THE Liberal Democrats are to join forces with Tory “Remain” MPs, Labour and the Scottish National Party in a bid to ambush beleaguered Theresa May over Brexit. Secret talks were held between staff working for the MPs before the election and a plan drawn up to disrupt Mrs May’s Great Repeal Bill, which will turn EU law into British law. Now they have vowed to capitalise on the Prime Minister’s weakened position since the General Election and plough ahead with plans to cause “gridlock” in Parliament unless Brexit Secretary David Davis makes key concessions. It is understood they will now form a cross-party alliance to push for Britain to stay in the single market. It comes as the future of Brexit itself was put in doubt, with one Whitehall source saying that the Government’s plans were now as “good as dead” with almost no chance of a weakened PM being able to force legislation through both the Commons and Lords.
Theresa May’s new Cabinet is meeting for the first time since the election, with some ministers poised to demand a softer Brexit policy. But the Cabinet Brexiteers have been boosted by the return of Michael Gove, in a move seen as a bid to protect the Prime Minister from a leadership challenge. “I genuinely didn’t expect this role,” he told Sky News. “I am delighted to be part of the Government. “I am delighted to be able to support Theresa May to ensure that we have a Government capable of delivering on the people’s wishes.”
Theresa May was warned by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, yesterday that she will have to look again at her plans for Brexit. Amid signs that Mrs May’s weakened position would force her to soften her stance, Ms Davidson made it clear that she wanted to see a deal that prioritised trade and not immigration as the prime minister had intended. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is also understood to have told the prime minister that she needed to put jobs first in negotiating a deal with Brussels, an implicit attack on her focus on controlling immigration.
After the election, comes the coup. I don’t mean a coup against Theresa May by Conservative MPs. The parliamentary party want to keep her in place, if only as a marionette whose strings they will pull mercilessly until the time comes to cut them. No, the coup is against the electorate itself — and the plotters are the small number of Tory MPs who see May’s humiliation as an unexpected opportunity to destroy her plan to take the UK out of the EU single market and customs union. Their number, I’m told, is no more than ten, but they are counting on the support of the most formidable woman — no, make that the most formidable person of either gender — in British politics. I refer to Ruth Davidson, who led the Scottish Conservative Party to triumph last Thursday, increasing their number of MPs from just one to 13.
Ruth Davidson has vowed to scupper Theresa May’s hard Brexit, warning the Prime Minister her blueprint needs to be “reopened”. The Scottish Tory leader said she wanted to prioritise the economy and free trade in the upcoming EU negotiations, and that restricting immigration would not be a key focus. Ms Davidson now wields considerable influence after the party in Scotland won 13 seats. Former Tory Chancellor George Osborne described her as the “heroine of the party” who is now “flexing her muscles”. “She is the heroine of the party, if she had not won seats in Scotland … there would not be a Conservative government,” the Evening Standard editor told The Andrew Marr Show.
RUTH Davidson has called for Theresa May to “reopen” her hard Brexit blueprint and raised the prospect of her MPs scuppering any hardline plans. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives started to flex her muscles after the Tories had a rebirth north of the border, while the Prime Minister scrambled to hold onto power after Mrs May failed to secure a majority in the House of Commons in the General Election. During a photo call with her 13 MPs, Ms Davidson confirmed they would take the Tory whip in the House, but added: “They will vote entirely as they believe they should.” Regarding the prospect of opposing a hard Brexit, she said she would advocate a deal that put the economy first as well as free trade rather than limiting immigration.
Theresa May’s threat to leave Europe without a deal is dead in the water, warned leading figures across the political spectrum today. The powerless PM will have to review her entire approach to Brexit , under pressure from Labour, her Cabinet, Tory backbenchers and Northern Ireland’s 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs. Lacking a majority in the Commons without Arlene Foster’s DUP , Mrs May no longer has authority to push through her plan without broader consensus. And a “frictionless border” with the South will be a priority when Mrs May meets Mrs Foster in London tomorrow.
THERESA MAY’S hard Brexit is under threat after Tory rebels vowed to maintain closer links between Britain and the EU in the wake of the disastrous election result. At least six senior Conservatives have openly called for a rethink in the PM’s approach to Brexit talks – demanding that Labour and other parties should have a say in the final deal. And with Mrs May’s majority cut to 12 even with the DUP, she cannot afford to alienate even a small handful of pro-EU backbenchers. The Tory manifesto vowed to withdraw Britain from the single market and the customs union, so that we can end free immigration and quit the EU court. But Labour has not signed up to that approach, raising the prospect that cross-country talks could lead to a softer form of Brexit which might anger many Leave voters.
