Labour rebellion

Jeremy Corbyn was forced to sack three shadow ministers tonight when they joined dozens of Labour MPs rebelling against the party over Brexit. In a serious blow to Mr Corbyn’s authority, 49 Labour MPs defied the party whip to back a Queen’s Speech amendment tabled by their backbench colleague Chuka Umunna. They included the shadow foreign minister Catherine West, shadow housing ministers Ruth Cadbury and Andy Slaughter, all of whom were sacked by Mr Corbyn, and shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner, who resigned.

Labour’s Brexit policy was exposed as a shambles last night as the party’s divisions were laid bare. Jeremy Corbyn was forced to sack three shadow ministers after they defied his orders not to back a ‘soft’ Brexit. The Labour leader has been accused of cynically trying to face both ways on Europe. He is desperate to keep the support of both the party’s Brexit-backing Northern heartlands and pro-Remain cities such as London. But he suffered a humiliating rebellion yesterday as nearly 50 Labour MPs – a fifth of his party – supported an amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for Britain to remain in the EU single market and the customs union. Shadow ministers Andy Slaughter, Ruth Cadbury and Catherine West were fired for joining the revolt. Shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner quit before the vote.

Jeremy Corbyn has sacked several members of his frontbench team after a party split in the Commons about how to oppose the Government on Brexit. Three shadow ministers were sacked and at least one more resigned after they joined a total of 49 MPs who supported a rebel amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for Britain to stay in the single market and customs union. Catherine West, Ruth Cadbury and Andy Slaughter were sacked from the front bench. Another MP, Daniel Zeichner announced this evening that he resigned ahead of the vote.

JEREMY Corbyn has carried out a front-bench cull this evening after rebel MPs voted on a controversial amendment to tonight’s Queen Speech, it has been reported. Mr Corbyn had whipped MPs to abstain from voting on an amendment put forward by Chuka Umunna. However, a division list showed six shadow ministers were among those who were in favour of the amendment – a humiliating rebellion for Mr Corbyn.  Among those who defied Mr Corbyn were shadow housing ministers Andy Slaughter and Ruth Cadbury, as well as shadow Home Office minister Rupa Huq. Shadow communities and local government minister Gareth Thomas and shadow foreign minister Catherine West also rebelled.

Jeremy Corbyn has sacked three Labour frontbenchers who voted against the party in favour of a Queen’s speech amendment calling for Britain to remain within the customs union and single market. The Labour leader, who has been emboldened by the general election result, decided to take a tougher approach than after the vote to trigger article 50, when shadow ministers who rebelled were allowed to remain in position. Shadow housing ministers Andy Slaughter and Ruth Cadbury and shadow Foreign Office minister Catherine West joined dozens of Labour backbenchers, the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru in backing the amendment.  A fourth frontbencher, Daniel Zeichner, the MP for pro-remain Cambridge, stepped down as shadow transport minister before the vote, arguing that he had to back the position on principle.

ITV News
Labour has sacked three shadow ministers who joined dozens of their colleagues in defying the party to back a Queen’s Speech amendment calling for Britain to remain in the single market and customs union. Andy Slaughter, Ruth Cadbury and Catherine West were all dismissed while a fourth, Daniel Zeichner, resigned as splits were revealed within Jeremy Corbyn’s party following the leader’s call for MPs to abstain. Some 49 Labour MPs joined a group including the SNP and Liberal Democrats in voting in support of the amendment tabled by former shadow cabinet minister Chuka Umunna.


THE European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will get tough with suggestions Britain will roll out ID cards for EU nationals. A Labour MEP has warned Mr Barnier will strongly oppose any plans to introduce mandatory biometric residence cards.  Claude Moraes, a member of the European Parliament’s Brexit steering committee, said the proposal is expected to become a major flashpoint in talks.  Theresa May has announced new plans to assure the rights of the 3.2 million EU nationals living in the UK after Brexit, promising a “streamlined and light touch” system to enable EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for five years to apply for “settled status” giving them indefinite leave to remain.

THERESA May was urged last night to stand up to Brussels after the bloc’s leaders said the European Court of Justice should retain power over Britain in a swathe of policy areas after we leave. It should even be able to fine us if a proposed joint EU-UK committee to oversee implementation of the exit deal could not agree, suggested the European Commission in negotiating papers. Mrs May has made freeing Britain from the ECJ a cornerstone of her Brexit promise. Richard Tice, co-chair of Leave Means Leave said the development showed the importance of a swift clean break with Brussels, adding:  “The EU is in denial.

The European Union wants to set up a joint committee with Britain to oversee the management, implementation and enforcement of the yet-to-be-reached divorce agreement with London, documents by EU negotiators showed on Thursday. The committee, made up of British and EU representatives, would ensure the good functioning of the withdrawal agreement, deal with unforeseen situations and discuss diverging views. The documents, published on the European Commission’s website, said, however, that when it came to citizens’ rights and the continued application of EU law in Britain, the Brexit deal should establish a separate regime.

ANGELA Merkel today insisted that the international community cannot allow illegal migration fuelled by people smugglers to “become the norm” as Italy went to panic stations over a massive spike in new arrivals of asylum seekers. The German leader said Europe and its global partners need to work harder to smash the business model of criminal gangs in Libya as EU Council boss Donald Tusk called on the United Nations to slap them with sanctions.  Speaking at a press conference alongside other European leaders in the G20 club, Mrs Merkel said migrants and refugees were being “used as pawns…for their political agenda” and vowed more action on the issue next week. 

