Fireworks flew on Politics Live this afternoon as JoCo repeatedly lost her temper with UKIP leader Gerard Batten while taking a belligerent Batten to task over his support for Tommy Robinson. UKIP have lost a slew of MEPs over the last few months in protest at Batten’s personal obsession with Islam and support for the former EDL leader. You can watch the full encounter here…
The EU’s Budget Commissioner has confirmed that Britain would lose its budget rebate in the highly unlikely scenario that the UK stays in the EU. Gunther Oettinger made it clear that the UK would not keep the “mother of all rebates” if it held a second referendum and decided to stay in the EU:
“Even if, in the improbable but pleasant case if the UK were to Remain… the gradual exit from the rebate would still be kept. I think that it is something that is no longer appropriate…”
Spendthrift Eurocrats have had their sights set on the UK’s rebate ever since it was created – losing it would mean over £5 billion more of UK taxpayers’ money going to the EU every year. Vote Leave always insisted that the rebate should be included in the UK’s contributions as it was not a fixed entity and was continuously at risk of being demanded back by the EU. They have been proved right…
Lord Deben, the Chairman of the influential Committee on Climate Change, has been found guilty by the BBC Executive Complaints Unit of misleading listeners of the Today Programme. The former Environment Secretary claimed that the government were preventing communities that want to build onshore wind farms from doing so:
“What on earth is the government doing, saying that even where a community wants to have an onshore wind farm, it can’t have it. This is sheer dogma.”
But the BBC Executive Complaints Unit found that the opposite is true: the Government has in fact devolved the decision to approve onshore wind turbines to local councils.
The BBC acknowledged that “Lord Deben was presented as someone with a significant degree of expertise and knowledge in this area” and accepted that “he should have been challenged on this point to ensure listeners were not left with a materially misleading impression.”
One consequence of the BBC’s decision not to invite sceptics on to its programmes any more is that guff from Gummer et al is more likely to go unchallenged…
The Green Party has been advising activists to encourage BNP supporters they canvass to go out and vote. In a detailed pamphlet called “How to Win an Election”, written by Chris Williams, the Green Party’s Regional Manager for Elections, canvassers are advised:
“If they say BNP or UKIP, then do not tell them that there is no BNP or UKIP candidate … If they appear to be very anti-Labour, then we do want them to go to the polling station. When they get there, they will see no BNP or UKIP candidate, and so may vote Green instead.”
Guido suspects this loony strategy may be more of a vote-winner than a lot of Green ideas, but that’s not saying much…
How does Michael Gove get to sleep? He counts dead sheep. That’s because nightmare dog attacks on sheep are escalating. NFU Mutual says they rose by 67% in the past two years. Annually around 15,000 sheep are killed and many others are maimed. Mr Gove told the Conservative Conference he is “reflecting” on this key animal welfare issue.
By daylight, nightmares become reality for farmers when they find dead lambs scattered across fields and ewes with throats torn open. Typically just one dog is involved. It is not always down to an irresponsible owner. Sometimes a powerful dog simply ripped the lead out of their hand. On other occasions the dog was off the lead because the owner did not realise sheep were nearby. Mistakes happen. Yet when a big dog gets sight of prey its primeval instincts make it very hard to stop. For farmers the results are emotionally traumatic and economically ruinous.
Responding to reports that Theresa May is preparing to further capitulate in forcing the UK to remain within a Customs Union indefinitely, and for Northern Ireland to remain in the single market, DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly could not have been clearer:
“[Michel Barnier] has been blunt. He made it absolutely clear that under this arrangement, Northern Ireland would not be able to participate in free trade deals. To us this is not the best of both worlds, in fact we think this is the worst of both worlds… It is a deal breaker.”
Labour is facing renewed accusations of anti-Semitism as it emerged that Jewish journalists and anti-Semitism campaigners had been banned from attending an event tonight with John McDonnell. The Shadow Chancellor, billed as an “unrepentant socialist”, is due to sit down for a fireside chat-type event with Jenny Manson, head of the controversial pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour faction at a Momentum Barnet meeting this evening. No voice for Jewish bloggers trying to cover the event…
Jewish Human Rights Watch have said the decision to exclude Jews from the event “beggars belief” and called on McDonnell to “withdraw from tonight’s event and apologise to Barnet’s Jewish communities.”
