Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’

Former Tory minister plans EU customs union rebellion

Nick Boles says if Theresa May fails to secure an extension to keep UK in trade bloc until 2022 he’ll force a vote

A new Commons rebellion to keep Britain in the EU’s customs union for years after Brexit is being prepared by a former Tory minister.

Nick Boles, a former business minister, said he wanted Britain to remain in the customs union until early 2022, allowing more time to come up with a viable long-term plan.

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Tories take four-point lead over Labour in latest survey

Brexit supporters appear more pleased with Theresa May than remainers are with Jeremy Corbyn

The Tories have opened up a four-point lead over Labour – the biggest since last year’s general election – as Remain voters appear to be losing faith in the ability of Jeremy Corbyn’s party to handle Brexit.

The latest monthly Opinium/Observer poll puts the Conservatives on 43% (up three points) while Labour is down one on 39%. The Liberal Democrats are on 6% (down one), two ahead of Ukip (also down one).

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May names nine new Tory peers to bolster party after Brexit defeats

Timing of announcement prompts claims that No 10 is using royal wedding to hide it

Theresa May has on the eve of the royal wedding nominated nine new Tory peers, including the former cabinet ministers Sir Eric Pickles and Peter Lilley and handed one to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party as she tries to bolster her party’s fragile position in the House of Lords.

Four other former Tory MPs are to be elevated to a chamber which has defied May’s government on 15 occasions over Brexit, in an afternoon announcement that has prompted accusations that No 10 was trying to use Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding to bury the news.

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The House of Lords may save us from hard Brexit. But it’s still ridiculous | Rafael Behr

Theresa May shovelling Tory bodies into the upper house exposes its shortcomings – and liberals shouldn’t forget them

A remedy against affection for the House of Lords is to try explaining it to foreigners. Like a senate, you say, but the members are mostly appointed by party leaders. (Your listener’s eyes narrow with suspicion). Except some still inherit seats in lines of aristocratic succession. (The eyes now widen in astonishment). Oh, and the bishops.

How long is a term? A lifetime. But when new members are added, doesn’t that mean the chamber just gets bigger and bigger? Yes. Yes, it does.

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PM set to nominate 10 Tory peers in attempt to overcome Brexit defeats

Labour peer Lord Adonis criticises plan as desperate attempt by May to boost fragile position in upper chamber

Theresa May is expected to approve the creation of about 10 Tory peers and hand at least one to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party in an attempt to improve her weak position in the House of Lords, which has already voted 15 times against her government over Brexit.

The elevations, which are expected to be announced in the coming days in Westminster, were immediately criticised by high profile remain Labour peer Lord Adonis as a desperate attempt by the prime minister to enlist people to boost her fragile position in the unelected upper house.

Tories tipped for elevation include former ministers Sir Eric Pickles and Peter Lilley. Adonis said: “This is a classic example of packing the Lords to try and make Brexit easier to endorse.”

Constitutionally, there is supposed to be a rough balance between the two main parties in the Lords, although at present there are 244 Conservative peers, including 49 hereditary peers, and 187 Labour peers. However, the Conservatives are far from a majority in a chamber that has a total of 780 members and has become the principal parliamentary opposition to Brexit.

That has meant that May’s government has been repeatedly defeated over the EU withdrawal bill, with peers inflicting 15 defeats on issues such as the customs union, the Irish border and removing the precise date of Brexit – 29 March 2019 – from the legislation.

Labour is expected to add three peers to its total representation, with the former party general secretary Iain McNicol and Martha Osamor, a race equality campaigner and the mother of MP Kate Osamor, heavily tipped to be ennobled.

That prompted a complaint from Adonis, who said it effectively validated the creation of new peers at such a sensitive time. “I’m very surprised that the Labour party is playing this game by agreeing to make a small number of peers because it legitimises the actions of the Tories.”

Other Tories who have been tipped for ennoblement include former MPs Andrew Tyrie, Sir Edward Garnier and Julian Brazier.

Party political peers are periodically created when No 10 indicates that it wishes to do so, although this round had been delayed for months. In February, May said she wanted to end the “automatic entitlement” to a peerage for holders of high office in an attempt to reduce numbers in the upper house to 600.

Former DUP MP William McCrea is expected to be ennobled, taking the Northern Irish party, which props up May’s government in the Commons, from three to four peers. Sources said the party had indicated that it also had been handed the right to make a second nomination.

One name believed to be under consideration is Diane Dodds, a DUP MEP who is married to the party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds. However, a senior DUP source dismissed speculation about Dodds as “complete nonsense”, indicating she was too young to be in the House of Lords.

The Liberal Democrats, who have 98 peers in the Lords, are not expected to add to their number.

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The Guardian view on the cabinet and Brexit: beyond a joke | Editorial

Downing Street says that ministers have agreed a customs regime strategy. That’s stretching the facts. The EU, MPs and the voters may also have their own views on the matter

There was a time, perhaps, when the government’s ineptitude over Brexit was almost funny. There is nothing funny about it now. For 15 months Theresa May has groped her way towards an approach that could reconcile her party’s Europe-loathers with her party’s Europe-pragmatists. All too predictably, none of her efforts have succeeded. Mrs May now has a month before the June European council at which the UK and the EU are due to review progress. She has five months before some kind of deal is struck. Progress? Deal? These words have lost all meaning. Getting two pandas to mate in captivity turns out to be a cinch compared with getting the Conservative party to agree what it wants.

Mrs May’s latest suggestions for turning Brexit dross into an agreement that can be marketed as golden is a so-called “time-limited goods arrangement”. Essentially, this is an attempt to keep the UK within the EU’s external tariff system after Brexit until it can come up with an effective technological alternative to a post-Brexit hard border in Ireland. That way, the loathers would get their Brexit, the pragmatists would get something they could call a frictionless Irish border, Mrs May would have a united party for a few weeks and the UK would not crash out of the EU unprotected.

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Clock is ticking for Theresa May as customs row drags on

The PM has to choose between two options, each with their own problems and perils

Eventually, the stalemate must end. Even if through sheer exhaustion, the cabinet infighting over which of two unacceptable customs union proposals to take into the next phase of Brexit negotiations cannot go on for ever. The question that is likely to convulse the weary world of Westminster next, however, is: what then?

The most likely route out of the current impasse is the one fraught with most difficulty. In the face of implacable ministerial opposition to her compromise new customs partnership (NCP) idea, Theresa May could quickly bring the sorry saga to an end by agreeing to go along with the maximum facilitation (max fac) model favoured by Brexiters in her cabinet.

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