Posts Tagged ‘Corbyn’

UK’s May to warn cabinet ministers over top-level leaks

July 17, 2017

Reuters

July 17, 2017

Image result for news for theresa may, photos

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will remind her cabinet that top level government discussions must remain private, her spokesman said on Monday, responding to a series of reported leaks after recent meetings.

May’s grip on control of her cabinet, which is divided over Brexit, has been severely weakened by last month’s election result when May lost her parliamentary majority, reopening the debate about the nature of Britain’s EU exit.

Finance minister Philip Hammond, who has championed a softer form of Brexit, bore the brunt of a series of critical newspaper stories over the weekend about what was said at private government meetings. He said he was being attacked because of his views on Brexit.

“Of course cabinet must be able to hold discussions on government policy in private and the prime minister will be reminding her colleagues of that at the cabinet meeting tomorrow,” the spokesman told reporters.

He said he was not aware of any plans for a formal inquiry into the leaks.

“She’ll just be reminding them of their responsibilities and making the point that ministers across government need to be focused on getting on with delivering for the British public,” the spokesman said.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew MacAskill

Let Theresa May stay at No 10 for the summer, top Tories tell MPs — “The ball is in [May’s] court.” Really?

July 9, 2017
Party chiefs warn against plot to install David Davis as leader
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 Theresa May in the House of Commons last month with David Davis, the man some MPs and junior ministers want to see replacing her as PM. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
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Senior Tories are urging MPs to back away from provoking an early leadership contest this summer, after claims that some want to see David Davis take charge.

Some MPs are keen to see Davis replace Theresa May, claiming that the prime minister is so wounded that she cannot continue in office for long and that the party should act after its disastrous election result.

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 David Davis with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, June 2017. Photograph by Stephanie Lecocq – EPA

However, senior figures in the party are now saying it would be a mistake to remove May too soon. Calmer heads are urging restraint, warning that it would be hard to engineer the coronation of Davis – and that unleashing a messy leadership contest could be disastrous for the party.

One senior Tory said there was frustration among a small group of MPs and junior ministers that needed to be reined in. “I’m encouraging everyone to go on holiday,” they said. “It cannot be now – there are some who want it to happen before the end of July, but it is not in the interests of the party. We need to go away, have a holiday and address it in the autumn. There are a lot of conversations going on about when she should go, not if she should go.”

Davis has been cited by some MPs as the best caretaker candidate, but several allies of the Brexit secretary said that he was not involved in any planning about the leadership. “The fact is David is just getting on with his job,” said one. “He’s got the most important ministerial job that anyone has had since the second world war.

“Obviously a lot of MPs are coalescing around him because the task of the Tory party is to deliver Brexit and take on Corbyn and he is superbly qualified to do both, but he is not plotting. There are a bunch of junior ministers who are plotting.”

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Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis. Photo by Jack Taylor — Getty Images

Becoming leader would be a remarkable achievement for Davis, who was frontrunner to seize the Tory crown in 2005 before David Cameron ultimately emerged as the winner. A poorly received speech at that year’s Conservative party conference was seen as the reason his campaign lost momentum.

Overall, however, there is little appetite now among Tory MPs for a quick leadership contest and even less enthusiasm for an election, which most believe the party would lose. Tory whips have been on the alert for any leadership plotting, but are said to have found no evidence of a groundswell of support for the idea of an early contest.

One minister said: “The ball is in [May’s] court. If over the summer she says, ‘I can’t do this, I’m going to go’, then OK, we have a leadership contest. But unless she does that then she stays and her punishment is to see through Brexit. She has to get on with it and show a bit of resolve.”

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/08/let-theresa-may-stay-as-prime-minister-for-summer

Theresa May’s ratings slump in wake of general election — Extraordinary transformation in the prime minister’s ratings

July 2, 2017

As support for Jeremy Corbyn surges, over 60% of voters now view prime minister less favourably than they did before

Theresa MayTheresa May’s approval rating is now at -20%, after hitting +21% before the general election Photograph: Matt Cardy/AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May has suffered a startling decline in popularity since last month’s general election with a new opinion poll showing 61% of voters now view her in a more negative light than they did when the electorate denied her an overall majority on 8 June.

The extraordinary transformation in the prime minister’s ratings, which were sky high in early April after she called the snap election, has been accompanied by a rise in public respect for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to a new Opinium survey for the Observer.

Corbyn’s reinvigorated party is now on 45%, six points ahead of the Tories (on 39%), which if replicated in a general election would put Corbyn in a strong position to enter Downing Street as prime minister if one was called in the near future.

On 9 April, May’s approval rating stood at an impressive +21% (where the percentage of those who disapprove of her leadership is subtracted from the number who approve) while that for Corbyn had sunk to -35%.

In an extraordinary turnaround, May’s rating is now at -20% (with 31% approving her leadership and 51% disapproving) while Corbyn’s has risen to +4% with more approving of his stewardship of Labour (42%) than disapproving (38%).

May’s struggle to form a coalition with the Democratic Unionist party and her much criticised immediate response to the Grenfell Tower disaster in west London, appear to have contributed to her post-election slump.

By contrast a newly confident Corbyn was seen as having reacted better to the tragedy and has enjoyed adulation from Labour supporters and young people, including at last weekend’s Glastonbury festival.

