Yes, Nigel Farage is posh. But for some reason that doesn’t shift perceptions about remainers
Short of being photographed skiing at Davos with Bono, nothing says “global elite” like trotting up the steps to your very own private plane.
So no wonder Channel 4 pounced delightedly on the revelation that Nigel Farage recently chartered a private jet to reach Strasbourg, in an interview with the man himself that swiftly went viral. Who’s the man of the people now, eh? Continue reading...
Deputy leader to call on party to show leadership and help break Brexit deadlock
Tom Watson is to issue a rallying cry to dispirited Labour centrists, calling on his party not to fail Britain at a “great moment of change”.
In a speech on Saturday likely to be read as a thinly veiled challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, the deputy leader will say: “The country needs the leadership that only we can give. Let’s make sure we do not fail them.” Continue reading...
Pharmacists say minor delays at ports could have knock-on effects in lean supply chain
Few of the recipients of the millions of prescriptions dispensed every day across Britain are likely to give much thought to the system that ensures everything from painkillers to niche medicines are available. Beyond the pharmacist’s counter, however, lies a network spanning national borders andcontinents and involving multiple supply chains.
“It all works so smoothly because of the incentives and obligations that are in place,” said one industry insider. “What will be really interesting to see is what happens when it comes under pressure.” Continue reading...
The Duke of Edinburgh’s crash in Norfolk can teach us all a lesson. Action is required to reduce the harm caused by collisions
It is natural that the Duke of Edinburgh’s age – 97 – has been the focus of attention alongside other details of this week’s collision in Norfolk, when a Land Rover he was driving turned over after hitting a car carrying a baby and two women, one of whom was treated for a broken wrist. Most 97-year-olds, more than three-quarters of whom are women, do not drive, so Prince Philip is unusual. Since the senses of sight and hearing decline as we age, and reactions get slower, it is reasonable to wonder – as the duke’s family surely will, whatever the outcome of the police’s investigation – if now might be a good time to hang up the driving gloves.
There have been fatal crashes in which age-related conditions were a factor. The charity Brake has called for older drivers to take annual eye tests, while the parents of Poppy-Arabella Clarke, who was three when she was killed by a pensioner who had been told to stop driving, want doctors to report people unfit to drive to the DVLA. A campaign following another fatal crash led to police being given more power to revoke licences. But while such cases exist, the evidence does not support the idea that older drivers are in general more dangerous than other drivers. On the contrary, young male drivers were found by one study to be four times as likely to crash as the over-70s (5.3 million of whom hold licences). Continue reading...
The prime minister says she’ll reach out in ‘constructive spirit’ to get backing for a Brexit deal. Really?
For better or for worse, one of post-imperial Britain’s favoured methods of understanding itself has been through the prism of the royal family. We come together at royal weddings and jubilees, some like to say, while others do so in front of box sets of The Crown. Brexit, on the other hand, has long been a straight-up car metaphor. Cars are far and away the most popular way of understanding what might be happening to us. Remainers warn of “a car being driven off a cliff” or of Theresa May “running out of road”; Brexiteers talk of “taking the wheel” and “the open road”.
Related: Welcome to the Westminster apocalypse. Have you thought about theocracy instead? | Marina Hyde Continue reading...
Answers to the pressing issues in the wake of MPs rejecting May’s deal and Corbyn’s no-confidence motion
It’s hard to say, because proponents of every alternative make bold claims about how many MPs support their cherished model. Continue reading...
Boris Johnson says the availability of workers from overseas has helped some big firms hold down wages. Is he right?
It turns out that letting anyone open a Steiner school wasn’t one of Michael Gove’s best ideas
Ofsted inspectors have found three of the UK’s four Steiner state schools “inadequate”, in reports that will be published this week. Their core concerns are believed to be safeguarding, bullying and a lack of support for children with special educational needs. A number of private Steiner schools have also been deemed inadequate.
In a brilliant primer written in 2014, when free schools were still a jewel in the crown of the coalition government, the BBC journalist Chris Cook described the core controversies that might be thrown up by Steiner schools. At that point, and to this day, these are mainly private schools. In a way, the handful that opened on the state’s dollar were the apotheosis of Michael Gove’s promise to parents: if you want to replicate a private education, even at its very wackiest, and you have the energy, you have our blessing. Continue reading...
University accused of pursuing discriminatory monitoring of international academics
The University of Birmingham has been criticised over plans to more strictly enforce immigration controls for international staff, with unions and campaigners accusing it of pursuing draconian and discriminatory monitoring of non-EU academics.
This week, the university issued guidelines stating that non-EU staff will be required to “record their attendance in the new system each day, by completing a time card. At the end of the week their line manager, will be required to validate the time card.” Continue reading...
Letter undermines Johnson’s claim he ‘didn’t make any remarks about Turkey, mate’
A speech by Boris Johnson designed to burnish his leadership credentials has been overshadowed by his incorrect claim that he “didn’t say anything about Turkey” during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.
