Today Clive Lewis, the shadow Defence Secretary, used his conference speech to say that Labour has a clear policy in favour of renewing Trident and would sign up to the Nato target of spending 2pc on defence. While this is Labour policy, given that Lewis is viewed by many as a fully signed-up Corbynite there had been an expectation that he would take on an anti-Trident stance. Following his comments, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament issued a press release expressing their ‘huge disappointment at this U-turn’. Now it’s transpired that Lewis had meant to go further. The talk of conference is that Lewis had planned to say he would not try to change party policy on Trident renewal. However, at the last minute, Corbyn’s director of comms Seumas Milne took this out without consulting Lewis. This meant that Lewis only learnt that he was supposed to say simply what the policy was, once on stage:
Labour’s defence spokesman was forced to drop a commitment to Trident renewal at his key conference speech, it can be revealed. Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis reportedly “punched a wall” after the decision was revealed to him on a post-it note with minutes to spare. And footage has emerged of the worried-looking defence chief in a frantic text exchange moments before he spoke. Mr Lewis was due to back building four new submarines to replace the ageing Vanguard fleet. But just before he was due to speak on stage in Liverpool, a senior figure in Jeremy Corbyn’s office ordered the passage to be pulled. Mr Lewis was poised to tell delegates: “As you know, I am sceptical about Trident renewal, as are many here. “But I am clear that our Party has a policy for Trident renewal – and I wouldn’t seek to change it.” Instead, he said: “As you know, I am sceptical about Trident renewal, as are many here. But I am clear that our Party has a policy for Trident renewal.”
A fresh row over Trident wrecked Labour’s attempted show of conference unity today, exposing a split between Jeremy Corbyn and a key ally. A bid by Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis to abandon attempts to make unilateral disarmament party policy was scrapped at the last minute – on orders from Mr Corbyn’s office. A TV camera captured Mr Lewis’s angry reaction as his speech was altered on the platform autocue as he was about to get to his feet to deliver it. A sticky note was used to inform Mr Lewis that he must not say he “would not seek to change” his party’s current policy of backing renewal of the UK’s Trident submarines. Instead, he told the conference: “I am clear that our party has a policy for Trident renewal,” – without a guarantee there would be no future attempt to overturn that stance.
JEREMY Corbyn was humiliated by a key ally in parliament who told Labour delegates that Britain will keep the Trident nuclear deterrent despite the leader’s wish to scrap it. Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis, seen as a close ally on the far Left of Mr Corbyn, made the admission during a debate at the conference in Liverpool. His appointment had been seen as a signal that Mr Corbyn would change Labour official policy which currently supports keeping the nuclear deterrent to protect Britain from threats. But instead the Norwich North MP ditched his leader’s plans and told the conference that replacing Trident system and submarines is necessary. Mr Lewis told the conference: “As you know, I am sceptical about Trident renewal, as are many here. “But I am clear that our party has a policy for Trident renewal.”
Labour Party conference
Britain’s Labour Party’s conference has played host to the foreign-funded Hope Not Hate group, which has said Labour must start talking to “racist” working class people if the party wants to defeat the UK Independence Party. Speaking at an event at Labour’s conference in Liverpool on Monday, John Page from the notorious Hope Not Hate group , said that supporters of mass migration are “smarter than” working class voters who have turned away from the party to support the UK Independence Party (UKIP). He insisted that the only way Labour can reclaim such voters is for activists to go out and speak with them in order to change their opinions. Just under four million people voted for UKIP in last May’s general election, resulting in the party coming second in 120 constituencies. A large number of these were areas long considered to be in “safe” Labour seats, and UKIP’s new leader Diane James has expressed an interest in UKIP targeting Labour seats in the north of England.
John McDonnell’s speech was a chance to win over voters. But while his pitch went down well in the hall and was greeted by raptures of wild applause from (some of) the party faithful, there was little on offer to entice those on the fence to come over to Labour. If anything, this looked to be business as usual for a party that voters just don’t trust on the economy (the latest YouGov poll puts Labour nine points behind the Tories ). McDonnell talked about sharing the burden, investing and ‘calling a halt to austerity’. He said: ‘We will rewrite the rules to the benefit of working people on taxes, investment and how our economic institutions work.’
The Labour Party clashed with business groups on Monday after setting out a left-wing economic agenda aimed at boosting their chances of winning power by re-engaging with working class voters who backed leaving the European Union. Finance spokesman John McDonnell, a veteran socialist, said Labour would raise the minimum wage, change company law to prevent firms taking on excessive debts to benefit shareholders, and redouble efforts to eradicate tax avoidance. The agenda, which also included pledges to borrow more, reintroduce collective bargaining on a sector-by-sector basis and promote more employee-ownership, met with a chilly reception from business lobbying groups. Labour re-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday following a failed attempt to oust him after the EU referendum. Having won an increased mandate, he is set on shifting the party further to the left, away from the pro-business centre ground that delivered it its last spell in power between 1997 and 2010.
Labour would introduce a “real living wage” of at least £10 an hour in 2020 if in power, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the party’s conference. He said that under a Labour government “everyone will earn enough to live on”. He also set out plans to end austerity, fight for “the best” Brexit deal and to build a “manufacturing renaissance”. A new National Living Wage, which came into force in April, requires employers to pay workers over 25 at least £7.20 an hour, rising to £9 by 2020. BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed said that under Mr McDonnell’s plans, a £10-plus an hour minimum wage would raise an annual salary for the lowest paid full time worker to £19,250, according to manufacturers’ trade body EEF.
Labour has announced it will ban fracking if it wins the next general election. Shadow energy and climate change secretary Barry Gardiner told the party’s annual conference in Liverpool that a Labour government would introduce an “outright ban” on the controversial practice. He said: “Today I am announcing that the next Labour government will ban fracking in the UK. “Fracking locks us into an energy infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels long after our country needs to have moved to renewables.
Britain appears to be heading for a “hard Brexit” under which links to the European Union would be reduced to little more than trade agreements, Scotland’s external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop said on Monday, citing “mood music” from recent talks. Pro-EU Scotland’s Brexit representative, Michael Russell, has had the first of a series of meetings with Brexit minister David Davis, Hyslop told Reuters. The talks are part of efforts to establish a common United Kingdom position for divorce discussions with the country’s European Union partners, as Prime Minister Theresa May has promised. Russell will be lobbying for a “soft” exit “that looks as much like remaining in the EU as possible,” ideally including continued free movement of capital and labour, she said.
The UK appears to be heading for a so-called “hard Brexit” with links to Brussels limited to trade agreements, according to a Scottish minister. Fiona Hyslop, who holds the external affairs portfolio, has expressed her concern about the current direction Britain was taking and said the Edinburgh government would be seeking to “shift that position”. She was speaking as Labour demanded the UK Government spell out its plan for negotiating Britain’s divorce from the European Union.
Britain will emerge from Brexit with a stronger economy and be better off than other EU countries within five years, one of Germany’s most prominent businessmen has said. Leaving the EU will make Britain a more attractive destination to foreign investors, according to Mathias Döpfner, chief executive of Axel Springer, the publishing house. In an intervention that will be seized on by cabinet ministers arguing for a “hard” approach to Brexit, he suggested that being free of EU rules would allow Britain to implement a “very healthy . . . talent-orientated” immigration policy.
Nearly all the EU’s member states could follow Britain’s lead and vote to leave the union , the French MP in charge of European affairs in Francois Hollande’s party has warned. Philip Cordery said there was a widespread perception across the continent that the EU was moving in the wrong direction and that populism and euroscepticism were growing everywhere. “I think what happened in the UK at the referendum could have happened almost every other country in the European Union – except in the other countries no Prime Minister would have been as irresponsible as to ask for a referendum,” he told a fringe event at Labour party conference organised by the Fabian Society.
Britain will thrive outside the European Union as the bloc turns inward, a top German business leader has said. Mathias Döpfner, chief executive of media giant Axel Springer, said the UK would be ‘highly attractive’ to investors after it left. He believes Brexit will see the nation embrace a truly free market, while the EU becomes a ‘transfer union’ in which money is funnelled from rich states to poor ones. Mr Döpfner said he expected a short-term economic slowdown for Britain, but argued that within three to five years, ‘England will be better off than continental Europe’.
Brexit could leave the country better off than its former European Union partners, a leading German businessman has suggested. Mathias Doepfner, chief executive of publishing giant Axel Springer, said he could see the UK adopting a “more free market-oriented model” which could be a “highly attractive” alternative to the EU economy. He told the Financial Times that Britain was bound to experience short-term pain as a consequence of its 23 June vote to quit the EU, “but in three to five years from now, my bet would be that England will be better off than continental Europe”.