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/01/over-60-of-voters-view-theresa-may-as-pm-negatively-poll

UK Labour leader Corbyn says will ‘try to force early election’

June 24, 2017

AFP

The State Opening Of Parliament 2017May and Corbyn.(Stefan Wermuth/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON (AFP) – British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to “try to force an early general election” after Prime Minster Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority, in an interview published Saturday.

Corbyn’s Labour Party outperformed expectations in this month’s election, turning what was predicted to be a procession for May into a disaster, severely weakening her authority as Britain kicks off crucial Brexit talks.

Corbyn told the left-wing newspaper the Daily Mirror that it was “ludicrous” to believe the Conservatives’ minority government could survive, and that his party “will challenge this government at every step and try to force an early general election.”

A poll for the paper asking the public who would make the best prime minister has put Corbyn ahead for the first time, although other surveys have revealed little appetite for another vote after two tumultuous years for British voters.

May’s party is currently in negotiations with Northern Ireland’s DUP to secure an informal parliamentary deal that would give it an effective majority.

MPs will vote on May’s legislative agenda next week, and opposition parties have vowed to block her programme in what is traditionally seen as a test of confidence in the government.

Members of May’s own party are reportedly lined up to dump their leader if it looks like her government will lose the vote.

Theresa May Faces Post-Election Disquiet

June 11, 2017

May’s failure to win an outright majority raises uncertainty over her future as prime minister

British Prime Minister Theresa May attends St Andrew’s Church in Sonning, southern England, on Sunday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May attends St Andrew’s Church in Sonning, southern England, on Sunday. PHOTO: STRINGER/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

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U.K. Election: What Does This Mean for Brexit?

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May resisted opposition calls to resign and moved to form a new government with the help of a small Northern Irish party after voters unexpectedly denied her party a parliamentary majority. Chief European Commentator Simon Nixon explains what this could mean for Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

Updated June 11, 2017 10:33 a.m. ET

LONDON—The U.K. was facing the prospect of prolonged political uncertainty after an inconclusive election cast doubt on Prime Minister Theresa May’s ability either to stay in office or govern effectively, as her Conservative Party prepares to form a minority administration propped up by Northern Irish lawmakers.

A weekend of drama cost Mrs. May her two closest aides as criticism mounted of the prime minister’s missteps in an election she had hoped would strengthen her parliamentary authority before looming Brexit talks with Brussels. Senior Conservative Party figures called for a more collegiate approach to government after her tightknit inner circle failed to deliver the victory that had been expected.

In a sign of confusion at the very top of government, Mrs. May’s office late Saturday was forced to backtrack on an earlier statement that it had reached a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party over forming a loose alliance to support a new government. The DUP insisted instead that talks over a so-called confidence-and-supply arrangement—a weaker and potentially more unstable partnership than a formal coalition—were ongoing.

All the while, the clock has been counting down toward the start of high-stakes divorce negotiations with the European Union slated for June 19, which European leaders say they expect to go ahead.

“We’re ready to roll,” Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said Sunday in an interview with U.K. broadcaster ITV.

Mrs. May’s failure to win an outright majority in a national election Thursday has cast doubt on her future as prime minister.

Boris Johnson, the flamboyant, pro-Brexit foreign secretary beloved by party activists, on Saturday dismissed as “tripe” newspaper reports that he was already planning a bid to unseat Mrs. May.

In broadcast interviews Sunday, senior Conservative lawmakers said that now isn’t the right time for a leadership challenge, given the added uncertainty it would cause as Brexit talks get under way.

“The last thing we need is further political upheaval,” said Chris Grayling, an ally of Mrs. May who served as transport secretary before the election.

But some acknowledged that such a contest may need to happen soon. Nicky Morgan, a former education secretary who has clashed with Mrs. May, said that she didn’t think the prime minister should lead the party into another election and that a leadership contest should be considered this summer, or ahead of the party’s annual conference in October.

“I think Theresa May is ultimately going to take responsibility,” she said, referring to the election result. Mrs. Morgan said the party needs a proper contest to select a new leader rather than “a coronation.”

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon on Sunday said that, meanwhile, Mrs. May’s cabinet expects to have a greater say in government following the resignation of her two top aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who played a central role in driving government policy and strategy and oversaw the botched election.

“We are going to see I hope much more collective decision-making in government,” he said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.

George Osborne, who served as Treasury chief in the administration of Conservative former Prime Minister David Cameron, was highly critical of Mrs. May.

“Theresa May is a dead woman walking—it’s just how long she’s going to remain on death row,” he said on the BBC.

As well as calling into question Mrs. May’s future, Thursday’s election raises doubts about the party’s ability to deliver on its legislative platform.

The DUP’s 10 seats in Parliament are enough to give the Conservatives, with 318, a slender majority in the 650-seat assembly. But the deal being discussed between the two sides falls short of a formal pact that would allow the Conservatives to rely on DUP support on every vote, raising the prospect that Parliament could defeat or amend the Conservatives’ plans on everything from Brexit to welfare and education.

U.K. Election: What Does This Mean for Brexit?
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May resisted opposition calls to resign and moved to form a new government with the help of a small Northern Irish party after voters unexpectedly denied her party a parliamentary majority. Chief European Commentator Simon Nixon explains what this could mean for Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

A confidence-and-supply arrangement means the DUP at a minimum would pledge to back the government in any future no-confidence motions in Parliament and to support its tax-and-spending plans, delivered in twice-yearly budgets debated by lawmakers. Governments in the U.K. must win such votes to stay in power. It isn’t yet clear whether the arrangement will extend to other areas of policy as talks between the two parties are ongoing.

