlepool.
The Tories and Labour have been hit by a Brexit backlash in the local elections overnight. The Conservatives are down 396 councillors, while Labour lost 81 representatives compared to 2015. Smaller parties including the Lib Dems, Greens and Independents made gains at the expense of the Tories and Labour. The Lib Dems are up 271 councillors, with the Greens up by 36. Independent councillors took a 25 per cent bigger vote share in the 69 wards in which they were standing in a further sign that voters were turning away from the major parties.
Results are coming in and it looks like voters are punishing both Theresa May’s Conservative party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in local government elections over their failure to deliver Brexit on time. More than 8,000 council seats are up for grabs in the first elections since the UK missed its 29 March departure date. The Tories were forecast to lose hundreds of seats, with one analysis predicting Ms May’s party could lose over 1,000 seats.
THE UK is on course to take part in the European elections this month and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has surged ahead in the polls. But what would happen if the Brexit Party won the EU elections, would it spark rebellion? The UK will participate in the May 23 European Parliament elections unless a solution to the Brexit deadlock is found beforehand. Britain will head to the polls alongside other EU nations to vote for new European Parliament members.
The majority of Conservative and Leave voters are now planning to vote for the Brexit Party at the European Elections, according to YouGov’s latest poll. Westmonster reported earlier about the headline polling figures that showed Nigel Farage’s Brexit outfit now have a 9-point lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, with the Conservatives in a distant third. Broken down, YouGov’s figures reveal that a whopping 60% of Leave voters are now planning to vote for the new Brexit Party on 23rd May.
Nigel Farage is continuing to smile after the latest polls for the EU elections continue to show the Brexit Party leading the way. Despite only being launched last month, the Brexit Party quickly stormed to the top of the polls – and the latest set of figures show their support has only increased. According to YouGov, Mr Farage’s party are now polling on 30% – an increase of 2% from the previous poll.
Downing Street has abandoned any lingering hope of rushing a Brexit plan through the Commons in time to avoid elections to the European Parliament taking place in Britain. The contests are scheduled to take place on 23 May. Theresa May has repeatedly maintained they would be cancelled if a withdrawal agreement could be agreed by MPs by the day before. But one Whitehall official has now conceded: “Realistically we have passed that point.”
KEN CLARKE fully blamed Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group (ERG) for the Brexit delay. The remoaner-in-chief argued the UK “could have left by now” if it wasn’t for the ERG blocking Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Mr Clarke, who is a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, explained he believes the Eurosceptics have delayed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He noted Brexiteers refuse to vote for her deal despite getting Mrs May to promise to resign.
GAVIN WILLIAMSON is reportedly thinking of giving a speech which could trigger Prime Minister Theresa May’s downfall. The former Defence Secretary was sacked this week after Theresa May accused him of leaking highly-sensitive information from the National Security Council. The alleged leak concerned details about the UK’s position on Chinese tech giant Huawei and its role in setting up a UK-wide 5G network.
Gavin Williamson has told Sky News he is “massively comfortable” with the prospect of a police investigation into the Huawei leak. Mr Williamson was sacked as defence secretary by Theresa May after an inquiry found there was “compelling evidence” he was responsible for the unauthorised disclosure of information from the National Security Council to a newspaper. The former defence secretary told Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby: “As soon as they have the reporter’s notepad it would show that I didn’t say anything and then I would get the nicest apology from the PM, far nicer than the last letter she sent me.”
Theresa May is braced for Gavin Williamson to exact his revenge in the wake of local election results that are set to weaken her grip on Downing Street. Furious Tory MPs last night demanded to know why the prime minister had sacked the defence secretaryover a leak from a top-secret body just as voters were about to go to the polls. Mr Williamson, who denies leaking the information, is understood to be considering making a personal statement in the Commons next week amid cross-party unease at his summary dismissal.