The former foreign secretary tried to argue he had no need to apologise for Vote Leave’s warnings that Turks could come to the UK if the country were to join the EU, because he had not made them himself. Continue reading...
In an encounter with a Question Time audience in Derby I tried to explain that Brexit is no ordinary transaction
There are moments in life when your heart sinks. I had one last night, right at the start of my terrifying debut on Question Time. Isabel Oakeshott had just said we should leave the EU with no deal. And the audience cheered. Not a subdued, start-of-the-evening, not-quite-warmed-up cheer. But a roar. A loud one. Shit, I thought. Do I dare point out the problems with this? Because there are problems aplenty.
Metaphors matter. And Brexit has become a metaphorical cornucopia (if you see what I mean). Perhaps nowhere is this more true, and more damagingly and misleadingly so, than when it comes to the question of “no deal”. Continue reading...
The former foreign secretary says "the totemic date" of 29 March for leaving the EU should not change.
The ex-UKIP leader says if the UK ends up contesting the European Parliament elections, he will be on a party list.
Liam Fox says the UK could not have an independent trade policy if in a customs arrangement with the EU.
Leading politicians among signatories to Times letter calling on Britain to stay in EU
A group of influential German politicians and business leaders including the woman primed to take over from Angela Merkel as chancellor have urged Britain to stay in the EU as Brexit looms.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who became leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union last month, joined more than two dozen political, business and cultural figures in penning an open letter to the Times, arguing “from the bottom of our hearts” that Britain should not leave the bloc. Continue reading...
Leading politicians, business and sports people write of their love for post-work pints and panto.
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns says he is "confident" the plant will still be built on Anglesey.
Brexit is just the vehicle by which a fractured state has come to realise that its politics are no longer fit for purpose
At least the Sun thrives on chaos. The savage parliamentary mauling of Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union allowed Rupert Murdoch’s pet tabloid to unveil on Wednesday morning a front page of grandly gleeful malevolence. Under the headline Brextinct, it conjured a creepy chimera of Theresa May’s head pasted on to the body of a dodo. But the thing about such surreal pictures is that it is not easy to control their interpretation. From the outside, this one seemed to suggest much more than the immediately intended message that both May and her deal are politically dead. When, it prompted one to ask, did Brextinction really happen? Was this strange creature ever really alive or was it not always a grotesquely photoshopped image of something else, a crisis of belonging that has attached itself to the wrong union? Do the events of this week point us, not towards the EU, but to the travails of a radically disunited kingdom?
Related: Theresa May’s survival is just a Tory confidence trick | Gary Younge
The Tories never forgave Robert Peel for seeking opposition support in 1846, but the episode provides a lesson for this prime minister
Of all human reflexes, jingoism is the most dangerous. It was evident in the hysteria of Tuesday’s Commons vote on Theresa May’s deal. Neither MPs nor the crowds outside had any alternative to offer, so they just shouted: “How does Brussels dare?” We have been in this mess before: I can just remember Suez. My father, who opposed the intervention and hated Anthony Eden, still became emotional when listening to Land of Hope and Glory at the Proms that summer of 1956. As if bitten by some wartime patriotic bug, he shouted: “How can Nasser dare?” At school we were being fed Nazi war stories almost daily. We were thrilled to be fighting dastardly foreigners again.
Related: The Brexit saga: what happens next? Continue reading...
Three Remainers in Glasgow and three Leavers on the Wirral watch MPs vote on the PM's Brexit deal.
Theresa May is reaching out to other parties to get backing for a deal with the EU - but she still has to convince her own side.
Rory Stewart suggests there could be some give and for the PM when it comes to Brexit talks with other parties.
Tony Blair says he is not "inserting" himself into EU negotiations but another referendum is in the UK's interests.
Meetings held at Downing Street on Thursday to find way to break Brexit impasse
Brexiter Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist party emerged upbeat from their meetings with Theresa May in Downing Street, convinced that the prime minister was not intending to soften her position to try to attract Labour votes.
Those who met with the prime minister on Thursday said that she gave little away but that she indicated she wanted the UK to be able to strike its own trade deals after Brexit, meaning that she was not going to soften her stance on leaving the customs union. Continue reading...
A number of Labour frontbenchers say they would consider their positions if leader backed idea
Jeremy Corbyn could face up to a dozen resignations from the Labour frontbench if the party backs a second referendum as a way out of the Brexit crisis.
A string of junior shadow ministers have told the Guardian they are strongly opposed to the idea of a second referendum, which they fear would expose Labour to a vicious backlash in leave-voting constituencies. Continue reading...
The suspension has been imposed because the channel had broken rules governing adverts, YouTube says.
Parliament needs more time to craft a new approach and avoid no-deal after Theresa May’s policy was swept aside
First, some good news. Theresa May is consulting party leaders and talking to MPs about the next steps on Brexit. About time too, though it is all frighteningly late. Now, the bad news. She isn’t doing the consulting properly. She is using the process to trade partisan attacks with Jeremy Corbyn rather than to start solving problems. It feels like a stunt. Such irresponsibility on a subject of such magnitude threatens the country. It must change.
On Wednesday evening, and again on Thursday, the prime minister held meetings with a variety of politicians. She was said to be in listening mode. So she should be. But there was little sense – in an invite list that stretched from the anti-European Tory right and the DUP to pro-Europeans in the opposition parties – that this was a process which recognised that the politics of Brexit crossed a watershed on Tuesday night when Mrs May’s deal was so humiliatingly defeated. Continue reading...
Some ministers are backing more flexibility in Brexit talks but others are opposed
Cabinet ministers are split on whether the way ahead in the Brexit process should involve concessions on a permanent customs union, with some arguing it is the only way to get cross-party consensus for a deal and others warning that it would cause a permanent split in the Tory party.
Senior Brexiters have said any moves towards a softer Brexit could lead to a damaging rift. However, May has been advised by other ministers to be flexible about how she approaches building consensus in parliament, including her red line of an independent trade policy, which she says precludes a customs union. Continue reading...
The French finance minister has expressed deep regret over the divisions Brexit has caused.
Tory backbencher says ministers have told him they will quit if they are ordered to vote against his bill.
A timeline of the meetings held by Theresa May and senior colleagues about Brexit, as part of efforts to "find consensus".
PM is in ‘listening mode’ after surviving confidence vote but will there be any progress?
The prime minister has been holding a string of meetings with the Westminster leaders of the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National party, and the Democratic Unionist party, as well some of her own hard-Brexit supporting backbenchers. Continue reading...
Nicola Sturgeon will set out her timetable for an independence referendum "in the coming weeks" even if the Brexit process is extended.
Tory MP Nick Boles says ministers are ready to quit if ordered to vote against his amendment to block no deal.
Conservative MPs sustain her not because she will deliver a good Brexit, but because she can keep Labour out of power
Back in 2017, when “strong and stable” was still a campaign slogan and not a laugh line, I sat in on a focus group of undecided voters in Harrow – home to two marginal seats in north-west London. Even then they didn’t like Theresa May much. Assuming she would be an effective negotiator, they appreciated her steeliness – the word “strong” came up twice, as did “Thatcher” and “clever”. But overall they found her unreliable and unrelatable. They described her, among other things, as a “liar”, “headmistress”, “busybody”, “uncaring” and “untrustworthy”.
Comparing her to Jeremy Corbyn, one said: “He’d buy a round, Theresa wouldn’t.” When asked if they would trust her to look after their home while they were on holiday, the consensus was: “The house, yes. But not the pets.” This is Britain. If she can’t be trusted to get a round in or look after pets, I doubt May would have passed one of her own Home Office “British values” tests. Continue reading...
A proxy voting system would have saved the heavily pregnant Labour MP the trip – it’s clear why the Tory party doesn’t want one
Obscure parliamentary procedures are currently all the rage, from John Bercow’s controversial deviation from precedence in selecting amendments to business motions and the arcane voting procedure requiring MPs to physically go through division lobbies, or be “nodded through” (for which they still have to be on parliament grounds), for their vote to be counted.
Related: MPs alone won’t solve the Brexit deadlock. We need a citizens’ assembly | Lisa Nandy and Stella Creasy Continue reading...
Ex-news chief says Theresa May’s address to nation should have been shown on BBC One
The BBC’s former television news chief has criticised the corporation after it chose to continue showing an FA Cup match on BBC One rather than covering the prime minister’s Brexit address to the nation.
Theresa May’s Downing Street speech on Wednesday night was upstaged by the match at Southampton, as television viewers chose the conclusion of an FA Cup third-round replay rather than tune in for the prime minister’s latest update on the UK’s political future. Continue reading...
Angela Merkel has bigger worries at home, and her carmakers have more important customers
Remember when Boris Johnson was telling you that Germany would force the EU to accept almost any conditions for Brexit – basically, Britain having its cake and eating it, too – because “they need us more than we need them”? Didn’t happen. But, in desperate Brexit times the hope for a deus ex machina to solve the whole damn thing persists. Recently, there have been more suggestions that Angela Merkel will somehow rescue Theresa May by offering Britain a new and better deal. That isn’t going to happen either. Here’s why.
First, back to Johnson. He argued that Germany wanted to export cars to Britain, so it would make sure that Britain and Europe had free access to each other’s markets no matter what. True, Britons bought 768,896 German cars in 2017, almost every fifth car Germany exported. But car exports to Britain were down by 3%, whereas exports to China and Japan were up by 11% and 14% respectively. May talks about “global Britain”, but Germany thinks globally, too, and in the scheme of things, Asia and the US are more important. And by the way, while British politicians were bickering about whether the country should belong to a customs union, which supposedly stops Britain from striking free trade deals with “global partners”, the EU signed a free trade agreement with Japan which should bring Germany export gains of €8.6bn a year. Continue reading...