Labour MP Zarah Sultana’s comments linking the two provoked wrath. But why were they even controversial?
In her maiden speech to the House of Commons, the new Labour MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana, said, “In 10 years’ time, at the start of the next decade, I want to look teenagers in the eye and say with pride: my generation faced 40 years of Thatcherism, and we ended it.”
The successful candidate will be someone who can write their own job description – and is a strong team player
Today, the first hustings takes place in Liverpool for the Labour leadership. But it’s also the first hustings for the deputy leadership, and while the role of a party leader is clear the role of deputy leader is ill-defined. There is no job description for deputy leader, and it’s barely referenced in the party rule book.
John Prescott is perhaps the definitive deputy leader of recent times, being elected deputy in 1994 and serving until 2007 – the longest in Labour party history. He is also one of the few from the New Labour era who still enjoys widespread affection across the party.
PM plans to project a giant clock face onto Downing Street on evening of 31 January
Boris Johnson has announced plans to project a giant clock face on to Downing Street on the evening of 31 January, in a bid to move on after a backlash over his failure to get Big Ben to bong for Brexit.
Diehard Brexiters, including Conservative MP Mark Francois and Brexit party MEP Richard Tice, had reacted furiously to news that Big Ben would not ring out to mark the UK officially quitting the EU at the end of this month.
Individual choices will not solve the climate crisis but ministers should not be encouraging flying
It started in Sweden, where the term flygskam (flight shame) was coined in 2018 to describe the unease about flying experienced by environmentally conscious travellers. The hashtag #jagstannarpåmarken (which translates as #stayontheground) came into use around the same time, as groups sprang up to share tips.
Other wealthy countries are not immune from such trends: a recent survey of 6,000 people in Germany, France, the UK and the US found 21% had cut back. Such a shift in attitudes makes it all the more disturbing that members of the current government, including the health secretary, Matt Hancock, have yet to catch up. Asked twice on the radio this week whether people should reduce the number of flights they take, the minister said they should not.
Brexiters lament the fact that Big Ben will not ring for Brexit. But isn’t being thwarted just how they like it?
There will be no chimes at midnight. Anglican vicars have declined the suggestions of Brexiters that they should ring the bells of their churches to hail the beginning of the “golden age” that, as Boris Johnson has assured us, will be inaugurated by Brexit on 31 January. And Big Ben will not bong. The silence that Westminster’s great clock tower has maintained since its clapper was removed while restoration works are in progress will not be broken. Johnson claimed that he was “working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong”. The plan turned out to be like all his other Brexit plans, which is to say nonexistent. So at this moment of destiny the prime minister will surely adapt John Donne. Ask not for whom the bell doesn’t toll. It doesn’t toll for thee.
The problem with a revolt against imaginary oppression is that you end up with imaginary freedom
Party chairman Ian Lavery says voters want leader who understands different classes
Labour leadership candidates are being warned against trying to “out-working-class each other” as the party weighs up who would be best placed to win back seats lost in last month’s bruising general election.
Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips and Rebecca Long-Bailey have all defended aspects of their backstory as the candidates compete to win over Labour members by highlighting their humble origins.
The thinker eulogised by the Conservative establishment did much to shape today’s anti-immigrant climate
Since Roger Scruton’s death on Sunday, virtually the entire Conservative establishment has united in eulogising him. The prime minister hailed him as “the greatest modern conservative thinker”; Daniel Hannan called him “the greatest conservative of our age”. But when it comes to politics, Scruton’s greatest contribution has been to help make a modernised version of Enoch Powell’s bigotry – the idea that it is impossible for immigrants to integrate successfully – part of the mainstream debate.
Writing in Powell’s defence, Scruton once attacked liberal politicians for believing “the proposition that pious Muslims from the hinterlands of Asia would produce children loyal to a secular European state”. He was clear that just being born and brought up here didn’t make someone “one of us”; indeed, for certain ethnic and religious categories, the very idea was laughable. His view that Christianity was an essential component of English identity, and that of other European countries, meant that Muslim immigrants could only be seen as a threat.
A path to victory in 2024 does exist, but it won’t be an easy one to follow
Back in the 1980s, my A-level politics essays were all about whether we would ever see another Labour government. Then Labour won three general elections. In the early 2000s, the Tory party was called a busted flush … now the Conservatives have a large parliamentary majority.
