Archive for the ‘Conservative leadership’ Category

May’s Brexit deal is not dead – and only Rory Stewart will admit it | Rafael Behr

Even Boris Johnson will soon have to realise it’s a toss-up between an early election, or something akin to Theresa May’s deal

After the dodo, the most iconically dead bird in popular culture is the Norwegian blue parrot whose stiffened corpse appeared in the famous Monty Python sketch. Theresa May’s Brexit deal was compared to that parrot many times in the first months of this year in parliament and newspaper commentary. (It was also likened to a dodo on one front page.)

The deal was rejected three times by MPs; bludgeoned by remainers and leavers alike. It was declared expired; an ex-deal. The ostensible purpose of the Tory leadership contest, the criterion on which most of the candidates compete, is the quest for someone who can get a new, better deal – or who has the confidence to pursue Brexit without one. Only Rory Stewart poops the party by suggesting that the efficient route out of the EU is through the door that was opened by negotiation (and not by leaping from a top-storey window).

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The Tories want to back a winner. But they don’t know how to win | Rafael Behr

Neither of the main parties can expect traditional voters to return ‘home’ in an election. They need to learn the art of coalition

Two primal impulses are driving the Tory leadership contest: the desperate hunt for an election winner, and morbid fear of an election. Any tension between them is meant to be resolved by a Brexit miracle: the new prime minister releases Britain from European bondage on 31 October, and a thankful nation flings itself into outstretched Conservative arms.

It is always a mistake to expect gratitude from electorates. Voters see political pledges as a contract, not a favour, and they quickly move on to new demands. Labour’s victory in 1945 is the benchmark. If Winston Churchill couldn’t bank a VE day dividend at the ballot box, there isn’t much prospect of Boris Johnson getting one for some rickety Brexit bodge job.

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Tory leadership: Boris Johnson gets fresh boost as Leadsom backs his campaign – live news

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including the second round of voting in the Tory leadership contest and Boris Johnson and other candidates taking party in the BBC hustings

Turning back to polling, Opinium has published the results of a poll of people who watched at least some of the Channel 4 Tory leadership candidates debate on Sunday night. Among those who watched at least some of it, Rory Stewart was seen as the winner.

33% of those who watched, think Rory Stewart performed best in the #C4LeadershipDebate, with Jeremy Hunt coming second (18%) #ToryLeadershipContest #ToryLeadershipDebate

Rory Stewart has large leads amongst voters from other parties. In particular, 2017 Liberal Democrat voters backed his performance in the #C4LeadershipDebate (59% think he performed the best), and coming top amongst 2017 Tory voters. #ToryLeadershipContest

Viewers left the #C4LeadershipDebate with a more positive opinion of Rory Stewart and Jeremy Hunt. Michael Gove comes out worst. #ToryLeadershipContest

Best PM? After the #C4LeadershipDebate, for the first time, Rory Stewart leads the #ToryLeadershipContest, followed by Jeremy Hunt & Boris Johnson

Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary, has released the text of a letter (pdf) he sent to Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, reaffirming the government’s commitment to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK “in any [Brexit] scenario” and urging the EU to work with the UK on preparing plans to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU in the event of no deal. This has been welcomed by the3million, which represents the 3 million EU nationals in the UK.

BREAKING: After meeting the3million & @BritishInEurope the Brexit Secretary @SteveBarclay has written to @MichelBarnier to urge him to seriously consider our compelling case for ring-fencing of #citizensrights under Article 50 no matter what Brexit outcome.

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UK led towards no-deal Brexit by untruthful elite, says ex-EU envoy

Ivan Rogers offers withering assessment of Tory candidates vying to be prime minister

Britain is being led to a no-deal Brexit by a political elite “which has great difficulties discerning and telling the truth”, the UK’s former ambassador to the EU has said, in a withering assessment of the Conservative candidates vying to be prime minister.

Ivan Rogers, who resigned from his post in 2017 after clashing with Theresa May’s senior advisers, suggested it was “probable” the UK would leave the EU without a deal in what he described as an act of “economic lunacy”.

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News review – Tuesday 18 June 2019

News review – Tuesday 18 June 2019

No deal

Rory Stewart has claimed up to 100 Conservative MPs would vote with him to stop Boris Johnson carrying out a no-deal Brexit – but ruled out joining with Labour to topple his government. The Tory leadership outsider refused to echo senior Tories Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke who could potentially back a vote-of-no-confidence, saying: “I’m not going to take down a Conservative government.” Questioned by The Independent at hustings in Westminster, Mr Stewart said: “We can stop a no-deal Brexit much more easily than that.  “I, and nearly 100 of my colleagues, would vote to prevent a no-deal Brexit without having to bring down a Conservative government.” Mr Stewart also ruled out backing a Final Say referendum on Brexit, telling journalists it would be “catastrophic and divisive”.

RORY STEWART claimed up to 100 Conservative MPs would join him and prevent Boris Johnson from delivering a no deal Brexit – but he vowed he would never take down a Tory Government. Mr Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border and Secretary of State for International Development, revealed he has the numbers to stop a no deal from happening without taking down the next Prime Minister just weeks after his election. Tory grandee and pro-EU MP Ken Clarke and Chancellor of the Exchequers Philip Hammond have hinted they could back a no-confidence vote called by the Labour Party if Mr Johnson wins the Tory leadership contest and heads for a no deal.

Up to 100 Conservative MPs would vote with opposition parties to stop Boris Johnson from pressing ahead with a no-deal Brexit, leadership contender Rory Stewart has claimed. Both Mr Johnson and Dominic Raab have insisted that they are ready to lead Britain out of the European Union with or without an agreement on 31 October. Mr Stewart ruled out joining senior Tories who have signalled they could bring down the government if the next Prime Minister is intent on a no-deal Brexit.

Tory leadership

Rory Stewart is facing scrutiny over his alleged past as a spy  after he denied working for MI6 before becoming an MP. The Tory leadership contender was asked directly at a hustings event on Monday whether he had ever spied for the Secret Intelligence Service, in the wake of mounting questions about his previous career. A Whitehall security source told The Telegraph that Mr Stewart had been recruited by MI6 after he left Oxford University and spent seven years as a spy before entering Parliament.

RORY STEWART, currently in the midst of a campaign to become leader of the Tory Party, was forced to deny he worked as a spy for MI6 at a hustings event on Monday. A Whitehall source told The Daily Telegraph Mr Stewart, whose father was second in command for MI6 for five years, was recruited after his time studying at Oxford University. The source went on to say he spent seven years as a spy before entering politics. A 2010 article in the New Yorker by Ian Parker claimed Mr Stewart worked as a spy during his time as a British diplomat in Indonesia and then in Montenegro.

BORIS JOHNSON’s allies are planning on “rigging” the Tory leadership contest to ensure the frontrunner avoids a face-off with Michael Gove, MPs have claimed. Mr Johnson’s backers are allegedly plotting to “lend” votes to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a bid to rig the contest to succeed Theresa May. The extraordinary allegation was made by senior Tory MPs. The party members told The Sun Boris Johnson’s allies were desperate for him to swerve a direct battle with Mr Gove in the final stages of the race. One Tory said: “MPs on Boris’ team are looking at lending Jeremy votes. “

Rory Stewart has denied claims he has ever been a spy, despite previously admitting his career ‘gave the appearance’ he worked for MI6. The Tory leadership contender was asked about the long-running rumours he previously worked for the intelligence services at a hustings. The 46-year-old denied claims he worked for MI6 prior to becoming MP for Penrith and the Border in 2010. But a source told the Telegraph that Mr Stewart – the current International Development Secretary – was recruited soon after he left Oxford and spent seven years as a spy.

Michael Gove is attempting to halt the momentum gathering behind Rory Stewart in the race for No 10 with a plea for MPs not to “polarise” the Conservative Party. With Boris Johnson  almost certain of being one of the two candidates put to Tory members, Mr Stewart’s insurgent campaign has unsettled rivals scrambling for second place. Theresa May’s deputy, David Lidington, came out last night for Mr Stewart, the international development secretary.

The two runaway winners of last night’s Channel 4’s Conservative leadership contender debate were Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Boris Johnson won with his genius strategy of not bothering to turn up – having calculated, correctly, that it was beneath his dignity. Nigel Farage won because the whole grotesque event was an excruciating reminder of how constipated Britain badly needs the purgative force of The Brexit Party.

Boris Johnson could become Prime Minister tomorrow (Tuesday), thanks to Rory Stewart, obviating the need to go to any public hustings. The 1922 Committee’s new threshold rules mean that any candidate who gets fewer than 33 votes tomorrow is automatically eliminated from the contest, meaning if all but Boris fail to meet the threshold, he becomes PM. There is a real (if small) chance that due to Rory’s disruption, Hunt and Gove could slip back a little and other candidates not gain enough new supporters for an accidental coronation to happen… Guido’s tracker of public declarations shows that Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove are both sitting on just on 34 public declarations, meaning Rory only has to attract two public switchers from each for neither to reach the 33 vote cut off.

Conservative Party

THERESA MAY is set to ruffle a few more feathers inside Westminster by making one final appointment to her Government before departing Number 10 next month. Mrs May is reportedly in talks to appoint a Tory party donor as the next trade and investment minister. According to Sky News, former Fujitsu executive Simon Blagden has been ear-marked for the leading role in the Department for International Trade. Mr Blagden is also set to land a seat in the House of Lords. It is understood Mr Bladgen could be appointed within weeks despite the expected overhaul in Whitehall – caused by Mrs May’s resignation.

ITV News
Chancellor Philip Hammond is prepared to resign over Theresa May’s plans to spend billions of pounds on projects to shore up her legacy, it is understood. Senior Government sources have told the Press Association that tensions between Treasury and Number 10 officials have reached boiling point over the Prime Minister’s spending intentions. Mr Hammond is understood to be so against the plans that he is prepared to quit the Government in what would be an extraordinary move just weeks before the PM leaves office.


The Brexit Party’s Leader, Nigel Farage, has now confirmed that his party is “gearing up” to fight every seat in the country at the next General Election. Farage has said: “I don’t trust any of them (Tory leadership contenders) to deliver a genuine Brexit and unless that situation changes, we are gearing up as an organisation to fight every seat in the country.” It comes amid rumours that some Conservative donors are talking to Farage about the a pact at the next Westminster election. The Chairman of the Midlands Industrial Council, a group of Conservative donors, has called for the next Tory Leader to strike a deal with the Brexit Party.

Labour Party

TOM Watson is bringing more chaos to a Labour Party already heavily divided over Brexit with a demand for another referendum on Britain’s exit from the European Union. The Labour Party‘s deputy leader has “strongly” urged for the party to back staying in the European Union in a speech at the Centre for European Reform this morning. The announcement is at odds with his leader Jeremy Corbyn who has refused to take an anti-Brexit stance, despite demands from some parts of his shadow cabinet.

Tom Watson has called for a special conference to settle Labour’s growing Brexit row by the end of July, as he attempted to push Jeremy Corbyn closer towards a second referendum on Monday. In a bid to force the Labour leader’s hand, Mr Watson is urging the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to approve an emergency ballot or meeting of members before Parliament rises for the summer. Challenging Mr Corbyn over his attempts to delay changing policy until Labour’s annual conference in September, Mr Watson said he feared it would be “too late” to prevent a no deal Brexit.

Labour’s Brexit civil war flared again yesterday as the party’s chairman hit back at Tom Watson and his call to back Remain in a second referendum. Jeremy Corbyn has been under intense pressure to ditch Labour’s stance of “constructive ambiguity” on Brexit. His party suffered heavy losses to Remain-supporting parties such as the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the SNP at the European elections last month.

BREXITEER Kate Hoey dismissed Tom Watson’s claims Labour’s ‘values are Remain’ on BBC Newsnight last night. Ms Hoey, who was for a time co-chair of Labour Leave, was responding to the Deputy Leader’s speech at a pro-EU think tank on Monday. She told host Mark Urban: “The values that Tom Watson talked about, all about the values of solidarity and the values of freedom and these were all part of the EU. I believe Labour should be an internationalist party and all those values are equally true of being an internationalist.”

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has said he believes his party would be “leaving me” if it cannot fully endorse a second referendum, hours after giving a speech in which he said it should be the party of remain. Watson told the BBC that Labour “certainly might lose some votes” for backing a referendum, but would pay “a very high electoral price” for not taking a clear position on Brexit. Asked if he might be prepared to leave the party without a clear change of direction, he said, “I’m never going to leave the Labour party,” but then added: “Sometimes I wonder whether the Labour party is leaving me.”

TOM WATSON yesterday warned Brexit could destroy Labour as he demanded they become the party of Remain. Waging war on Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy, he said Labour must finally fully back a second referendum and campaign to stay in the EU. And the Labour deputy leader warned that if the party refuses to shift position, “there will be a very high electoral price to pay”. He said true British patriots would back remain – as he suggested the godfather of British theatre William Shakespeare would oppose Brexit.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson is stepping up pressure for a shift in the party’s Brexit stance within the coming weeks, after a meeting for the shadow cabinet to thrash out the issue was called off at short notice. In an impassioned speech on Monday, Mr Watson called for Labour to throw its weight whole-heartedly behind the campaign for a Final Say referendum, arguing the party should be “loud and proud” in its support for remaining in the EU. But no new date has yet been fixed for the shadow cabinet showdown, and sources close to Watson said he was concerned that time was running out for the party to make an impact ahead of the 31 October deadline for Brexit.

JEREMY CORBYN is planning a massive raid on children who inherit property and cash from their parents. But what is the “lifetime gift tax”? Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has proposed replacing inheritance tax with a levy on cash and property given to individuals during their lifetimes. This “lifetime gift tax” was outlined in a report, Land for the Many, commissioned by the Labour party which claims to “put land where it belongs: at the heart of political debate and discussion” and “allow for the better sharing out of the unearned windfalls arising out of the housing boom”.


Jo Swinson has said her party could work with others to put up joint second-referendum candidates in elections if she becomes Liberal Democrat leader. The former minister, who is vying to replace Sir Vince Cable, said many pro-Remain voters wanted politicians to put aside their party loyalties and work together to stop Brexit. Plans for a single People’s Vote candidate in last month’s Peterborough byelection disintegrated amid rancour and disarray. But Ms Swinson indicated in an interview with The Times that she would be prepared to look again at the idea if she wins her party’s leadership contest next month.


Sky News
Five allegations of malpractice relating to the Peterborough by-election which Labour won by 683 votes are being investigated by police. Cambridgeshire Police said three relate to postal votes, one allegation is of bribery and corruption and the fifth is of a breach of the privacy of the vote. Labour candidate Lisa Forbes was elected after the by-election on 6 June, narrowly beating Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Peterborough Council said on 10 June it received one unconfirmed report regarding alleged bribery before polling day which was referred to police and no further action will be taken, the authority said.

Huffington Post
Police are investigating five allegations of malpractice relating to the Peterborough by-election, which Labour won by 683 votes. Three of the allegations relate to postal votes, one is of bribery and corruption and the fifth is of a breach of the privacy of the vote, Cambridgeshire Police said. Labour candidate Lisa Forbes was elected after the by-election on June 6, with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in second place. Peterborough Council said on June 10 that it received one unconfirmed report regarding alleged bribery prior to polling day. This was referred to police and no further action will be taken, the authority said.


A £20billion a year plan to transform the NHS is in ‘jeopardy’ because ministers have failed to address the social care crisis, health chiefs have warned. Theresa May announced the extra funds by 2023 to mark the NHS’s 70th anniversary last year. The cash will boost the health budget which currently stands at £127billion a year. The NHS long-term plan, unveiled in January, set out how the extra money would be spent and promised to reduce demand on hospitals by emphasising prevention and community care.

Theresa May’s flagship healthcare initiative, a £20.6bn increase in NHS budgets to fund its Long-Term Plan, is set to be brought down by her failure to tackle crises in social care and staffing, NHS leaders have said. Nine out of 10 leaders of NHS trusts, social care organisations and community care services said a funding deal for social care is needed if the reforms in the NHS plan are to be delivered. The government has delayed its promised reforms six times since 2017 after abandoning its original plan for funding care when it was dubbed a “dementia tax”.


Universities have been told that the growing number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds was not to blame for high dropout rates. The Office for Students (OfS) said that “access and good outcomes are not a zero-sum game” and the evidence suggested that it was poorly taught courses with thin content that drove young people away. In an article for The Times Red Box Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said that universities had to face the facts that too often “students are being inappropriately recruited then left to flounder”.