BRITAIN’S political turmoil means the country will stay in the EU’s customs union, a top Brussels official has claimed. EU Commissioner Phil Hogan said the results of Thursday’s election proves Britons are opposed to “the notion of a hard Brexit“. He said leaving the customs union would be “economic suicide” and that the next government would likely opt for a soft Brexit instead. The move would infuriate anti-EU campaigners, who want Britain to fully cut ties with Brussels and strike trade deals with the rest of the world. Mr Hogan also said the Tories striking a pact with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) would imply “a much more positive tone towards a soft Brexit”. The DUP, which is expected to prop up Theresa May‘s minority government, is opposed to any move to quit the customs union and single market.
Proper Brexit could be on the brink of collapse as Tory cabinet ministers desperately lobby Theresa May take what they are describing as a ‘pragmatic approach’. In other words water down, squash, surrender. A senior cabinet source said: “The British public themselves haven’t reached a conclusion on what they want from Brexit.” That’s funny, because there was quite a big public referendum on Brexit and 52% of people voted to leave the EU whilst over 80% voted for parties that backed quitting the single market and open borders at the General Election. The source added: “We need to recognise the outcome. People want practical pragmatism with fewer things being ruled out – not an ideologically-driven approach.”
A Conservative-DUP alliance could mean Nigel Farage is offered a role in the Brexit negotiating team, according to some reports. Farage’s communications advisor, Dan Jukes, added further fuel to the fire by tweeting an from the Sunday Times which says that it is the DUP themselves who could put pressure on Theresa May to bring him into the fold to alleviate the fears of Brexiteers who rightly feel the issue they campaigned so hard for is now under threat because the Tories saw it as a vehicle to increase their Parliamentary majority. The job, which could also come with the offer of a peerage, would see Farage at the top table facing across from the likes of including Guy Verhofstadt and Jean-Claude Juncker. Oh how they’d love that. Nigel has always said he would put country before party to deliver Brexit, so perhaps it’s time for Theresa May to have a big slice of humble pie and invite Nigel round for a cuppa?
Nigel Farage yesterday called on Ukip to emulate Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing activist group Momentum as he said it was “50-50” whether he would stand again for the leadership. Mr Farage said that the party should restructure itself to empower party members. “In some ways Labour has done that with Momentum, its campaign group,” Mr Farage told The Sunday Telegraph. “Labour is exceeding in online engagement in the same way. Ukip needs to go in that direction.” He added that Ukip members should each be given a vote on future policies. Mr Farage is expected to decide in the next week whether to put his name forward for the leadership after the decision by Paul Nuttall to step down.
Theresa May has attempted to head off a potential leadership challenge by handing Michael Gove an unexpected return to the Cabinet in a move to shore up support for a hard Brexit. Mr Gove’s appointment as Environment Secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle paves the way for him to become a key adviser on Brexit, as well as a powerful ally of the Prime Minister in getting any Brexit deal through the Commons. The appointment suggests that Mrs May is prepared to address criticism that she is too autocratic and unwilling to work with her critics. It came as a surprise because she has had a frosty relationship with Mr Gove since they fell out over Government policy on extremism in 2014.
Michael Gove today made a spectacular comeback to the Cabinet as Theresa May fought to shore up her position in the wake of the Tory election catastrophe. He was ruthlessly axed as Justice Secretary by the PM last year after she swept into the top job. But today she appointed him Environment Secretary – as she demoted Andrea Leadsom to leader of the House of Commons. The embattled Prime Minister will hope that bringing the big political beast back into the fold will help restore her authority in the party. Mr Gove, who clashed bitterly with Mrs May over tackling extremism when they were in government under David Cameron, said that he had been taken by surprise when the invitation came through to visit No 10.
Michael Gove has been appointed Environment Secretary by Prime Minister Theresa May in her cabinet reshuffle. Mr Gove, a key figure in the campaign to leave the EU, stood against Ms May in the battle to become leader of the Conservatives during the fallout from the Brexit result. The former Education and Justice Secretary has been brought back to the frontline of politics as Ms May attempts to form a minority government following the Conservatives’ disastrous performance at the general election. He replaces Andrea Leadsom at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as she becomes Leader of the House of Commons.
Theresa May tore up the controversial Tory manifesto last night as the price for Cabinet support for her leadership. Plans to scrap the triple lock on pensions, means-test the winter fuel allowance and repeal the foxhunting ban are set to be ditched in a ‘slimmed-down’ Queen’s Speech next week. Mrs May’s dream of creating a new generation of grammar schools is also set to be shelved. Instead, the Queen’s Speech will focus mainly on a narrow agenda of Brexit and combating terrorism and extremism.
Theresa May’s fate could be decided as early as tomorrow, after a showdown meeting with her backbenchers was brought forward. Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, said he did not want MPs to have to wait until Tuesday for the crucial inquest with the Prime Minister. As support drains away from Ms May, amid reports of a Cabinet plot to replace her, it sets the scene for her having to convince MPs face-to-face that she deserves to survive in No 10. Backbenchers are also likely to demand to know why Downing Street announced that a deal was done for the Democratic Unionists to prop up the Conservatives in government – only to be forced to retract the claim overnight. And they will want their fears of being tarred by association with the anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion Northern Ireland party eased.
Nearly half of Britons think Theresa May should stand down as Prime Minister, according to polls conducted since the general election. A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times suggested 48 per cent of people thought she should stand down, with 38 per cent saying she should stay, while Survation for the Mail on Sunday had 49 per cent of people saying she should quit, with 38 per cent saying she should remain in the post. The Survation study gave Labour a five-point lead over the Tories, with Jeremy Corbyn’s party on 45 per cent and the Tories on 39 per cent. YouGov also found Ms May and Mr Corbyn are neck-and-neck when the public were asked who would make the best prime minister – with both leaders on 39 per cent. George Osborne has said Ms May’s days in Downing Street were clearly numbered, labelling her a “dead woman walking”.
Theresa May’s future as Prime Minister hangs in the balance after the Conservative Party’s humiliating general election performance. She will face showdown talks as soon as Monday with members of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench Tories. Many of them will be furious at how the party squandered a 20-point poll lead and ended up losing control of the House of Commons. They have now been forced to go begging to the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party to prop up their government . Some MPs have openly called for Mrs May to consider her position – and former Chancellor George Osborne referred to her as a “dead man walking” . But do Tory MPs have any power to get rid of Mrs May if she refuses to go?
REELING Theresa May has promoted trusted grey beards and brought back arch nemesis Michael Gove in an emergency Cabinet reshuffle to help her cling to power. The Leave campaign boss was the biggest winner in the lame duck PM’s post-election disaster shake up. Mr Gove was made Environment Secretary, just 11 months after Mrs May sacked him as Justice Secretary in one of her first acts in No10. The embattled Premier also appointed her old friend from Oxford University days Damian Green to be her Number 2. Mr Green was promoted to be First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office – and will carry out a new role of liaising with ministers and MPs previously shut out of Mrs May’s former tight-knit regime. After an excruciating 48 hours of silence since the general election result revealed Mrs May had thrown away the Tories’ majority, senior Cabinet ministers finally came out to back Mrs May in public yesterday.
Emmanuel Macron’s party is on course to secure an historic majority in parliament after the first round of France’s legislative elections, turbo-charging the French president’s chances of driving through crucial economic reforms. But the massive showing just four weeks after Mr Macron’s surprise triumph in the presidential election was marred by record low turnout of below 50 per cent, the lowest in modern French history. Rivals warned it suggested French democracy was “ill”. Defying expectations that his new political party would struggle to wrest control of parliament from the traditional Right and Left, early exit polls suggested Mr Macron’s La République En Marche (REM) party, along with its centrist Modem allies, was on course to win around 33 per cent of the vote.
FRENCH president Emmanuel Macron was on course for another landslide win as voting today opened in parliamentary elections that will have huge implications for Brexit. According to final opinion polls, the 39-year-old head of state’s Republique En Marche! (Republic On the Move, or REM) party could win between 395 and 425 seats in the National Assembly. If the CEVIPOF-Le Monde figures prove correct, then this would be far above the 289 needed to secure an absolute majority. This secure mandate would be hugely advantageous to the fiercely pro-EU Mr Macron in the run up to Brexit negotiations. This contrasts with the relatively chaotic situation in the UK, where no majority government has emerged following Thursday’s General Election.
Near-final results from France’s first-round parliamentary elections showed President Emmanuel Macron’s new movement winning by a large margin and set to land a huge majority in the final-round vote. With 94 percent of votes counted, the Interior Ministry said Macron’s Republic on the Move! party won 28 percent of votes. The conservative Republicans had 16 percent, followed by the far-right National Front with 14 percent. The far-left party of Jean-Luc Melenchon had 11 percent while the Socialists, who dominated the last National Assembly, had just 7 percent.
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had surgery in April, just a few days before Theresa May called the general election, and so I put my plans to take time out to rest and recover on hold. “Now the election is over, I intend to take a holiday from active politics, at least until the autumn. “I am mid-way through a course of radiotherapy, started two weeks ago, and I would like to say a huge and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone at the Royal Marsden and the Rose Centre at St George’s hospital, in London. I am being looked after amazingly well and feel incredibly lucky to have had my cancer diagnosed at an early stage. I expect to make a full recovery.”
Ukip’s deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans has revealed she has breast cancer and will be taking a break from politics. The former leadership contender said she underwent surgery just a few days before Theresa May called the snap election – forcing her to put her recovery “on hold”. Ms Evans said she is confident of making a full recovery but will stay away from “active politics – at least until the autumn”. Her illness rules her out of replacing Paul Nuttall as Ukip leader following his resignation over the party’s disastrous election.