The conclusion: nothing is certain, and there must be a future path back to a non-Tory government. This will involve luck, but also a decent amount of design.
The knife-edge Brexit votes are a thing of the past, but you still don’t have to look far for grubbiness
Like most other political journalists I am struggling to come to terms with the new reality. After three and a half years of intense and, at times, increasingly surreal activity, Westminster has returned to a much slower pace where not a lot is going on. Brexit is now a done deal; there are no knife-edge votes as the government can now do pretty much as it pleases; the Labour party is more focused on choosing a new leader than opposing; and no select committees have yet been established – partly because no one is yet sure what departmental reorganisations might be in store after 31 January but mainly because the government rather enjoys the lack of scrutiny. Obviously it may all change later in the year, but for now it still comes as a surprise when the highlight of the day is departmental questions. Even so, you still don’t have to look too hard for signs of grubbiness. Today I watched Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith get togged up in ermine for their introduction to the House of Lords. The Nicky Morgan who said she could never serve in a Boris Johnson government, told her constituents she was standing down to spend more time with her family, told journalists that she definitely had not been offered a job or a peerage during the election campaign and is now a cabinet minister subject to no democratic accountability. The Zac Goldsmith who once petitioned for voters to be allowed to recall MPs they don’t like and is now back in government having been kicked out of parliament by his Richmond Park constituency. They must both have been absolutely desperate for a title. Personally I don’t see the attraction. Then I’m not a politician.
Government’s new fund should at least equal EU’s near £2bn, Industrial Communities Alliance says
The Treasury will need to find almost £2bn a year to fill the hole left when EU funding for some of Britain’s poorest communities ends after Brexit, ministers have been told.
A body that represents local authorities in the industrial areas of England, Scotland and Wales said the government needed to match the money currently coming from Brussels and allow for extra EU cash that would have arrived over the next few years.
After a month of grieving over a devastating defeat, it’s time for the Labour party to stop mourning and organise. The next Labour leadership team must not junk our values, or abandon plans to deal with the big challenges of the age. Instead we must plot our path to power, then deliver it.
Ian Murray asks contenders not to come north of border until they understand Scottish politics
Scotland’s sole remaining Labour MP has called on his party’s leadership contenders not to come north of the border and talk about Scottish issues without attempting to understand them first.
Launching his own campaign for Labour deputy leadership on Thursday morning, Ian Murray made the plea: “I say to all leadership and deputy leadership candidates, ‘Please don’t come up to Scotland and talk about things when you’re not quite sure what you’re talking about.’ Just make sure in the first instance that you at least try and understand.”
Here is the latest Politics Weekly podcast from the Guardian. Heather Stewart is joined by Rory Carroll, Henry McDonald, Jill Rutter and Jonathan Isaby to discuss the Northern Ireland Assembly reopening, as well as the latest on Brexit and the Labour leadership campaign.
Some 163,300 EU citizens applied last month to live and work in the UK after Brexit, the Press Association reports. The number of applications received for the EU settlement scheme in December takes the total number received by the end of that month to more than 2.7 million (2,756,100), according to the Home Office. Overall, the number of applications finalised by the end of December was more than 2.45m (2,450,100).
Of those dealt with in December (219,200), 55% were granted permanent leave to remain in the country, called settled status, and 44% were granted pre-settled status - which means they have temporary leave to remain and would need to apply again for permanent permission at a later date. As PA reports, six applications have now been refused on “suitability grounds”, the Home Office report (pdf) said.
The race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party has been narrowed to five candidates this week. Political editor Heather Stewart looks at the challenge ahead for the party as it faces five more years of opposition. Plus: John Abraham on the historic warming of the oceans
Labour MPs returned to Westminster minus 60 of their colleagues who lost their seats in last month’s election. With a sizeable Conservative majority, they know that victories in parliament will be sparse and instead are turning their attention to who should succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
The Guardian’s political editor, Heather Stewart,has been following the race in which five candidates have made it over the first procedural hurdle: Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry. With a general election not due until 2024, the eventual winner will have time to formulate an opposition policy platform, but can they improve on the consecutive failures suffered by Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn?