Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

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.

Sunday papers – 16 June 2019

Sunday papers – 16 June 2019

Theresa May

The Express claims the current Prime Minister will leave the incoming MP a ‘poison chalice’.

BORIS JOHNSON could be derailed by Theresa May in a last ditch attempt to bind the hands of the next Tory leader.
Mrs May is attempting to push through a £27billion cash boost for the education budget in her final weeks as Prime Minister which is prompting a row with senior ministers who believe it is a booby trap for Mr JohnsonThe Prime Minister is demanding a three-year funding settlement for schools and teachers to secure her “legacy”, after she pushed for an NHS funding increase last year, according to The Sunday Telegraph. Mrs May is planning to ask for Cabinet approval for the cash boost on Tuesday.
Government sources are insisting she is “still Prime Minister” and “education is very high on her list of priorities”.

The Telegraph also has the story.

Theresa May is attempting to ram through a £27 billion cash boost for the education budget in her final weeks in No 10, prompting a major row with senior ministers who believe it is an attempt to bind Boris Johnson’s hands.
The Prime Minister is demanding a three-year funding settlement for schools and teachers as part of a bid to shore up her “legacy”, following a separate funding increase for the NHS last year. She was preparing to seek Cabinet approval for the plan as soon as Tuesday, with Government sources insisting that she “is still Prime Minister” and “education is very high on her list of priorities”.

Tory leadership

But will Boris win the crown?  The Mail reports opposition to a secret plan.

Conservative leadership contenders have criticised a secret plan to crown Boris Johnson as prime minister as the first hustings today got underway.
The plan was proposed by senior ministers amid concerns that a six-week battle of candidates criticising each other would leave whoever wins weakened, providing ammunition for Jeremy Corbyn.
But Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart warned against any ‘coronation’ as they arrived for the Conservative National Convention Hustings in central London, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed the same view.

And senior Conservatives are planning to dethrone him, says the Express.

BORIS JOHNSON’s hopes of becoming the next Prime Minister could be dashed by senior Tories who are planning to expose his “lies”.
Boris Johnson will be represented by an empty podium during Channel 4’s television debate on Sunday night. The former foreign secretary turned down an invitation to participate in the Channel 4 leadership debate, as he said it would be “cacophonous”. But after rival candidate Jeremy Hunt accused him of “hiding away”, Mr Johnson has since said he will take part in the BBC’s debate next Tuesday.
However, he may face another challenge from Cabinet Ministers who are plotting to derail his leadership bid by telling MPs he can’t be trusted.

There won’t be a ‘coronation’ reports the Independent.

Contenders to be Britain’s next prime minister have lined up to dismiss calls for an unchallenged “coronation” of Boris Johnson, as the Tory leadership race turned increasingly bitter ahead of a second round of voting.
It comes as all six of the candidates vying for the keys to No 10 appeared on stage at a hustings session hosted by the National Conservative Convention – an event originally scheduled for a vote of confidence in Theresa May.

And the Guardian claims he’ll push the country into a General Election.

Boris Johnson’s attempts to appease hardline Tory Brexiters will tilt the party into a “disastrous general election” that could be just months away, senior Conservatives are warning.
The runaway favourite to replace Theresa May is being told that the coalition of support set to deliver him Downing Street “won’t survive the autumn”, when he will have to decide whether to accept a deal with the EU or try to force a no-deal Brexit – a move likely to precipitate an election.

The Times claims his progress is ‘inexorable’.

Boris Johnson’s progress towards Downing Street appeared inexorable last night as his most senior rivals began circling for jobs in his cabinet and a new poll showed that voters believe he is the only leadership candidate who can win the next election.
Two of Boris Johnson’s rivals — Michael Gove and Sajid Javid — used interviews with The Sunday Times to issue coded job applications.

The Mail claims Hunt could stop Boris.

Jeremy Hunt today leads the charge to try to halt the Boris Johnson leadership bandwagon by unveiling a plan to offer tax breaks for granny flats.
The Foreign Secretary, who came second to Mr Johnson in last week’s ballot of Tory MPs, announces an eye-catching policy of offering financial incentives to families who build accommodation for elderly relatives – to help ease the growing social care and childcare burden on the taxpayer.

But Sky News says he’s running away with the race.

Boris Johnson’s runaway Tory leadership bandwagon is gathering more pace with a surge in support in two opinion polls and a new high-profile backer, Esther McVey.
The polls, in The Sunday Times and Sun on Sunday, suggest Mr Johnson is way ahead of his rivals in his ability to win back Tory support from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the Lib Dems, and defeat Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

No Deal

The PM has claimed she’ll stop Boris’ plan for no-deal says the Mail.

Theresa May has privately vowed to thwart any attempt by Boris Johnson to take the UK out of the EU without a deal, her allies have told The Mail on Sunday.
The disclosure comes as senior party figures told The Mail on Sunday that Mrs May had voted for ultra-Remainer Rory Stewart in Thursday’s ballot of MPs, which led to a landslide victory for Mr Johnson.
Mrs May, who has vowed to stay on as an MP after she leaves Downing Street next month, has suggested she would join forces with pro-Remain Ministers such as Chancellor Philip Hammond and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd to try to stop Mr Johnson from leaving after the October 31 deadline ‘Deal or No Deal’.

And the House of Lords is also threatening to take a hand if no-deal happens, reports the Times.

Up to 30 Conservative peers are threatening to resign the whip if Boris Johnson attempts to force through a no-deal Brexit.
The remain-supporting peers are plotting to quit en masse amid mounting speculation that Johnson, who has vowed that the UK will leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, will become prime minister.
One prominent peer said that the discussions had accelerated in recent days after Johnson topped the ballot in the first round of voting in the Tory leadership race, with 114 votes.

But economists think the prospect of no-deal is getting closer, reports Breitbart.

The chance of the UK leaving the EU in a clean break, ditching Theresa May’s EU-approved withdrawal treaty, has increased, according to a poll of economists conducted by Reuters.
“The possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit appears to have risen,” Howard Archer at economic forecasting group EY ITEM Club told Reuters after the median forecast for the chance of a no-deal Brexit had increased from 15 per cent in May to 25 per cent in the June poll.

A committed Brexiteer has laid it on the line for the incoming PM, reports Westmonster.