A big question mark hangs over the government’s Brexit strategy. The DUP says its priority in the talks is in preventing Brexit from causing any disruption to trade with EU member Ireland, a stance that analysts say is incompatible with Mrs. May’s pre-election position that she was prepared to walk away from talks without a deal.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said Conservative plans for a bill to alter or scrap EU legislation are probably also in tatters in the absence of the parliamentary majority needed to swiftly enact such a huge undertaking.

Mr. Corbyn, whose party plans to present its own alternative plan for government when Parliament reconvenes June 19, said he is ready to fight another election and expects one to be called either later this year or in early 2018.

Write to Jason Douglas at jason.douglas@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-faces-post-election-disquiet-1497191291

Theresa May: A dead woman walking? Plus Who Might want Her Job?

June 11, 2017

Britain’s Theresa May is still trying to recruit Northern Ireland backers to stay in power. She’s been labeled “a dead woman walking” by ex-treasurer George Osborne. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn predicts fresh elections.

Großbritannien Theresa May Gottesdienst in Sonning (Reuters/N. Hall)May with husband Phillip visiting a church service Sunday

Boris Johnson denies plot to topple tottering Theresa May

LONDON (AP) – British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has denied plotting to topple Prime Minister Theresa May, whose hold on power remained tenuous Sunday as she tried to finalize a deal with a small Northern Irish party to prop up her minority government after a disastrous election.

Former Treasury chief George Osborne – who was fired by May last year – called her a “dead woman walking,” and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was ready to contest another election at any time.

Johnson, one of the Conservatives’ most popular politicians, tweeted that an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper headlined “Boris set to launch bid to be PM as May clings on” was “tripe.”

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip leave after attending Holy Communion at St Andrew's Church in Sonning, Berkshire, England, Sunday, June 11, 2017. May is under pressure after the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday's election. (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip leave after attending Holy Communion at St Andrew’s Church in Sonning, Berkshire, England, Sunday, June 11, 2017. May is under pressure after the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday’s election. (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

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“I am backing Theresa May. Let’s get on with the job,” he said.

The Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday’s election. May called the snap vote in a bid to strengthen her mandate ahead of exit talks with the European Union. Instead, she has left Britain’s government ranks in disarray, days before the divorce negotiations are due to start on June 19.

May’s party won 318 seats, 12 fewer than it had before the snap election, and eight short of the 326 needed for an outright majority. Labour surpassed expectations by winning 262.

Many senior Conservatives say May should stay, for now, to provide stability. But few believe she can hang on for more than a few months.

“I think her position is, in the long term, untenable,” Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry told Sky News. “I just don’t see how she can continue in any long-term way.”

May called the election to win explicit backing for her stance on Brexit, which involves leaving the EU’s single market and imposing restrictions on immigration while trying to negotiate free trade deal with the bloc. Some say her failure means the government must now take a more flexible approach to the divorce, potentially softening the exit terms.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who took the party from one Scottish seat to 13, said there would now have to be “consensus within the country about what it means and what we seek to achieve as we leave.”

To stay in power, the Conservatives are seeking support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. May’s office said Saturday principles of an agreement had been reached, but the two sides later clarified that they are still talking.

“We have made good progress but the discussions continue,” said DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Downing Street said it hopes to finalize the deal next week, after Parliament resumes sitting.

The two sides are looking to form a “confidence and supply” arrangement. That means the DUP would back the government on confidence motions and budget votes, but it’s not a coalition government or a broader pact.

The alliance makes some modernizing Conservatives uneasy. The DUP is a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and had links to Protestant paramilitary groups during Ireland’s sectarian “Troubles.”

Conservative lawmaker Nicky Morgan told ITV that she could support a confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP, but any closer deal would be “a step too far.”

A deal between the government and the DUP could also unsettle the precarious balance between Northern Ireland’s British loyalist and Irish nationalist parties, whose power-sharing administration in Belfast collapsed earlier this year.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny tweeted Sunday that he had spoken with May “and indicated my concern that nothing should happen to put (the Good Friday Agreement) at risk.”

The 1998 Good Friday agreement set up power sharing in Northern Ireland, largely ending years of sectarian violence.

The British government does not have long to ink a deal. It is due to present its platform for the next session in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on June 19. The speech will be followed by several days of debate and a vote. By tradition, defeat on a Queen’s Speech vote topples the government.

Corbyn said Labour would try to amend the Queen’s Speech to include its own commitments to end austerity and boost public spending. Without the amendments, he said Labour would try to vote down the speech.

“I don’t think Theresa May and this government have any credibility,” Corbyn said, predicting that there could be another election within months.

“I can still be prime minister,” Corbyn said. “This is still on.”