If the chat does go ahead, before the main event the audience will be treated to Ian Saville, a “Marxist Magician” and ventriloquist who has been trying to pull off the magic trick of “making International Capitalism and exploitation disappear” for over thirty years. McDonnell will be needing his “free money magic trick” if he ever gets into power…
There were dramatic scenes in parliament last night at the Venezuela APPG as a group of Corbynista MPs, including Chris Williamson and shadow minister Karen Lee, attempted to stage a takeover of the committee. Amid confusion about when and where the meeting was taking place, the Corbynistas attempted to eject the public from the AGM and force an early vote on the committee while they were in the majority. A classic Chavista-style manoeuvre…
However, the plan was foiled when quick-thinking MPs including Andrew Lewer activated their WhatsApp networks and rallied moderate colleagues, who promptly turned up in large numbers to outnumber the Corbynistas. After APPG Chair and Labour moderate Graham Jones refused to clear the room as the Corbynistas were demanding, Williamson realising he was in the minority got up and stormed out with his comrades. The Venezuela APPG – which is leading the way in exposing the plight of Venezuelan victims of the regime – was within a whisker of becoming a cheerleader for the murderous Maduro regime. As one counter-revolutionary Tory MP quipped afterwards, “Thank God for WhatsApp”…
Question Time this week comes to us from Edinburgh, with Tory rising star Ross Thomson making his debut appearance. Expect Brexity sparks to fly. 10:45pm BBC 1…
The Education Select Committee will interrogate a four foot tall French robot called Pepper next Tuesday in their quest to understand the impact of artificial intelligence. Pepper, who was developed in Paris by Softbank Robotics, has been working with students at Middlesex University, developing ways to support primary school children. Guido expects that Pepper will turn out to be a more compelling witness than most ministers…
Guido hears that scores of interns and kids on work experience have been turned away from Parliament today in an apparent big crack down on people working on the Parliamentary estate without security clearance.
Before now it had been standard practice for MPs to take in students for shadowing or work experience, who would never go to the lengths of obtaining a formal pass for their few days in parliament.
This crackdown seems to be as a result of the Leader of the Opposition’s office employing full time staff for months without security clearence, an entirely different situation to teenagers on work experience. Interns have been joking with each other that Jezza has ruined it for everyone…
One recently employed staffer in the process of applying for a pass told Guido that “People who have been working here for weeks are suddenly being turned away. Others here on work experience aren’t going to be able to get any experience at all. It’s going to be even harder to get your foot in the door at Westminster now.”
Guido understands that some interns who were turned away have successfully made it in after being advised by their offices to enter the estate via another entrance under the guise of being there ‘for a meeting.’ If security have merrily been turning away work experience kids, does that mean they will finally start turning away Corbyn’s aides?
Swords were out in the House of Commons last night as the Serjeant at Arms Kamal El-Hajji had an embarrassing moment on the way to removing the Mace. El-Hajji is familiar with dropping things – he last made headlines in June by saying that “witch hunt” bullying claims against John Bercow should be dropped. Not his sharpest moment…
Is it an omen that the British residence in Brussels on Rue Ducale hasn’t been flying the flag of late? This is the base of operations for Olly Robbins when he is meeting Michel Barnier.
UKIP MEP Jonathan Bullock, who regularly walks past the building, tells Guido:
‘I was surprised to see the Union flag missing. All the other buildings belonging to other countries on that street proudly fly their country’s flag but not the British Residence. I hope this is not a sign of complete capitulation by Olly Robbins and his negotiating team. It should be put back up immediately.’
Is it too much to ask the for Foreign Office to fly the flag?
Spanish train manufacturing firm TALGO has shortlisted six sites to host a 40,000sq metre manufacturing facility, built to construct a new generation of trains, and creating 1,000 jobs. Despite operating its trains operating in 28 countries, from Germany, to the U.S., to Saudi Arabia, all six of TALGO’s shortlisted sites are in the U.K. Despite Brexit…
The plot thickens. Defra is planning to ban dog e-collars despite there having never been a prosecution for misuse, its admission that its science doesn’t justify a ban, and its consultation revealing only 8% support for a ban. The 300,000
barbaric dog torturers loving dog owners who use them would, if Defra goes ahead, be forced to keep their pets permanently on the lead to stop them attacking livestock. Or put them down.