Founder of JD Wetherspoon Tim Martin has warned any new prime minister not to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations and to leave on WTO terms on October 31st.
Martin, an ardent Brexiteer, told “The majority of Brexiteers believe that No Deal is a much better way to leave.
“The real danger is that Boris signs an agreement to leave and 90% of the current Withdrawal Agreement gets chucked in there with a couple of minor tweaks to the backstop.”

Labour Party

Corbyn is plotting a tax raid reports the Telegraph.

Jeremy Corbyn is plotting a major tax raid on children helped onto the housing ladder by their parents and those who inherit even the lowest value homes, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.
A report commissioned by Labour proposes replacing the current system of inheritance tax with a “lifetime gifts tax” levied on cash or homes given to individuals during the course of their lives.
The document, Land for the Many, claims that the plans would facilitate “the better sharing out” of “unearned windfalls”, by generating an extra £9 billion per year for the Treasury.

The Express also has the story.

JEREMY CORBYN is planning a huge tax raid on children who inherit homes from their parents.
The Labour leader’s proposal replaces inheritance tax with a “lifetime gift tax”, The Sunday Telegraph reported. The tax will apply to property or cash given to individuals during the course of their lives. The report, Land for the Many, claims it would help “the better sharing out” of “unearned windfalls”.
Labour hope the tax would add £9 billion a year to the Treasury.

The Times also reports the prospect.

Labour is considering replacing inheritance tax with a levy on cash and property given to individuals during their lifetimes, a move that could cost families thousands of pounds.
At the moment the system allows a parent to avoid tax on gifts to children as long as they are made more than seven years before the parent’s death.
A parent is also able to pass on a home with a value of up to £475,000 without paying inheritance tax, a sum that rises to £950,000 for married couples and civil partners.

The Guardian reports the shadow cabinet is due to discuss Brexit tomorrow.

Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet is set to debate Brexit on Monday, as the prospect of a Boris Johnson premiership accelerates Labour’s drift towards supporting a second referendum.
Corbyn is coming under renewed pressure to set out his backing for a fresh public vote more clearly, as the shockwaves from Labour’s catastrophic performance in the European elections continue to reverberate.
Shadow ministers will be shown the second part of a presentation on polling which began at last week’s meeting, and according to one person present showed Labour was being “squeezed from both sides”.

And the Independent reports on the prospect of a second referendum.

Labour Party members will have the opportunity to force Jeremy Corbyn to commit fully to a fresh Brexit referendum, after the party bowed to pressure to stage a consultation.
The grassroots survey will be launched next month and conclude by early August, The Independent can reveal – paving the way for the policy shift as a new hardline Conservative prime minister arrives in No 10, supporters believe.


The Irish boss has commented on the prospect of removing the backstop from the ill-fated Withdrawal Agreement, says the Independent.

Leo Varadkar has said removing the Irish border backstop from the UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement  would be “effectively the same” as a no-deal Brexit.
The Irish premier added it was “alarming” that Conservative leadership candidates have proposed changes to the policy which safeguards against a hard border.
Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to replace Theresa May as prime minister, is among those who have suggested ditching the backstop in favour of unspecified “alternative arrangements”.

He’s bleating to BBC News as well.

The taoiseach (Irish prime minister) has said removing the backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement, would be “effectively the same as no deal”.
Leo Varadkar was responding to comments from some candidates seeking to replace Theresa May as prime minister.
Many contenders have proposed changes to the backstop, even though the EU says it is not up for renegotiation.
Mr Varadkar said: “If we don’t have that (the backstop), there is no deal”.
The backstop has proven to be one of the most controversial parts of Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

The Guardian has taken up his sob-story.

Leo Varadkar has said that removing the border backstop  would be as bad for Ireland as a no-deal Brexit.
Some contenders to replace Theresa May as prime minister, including frontrunner Boris Johnson, have proposed changes to the policy.
The EU has said the withdrawal agreement – including the backstop – is not up for renegotiation.
The Irish premier told RTE’s Marian Finucane programme that the backstop is “a legally operable guarantee that we will never see a hard border emerge again”.


The bloc has potential problems with the US, reports the Telegraph.

There is a creeping nervousness taking hold in Brussels. Officials fear that its tactic of delaying further trade conflict with Washington may soon run out of road. Eventually the EU will be forced to pick sides in the China-US trade war, and pressure to open sensitive markets to US commercial interests will become unbearable.
At first glance, the latest trade issue to provoke the ire of the teetotal US president is surprising: Donald Trump is angry about an apparent inequity in the trade of wine between France and the US.
He believes that EU levies of 11-29 cents per bottle are too high, relative to the import taxes the US imposes of 5 cents per 750 millilitres.

Election fraud

The question of fraud in the Peterborough by-election rumbles on.  The Times says:

A notorious vote-rigger jailed for forging postal votes played a far greater role in Labour’s narrow by-election victory in Peterborough this month than the party has admitted.
Tariq Mahmood, 51, a numberplate salesman and former taxi company owner who received a 15-month sentence for his part in a “systematic campaign of electoral fraud” in 2008, had denied involvement in the campaign to elect Lisa Forbes 10 days ago.

The Mail claims voting was corrupt.

Voting practices in the Peterborough by-election won by Labour were worthy of corrupt ex-Soviet state Kazakhstan, independent observers warned last night.
They said the sight of people photographing their completed ballot papers was something they had only ever seen in Kazakhstan ‘many years ago’.
The oil-rich state has until recently had only one president since it broke with the Soviet Union in 1991, with claims that even last Sunday’s election was rigged.

And Westmonster reports that the police are looking into the election.

Cambridgeshire Police have confirmed that they are now looking into five allegations relating to the Peterborough by-election.
There has been some speculation relating to the by-election, including the degree of involvement from Labour activist Tariq Mahmood who previously received a prison sentence for postal vote interference.
Labour deny he was involved in the campaign, though he was pictured with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and their by-election candidate Lisa Forbes who beat the Brexit Party’s Mike Greene by just 683 votes.

Gulf attacks

Pictures of an oil tanker ablaze have prompted troops to be sent to the area, says the Mail.