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to attend Holy Communion at St Andrew's Church in Sonning, Berkshire, England, Sunday, June 11, 2017. May is under pressure after the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday's election. (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to attend Holy Communion at St Andrew’s Church in Sonning, Berkshire, England, Sunday, June 11, 2017. May is under pressure after the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday’s election. (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to attend Holy Communion at St Andrew's Church in Sonning, Berkshire, England, Sunday, June 11, 2017. May is under pressure after the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday's election. (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to attend Holy Communion at St Andrew’s Church in Sonning, Berkshire, England, Sunday, June 11, 2017. May is under pressure after the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday’s election. (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

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People demonstrate on Whitehall, central London, Saturday June 10, 2017, after the British general election result. Prime Minister Theresa May's party fell short of an overall majority following Thursday's vote, and plans to work with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

People demonstrate on Whitehall, central London, Saturday June 10, 2017, after the British general election result. Prime Minister Theresa May’s party fell short of an overall majority following Thursday’s vote, and plans to work with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

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People demonstrate on Whitehall, central London, Saturday June 10, 2017, after the British general election result. Prime Minister Theresa May's party fell short of an overall majority following Thursday's vote, and plans to work with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

People demonstrate on Whitehall, central London, Saturday June 10, 2017, after the British general election result. Prime Minister Theresa May’s party fell short of an overall majority following Thursday’s vote, and plans to work with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

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People demonstrate in Parliament Square against the Conservative and DUP coalition government following the Britain's general election result, in London, Saturday June 10, 2017. Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble in calling an early election backfired spectacularly as her Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

People demonstrate in Parliament Square against the Conservative and DUP coalition government following the Britain’s general election result, in London, Saturday June 10, 2017. Prime Minister Theresa May’s gamble in calling an early election backfired spectacularly as her Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

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People demonstrate in Parliament Square against the possible Conservative and DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) coalition government following the Britain's general election result, in London, Saturday June 10, 2017. Beleaguered British Prime Minister Theresa May was working to fill out the ranks of her minority government Saturday after an election that proved disastrous for her Conservative Party and complicating for Britain's exit from the European Union.  (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

People demonstrate in Parliament Square against the possible Conservative and DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) coalition government following the Britain’s general election result, in London, Saturday June 10, 2017. Beleaguered British Prime Minister Theresa May was working to fill out the ranks of her minority government Saturday after an election that proved disastrous for her Conservative Party and complicating for Britain’s exit from the European Union. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-4592978/Boris-Johnson-denies-plot-topple-UK-PM-Theresa-May.html#ixzz4jhnTNtZx
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Democratic Unionists  (DUP) from Northern Ireland holding 10 key seats in Britain’s Westminster parliament withheld support Sunday, prompting May’s office to retract its previous claim that an “outline” coalition deal had already been agreed.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she would meet May on Tuesday while Downing Street said the incumbent premier would “finalize” a deal in the coming week.

Incumbent British defense minister Michael Fallon said a deal would not amount to a formal coalition, but only the DUP supporting May on “big things.” Brexit, he said, would amount to a “new partnership with Europe.”

Dublin nervous

The uncertainty prompted Irish republic premier Enda Kenny to phone May Sunday, warning that “nothing should happen” to put at risk divided Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, according to his office.

May had spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on Saturday, insisting that Britain was ready to start Brexit talks “as planned in the next couple of weeks, according to Downing Street.

England Parlamentssitzung Premierminister David Cameronv und George Osborne (picture-alliance/empics)

Better days? Osborne alongside Cameron in June, 2016

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May’s conservatives were reduced to 318 seats – eight short of an outright majority – in last Thursday’s snap election that saw a surge in votes for Corbyn’s Labour, especially by young adults who skipped last year’s Brexit referendum.

‘Tripe,’ says Johnson

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson rejected Mail on Sunday newspaper speculation that he planned to oust May, tweeting that this was “tripe” and that May should be left to “get on with the job.”

Former Finance Minister George Osborne, a rival who was sidelined by May last year when she took over from Former Finance Minister George Osborne,, told the BBC: “Theresa May is a dead woman walking. It’s just how long she’s going to remain on death row.”

Corbyn predicts fresh election

Corbyn, whose Labour won 262 votes, defying expectations, on Sunday said predicted a fresh election within months, saying his side would seek to topple May during Queen’s Speech debate from June 19 when parliament re-opened.

“I don’t think Theresa May and this government have any credibility,” Corbyn said. “It is quite possible there will be an election later this year or early next year,” he told the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

London Labour Führer Jeremy Corbyn (Getty Images/C. Furlong)

Corbyn expects fresh elections within months

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“I’m ready for another general election,” Corbyn added.

Timeline doubts for Brexit talks

London’s disarray cast further doubt over the two-year timeline for its complex talks with the EU on implementing last year’s narrow British referendum decision, due to start mid-June.

Anna Soubry, a parliamentary Conservative who campaigned last year to stay in the EU,  said: “I don’t think she does have a majority in the House of Commons for leaving the single market.”

“I just can’t see how she can continue in any long-term way,” Soubry said.

DUP’s views rejected

The DUP’s ultra-conservative views on gay marriage and abortion prompted expressions of concern from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and a petition signed by more than 600,000 people objecting to May’s “desperate attempt to stay in power.”

Arlene Foster, Parteichefin der nordirischen DUP (Reuters/C. Kilcoyne)

DUP’s Foster is to visit May on Thursday

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The departure of May’s two closest aides on Saturday was reportedly resulted from cabinet colleagues requiring this for allowing the premier to stay in office.