France has rejected pleas from charities for a new welcome centre for up to 600 UK-bound migrants in Calais. During an emergency visit to the French port, interior minister Gerard Collomb said the only solution to the growing build-up of asylum seekers was better security. Eleven charity and human rights groups appeared before the Administrative Court of Appeal in Lille on Wednesday, and called for the construction of a new centre. Aid agencies say about 400 to 600 migrants are gathered and sleeping rough on the streets. But the minister said he is suspicious of centres that take people ‘for a few days’, then become permanent.

Trade deals

British negotiators will begin talks with the US on a post-Brexit trade deal on 24 July, Liam Fox has revealed. EU rules prohibit member states from making separate trade deals with countries outside the bloc. But the Secretary of State for International Trade has repeatedly insisted there is nothing to stop the British Government “scoping out” how a future relationship with America might look. Speaking on BBC One’s 
Question Time, Mr Fox said talks with his US counterparts would begin next month as he seeks to make new trade deals with “very, very big markets” outside Europe. The former defence secretary was confronted by a fellow panel member about the risk that US negotiators may not be willing to strike a deal unless the UK agrees to less stringent food safety standards.


Theresa May was forced into a new policy on abortion to halt a rebellion by Conservative backbenchers yesterday. In a move that was seized on as a sign of the government’s weak grip on power, the prime minister caved in to pressure to pay for abortions in England for Northern Irish women. A Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech called on ministers to provide “adequate funding” for free terminations for women from the province, who must pay for them at present. Many Tory MPs also expressed concerns about the issue, prompting fears of a revolt in a vote last night on the Queen’s Speech.

Theresa May is scrambling to avoid a damaging defeat on the controversy of charges for Northern Irish women forced to travel to Britain for an abortion. An amendment to the Queen’s Speech to secure free NHS terminations for the many hundreds of women who make the journey every year has been picked for a vote later today. Several Conservative backbenchers have backed Labour MPs in calling for the charges to be axed – threatening the Government with its first defeat of the new Parliament. Even with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, the Tories have a Commons majority of just 13, making it vulnerable to revolt by just seven of its MPs.

Morning Star
A LANDMARK decision was taken yesterday to allow women travelling from Northern Ireland to have free abortions as the government scrambled to deal with Labour challenges to the Queen’s Speech. Labour MP Stella Creasy had previously tabled an amendment to let Northern Irish women have free abortions via the NHS in England, as they are barred in Northern Ireland except where the mother’s life or mental health is in danger. And in the face of overwhelming pressure the government fudged a solution by “refusing” free NHS abortions — but paying for them using government equalities office funding instead.

A decades-long struggle to give Northern Irish women access to terminations on the NHS in mainland Britain was unexpectedly won in the space of 24 hours on Thursday, as the UK government dramatically changed its policy in an attempt to head off a damaging Tory rebellion on the Queen’s speech. Dozens of Conservative MPs were understood to have expressed to Tory whips their support for an amendment by the Labour MP Stella Creasy to allow Northern Irish women access to NHS-funded abortions in Great Britain.  Women from Northern Ireland are currently charged about £900 for a termination if they travel to have the procedure in mainland Britain, a policy upheld by a supreme court case earlier this month. Northern Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe and it is almost impossible for a women to have a safe, legal abortion there.

BBC News
Women from Northern Ireland will be able to get free abortions in England, the government has said. More than 50 MPs from the major parties had backed a Labour-led call for the women to have access to NHS abortions in England. They currently have to pay. The BBC’s political editor said ministers made the concession because it appeared some Tory MPs might back the call, risking a possible defeat. Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are much stricter than the rest of the UK.


Including British citizens born overseas, 13.9 per cent of the population – or one in 
SEVEN people – are from abroad. The OECD said EU nationals accounted for “all the growth” in 2014-2015. It also revealed UK had the third highest rate of “permanent” immigration in the advanced world in 2015 at 378,800 – below only the United States and Germany – it added. The figures came as the Mediterranean migrant crisis threatened to erupt once more with a sharp rise in the numbers heading to Spain – and Italy threatening to turn away foreign boats. The OECD said the humanitarian crisis fuelled the ‘arrival’ of 5 million migrants across the western world in 2016, up 7 per cent. Germany saw 30 per cent more migrants in 2016 compared with the previous year, and Sweden registered a jump of 26 per cent.

The UK’s foreign-born population has nearly doubled in 10 years, with 5.95 million foreigners now living in Britain. Data shows that 9.2% of the British population were born overseas, up from 5% in 2005. The new numbers are from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), demonstrating the massive scale of migration into the country. Whilst the Conservatives pledged – and still pledge – to bring net migration down to the tens of thousands, it is quite clear that mass migration has continued at record-levels that are driving massive population growth, disproportionately focused in London and the south of England.

THE body of a migrant attempting to get into Europe via Spain was hauled from the water as shocked British tourists watched today – and ISIS terrorists are feared to be using the same route. Last week more than 1,000 migrants arrived illegally on the Andalusia coast, the home of Costa resorts like Malaga and Marbella, and the authorities warn many more are on their way. The perilous sea journey from North Africa to southern Spain regularly claims the lives of desperate families, who usually make the journey in rickety boats provided by callous people smugglers. Today it emerged that an Algerian man was recovered from the water and taken in a body bag to the port of Carboneras. He was dumped on the quayside just a few feet from 20 tourists, including Britons, heading out on a dolphin-watching cruise, reports MailOnline.

Northern Ireland

The deadline for power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland has been extended until Monday, after no agreement was reached by 4pm today. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said it would provide “space and time” for both sides to come to an agreement. Earlier in the day, senior Democratic Unionist politician Edwin Poots had warned that the deadline would be missed.  “The talks are continuing, obviously there is not going to be a breakthrough that would lead to nominations taking place today,” he said. “The talks will continue – Sinn Fein know what they need to do.”

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