The Royal Navy is sending 30 Marines to the Gulf for a training exercise amid Iranian attacks on two oil tankers.
Elite soldiers from 42 Commando will leave their Plymouth barracks to form Special Purpose Task Group 19, deploying on Royal Navy ships from Britain’s new Bahraini base.
Earlier reports that the Marines are being deployed to protect British ships in light of the tensions were tonight denied by the Ministry of Defence.

The soldiers will back up US troops, says the Sun.

THE ROYAL Navy is set to send Marines to the Persian Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran after an attack on two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.
Britain has backed the US in saying that Iran was behind the attacks, adding it was “almost certain” the country was responsible.
Elite soldiers from 42 Commando based near Plymouth are set to be deployed in a training exercise drawn up before the attacks on one Norwegian and one Japanese tanker.

The Morning Star claims there’s a threat of war.

BRITISH and US claims that Iran is behind two oil tanker explosions are “the most dangerous threat of war” yet, peace campaigners warned today.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the first to accuse Iran of having attacked Norway’s Front Altair and Japan’s Kokuka Courageous as the two tankers sailed through the Gulf of Oman yesterday.
But journalist and peace campaigner John Pilger told the Morning Star there was “not a shred of evidence” to suggest Iran was responsible and nobody should trust the Trump administration.


There could be more deaths from the bug, reports the Times.

Hospitals have been put on high alert by public health officials amid a listeria outbreak that has killed five patients — one of the UK’s worst outbreaks. The bug has an incubation period of up to 70 days, and NHS chiefs are braced for more fatalities.
Five years ago the government was warned about failings in hospital food safety. A 64-page report for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) uncovered 32 failings in hospital food safety in 2014.

And the Independent reports an investigation.

The health secretary has ordered a “root and branch” review of NHS food after two more patient deaths were linked to an outbreak of listeria.
Matt Hancock said he was “incredibly concerned” after it emerged the patients were suspected of dying after eating pre-packaged hospital sandwiches and salads from the same supplier, The Good Food Chain – bringing the number of fatalities to five.
The affected products have since been withdrawn from hospitals and Public Health England (PHE) said evidence suggested all the deaths occurred before the items were removed from circulation on 25 May.

Even though he’s in the running for the Tory leadership, the health secretary has addressed the problem, reports ITV News.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered a “root and branch” review of NHS food after two more patient deaths were linked to a listeria outbreak.
The former Conservative leadership hopeful said he was “incredibly concerned” after it emerged patients were suspected of dying after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads linked to The Good Food Chain, which supplies food to NHS hospitals.

The Mirror also reports the investigation.

AN NHS food probe was ordered after the deaths of two more patients were linked with pre-packed sarnies.
The “root and branch” review follows a listeria outbreak now suspected of claiming five lives.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock who ordered the probe said: “I’ve been incredibly concerned.”

The post Sunday papers – 16 June 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

News review – Friday 14 June 2019

News review – Friday 14 June 2019


ARCH-Tory Remainer Oliver Letwin has reluctantly admitted Parliament has run out of options to prevent the next prime minister pushing through a no-deal Brexit. The former minister, who has been behind a series of failed cross-party moves to block a no-deal departure, said he could not think of any further parliamentary opportunity to intervene before Britain is due to leave on October 31. His belated admission came after the Commons narrowly voted on Wednesday to reject a Labour motion, backed by other opposition parties, which would have enabled MPs to take control of the business of the House on June 25.

MPs may have run out of possibilities to block a future prime minister pursuing a no-deal Brexit, a senior Tory has warned after an attempt to wrestle control of parliamentary business from the government was defeated. The remarks came as Conservative leadership contenders continued to insist they are willing to leave the European Union without a deal – despite a leaked document saying the UK will not be prepared for a no-deal exit by 31 October.

Reviving the campaign to prevent Britain making a clean break from the European Union after an attempt to use parliament to outlaw a full Brexit failed on Tuesday night, rebel members of the governing Conservative Party have said they would move to bring down the government altogether to stop Brexit. The threat to the next Prime Minister  — today whittled down to a list of seven Conservative front-runners who will be voted on again next week — comes as several would-be leaders said they are determined to see Brexit happen in October, and some have even not ruled out suspending Parliament to prevent remain-supporting MPs from torpedoing an exit.

Tory leadership

ITV News
Before this Tory leadership election started, the party’s grandees and custodians were telling me party members MUST at all costs be given a choice of candidates to be leader and our next prime minister. Now they tell me Boris Johnson is so far ahead – both among MPs and seemingly among the membership – that it would politically insane to stick to the current timetable of two candidates beating each other up in public, in front of mostly retired white men, for four weeks.

RIVALS of Tory leadership frontrunner Boris Johnson are attempting to force the leading Brexiteer to take part in a TV debate by rivals who hope he will make a mistake cutting support for his campaign. The former Foreign Secretary has faced criticism from his rivals, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Dominic Raab. The three will join Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Rory Stewart in a live debate on Channel 4 and the BBC.

Sky News
Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to take part in televised debates for the Conservative leadership. Mr Johnson’s six remaining opponents have teamed up to write an open letter stressing their commitment to taking part in all the upcoming televised debates. So far, the former foreign secretary has only answered six questions from journalists during the whole campaign, but that hasn’t stopped him opening up a huge lead in the first ballot of the contest.

BORIS Johnson’s Tory leadership rivals ganged up on Thursday night to demand he join them in TV debates – as they scrambled to close the gap on the frontrunner. Left to a desperate battle for second place, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Rory Stewart said they were all committed to taking part in showdowns on Channel 4 and the BBC.

Boris Johnson‘s rivals last night piled pressure on the former foreign secretary to take part in a string of TV debates. Channel 4 News has proposed a programme on Sunday night featuring all seven remaining candidates.  The BBC is also planning a debate on Tuesday – after the second round of voting by Tory MPs, which will see at least one other candidate eliminated.

Boris Johnson’s supporters have called on “vanity candidates” to drop out of the Tory leadership race to speed up the process of selecting the next prime minister. The former foreign secretary was backed by 114 Tory MPs in the first round of voting – 71 more than his nearest rival Jeremy Hunt. Seven of the ten candidates went through to the next round of voting, but with the four least popular of the remaining candidates only managing 89 votes between them, they were under pressure to pull out so that the field can be whittled down to the final two during the second vote on Tuesday.