Late on Saturday, she appointed a new chief of staff, former housing minister Gavin Barwell who lost his parliamentary seat in last Thursday’s election.

“I want to reflect on the election and why it did not deliver the result I hoped for,” May said. “Gavin will have an important role to play in that.”

ipj/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP)

http://www.dw.com/en/theresa-may-a-dead-woman-walking/a-39200194

 

 

Two Days From UK Election, Theresa May’s Record on Security in Focus After Attack — Polling shows Conservatives’ lead narrowing to just one point

June 6, 2017

LONDON — Two days from a parliamentary election that has been upended by a van and knife attack that killed seven people in the heart of London, Prime Minister Theresa May’s record on security dominated the campaign agenda on Tuesday.

After police named two of the attackers and revealed that one was previously known to security agencies, May’s Conservative Party faced further questions about her record overseeing cuts to police numbers.

The latest opinion poll, by Survation for ITV, showed the Conservatives’ lead narrowing to just one point from six points in the same poll a week earlier.

Police disclosed late on Monday that 27-year-old Khuram Butt, a British citizen born in Pakistan, was known to police and domestic spy agency MI5 but with resources scarce had not been deemed enough of a threat to warrant close monitoring.

Khuram Butt who appeared on a Channel 4 documentary about Islamic extremists

Khuram Butt who appeared on a Channel 4 documentary about Islamic extremists.  CREDIT: CHANNEL 4

Butt had appeared in a documentary called “The Jihadis Next Door”, broadcast last year by Britain’s Channel 4, as part of a group of men who unfurled an Islamic State flag in a park.

In Britain’s third Islamist attack in as many months, Butt and two others rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday evening before running into the bustling Borough Market area where they slit throats and stabbed people.

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All three were wearing fake explosive belts. They were shot dead at the scene by officers within eight minutes of police receiving the first emergency call.

A Canadian, a French national and a Briton were among the dead, while other French people, a Spaniard, Australians and a New Zealander were among the 48 who were injured in what Prime Minister Theresa May called “an attack on the free world”.

As interior minister from 2010 to 2016, May oversaw a drop of 20,000 in the number of police officers in England and Wales, which her main opponent, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said should never have happened and warranted her resignation.

May hit back that Corbyn himself was weak on the issue of terrorism. He has been criticized for voting against counter-terrorism legislation and expressing reservations about police responding to attacks with “shoot-to-kill” tactics.

Police arrested 12 people on Sunday in Barking, east London, but said late on Monday all had been released without charge. Police were searching an address in Ilford, also in the east of the city, on Tuesday morning. No one had been detained.

“ALMOST EUPHORIC”

The other attacker who has been named was 30-year-old Rachid Redouane, who also went by the alias Rachid Elkhdar and claimed to be Moroccan or Libyan, police said. He and Butt both lived in Barking.

One of Butt’s neighbors, Ikenna Chigbo, told Reuters he had chatted with Butt – known locally as “Abz” – just hours before the attack on Saturday and said he appeared “almost euphoric”.

“He was very sociable, seemed like an ordinary family man. He would always bring his kid out into the lobby,” said Chigbo.

Another neighbor, Michael Mimbo, told Reuters that Butt supported the north London football team Arsenal. One of the dead attackers has been pictured wearing an Arsenal shirt.

Mimbo said Butt had grown a longer beard and worn traditional Islamic dress more often over the two years he had known him, but showed no sign of radicalization.

“As an individual he was a cool, calm guy. One of my friends would let Abz babysit his daughter,” Mimbo said.

The men’s rampage followed a suicide bomb attack which killed 22 adults and children at a concert in Manchester two weeks ago, and an attack in March when five people died after a van was driven into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge.

Police said they had to prioritize resources on suspects who were believed to be preparing an attack or providing active support for one. Butt did not fall into that category when they last investigated him.

May did not answer repeated questions from reporters on Monday on the police cuts she oversaw but said counter-terrorism budgets had been protected and police had the powers they needed.

The Conservatives’ lead over Labour has narrowed markedly from 20 points or more when May called the election in April to a range between one and 12 points now, although they are still widely expected to win a majority.

The narrowing in the polls started before the Manchester and London attacks and appeared to be largely linked to an unpopular policy announcement regarding care for the elderly. The trend has continued since the two attacks, most polls suggest.

(Additional reporting by Alistair Smout and Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Related:

Britain’s Opposition Leader Calls on May to Quit Over Police Cuts

June 5, 2017

LONDON — Britain’s opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to resign after she presided over cuts to police numbers during her six years as interior minister.

Britain will vote in a national election on Thursday, just days after militants killed seven people and injured nearly 50 in the heart of London on Saturday night, the third attack in Britain in less than three months.

May faced questions from reporters on Monday over whether she regretted cutting police numbers by around 20,000 during her time as interior minister from 2010 to 2016.

May has said counter-terrorism budgets have been protected and the police were given the powers they need.

Asked if he would back calls made by others for May to resign, Corbyn told Sky News: “Indeed I would. Because there have been calls made by a lot of very responsible people on this, who are very worried that she was at the Home Office for all this time, presided over these cuts in police numbers and now is saying that we have a problem.

“Yes we do have a problem, we should never have cut the police numbers.”

(Reporting by Kate Holton and Kylie MacLellan, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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See also The Telegraph

Jeremy Corbyn has called on Theresa May to resign as Prime Minister over her record on police cuts.

