The Democratic Unionist Party leader has reached out to nationalists in Northern Ireland as research revealed that most Catholics find customs checks on the border with the Republic after Brexit “almost impossible to accept”. Arlene Foster writes on The Times website today that the people of Northern Ireland do not want to see different communities in conflict. “Unionists want to live in harmony with their nationalist neighbours. They want to grow our economy and share prosperity. They want the next generation to live in better times,” she writes. Mrs Foster will address a Policy Exchange conference on the Union in Westminster today.
HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds worth of donations to fast-track Brexit have allegedly been rejected in what donors have branded an “incompetent” plot by Theresa May to keep Briton shackled to Brussels. Brexiteer Jeremy Hosking claimed one of Mrs May’s top aides blocked numerous attempts by the wealthy financier to donate hefty sums to quicken Britain’s departure from the EU under a campaign dubbed “Brexit Express”. Mr Hoskin alleges an aide made it as near-impossible to contact constituencies to hand over cash that would be used to fight remain-backing MPs in last year’s disastrous election.
Theresa May’s Brexit incompetence is actually a deliberate strategy to keep Britain shackled to the European Union, according to a top Conservative donor. Jeremy Hosking wrote for the Sunday Telegraph: “Those who think the government is vacillating or making a mess of Brexit due to incompetence are wrong. It is part of a strategy, it’s going to plan and the inference from experience of Brexit Express is that the Prime Minister herself is probably implicated. “Our intention was to build on the referendum result and donate £5,000 to each Conservative candidate facing a non-Tory Remainer opponent in every Leave-voting constituency. “There were 140 of them, all held by opposition MPs, all of which would be up for grabs to a party that was enthusiastic about Brexit.
Boris Johnson has told Eurosceptic Tory MPs to give the Prime Minister “time and space” to deliver Brexit but warned she must not betray the country by keeping Britain in the customs union. Speaking in Peru, the Foreign Secretary said that Britain must be free to do “unhindered” trade deals as soon as the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019. He said that an Irish backstop, which would tie Britain to the customs union beyond 2021 if no solution to the Irish border issue can be found, must only be used as a last resort. The Prime Minister’s Cabinet is bitterly divided over future customs arrangements with the EU.
Boris Johnson has delivered a thinly-veiled warning to Theresa May that he and his fellow Brexiters still expect her to deliver a deal that avoids triggering the “backstop” that would keep Britain aligned to the customs union beyond 2020. The foreign secretary lost the argument in last week’s Brexit inner cabinet, when senior ministers agreed the UK would retain key aspects of the customs union if a solution to the Irish border problem was not found. This backstop has been one of the sticking points in talks with the EU27 and some in Westminster believe it could become the post-Brexit norm if Brussels accepts the UK’s proposal. But Johnson insisted: “Brexiters fearing betrayal over the customs backstop must understand that the PM has been very clear that it is not an outcome we desire; we want a deal with the EU and she will deliver it.”
BORIS Johnson last night dramatically warned Theresa May her post-Brexit customs plan must not lead to a “betrayal” of the referendum vote to quit the EU. In a fresh salvo in the Cabinet squabble over future ties to Brussels, the Foreign Secretary publicly signalled his lack of enthusiasm for the so-called “backstop” proposal being floated as a solution to the Northern Ireland border problem. He urged Tory Brexit supporters to give the Prime Minister the “time and space” needed to negotiate a trade deal with the EU. But the Foreign Secretary also insisted they will not accept any extension of the UK’s alignment with EU tariffs beyond 2020 that keeps Britain effectively in the bloc’s customs union indefinitely.
Nicola Sturgeon has announced she is to “restart” her campaign for Scottish independence ahead of a long-awaited revamp of her economic blueprint this week that could see her ditching the pound The First Minister said the imminent publication of a report by the SNP’s Economic Growth Commission, set up in 2016, would be an “important moment” in her battle to break up the UK. It has been reported the 400-page document will recommend that the pound would be used in a transition period after independence, before moving to a new Scottish currency that would initially be pegged to sterling.
Nicola Sturgeon has said she will “restart” the debate on Scottish independence in the coming weeks. The comments from the SNP leader came as her party prepares to publish its economic growth commission, presenting its findings on economic policy options for an independent Scotland. She said the commission, set up in 2016 and chaired by the former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, would offer the opportunity for a debate on Scotland’s future based on “ambition and hope”. Ms Sturgeon added that she would consider the timing of a second vote on independence in autumn, when the UK has some “clarity” about the Brexit outcome and the future UK-EU relationship.
Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to “restart a debate” about Scottish independence over the next couple of weeks. Scotland’s first minister is planning to “consider” the timing of a second independence referendum once the UK government has agreed a Brexit deal with the EU later this year. Ahead of the launch this week of a new blueprint for Scottish independence – which will reportedly recommend the creation of a Scottish currency – Ms Sturgeon spoke of “an important moment” in the SNP’s case for breaking away from the rest of the UK. The SNP leader told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “Once we get some clarity, which hopefully we will in the autumn of this year, about the Brexit outcome and the future relationship between the UK and the EU then I will consider again this question of the timing of an independence referendum.
A new brand of young, well-organised and tech-savvy extremists are giving the far right a ‘more respectable’ appearance, an anti-fascist group has warned. Tom Dupré, the 23-year-old co-leader of the extreme anti-immigration group Generation Identity, works as a City banker for Standard Chartered. The British branch of GI, which spans across 13 countries, has become the ‘most active far-right group in Britain’, a report from the group Hope Not Hate has said. The right-wing activists ‘consciously seek to portray an image of normality and respectability’ but support a policy of ‘remigration’ for ethnic minorities, the report said. Hope Not Hate’s 28-page report on GI, entitled ‘A New Threat’, said the far right had tried to distance itself from previous anti-migrant groups such as the English Defence League.
John McDonnell has promised to pursue the overthrow of capitalism and legislate to force private companies to share profits if he becomes chancellor. Mr McDonnell, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, said he wanted to transform society “in a way that radically changes the system”. Asked if his job was the overthrow of capitalism, he replied: “Yes it is. It’s transforming the economy.” Pressed on whether there was a difference between transforming the economy and overthrowing capitalism, he said: “I don’t think there is . . . I want a socialist society.” Asked by the BBC what he would do to private businesses Mr McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, replied: “We’d follow France’s example: they legislate for profit sharing.
A KILLJOY Labour MP demanded the “jingoistic” National Anthem be axed – just hours after Harry and Meghan tied the knot. Kensington politician Emma Dent Coad – who previously mocked Prince Harry’s military record – said the words to God Save the Queen were “very disturbing” when they were read, and called for a new national song. The ‘Corbynista’ then went on to shamelessly say that Prince Diana would have been unhappy at the amount the couple spent on their big day. And she slammed the Royals – claiming: “All they are allowed to do is wear beautiful clothes and be nice to people, which doesn’t work for me.” The backbencher was speaking at anti-monarchist group Republic’s national convention on Saturday, which took place as the nation tuned in en masse to watch the wedding.
LABOUR’S youth organisation Young Labour condemned attempts by its chair today to undermine the party’s policy on Brexit. Young Labour national chair Miriam Mirwitch, an Owen Smith supporter, had co-signed a statement with Labour Students chair Melantha Chittenden demanding that party members be given a say in Labour’s Brexit policy. Both are party rightwingers and contributors to the Blairite magazine Progress. The letter, which said that “we deserve to have our voices heard by our own party,” included a link to LabourSay.EU, a website that is a data-collecting operation for Progress and fellow anti-Corbyn candidates in the party’s impending national executive committee elections.
The Conservative Party should broaden its appeal beyond its core voters and show that it understands change, Michael Gove says in a speech to be given today. The environment secretary will tell the launch of Onward, a think tank, that the party must go further to reach new communities. “The Conservative Party is at its best when it appeals beyond its core vote and puts forward a reforming, forward-looking agenda that responds to the concerns of the entire nation,” he says. “At last year’s election we proved that our values and policies resonate in places once thought impenetrable Labour strongholds, but we need to go further to convince more people that we understand the need for change.”
THE CONSERVATIVES will be “finished for a generation” if they don’t broaden their appeal – a group backed by Michael Gove claims. A new think tank called ‘Onward’ said the Tory Party would “forfeit its political relevance” if it failed to act. The group is backed by both the Environment Secretary and Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader. Sources claimed their first project will be devising a way to solve the housing crisis. The launch comes amid claims Tory MPs are already preparing for a snap election this AUTUMN – given the deadlock on Brexit. Some MPs are said to have asked their local associations to be readopted as prospective parliamentary candidate in readiness.
Theresa May’s Conservatives must find new ways to broaden their appeal or risk forfeiting the party’s political relevance, a new think tank set up by a former aide to the prime minister has warned. The plea for a change in direction comes ahead of the launch of Onward, a centre-right think tank, on Monday, with the environment secretary, Michael Gove, and the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson both expected to make appearances. It has been set up by Will Tanner, formerly deputy head of Ms May’s policy unit in Downing Street, and the Conservative MP Neil O’Brien, who both suggest the party could “be finished for at least a generation” unless it finds fresh ways to respond to ordinary voters’ concerns.
Michael Gove and Ruth Davidson have come together to back a new Tory thinktank with a warning that, without fresh ideas and a broader appeal, the party will be “be finished for at least a generation”. Gove, the environment secretary, who has long been one of the party’s most influential thinkers, said: “The Conservative party is at its best when it appeals beyond its core vote and puts forward a reforming, forward-looking agenda that responds to the concerns of the entire nation.” Last week, a YouGov poll for another Tory thinktank, the Centre for Policy Studies, found that nearly half of 18- to24-year-olds said they would never vote Conservative. At the 2017 election, the tipping point when people were more likely to have voted Tory than Labour rose from 34 to 47.
NOBODY tell Brenda from Bristol, but some MPs are worried that there could be another election – THIS autumn. Some politicians think that a series of defeats in the Commons could infuriate hard-line Brexiteers into triggering a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister. Sources said that there was no Brexit compromise that would be acceptable for both Leavers and Remainers, and speculated that they would trigger a leadership battle and possibly another election.One MP told the Sunday Times that they were already getting leaflets ready, and speculated that the poll could come “as early as the autumn”. They said: “The numbers are against us and if we face repeated defeats when the withdrawal bill returns to the Commons, the only alternative will be to kick over the table and trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, which will likely lead to another general election.”
The Royal Air Force has taken control of military space operations and the number of staff employed on defending Britain’s interests outside the earth’s atmosphere will grow by a fifth to 600. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, revealed details of this emerging dimension of warfare as he said that a new space strategy would focus on developing a satellite navigation system separate to the EU project that Britain could be excluded from after Brexit. “We must make sure we are primed and ready to deter and counter the intensifying threats to our everyday life that are emerging in space,” Mr Williamson said before the country’s first defence space conference, which opens in London today.
Roman Abramovich’s visa to enter Britain has not been renewed, it was revealed yesterday, a move that is likely to raise tensions between Britain and Russia. It meant that the Russian oligarch was unable to attend the FA Cup final on Saturday in which Chelsea, the team that he owns, beat Manchester United to lift the trophy. Sources at the club insisted that Mr Abramovich, 51, had not been denied a visa and there had merely been a delay to the renewal of his paperwork. However, the failure of the authorities to process the application of such a high-profile ally of President Putin will be seen by Moscow as another snub after Britain’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.
Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich has not yet had his visa renewed after it expired last month, it has been reported. The billionaire, who did not attend yesterday’s FA cup final which his team won 1-0, is said to have returned to his homeland and can’t now enter Britain. Sources close to the oligarch said his request for a new visa had not been denied, but UK authorities were taking longer than usual to renew it without offering any explanation. It comes amid mounting diplomatic tensions between Britain and Russia after former spy Sergei Skripal was poisoned in Salisbury in March.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is yet to have his UK visa renewed after it expired last month. The Russian billionaire did not attend Saturday’s FA Cup final, in which Chelsea beat Manchester United. A source close to the oligarch confirmed to Sky News that Mr Abramovich’s visa expired at the end of April. An application for it to be renewed is in process but taking longer than usual, they added. Mr Abramovich’s spokesman, John Mann, refused to comment. The oligarch owns property in London but has now returned to Russia, explaining his absence from Saturday’s football showpiece, according to website The Bell. Flight records show the businessman’s personal Boeing 767 airplane was last in London on 1 April, the publication added.
The government is endangering national security and undermining efforts to build a global response to the Salisbury poisoning because of a lack of political will to crack down on dirty Russian money flooding into London, a report by MPs has said. Despite the rhetoric against Russia after the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, President Putin’s cronies have continued “business as usual” by hiding corrupt assets in London that the Kremlin can call on in its campaign to undermine the West, the report by the foreign affairs committee says. The Russian embassy in London boasted of “business as usual” on Twitter when the energy company Gazprom raised €750 million (£656 million) in London a day after the expulsion of diplomats.
A powerful committee of MPs has warned that the government is putting national security at risk by allowing “kleptocrats and human rights abusers to use the City of London to launder their ill-gotten funds to circumvent sanctions”. The foreign affairs select committee said the government’s lax approach to tackling international money laundering is putting money “directly into the hands of regimes that would harm the UK, its interests and its allies”. In a hard-hitting report titled Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK, the committee said the government was failing to follow through on the prime minister’s “robust rhetoric” in the wake of the Skripals’ poisoning.
The UK has been accused of turning a “blind eye” to Russia’s “dirty money”, putting national security at risk. The Commons foreign affairs committee said London was being used to hide the “corrupt assets” of President Vladimir Putin and his allies. It said it was “business as usual” for the UK despite the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. This undermined the UK’s efforts to confront the full spectrum of President Putin’s offensive measures, it said. The UK’s “lethargic response is being taken as proof that we don’t dare stop them… London’s markets are enabling the Kremlin’s efforts,” committee chairman and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat wrote in the Sunday Times, ahead of the publication of the report.