One of Germany’s best known businessman has said that Brexit could make the UK “highly attractive” to foreign investors and the EU would be the loser when the UK leaves the union. Mathias Dopfner, chief executive of media company Axel Springer, has broken ranks with German consensus to suggest that Brexit will be more painful for Europe than for Britain. In an interview with the Financial Times the businessman said that Britain would probably experience some short-term pain but in the long-run it could be better off. “In three to five years from now, my bet would be that England will be better off than continental Europe,” he said. He said he could see the UK moving further towards a free-market model, while Europe becomes somewhere where successful states are forced to subsidise the struggling ones. “And that can put a lot of investors off,” he said.
Quotas for distributing asylum seekers among European Union member states are “politically finished”, Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said on Monday. Eastern Europe’s ex-communist states have strongly opposed the policy adopted a year ago to tackle the migration crisis that would require all EU countries to take in some of the hundreds of thousands of people seeking asylum in the bloc. Slovakia and Hungary have both challenged quotas at the European Court of Justice. “Quotas today clearly divide the EU, therefore I think they are politically finished,” Fico told journalists in Bratislava. As the EU struggles to show unity after Britain’s shock vote in June to leave, leaders have avoided contentious questions like quotas, instead focussing on protecting EU borders and co-operating with the asylum seekers’ countries of origin.
Ukrainians’ hopes of securing visa-free travel to the European Union received a boost on Monday when a key committee of the European Parliament backed their cause, but further hurdles remain. Ukraine, an ex-Soviet republic of 45 million people, faces stiffer resistance from some EU member states at a time of heightened public concern over immigration after more than a million migrants and refugees arrived in the bloc last year. The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee backed the proposal for visa-free travel for Ukraine by 38 votes to four against. A team of lawmakers will now start negotiations on the matter with the European Council, which brings together representatives of the EU member states.
The UK must make an effort to solve the refugee problem at Calais and across Europe, the French president, François Hollande , has said during a visit to the port town. Hollande said he wanted the town’s notorious refugee camp – home to up to 10,000 people including 1,000 lone children – to be “ completely and definitively dismantled ”. Closing down the camp would be an “exceptional operation prompted by exceptional circumstances” and the UK had to take some responsibility, he said. “I would like to express my determination to see the British authorities play their part in the humanitarian effort that France is carrying out here and will continue to carry out in the days to come,” Hollande declared.
Nicola Sturgeon is to make a speech in London linking the Brexit vote to the UK government’s austerity policies. The first minister will tell the Institute of Directors that the vote to leave the EU was in part “borne of inequality” in communities UK-wide. Theresa May has argued that the UK could thrive after leaving the EU by becoming a leader in free trade. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones will also address the conference at the Royal Albert Hall via a video clip. A senior government minister is expected to speak, as is former chancellor Norman Lamont, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, and businesswoman and peer Martha Lane Fox. Ms Sturgeon has argued that the UK could face a “lost decade” if it opts for a “hard Brexit”, distancing itself from the single market.
BORIS Johnson has fired off a thunderous warning shot to Spain after the country attempted to exploit the Brexit vote to seize back Gibraltar. The Foreign Secretary blasted ministers in Madrid after an incendiary offer to “save” the rock from leaving the European Union. In a controversial newspaper article prominent conservative historian José María Carrascal, who has close ties to the establishment, said Spain would offer “joint sovereignty” to the tiny British enclave. He pointed out that 96 per cent of the population of Gibraltar voted to Remain, with the territory’s economy highly reliant on the trade of financial services with the rest of the EU. But the newspaper columnist was immediately slapped down by Mr Johnson, who said the future of the Rock was not up for discussion whilst its people still overwhelmingly want to remain British. Writing for the newspaper ABC, Mr Carrascal had predicted that Gibraltarians would want to sue for dual sovereignty with Spain so that they could remain EU citizens.
TRUTH seekers accused NASA of a cover-up after it said it had known about potential signs of life on Europa for TWO YEARS. Scientists have found “plumes of water” erupting from one of Jupiter’s 67 moons which they believe is a “good candidate” for life. Tens of thousands tuned in to watch NASA’s live announcement this evening . But when they revealed they had made the discovery more than two years ago – tongues began wagging. Several on the live chat dubbed the delay to share the news as “suspect”. NASA claimed they kept the data under wraps because they were waiting for more sophisticated technology to help them analyse the images from the Hubble Telescope. They made the surprise announcement that they will not be landing a spacecraft on Europa – as to do so would contaminate the planet.