So why did Defra suddenly feel the need to rush through these emergency powers to criminalise dog lovers when current legislation already has tough anti-cruelty measures? This is a classic case of a department not building policy on science but being led by the nose by campaigning charities.
David Davis has told Peston he was “stitched up” by Downing Street before warning the EU could do the same to the UK:
“If I can be stitched up by Number 10, Britain can be stitched up by the European Commission in exactly the same way if we don’t get absolutely explicit guarantees on timetable.”
Brexiteers are concerned that another stitch up is indeed on the way with Theresa May calling a meeting of a limited group of Cabinet ministers tonight at 5pm for an “update” on the negotiations. The suspicion is that this a move to shore up the loyalists in preparation for a deal with major concessions being presented as a fait accompli to the full Cabinet next week, just as happened with Chequers. Can the Cabinet Brexiteers stomach a full climbdown on the customs union?
The DUP are also furious about the emerging deal and deliberately abstained on a division on the Agriculture Bill last night to send a warning signal to Number 10 that their threat to vote down the Budget is serious if the Brexit deal breaches their red line on Northern Ireland. Downing Street is banking on rebellious MPs falling into line when it comes to the crunch votes. Increasingly the signs are that they aren’t going to play ball…
Amber Rudd just sent this letter to all Conservative MPs…
Like you I received a letter from David Davis yesterday and while I am enormously respectful of his views and experience, I wanted to share my thoughts on why I think he is wrong.
His main premise is that there exists an alternative to leaving the EU, which is neither the Government’s one, nor “no deal”.
He is right.
The other alternatives are versions of Canada or Norway. Having sat in Cabinet for two years and having attended the smaller Brexit cabinet, I participated in the discussions on the negatives and positives of these options.
From these discussions it was obvious that neither the Norway nor the Canada options addressed our country’s unique position, as one of the largest and most influential countries in Europe and with the 6th largest economy in the world.
So it was always the U.K Government’s intention to get a bespoke deal.
The Government’s proposals seek to deliver on us leaving the EU and recognise our unique position. They would allow us to control our borders, money and laws – as the Prime Minister has said.
The proposal for a Canada version with or without pluses, is not acceptable to those of us committed to the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and committed also to frictionless trade to protect our successful manufacturing businesses. Industry needs the “just in time” delivery across EU borders that has so successfully kept their products competitive.
David says that nobody wants a hard border. He is right about that too. But it is not enough to say nobody wants it if you propose a solution that would deliver it. The Canada deal being offered for the U.K. by the EU that he refers to effectively excludes N. Ireland.
As we leave the EU, nobody is getting all of what want they want. Nobody can. That is what happens in negotiations. There is give and take.
The approach of Conservatives is always to be practical, to understand the needs of a modern market economy and to make sure that while principled we are also realistic.
David points to the electoral consequence of getting this wrong. He is also right about that. But I think he isn’t right in his interpretation of what the voters want.
My view, underpinned by polling undertaken recently, is that there is a quiet majority in this country who want us to leave or at least accept that we should leave – either because they favour leaving or because they want the referendum result to be respected – but will not allow the success of our economy or the hard won peace process of Northern Ireland to be threatened.
At the next election the Conservatives will want to be the party that protects and advances prosperity for everyone and argues that our opponents are too ideological to do the same. We can only fight and win that campaign if people trust in the common sense and practicality of a Conservative Government.
The electoral consequences of our decision are not the first thing the Government is thinking about anyway, but the politics are pretty much the same as the economics. They dictate a willingness to compromise and an adherence to realism and common sense.
The PM is in the final stages of negotiating a deal. Alternative proposals at the last hour are neither viable nor preferable.
Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP
Not sure that her assertions will sway Tory MPs…
John Apter, the Chair of the Police Federation, has taken the extraordinary step of writing a private letter to Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott addressing his concerns on her “inflammatory” and “shocking” remarks that police officers use disproportionate force against young black men.
Apter told Abbott in no uncertain terms that “I would expect someone holding such a responsible office to refrain from speculative comments which damage police-community relations.” Getting on the wrong side of the police union before even making it to Government is impressive….
“When will austerity be over for the owl catchers? When will austerity be over for the sausage sellers? When will austerity be over for the dog food tasters?” Corbyn droned monotonously through his list of people who hadn’t got anything nice from mean old Theresa in a while.[…] Read the rest