Two thirds of the country’s most disadvantaged children are white British – but all too often are ignored, the Education Secretary has warned. Damian Hinds said the focus of social mobility discussions tended to be on ethnic minorities that needed a helping hand, while the white majority were mentioned ‘in passing’. In addition, he said it was ‘too simplistic’ to assume the whole of the Midlands and the North were worse off than the South, as many regional cities do extremely well.


Eco-warriors from Extinction Rebellion have said they will target Heathrow with drones – but are set give passengers and the airport two months to prepare. The militant climate change group announced yesterday plans had been put on hold to target Europe’s busiest airport in June and July as the spat over a third runway continues. But the statement revealed a detailed ‘action plan’ for when the disruption is revived, including a map of the area drones may be flown. It said: ‘For absolute clarity therefore, Extinction Rebellion has not removed Heathrow Airport from its strategic planning.’


All hospitals where patients have died from poisoning after eating sandwiches were identified yesterday. Five people have died and four been left seriously unwell after an outbreak of listeria caused by packaged chicken sandwiches at groups of NHS trust hospitals. Public Health England named University Hospitals of Derby and Burton and University Hospitals of Leicester as places where patients had died. Western Sussex Hospitals, the Frimley Health NHS Foundation and the East Kent Hospitals University trust had patients who became unwell.

ITV News
Two more hospitals have been named as having had listeria-related patient deaths occur on their premises after pre-packaged sandwiches and salads were consumed – bringing the total deaths to five. The locations are University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust, Public Health England said. It comes after an outbreak of listeria was confirmed following the deaths of three patients who had eaten a particular brand of sandwiches and salads, which have now been withdrawn from hospitals.

Fighter jet

President Macron said the idea that there was a European race to build a next-generation fighter jet was “ridiculous” yesterday as Spain joined a Franco-German initiative. France and Germany hailed “another decisive step” for their warplane, due to enter service from 2040, as their defence ministers signed a co-operation agreement with Spain in front of a mock-up at the Paris Air Show. The initiative comes a year after Britain announced plans for a Tempest fighter, which is expected to become operational by 2035, complete with lasers and autonomous technology.

The post News review – Tuesday 18 June 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

Brexit weekly briefing: absent Boris Johnson harangued by Tories

Johnson avoids a TV debate with his fellow candidates as politics limps toward summer

Welcome to the Guardian’s weekly Brexit briefing, doing its best to make sense of all this nonsense since June 2016. If you would like to receive this as a weekly email, please sign up here. And you can catch our monthly Brexit Means … podcast here.

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Tory reputation for fiscal responsibility at risk from Johnson and other candidates, says Hammond – live news

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Tory leadership candidates take part in the press gallery hustings

Tom Watson’s Brexit speech this morning, which we previewed yesterday, was overshadowed by the Tory leadership hustings. But I’ve now had a chance to read the text, and here are three extracts.

We talk about the evils of no-deal till we’re blue in the face, because we’re still scared to tell the truth about Europe.

We’re more comfortable warning of an ineffable catastrophe, because we’re hard-wired to be unable to say the words that I’ve come here this morning to say:

Probably the most important Englishman who ever lived was William Shakespeare. A man of the Midlands, like me, whose transcendent imagination was as broadly and deeply European as it was English ...

One only needs look at where the plays took place: Rome, Athens, Venice, Padua, Milan, Cyprus, Navarra, Messina, Vienna, Denmark, the Balkans, Sicily. And he wasn’t just using places he’d visited as handy material. He never left the UK.

The notion that it’s in some way undemocractic to let the people put an end to this crisis because, after three years, parliament and government cannot, is absurd.

And if you want Brexit, and you believe there is still a majority for it in the UK, then a public vote will break the deadlock and deliver the Brexit you want.

At the press gallery hustings this morning Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, asked all of the Tory leadership candidates who were there if they would accept the definition of a hard border in Ireland (which the government has promised to avoid) set out in the joint report of December 2017. Dominic Raab said he probably would not accept it, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart generally said they would accept it, and Sajid Javid was evasive.

In a blog Peston explains why he thinks this matters.

For what it is worth, I assume [Boris] Johnson - if he had deigned to turn up - would have agreed with Raab.

What flows from all this?

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