Gavin Williamson has been refused a copy of the report of the investigation which claimed he leaked secrets from the National Security Council, The Independent has learnt. The former defence secretary believes that the release of the report will prove the weakness of the case against him which led to his firing. News of the refusal, which comes from senior Whitehall sources, will add to the rising controversy over the affair, with a number of MPs voicing concern that Mr Williamson has been treated unfairly and is not receiving natural justice.
Gavin Williamson has hit back at the “haphazard way” the Huawei leak inquiry was carried out, complaining to friends he was only fired because of information he had personally volunteered to investigators working for Downing Street. The former defence secretary showed the inquiry call records on his phone, which revealed that he had spoken to a Daily Telegraph journalist for 11 minutes from 5.31pm, shortly after a national security council meeting on Tuesday last week.
The European parliament’s outspoken Brexit chief is coming to Britain next week to knock on doors in the European elections on behalf of the Liberal Democrats. Guy Verhofstadt, who is himself seeking re-election as a Belgian liberal MEP, will hop on the Eurostar from Brussels to join Lib Dem canvassers on the doorstep on Friday. While Mr Verhofstadt is best known in Britain for being the parliament’s voice in Brexit talks, the former Belgian prime minister is also leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European parliament, in which the Lib Dems sit.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has admitted that Britain has never felt “at home in the EU” while a poll has put Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in first place ahead of the European Parliament elections. Mr Juncker lamented Thursday that the British “political elite” are not “passionate about Europe,” telling Hungarian media on Thursday in comments reported by POLITICO, “Over decades of meeting British politicians, my impression has always been that they don’t feel at home in the EU.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the former Prime Minister of Belgium and the European Parliament’s chosen representative in the Brexit talks, has demanded a “common European migration policy” and a “Blue Card” for economic migrants. “I cannot accept that there are still thousands and thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean Sea at our door, because of the lack of a European migration policy,” the MEP for the left-liberal ALDE group railed at a debate in the Dutch city of Maastricht, where the Treaty on European Union was signed.
More people in Britain approve of immigration than in any other European country, a study has found. The YouGov–Cambridge Globalism researchers polled 1,949 Britons. Across 19 countries the total sample size was 21,295. Twenty-eight per cent of Britons believed the benefits of immigration outweighed the costs. That was higher than Germany at 24 per cent, France with 21 per cent and 19 per cent in Denmark.
Theresa May has refused to commit to acting “now” to end the UK’s net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – as demanded by her climate change advisers – drawing fire from environmental groups. Campaigners voiced alarm after the prime minister said only that she will “respond urgently” to the call for new laws – pointing to the need to examine a “long and detailed” report first.
The UK should cut greenhouse gases to zero by 2050 to end its contribution to global warming within 30 years, Government climate advisers have said. The Committee on Climate Change called for ministers to set a new legal target for a 100% cut in all greenhouse gases by mid-century as soon as possible, and to urgently ramp up efforts to cut emissions. Hitting the “net zero” target will mean an end to heating of homes with traditional gas boilers, more green electricity, and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, walking and cycling.
MPs have passed a motion making the UK parliament the first in the world to declare an “environment and climate emergency”. The symbolic move – recognising the urgency needed to combat the climate crisis – follows a wave of protests launched by the Extinction Rebellion strikers in recent weeks. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for the motion to “set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe”.
MPs have endorsed a Labour motion to declare a formal climate and environment emergency, with Jeremy Corbyn hailing the move as a necessary response to school climate strikers and groups such as Extinction Rebellion. The Labour leader said the decision by the Commons to pass the motion without a vote “can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe”. Conservative MPs were told to not oppose the motion.
Being middle class is now seen as a sin rather than a virtue, the head of a private schools’ group said yesterday. Barnaby Lenon, the former headmaster of Harrow School, criticised the way in which parents were judged harshly for paying for their children’s education when they would not be for buying a big house or car. He also attacked left-wing commentators, many privately educated, as hypocrites and “virtue-signallers, taking offence on purpose as a cost-free way of gaining superiority over those who don’t agree with their one beautiful idea, which is the dependence of the citizen on the state.”