Conservative leadership candidates are in talks about joining forces to provide the strongest challenge to Boris Johnson, who looks all but certain to be Britain’s next prime minister after trouncing rivals in the first MPs’ ballot. Johnson hoovered up the votes of 114 MPs, more than a third of the parliamentary Tory party, and enough backers to guarantee him a place in the final two, assuming he retains their support in later rounds.

Sky News
Cabinet minister Rory Stewart has issued a stunning threat to “bring down” a Boris Johnson-led government – should his Tory rival suspend parliament in order to push through a no-deal Brexit. The international development secretary, who is competing against Mr Johnson for the Conservative leadership, told Sky News political editor Beth Rigby that his fellow candidate needed to “be straight with people”.

BBC News
Tory leadership candidate Matt Hancock is understood to be considering pulling out of the race, as the remaining contenders consider how best to challenge frontrunner Boris Johnson. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the health secretary could make a decision within hours, after getting 20 votes in the first ballot of Tory MPs. That left him in sixth place in the race, well behind Mr Johnson on 114.


Jo Brand is being investigated by police over an allegation of incitement to violence after she joked about throwing battery acid over politicians. The Metropolitan Police said they had received a complaint about the BBC Radio 4 comedy programme in which Brand made her comments. It came as Theresa May asked the BBC to explain why it had approved the joke for broadcast, suggesting that it “normalised” violence against politicians.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating Jo Brand over allegations of incitement to violence after she joked about throwing battery acid at Brexiteers. The 61-year-old comedian defended her remarks yesterday at Henley Literary Festival in Oxfordshire, where she was promoting her book, Born Lippy. She said that freedom of speech in comedy was “extremely important”.

JO Brand is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police after making a comment about throwing battery acid at politicians. The comedian made the joke on Victoria Coren Mitchell’s Heresy radio programme on Tuesday night, and was criticised by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage among others. A police statement to the Press Association on Thursday said: “Police have received an allegation of incitement to violence that was reported to the MPS on 13 June.

BREXIT Party leader Nigel Farage said he fears being attacked in the wake of Jo Brand’s comments — adding that his security bill will have to increase. He told The Sun: “Because of the atmosphere engendered by people like her I already have to spend a lot of money every month making sure I’ve got security to protect me. I suspect after what she has done that bill has just gone up significantly.


Chuka Umunna has joined the Liberal Democrats days after quitting the party he founded. The MP for Streatham who quit the Labour party to form the Independent Group, which later became Change UK, in February, will become the Lib Dems’ twelfth MP. On Thursday Layla Moran tweeted: “So thrilled to welcome Chuka Umunna to team Lib Dems!”

Chuka Umunna is to join the Liberal Democrats, saying that he was wrong to believe there was a need for a new political party in the centre ground of British politics. The MP for Streatham, who briefly stood for the Labour leadership in 2015 and quit to sit as part of an independent group in the Commons in February, will become the Lib Dems’ 12th MP. Sir Vince Cable, the party’s outgoing leader, hailed him as a “formidable, serious political figure” who would be a positive addition.

CHUKA UMUNNA has joined the Liberal Democrats – less than two weeks after quitting newly-formed Change UK. The former Labour MP, who will become the Liberal Democrats‘ 12th MP, confirmed the move on his Twitter page, and said: “I’m delighted to say I’ve joined the @LibDems.” Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran tweeted: “So thrilled to welcome @chukaumunna to team @libdems!”

Ex-Labour and Change UK MP Chuka Umunna is joining the Lib Dems – just six years after he said you can’t trust them. The former shadow business secretary quit Labour in February this year to join the new Independent group, which became Change UK ahead of the European elections last month. Following disappointing election results, where Change UK failed to make major gains but the Lib Dems came second after the Brexit Party, Mr Umunna went independent.


Breakaway party Change UK has suffered fresh embarrassment after announcing it has been forced to change its name again. The struggling party – which endured a painful split nine days ago – said it was ditching its name under threat of legal action from the campaign organisation “We are applying to register ourselves as ‘The Independent Group for Change’,” it said in a statement – having been born as the Independent Group at its launch in February.

Sky News
Change UK has applied to change its name for a third time following a dispute with a petitions website. The political group, originally known as The Independent Group, was challenged over the similarity of its new title to Now, the group has confirmed it will apply to the Electoral Commission to register as The Independent Group for Change. The party said in a statement: “Ahead of the European elections, lawyers for the organisation disputed our right to register as ‘Change UK’ with the Electoral Commission.

Knife crime

The number of knife crimes dealt with by the justice system has reached its highest level for nine years. More than 22,000 offences of possessing or making threats with a knife were dealt with by police and the courts in the year to March, an increase of a third in five years. In the first three months of this year, 5,759 offences were dealt with by the justice system compared with 5,285 in the same period last year.

Knife offences have hit a nine-year high following a nationwide surge in stabbings, official figures reveal. More than 22,000 cases were dealt with by the justice system last year – of which one in five involved children. But only a third of offenders went to jail. Sentences were so soft that even many of those with several previous knife convictions avoided being locked up. Yesterday’s figures showed 561 criminals were spared prison despite having committed at least three knife offences in the past.

Knife crime offences are at a nine-year high across England and Wales according to official figures released today by the Ministry of Justice, revealing the devastating effect the recent epidemic is having on Britain’s streets. Over 22,000 offences which involved the use of potential use of a knife were recorded in England and Wales in the year to March, 72% of which were committed by first-time offenders. Whilst the average sentence for knife-related crime has risen marginally since 2017-2018 from 7.1 months to 7.9 months, only 37.3% of offenders were handed an immediate custodial sentence.


Brussels was accused of ‘unacceptable greed’ last night as it emerged Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk are in line for nearly £440,000 in ‘golden goodbyes’. The Eurocrats, whose terms finish in November, are entitled to the bumper severance payments after leaving office. It means Mr Tusk, president of the European Council, is in line to rake in up to £288,000 for a ‘transitional allowance’, while European Commission chief Mr Juncker can pocket £144,000.

LUXEMBOURG Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has given German Chancellor Angela Merkel a glowing endorsement in the hope she will become the future president of the European Commission. Mr Bettel told CNBC the German politician would be a “dream candidate” for the coveted role after Jean-Claude Junker steps down. He said: “I love that idea, I’ve asked Angela Merkel several times. She would be a perfect candidate for the Council, for the Commission.