The Labour leader said Mrs May should quit after presiding over reductions in police numbers while she was Home Secretary.

He said he backed similar calls by “very responsible people” who are “very worried” about her record.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/05/general-election-2017-jeremy-corbyn-criticises-theresa-may-police/

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BBC News

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May

Jeremy Corbyn has said Theresa May should pay a price in Thursday’s general election for ignoring “repeated warnings” not to cut police numbers. PA

The Labour leader said Mrs May had “presided” over a 19,000 fall in numbers as home secretary and he agreed with those calling on her to resign in the wake of the London Bridge attacks.

But the PM said she had protected counter-terror police numbers.

And she accused the Labour leader of opposing shoot-to-kill powers.

With less than 72 hours to go before Thursday’s election, party leaders have returned to the campaign trail after electioneering was briefly suspended because of the London Bridge attack, in which seven people died.

Following a meeting of senior ministers and security chiefs at the emergency Cobra committee, Mrs May said Saturday’s atrocity was an attack on “the free world” and said she was best equipped to deal with the “evolving” threat facing the UK.

In a speech in London, she vowed to tackle the “whole spectrum” of extremism as security took centre stage in the election.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley says police funding was part of “difficult decisions” made by government

Action was needed in communities and online to ensure “bigotry and hatred” did not turn to violence, the PM said. Defending her record on police funding, she said longer custodial sentences for terror offences should be considered.

She defended her record on security over the past seven years in the face of criticism that she had presided, as home secretary, over a fall of more than 19,000 in police numbers between 2010 and 2016 and accused officers of “crying wolf” over their capabilities.

She said she had protected counter-terror police budgets as home secretary and was now “providing funding for an uplift in the number of armed officers” as well as was protecting funding for the police as a whole.

Saying leadership was “absolutely vital” for keeping the UK safe, she said Mr Corbyn had “boasted” of opposing every single piece of counter-terrorism legislation and had voiced his opposition to shoot-to-kill powers, saying the response of the police to Saturday’s attack showed how vital these were.

‘Carry on’

But Mr Corbyn suggested the government’s decision to cut police numbers by 19,000 between 2010 and 2016 was now coming back to haunt Mrs May.

Asked whether he agreed with a call by some, including former Downing Street adviser Steve Hilton, for Mrs May to quit, he said he did, but added that the “best way” for the issue to be dealt with was by voters on Thursday.

In the first of a whirlwind series of campaign events planned for the next 72 hours Mr Corbyn said of the terrorists: “We are not going to allow them to dictate how we live or how we go about enjoying themselves. We carry on and our democracy will prevail.”

Analysis – BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg

Voters choose their political parties for all sorts of different reasons. But as this strange election hurtles towards its close, the demand of who can keep the country safe is firmly on the table.

For Theresa May that doesn’t just mean questions over how she would counter extremism if she stays in power. She faces criticism too over the Tories’ record on squeezing money for the police.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has repeated his promise to reverse the cuts and slammed the Tories, warning the government could not “protect the public on the cheap”.

He also tried to counter perceptions that he is soft on security, including his earlier stance on shoot-to-kill, which he questioned days after the Paris attack at the Bataclan. He said, if he were prime minister he would take “whatever action is necessary and effective” to protect the public.

After a brief pause, the election campaign is well and truly back, even if with a more subdued tone, and with security as its primary subject.

Read more from Laura


Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has accused the Conservatives of making the “wrong choices” over police budgets, “posturing” over internet surveillance powers and not putting enough pressure on allies in the Middle East to turn the screw on extremist groups.

“Fewer police on the beat means fewer conversations, less information being passed on and less knowledge about who’s who and who needs to be kept under surveillance,” he wrote in an article for the Guardian.

He added: “Theresa May talks of the need to have some difficult and sometimes embarrassing conversations. That should include exposing and rooting out the source of funding terror, even if it means difficult and embarrassing conversations with those like Saudia Arabia that the government claims are our allies.”

He warned about the UK seeking to “control” the internet in a manner associated with regimes like North Korea. “If we turn the internet into a tool for censorship and surveillance, the terrorists will have won. We won’t make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free.”

Corbyn: You can’t protect people ‘on the cheap’
Prime Minister Theresa May: “Enough is enough’

On Sunday the PM called for new measures to tackle extremism – including online – saying in a speech outside No 10 that “enough is enough”.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told the BBC that the fight against online radicalisation meant getting “access to information as required” from tech firms.

Pressed on whether this meant penetrating encrypted messaging services, she said the tech industry had done the “right thing” in the past in terms of removing indecent images from their platforms and now ministers wanted the “same response” over extremist material.

“We know it can be done and the internet companies want to do it,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

Appearing on a Question Time general election special on Sunday night, UKIP leader Paul Nuttall called for 20,000 more police officers on UK streets, and for a review of funding of mosques in Britain while Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said the Prevent counter-radicalisation strategy should be scrapped.

SNP leader and Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said it makes sense to review counter-terror arrangements following the latest attacks but that no community should be made a scapegoat for the actions of a “mindless minority”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-2017-40154361

UK: The Brexit Election is Suddenly More About Fighting Terrorism — Jeremy Corbyn: Police need additional resources — Theresa May: “Enough is enough”

June 5, 2017

 

‘Enough is enough,’ says May … but Corbyn and Farron query police cuts and ask why government has not published report into funding of jihadi groups

Theresa May: ‘There is, to be frank, far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.’
Theresa May: ‘There is, to be frank, far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.’ Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA 

What’s happening?