Schools are facing “knock-on pressure” as demand for special-needs support rises, England’s Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, is expected to admit to head teachers later. Speaking at the National Association of Head Teachers annual conference, Mr Hinds will ask for their advice on changes to special-needs funding. NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman called the current picture “bleak”. But he added: “The solution is simple – more money from the Treasury.” Government changes mean “thousands of children with the most complex needs are now receiving more tailored support to help their learning”, Mr Hinds is expected to tell the conference.
The return of stop and search has helped to drive down the murder rate in the capital by a quarter over the past year, Britain’s top police officer has said. Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said that massive increases in its use had also contributed to a 15 per cent reduction in the number of under-25s being stabbed in London. The tactic was discouraged by Theresa May when she was home secretary on the basis that it was resulting in a loss of public confidence in the police and unfair targeting of young black men.
A RISE in stop and searches has led to a major drop in violent crime over the last year, The Met said yesterday. Homicides fell by a quarter to 122 victims. There was a 15 per cent reduction in stabbings of under 25s with 311 fewer people that age injured by knives in the year to April 1. The falls in London buck a national trend. Stop and searches increased by 30 per cent to 172,000 over the same period. Met chief Cressida Dick said the move had resulted in the daily seizure of knives and guns.
More than a million under-45s are living with potentially lethal undiagnosed high blood pressure, a new analysis shows. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has warned of a “ticking time bomb”, with approximately four million people under the age of 65 undiagnosed. Untreated high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and is also linked to a heightened risk of vascular dementia. It can usually be managed through lifestyle changes and medication. The BHF analysis of official statistics suggests around one in 10 – 9.6 per cent – of the 41.5 million adults aged 16 to 64 in the UK have untreated high blood pressure.
HIV-suppressing medication can make the AIDS virus ‘untransmittable’ even among couples who have sex without condoms, new research showed today. A Europe-wide study monitored nearly 1,000 gay male couples over eight years, where one partner was HIV-positive and receiving antiretroviral (ART) treatment, while the other was HIV negative. Doctors did not find one single case of in-couple HIV transmission within that time. This raises hopes that widespread ART programmes could eventually end new infections.
A CURE for the AIDS virus could be in sight, as experts say a new drug decreases the risk of HIV transmission between sexual partners to zero. Scientists tested more than 1,000 couples where one partner had HIV. When they were receiving treatment to suppress the virus, they found there were no cases of transmission of the virus to the HIV-negative partner during sex — even without a condom. Over the course of the eight-year study, 15 men did become infected with HIV during the study — but DNA testing proved this was through sex with someone who wasn’t their partner who wasn’t receiving treatment.
Stress and anxiety amongst NHS workers has rocketed, with new figures exposing a surge in the amount of sick time off needed by health staff. Figures from NHS Digital, seen by ITV News, reveal that last year NHS staff took almost 100,000 more days off due to stress than they did six years ago. And in acute medicine, which treats the most serious and urgent cases, the number of sick days taken has soared by 35%. One experienced hospital doctor, whose identity we have protected, revealed she contemplated suicide – and said one particularly traumatic experience had stuck with her.
Christians are ‘by far the most persecuted’ religious group and are enduring what amounts to genocide in some parts of the world, a report concluded. They are being driven out of the Middle East in a modern-day exodus that means the religion could be wiped out in parts ‘where its roots go back furthest’, the study commissioned by the Foreign Office found. And the report by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Rev Philip Mounstephen, found ‘shocking’ evidence that the persecution is worse today than ever.
An Australian reporter has been charged with multiple offences after he allegedly tried to lure Christians to his house to attack them with a sword. The man, Mr James Michael Waugh, is believed to have wanted to carry out the attacks in retaliation for attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed. Mr Waugh was charged with “threatening to act with intent to cause public harm, using a carriage service to menace others and possessing a weapon to be used to kill.”