Yahoo News
France’s Marine Le Pen unveiled a new far-right group in the European Parliament on Thursday, uniting eurosceptics from across the continent who aim to devolve power from Brussels back to capitals. Calling itself the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, the new alliance brings together Le Pen’s National Rally, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s League party and Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) plus nationalists from Austria, Finland and Denmark, among others.

The European Union’s Budget Commissioner has admitted that “there’s not really a court to settle the dispute” if the next British Prime Minister refuses to hand over the £39 billion Brexit bill. Gunther Oettinger said yesterday that: “Mrs. May’s government accepted the payment of that amount so we expect that, no matter which government will be our negotiating partner in the future. We expect them to accept that bill.


Almost three quarters of NHS hospitals take more than two months to start patients’ cancer treatment, figures have revealed. Hospital trusts in England are supposed to begin treatment within 62 days of a GP’s referral in 85 per cent of cases. But last year only 37 out of 131 managed to hit that target, with 94 keeping seriously ill patients waiting longer. In the worst performing health systems, almost 40 per cent of people had to wait longer than they should, while that figure was less than five per cent in the best.

The NHS waiting list has reached a record high for the second month in a row, according to official figures. There are now 4.3million people waiting for hospital treatment and 140,000 people were added to the list between January and April this year. Record numbers of people are being treated by NHS surgeons and specialists but more of them are having to wait longer than four-and-a-half months. The waiting list figures were released alongside other data revealing May was the second busiest month on record for A&E departments in England.

Cancer patients in three-fifths of NHS trusts in England are waiting too long for treatment and the devastating effects of delays are being “ignored” by ministers and health service chiefs, MPs have said. A damning report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the government and NHS England must regain control over “unacceptable” waiting lists. It also criticised the “troubling” lack of interest in those left for months without treatment.

Illegal immigration

A smuggling ring thought to have made millions sneaking more than 300 migrants into the UK has been smashed by police. Officers in Romania and France arrested 11 gang members suspected to be part of a major international smuggling operation made up of 59 mainly Romanian truck drivers, middlemen and leaders. It is believed the gang, who are suspected of transporting 308 migrants to Britain, made £3million charging £9,700 to £12,800 for a passage through the Eurotunnel or ferries across the Channel.


Ofsted has warned parents cannot have confidence in some outstanding-rated schools because they have not been inspected for so long. Until last year, 296 schools had not been visited by the schools inspectorate for more than a decade because they had the highest possible rating. But this academic year, the watchdog has launched a crackdown over fears that standards were slipping in those schools.

Ofsted has issued a warning over “outstanding” schools as the number retaining their status has halved, new data has revealed. This academic year only 16 per cent of schools retained their “outstanding” status following re-inspection compared to 33 per cent last year, official figures showed. Schools rated as “outstanding”, the highest Ofsted grade, are highly sought after by parents and often drive up nearby house prices as families flock to the local area so that they qualify for the school catchment area.

One in five children missed out on their first choice secondary school this year following a rise in applications caused by a baby boom. New government statistics show 19.1 per cent lost out this year, a rise on the 17.9 per cent who were disappointed in 2018. The squeeze on places was due to a rise in applications of around 20,000 – or 3.7 per cent – to 604,500, following a similar rise the previous year.

Parents have been told that many “outstanding” schools are no longer worthy of the accolade after more than four in five of those re-inspected in the past year were downgraded. The proportion keeping the top rating after the latest inspection has halved since last year. Inspections are being stepped up amid fears that many ratings, which can raise house prices as families compete for places, are invalid. At present one in five schools is judged to be outstanding.


Boris Johnson has suggested that he will drop his longstanding opposition to a third runway at Heathrow if he becomes prime minister. The frontrunner to succeed Theresa May refused to reassure campaigners against the runway earlier this week that he would cancel the scheme. Four years ago Mr Johnson vowed to his constituents that he would “lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that third runway”.

Rail travel

Britain’s weary travellers took a record 1.76billion trips by train last year, amid widespread overcrowding and rampant delays. Despite commuters enduring the least punctual service in 13 years, statistics published yesterday by the Office of Rail and Road show the number of trips made in the 12 months to March was up 51 million – 3 per cent – on the previous year. The rail industry said the increase was fuelled by thousands of extra services being laid on, but the figures have fuelled concerns about overcrowding.

The post News review – Friday 14 June 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

‘Prejudiced’ Home Office refusing visas to African researchers

Academics invited to the UK are refused entry on arbitrary and ‘insulting’ grounds

The Home Office is being accused of institutional racism and damaging British research projects through increasingly arbitrary and “insulting” visa refusals for academics.

In April, a team of six Ebola researchers from Sierra Leone were unable to attend vital training in the UK, funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of a £1.5m flagship pandemic preparedness programme. At the LSE Africa summit, also in April, 24 out of 25 researchers were missing from a single workshop. Shortly afterwards, the Save the Children centenary events were marred by multiple visa refusals of key guests.

Continue reading...

Saturday papers – 8 June 2019

Saturday papers – 8 June 2019

Boris’ court case

The High Court has thrown out the charge that Boris Johnson misled the public over his claim on the big red bus, reports the Times.

Boris Johnson will not face criminal charges over his statements during the Brexit campaign after senior judges dismissed a private prosecution of the frontrunner in the Tory leadership.
The former foreign secretary was issued with a summons by District Judge Margot Coleman on May 29 to face three allegations of misconduct in public office.

The Mail also has the story

Boris Johnson today won a High Court challenge against a court summons over claims he made during the referendum campaign that the EU receives £350million a week from the UK.
The former Foreign Secretary’s legal team challenged the summons for him to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court as they blocked a controversial private prosecution by campaigner Marcus Ball.
Mr Ball, a Remainer, had been trying to prosecute the Conservative leadership for three allegations of misconduct in a public office.

The Express says the case was politically motivated.

BORIS JOHNSON will not be prosecuted over his Brexit campaign claim that the UK sends £350 million to the EU every week after his case was thrown out by High Court judges.
The Tory leadership frontrunner was facing three allegations of misconduct in public office after “Brexit Justice” campaigner Marcus Ball crowdfunded £300,000 for a private prosecution. He had claimed Mr Johnson had deliberately misled the public with his Vote Leave campaign’s slogan “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead”, which was emblazoned on a tour bus.

The case was ‘vexatious’, reports the Independent.

Boris Johnson will not appear in court over allegations he committed misconduct in a public office by “misleading the public” about Brexit, after winning a legal challenge.
His lawyer told the High Court that a private prosecution over claims that the UK pays the EU £350m a week was “politically motivated and vexatious”.


Barnier has threatened the incoming Prime Minister, says the Times.

Boris Johnson will find Brexit negotiations with the EU even tougher than Theresa May did if he becomes prime minister, officials in Brussels warned.
Senior EU officials and diplomats note that throughout the Brexit turmoil of the past two years Mrs May was “never given the cold shoulder”.
“The question was always, ‘What can we do to help?’ ” said one European ambassador. “That will not be case for a new prime minister when the favourite candidate has a big trust deficit with us.”

The Sun reports that the new PM won’t be able to open the WA.

MICHEL Barnier tonight insisted the new British PM will not be allowed to reopen Theresa May’s deal or secure better terms on the backstop.
The EU’s chief negotiator said the current divorce package is the “only one possible” and different leadership in the UK “will not change” anything.
He said the new PM has a choice of accepting Mrs May’s deal, opting for No Deal or cancelling Brexit altogether.

But there could be a further extension, reports the Express.

THE EU will approve another Brexit extension beyond the October 31 deadline in the hope the new Tory leader calls a second referendum to break the Westminster deadlock, a senior EU source has revealed.
At least 25 European governments are prepared to back another delay to Brexit, regardless of who becomes prime minister, a senior European source has said.

Tory leadership

The Sun claims an exclusive report that Boris could get the premiership without a fight.

TORY grandees are pushing for Boris Johnson to be crowned PM without a vote by party members – so he can ‘get cracking’ on Brexit.
Sources claim that if the Tory frontrunner comes out on top in voting by MPs he should be put in No.10 straightaway.
Under the contest’s current rules, MPs will pick a final two by the end of June.
The Tory membership then elects the winner by July 22.
But as James Forsyth reveals in his column, there is growing concern that if the party waits that long, it could cause yet another critical Brexit delay.

But the Telegraph claims measures have to be taken to avoid cheating by honourable members.

Differently-coloured ballot papers and identity checks are among the extraordinary security measures that have been introduced to stop Conservative MPs cheating in next week’s leadership elections.
Candidates have also been warned by the party’s ruling 1922 committee that the final two leadership contenders will be “expected” to put their names forward to a vote of the members and not pull out.

And the Guardian claims that those advocating no deal could be jeopardising Northern Ireland.

Conservative party leadership contenders who are talking up a no-deal Brexit risk putting Northern Ireland on to an emergency footing, civil rights groups from across the political divide have warned.
Human rights organisation, workers’ unions, representatives of rural communities and a dozen other organisations are writing to all the candidates to succeed Theresa May to warn them no deal would have a “devastating impact” on the social cohesion in border areas.

The Telegraph claims that half the contenders could quit in the next couple of days.

Almost half of the Conservative leadership contenders could be forced to pull out of the race before Monday’s deadline unless they can secure extra backers over the weekend.
Andrea Leadsom, Rory Stewart, Sam Gyimah, Esther McVey and Mark Harper all have fewer than eight MPs publicly backing them – the minimum needed to enter the contest.

The Express also has that story.

TORY leadership contenders are gearing up to officially launch their campaigns to succeed Theresa May but in an unexpected twist almost half the current candidates could be forced to pull out before the Monday deadline.
Up to five runners and riders to become the UK’s next Prime Minister could drop out of the race by Monday unless they can secure extra backers over the weekend, The Daily Telegraph reports.

And Boris has promised to get us out by Halloween says the Mail.

Boris Johnson today vowed to make sure Britain leaves the EU by October 31 because failing would put Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.
The former Foreign Secretary delivered the warning as a new poll found he is best placed to win back voters from the Brexit Party and defeat Labour at the next election.
As Theresa May quit as Tory leader today, leadership favourite Johnson said that Brexit Party votes risked ‘delivering Corbyn to No 10’.
He also reiterated his vow to take the UK out of the EU by Halloween at all costs after Nigel Farage’s party beat the Tories at the Peterborough by-election but lost to Labour by 683 after the Brexiteer vote was split.


Nigel promises he’ll be back, reports the Mail.

Nigel Farage posed with his Brexit plan in Downing Street today – minutes after Theresa May left on her last day as Tory leader.
Mrs May was driven away from No10 looking relieved to be out of the pressure cooker, as the Tories digested a dismal third place showing in the Peterborough by-election overnight.
Almost immediately afterwards, Mr Farage turned up at the famous black door to deliver a copy of his blueprint for a ‘clean break’ from the EU.

But a newly-elected MEP claims the prospect of leaving in October is ‘remote’, claims Breitbart.

Newly-elected Brexit Party MEP for London Ben Habib has said the possibility of Brexit being delivered by October 31st is “remote” because the governing Tory Party is dominated by Remainers.
Sky News’s Adam Boulton asked the businessman-turned-politician if the Brexit Party would still have a purpose if the Conservative-led government delivered Brexit by the twice-delayed deadline of October 31st.
“If Brexit is delivered by the 31st of October, to a very significant extent we will have achieved what we set out to achieve,” Mr Habib said on Friday.

Labour Party

Despite the party’s win in Peterborough, there’s a new row over anti-semitism, the Times reports.

A fresh antisemitism row engulfed the Labour Party last night when a senior backbencher called for its newest MP to be suspended hours after she won the Peterborough by-election.
Lisa Forbes was narrowly elected for the constituency on Thursday. It was disclosed during the campaign that she had “liked” a Facebook post  that said Theresa May was following a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.
In response to a post claiming that Mossad and the CIA were responsible for the Islamic State terrorist group, Ms Forbes wrote: “I have enjoyed reading this thread so much.”

The problem is the newly-elected MP, says the Mail.

Labour has been hit with a new claims of anti-Semitism within the party as senior backbenchers called for their newest MP to be suspended for endorsing an anti-Jewish video.
Lisa Forbes, who beat the Brexit Party in the Peterborough by-election, ‘liked’ a Facebook video in April that referred to Theresa May’s ‘Zionist slave masters agenda’.

The Morning Star quotes the victory speech of the party’s leader.

AFTER Labour increased its majority in the Peterborough by-election, Jeremy Corbyn has told the Tories and the media: “Underestimate us at your peril.”
At a victory rally in Peterborough today, the Labour leader congratulated Lisa Forbes on becoming Labour’s newest MP.
“We offer the politics of hope, to end austerity, to fund our schools properly, to employ our police properly, to give our young people a future in this country,” he said.
Mr Corbyn took a shot at the right-wing media, which had predicted a Brexit Party victory, saying: “All the experts who wrote Labour off yesterday – underestimate Labour at your peril.

But will Corbyn plump for a second referendum?  The Mail reports one of his people.

One of Jeremy Corbyn‘s key allies said today that Britain must have a second referendum to avoid crashing out of the EU and Labour should campaign to remain.
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald has insisted the UK should vote again if the country is ‘looking down the barrel’ of No Deal.
He also said that any Brexit deal agreed by MPs must also be put back to the people.
But Labour MP John Mann said today that after the Peterborough by-election yesterday where the Brexit Party almost beat the party means a second referendum is now ‘dead’.

The Guardian says he won’t go there …

Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he will not bow to party pressure and move immediately towards demanding a second referendum, after Labour narrowly beat the fledgling Brexit party in the Peterborough byelection.
Corbyn – arriving in the Cambridgeshire city after the party’s candidate Lisa Forbes won by 683 votes, leaving the Tories trailing in third position – called for the “squabbling contenders” within the Conservative party to give the public a general election.
The Labour leader, flanked by Forbes and MP Louise Haigh, who masterminded the byelection victory, told Labour supporters in the city centre the party “is not at the stage yet” to push for a public vote.

… despite calls reported in the Independent.

Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to “unambiguously” support a Final Say vote after Labour narrowly avoided defeat by the Brexit Party in the Peterborough by-election.
Nigel Farage’s fledgling party came within 683 votes of defeating Labour’s Lisa Forbes, whose 31 per cent tally was the lowest for a by-election victor in memory.

Foreign aid

Aid has been unwisely spent abroad, reports the Mail.

British foreign aid has been squandered on funding studies into jazz and Roman statues, a damning report has revealed.
A watchdog said there was ‘reason to doubt’ whether a fund to distribute £735million of international development money was reducing global poverty.
Some of the taxpayers’ cash has been directed to projects benefiting some of the world’s biggest economies including China, a superpower with a space programme.
Nearly a quarter of spending from the Newton Fund, a body managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), went on student fellowships.

May’s legacy

It seems the outgoing PM is trying to salvage something out of her premiership reports the Times.

Two leading Conservative leadership candidates were rebuffed after they tried to raid Britain’s Brexit contingency fund for expanded Whitehall spending, The Times has learnt.
Late last year the government announced that it had allocated more than £2 billion of “Brexit preparedness” funding to various departments, taking the total Brexit spending by the Treasury since the EU referendum to more than £4.2 billion.
But a leaked Whitehall analysis of rejected bids, seen by The Times, reveals for the first time how bids amounting to tens of millions of extra spending across Whitehall were rejected.

The Guardian also has the story.

Theresa May is expected to press ahead with a series of policy announcements potentially costing billions of pounds in her final days in Downing Street, in the face of reservations from the chancellor.
The prime minister is keen to salvage some semblance of a domestic legacy from her three-year stint in No 10, which has been overwhelmingly dominated by Brexit.
May’s spokesperson said on Friday: “You heard from the PM recently in setting out that for the remainder of her time in office she will be focused on delivering and building on the domestic agenda that she has put at the heart of her premiership, since she became prime minister.”

And the Times claims she’s trying to improve education.

Theresa May’s attempts to bolster her legacy by pouring billions into education and mental health projects have been repeatedly blocked by Philip Hammond.
The prime minister has met the chancellor at least three times in recent weeks in an effort to persuade him to release funds set aside to cope with a no-deal Brexit for a series of domestic policy initiatives, according to Whitehall sources.

May Day

Next year we’ll celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day a bit early, says the Sun.

THE May Day bank holiday is being moved to a Friday next year so the whole nation can mark the 75th anniversary of World War Two’s victory.
The Sun can reveal that Britain’s annual day off in early Spring is to be shifted back by four days, from May 4th to 8th.
Business secretary Greg Clark’s action means the bank holiday will now coincide with Victory in Europe Day so all workers will have the chance to celebrate it.
VE Day parties will kick off a three day long weekend of commemorative events to honour the generation who defeated the Nazis.

ITV News also reports the change.

The early May Day bank holiday will be moved back four days next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
VE Day – or Victory in Europe Day – is marked on May 8 and commemorates the Allies accepting the surrender of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
The May Day bank holiday is traditionally held on a Monday but will be put back to that Friday and form part of a three-day weekend of commemorative events.
The announcement was made after this week’s moving commemorations held in the UK and France to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.


Scots children could lose part of their education, reports the Telegraph.

Scotland’s largest education union has voted to cut the amount of time teaching pupils despite its president warning the breadth of the school curriculum is a “million miles” away from what it should be.
Delegates at the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) conference in Perth overwhelmingly backed a motion saying teachers should spend no more than 20 hours a week with students.
They backed the two-and-a-half hour reduction to increase administration and preparation time and reduce their “excessive” workload.

The Mail claims there could be a nuclear problem.

Nuclear experts have warned that two Scottish reactors should not be reopened because of cracks that could force both Glasgow and Edinburgh to be evacuated.
Earlier this year, worrying footage of almost 400 cracks 2mm-wide at Hunterston B in North Ayrshire were revealed.
Owners EDF Energy and trade union GMB want the reactors put back into service, after they were closed in October 2018.
But Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, and Dr David Toke, of the University of Aberdeen, are warning against attempts to reopen the reactors.


Hospital patients have been poisoned, reports the Times.

Three hospital patients have died after an outbreak of listeria linked to packaged sandwiches.
The victims were in two hospitals in the northwest of England. Sandwiches and salads linked to the cases have been withdrawn and the supplier, the Good Food Chain, has voluntarily ceased production while an investigation continues.
Public Health England said that an outbreak of the bacterial infection had been identified at North Country Cooked Meats, a supplier of meat to the Good Food chain. The watchdog said that the company and its distributor, North Country Quality Foods, had also voluntarily ceased production.

Investigators have found the link, says the Mail.

Three hospital patients have died in England following a listeria outbreak linked to pre-packed sandwiches, health officials revealed today.
The outbreak has been linked to six seriously ill patients, three of whom died at Aintree University Hospital and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trusts.


Could AI help predict terror attacks?  The experts disagree says the Times.

Security experts have clashed with the new reviewer of terrorism laws over his fears that relying on technology to stop atrocities puts civil liberties at risk.
Jonathan Hall, QC, said that police and the security services were increasingly turning to artificial intelligence and algorithms to predict when, where and by whom terrorist attacks might be committed.
In his first interview since assuming the role Mr Hall told The Times that “a large amount of our liberty” had been sacrificed by citizens after “we’ve given all our data to big tech companies”.

Queen’s birthday honours

A ‘Project Fear’ architect has been given an award, says the Telegraph.

A leading business lobbyist accused of being one of the architects of “Project Fear” during the EU referendum has been awarded a Damehood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the chief executive of the CBI, has been given the honour in recognition of her services to business.
She is described by the Government as an “outstanding advocate of British businesses”.
During the referendum campaign, she was one of the most high-profile figures on the Remain side of the debate, warning that Brexit could cost up to a 1million jobs and cause long term damage to the economy.

The post Saturday papers – 8 June 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

Michael Gove’s war on historians: extreme whig history and Conservative curriculum reform

Michael Gove had a plan for all English schoolchildren. He wanted them to learn an account of British history in which his fellow nationals always went out into the world with a cheery optimism that comes from the good fortune of being born British and with the certainty that right was always on their side, writes Matthew Watson.

In the same week as I had an article published on the role of imperial ‘heroes’ in Conservative history curriculum reform, the pre-publication reviews of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s The Victorians hit the newspapers. The reviewers blew an enormous raspberry at Rees-Mogg’s attempt to justify his extreme Brexit stance through sketches of the achievements of 12 nineteenth-century ‘titans’ who, in his view, allowed Britain to punch significantly above its weight in world affairs. I was one of the few people to buy The Victorians in its first week on sale – for research purposes, of course – and it clearly deserves the derision that has been heaped upon it by reviewers of all political stripes. It depicts a ‘Boys’ Own’ fantasy of an imperial Britain whose passing has been increasingly mourned on the right and which now acts to propel the culture wars that have produced such worrying levels of contemporary political polarisation.

It would be a comforting thought if Rees-Mogg’s book could just be laughed at and dismissed. Yet consider it anew in the readily conceivable parallel universe in which Michael Gove, eminent Brexiteer and current contender to be the UK’s next Prime Minister, had got his way whilst Secretary of State for Education on the content of the history curriculum for English schools. Rees-Mogg’s amateurish tome would not, in those circumstances, have stood as testament to the anti-Gove position that there are any number of instances when it is a good idea to leave things to the experts. Instead, it would have done a serviceable impression of an authoritative school textbook. That is how close we came to future generations of English schoolchildren being taught that they can access the character that has made the modern country they call home most directly through memorising the feats of imperial ‘heroes’. The disconnect between a modern multicultural society and the idea that Britishness can only be understood in relation to white settlers subjugating indigenous populations is so glaringly obvious that it does not really require comment.

2013 now seems a very long time ago, but if we rewind those six years Gove was engaged in a bruising and ultimately losing battle with the majority of professional historians over the content of the English schools history curriculum. They accused him of having such a restricted historical sense that he was in no position to know how to distinguish a good curriculum from a bad one. He countered by saying that his passion for past narratives of Britain’s greatness made him every bit as much an expert as they were, but that unlike them he was not prepared to deprive young people of their right to learn why Britain has always been an exceptional country and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. Their response was to muse that anybody who attached themselves to such an avowedly ideological conception of historical expertise really had no clue about the purpose of learning history.

Gove took an extreme Whig historical perspective on the question of curriculum design. He insisted upon an ‘island story’ that would locate a common thread of British history from the Magna Carta to the present day in liberal constitutionalism and parliamentary democracy. ‘Hurray for us and our political farsightedness,’ his preferred curriculum announced at every turn. ‘Hurray for Empire,’ it also extolled.

Conservative curriculum-makers have recently shied away from the subject matter of Empire, concerned that the formal process of 20th century decolonisation embodies a rupture which is difficult to explain from within their worldview. The imperial past is now much more usually the province of progressive curriculum-makers, who see within it an opportunity to tell an explicitly global history of Britain.

The polyvocality of such a history is something that young people repeatedly say they like, because it allows them to view their country and their heritage in the context of competing, contestable claims.  Gove, however, was having none of this. His preferred curriculum was to have a single narrator’s standpoint (consistent with his own political views, of course) and a single narrative (again, that of his own choosing). Progressive curriculum-makers tend to embrace teaching Empire as a way of showing how formerly imperial heroes can have that status taken away from them as the dominant system of public morals changes. For Gove, by contrast, once a hero always a hero, and schoolchildren in modern multicultural Britain would be tested on how well they could recall the exploits of imperial adventurers.

In early 2014, David Cameron relieved Gove of his duties at the Department for Education, believing that his friend had become too divisive with a general election around the corner. Yet with division now the predominant feature of British political life, we should ask whether Gove was the ultimate winner of the culture wars over the history curriculum. After all, it has done no harm to Boris Johnson’s current status as favourite for the Conservative Party crown that he is on record saying that ‘The problem [with Africa] is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more’.  It is this climate of opinion that allows Rees-Mogg to secure a handsome contract for celebrating the imperial stewardship of Generals Gordon and Napier without thinking it necessary to mention the brutality with which they imposed British rule. Blowing raspberries at those eulogising imperial mythology is unlikely to be enough when the future, sadly, appears to be in their hands.


Note: the above draws on the author’s published work in British Politics.

About the Author

Matthew Watson is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick and an Economic and Social Research Council Professorial Fellow.


All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE British Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Featured image credit: Pixabay (Public Domain).

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: index backlink | Thanks to insanity workout, car insurance and cyber security