It was supposed to be the Brexit election. Instead it is the issue of security that dominates today after another terror attack struck a British city and election campaigning was suspended for the second time.

Sunday’s suspension was more brief than that agreed after the Manchester Arena bombing, and different in tone – perhaps inevitable after the second terrorist strike in a fortnight, and with just days to go before voters head to the polls.

Theresa May emerged from a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee to announce: “Enough is enough.”

While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.

On what she thought still needed to be done, May said there could be increased prison terms for even minor terrorism offences, and targeted internet companies:

We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.

We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader CREDIT: JEFF J MITCHELL /GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

Returning to the stump on Sunday evening, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took a different view on how extremism could be tackled:

You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts. Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of ‘crying wolf’ .

That is a reference to a speech made by May as home secretary two years ago, in which she accused Police Federation delegates of scaremongering and “crying wolf” over cuts in police funding.

Corbyn also sought to distance himself from some of his own past comments, notably a 2015 BBC interview in which he said he was “not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy in general” on Britain’s streets (an interview the BBC Trust later ruled was presented out of context). Speaking on Sunday, the Labour leader said he backed the actions of armed police who shot dead the three suspects just eight minutes after the first emergency call:

I will take whatever action is necessary and effective to protect the security of our people and our country. That includes full authority for the police to use whatever force is necessary to protect and save life as they did last night.

***BESTPIX*** Aftermath Of The London Bridge Terror AttacksLONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Counter terrorism officers march near the scene of last night’s London Bridge terrorist attack on June 4, 2017 in London, England. Police continue to cordon off an area after responding to terrorist attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market where 6 people were killed and at least 48 injured last night. Three attackers were shot dead by armed police. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
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Counter-terrorism officers near the scene of the London Bridge terrorist attack. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Corbyn finds backing this morning for his argument that “difficult conversations” need to be had with countries including Saudi Arabia over the funding of extremism. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron echoed Corbyn’s call for a report commissioned by David Cameron into funding of jihadi groups to be published.

The Guardian reported last week that the findings – which are believed to focus on Saudi Arabia’s funding for Islamists – might never be published. The Home Office called its contents “very sensitive”.

Writing in the Guardian today, Farron says a thorough attempt at tackling extremism should mean publishing the report:

That should include exposing and rooting out the source funding of terror, even it means difficult and embarrassing conversations with those such as Saudi Arabia that the government claims are our allies.

At a glance:

Diary

  • We can expect a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra meeting this morning, with a Theresa May statement to follow. The PM then resumes campaigning.
  • Jeremy Corbyn is visiting north-east England, culminating in a rally in Gateshead this evening.
  • Tim Farron and Nicola Sturgeon are in Edinburgh ahead of tonight’s delayed Question Time, hosted by Nick Robinson. That’s on BBC1 at 9pm.

Read these

Jane Merrick in the Independent says the PM’s response to the London attack had to be political:

The criticism fails to recognise the reality of the situation. What was she supposed to do? People waking up on Sunday morning to yet another attack, the third in as many months, needed reassurance that something was being done – beyond the usual appeals for unity and resilience. As she herself said, things cannot simply return to normal…

In Britain it is unprecedented in modern times for one terrorist attack to have been carried out during an election campaign, let alone two. Experiencing three in fairly quick succession has shaken the country. As we are in uncharted territory, there is no rulebook to follow. But it seems like May cannot win and would have faced criticism whatever she had said.

In the Guardian, Myriam François says the solutions proposed by May and others miss the mark:

Attacking European nations or the United States was never Isis’s raison d’être. But as coalition forces have gradually dismantled the strongholds that provided the group with a modicum of authority in the eyes of its supporters, strikes in western cities have consistently been claimed as a response to this.

This isn’t to suggest the territorial fightback against Isis should not be pursued – it is simply that we have to recognise that the fate of European capitals is tied up with a very real war taking place in the Middle East. British foreign policy, whether you agree or disagree with its direction, is reverberating on British soil. And here it mixes with the underbelly that exists in all societies: the marginalised, the angry, the alienated; those looking for a higher cause to bring meaning to an often dead-end existence.

Theresa May is in denial about Britain’s declining power over Brexit in the age of Climate Change among angry European leaders — and the shadow of Donald Trump

June 3, 2017

Brexit is the most important single development in British foreign policy since declaring war on Germany in 1939. It is also arguably the worst unforced error ever in British history

By Patrick Cockburn

The Independent Online

.theresa-may.jpgNurse May is selling rose-tinted fantasies about an isolated post-Brexit Britain in the age of Trumpism REUTERS

The general election is showing the extent to which Britain has diminished in power over the last year. “L’Angleterre, ce n’est plus grand chose – England is not much anymore,” said President de Gaulle in 1963 as he vetoed Britain’s bid to join the EEC.

He was premature because of Britain’s subsequent EU membership and its longstanding transatlantic alliance with the US. The first advantage was thrown away by the vote for Brexit last year and the election of President Trump means that the US is no longer a reliable ally for Britain or for anybody else. Any doubts about this latter development should have evaporated on Thursday when Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement.

Brexit is the most important single development in British foreign policy since declaring war on Germany in 1939. It is also arguably the worst unforced error ever in British history, so debate on its precise nature should naturally be the main topic of the election. Every aspect of life in the country – trade, industry, finance, welfare, health, education, defence, immigration – will be affected or transformed by it. But Theresa May’s claim to be prime minister for the next five years is based on the childish schoolyard virtues of being tough and combative, though this is contradicted by her swift retreats in the face of opposition on issues like national insurance and care for the elderly.

The attractiveness of May to the electorate is in keeping with a traditional English liking for authoritarian female rulers as exemplified by Queen Elizabeth I, Margaret Thatcher and Judy Dench as ‘M’ in the James Bond movies. In keeping with this archetype, she was reassuring voters this week that “the promise of Brexit is great … It is not a process, but an opportunity, alive with possibilities [to] build a greater Britain.”

No, it isn’t. Quite the opposite. The reason the Government is keeping its cards in the Brexit negotiations so close to its chest is that it knows that it holds no aces, few court cards and plenty of low scoring clubs and diamonds. It is a dud losing hand that is not going “to make sense of Brexit”, whoever is playing it. Britain is voluntarily leaving the EU club on the absurd assumption that the remaining 27 members will give it sweetheart terms under which ex-members suffer no penalties and are just as well off as those who stayed put. This won’t happen.

Conservative election strategy is to hold a presidential-type campaign in which the electorate is offered a choice between May and Jeremy Corbyn and inevitably chose the former. This approach is summed up in Hilaire Belloc’s advice to children on how to stay safe, citing the example of Jim who got eaten by a lion at the zoo: “Always keep a-hold of Nurse for fear of finding something worse.”

This strategy has been coming unstuck in recent days as Nurse May wobbles and weaves. Indeed, when it comes to playing a weak political hand without buckling, as will be necessary during the Brexit negotiations, all the evidence is that Corbyn is much tougher and more resilient under pressure than the Prime Minister. Going by his performance over the last two years, this mild-looking man should be able to deal with anything the EU leaders could throw at him since he has stood up without turning a hair to attacks of unrelenting venom from the British media as well as many of his own MPs. May revels in an embarrassing way in once having been called “a bloody difficult woman”, but nobody ever called Corbyn “a bloody difficult man” because it would be too obvious to be worth saying.

Sadly, toughness and resilience will not be enough because Brexit is only one reason why Britain is weaker than a year ago. Since 1940 the country has been sustained by its position as the closest ally of the US. For decades, it was able to piggy-back on American power, exerting influence beyond its own political and economic strength. But this advantage is disappearing because Trump is all about American nationalism, as he made clear in his speech withdrawing from the Paris accord.

The political consequences of this are more important than the climatic. Britain is an important building-block in the architecture of US global authority, but the Trump administration sees this role as a burden and a drain on Americans, so its need for close relations with the UK is reduced. Even if Hillary Clinton had won the election, Britain would have had less cards to play in Washington than when it was a leading member of the EU. A prominent feature of Trump’s politics is overwhelming respect for power – witness his happy relations with kings and dictators – and power is what Britain no longer has.

Brexit and the election of a more isolationist US president are not the only signs of Britain’s receding ability to debate and grapple successfully with its problems. The election is meant to be about Brexit, but the options here can only be discussed in the most infantile and jingoistic terms. Much of the same is true of the Manchester bombing on 22 May, with the Government pretending to be shocked and horrified when anybody suggests that the ability of British-Libyan Salman Abedi to carry out this atrocity might be connected to the British foreign policy of regime change in Libya in 2011, though it was this that reduced the country to chaos and allowed Isis to take root.

The Government’s shabby little cover story is that anybody who criticises its well-established willingness to allow Salafi-jihadi Libyans living in Britain to go to Libya to fight against Muammar Gaddafi is somehow providing a moral alibi for the bomber. May, Boris Johnson and the others pretend that the case against them is that British military intervention in Iraq, Syria and Libya motivated Isis killers like Abedi, but the real accusation is that they empowered people like him by giving Isis and al-Qaeda territory from which to operate. It would be particularly interesting to find out what role May played as Home Secretary in lifting control orders and returning passports to Libyan jihadis six years ago. Has she spoken about this?

By helping overthrow Gaddafi, and aiding the Salafi-jihadis who were the cutting edge of the Nato-backed armed opposition to him, Britain allowed the creation of sanctuaries where Abedi and his like can learn their bomb making skills. Focus on how Libyan and other jihadis were radicalised in the UK is a convenient diversion for the Government that enables it to evade responsibility for its actions in opening up Iraq, Libya, and Syria to them.

Government rhetoric about stopping radicalisation of Muslims is fundamentally dishonest and ineffective because it shies away from pointing the finger at the intolerant fundamentalist Wahhabi version of Islam which has become so influential in Sunni states and communities thanks to funding from Saudi Arabia. Short of allies in Europe and the US, May has been reduced to cultivating the very states most implicated in fostering Salafi-jihadis.

A stronger government was meant to be the outcome of this election, but Nurse May is selling rose-tinted fantasies about an isolated post-Brexit Britain in the age of Trumpism. A realistic discussion of these grim prospects would have been useful.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-trump-manchester-attack-britains-declining-power-a7769811.html

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