Wycombe MP Steve Baker writes: 2017 has been a momentous year in British politics and will shape the future of Britain for many years to come. I am sure it will provide future historians plenty to pore over. We are moving through a new and critical period in the history of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union. For many of my constituents this is an exciting time and full of promise. I am also aware for others it is a worrying one. I am certain we have nothing to fear from becoming a self-governing country, making our own laws, trading freely with the world and conducting public policy on the basis of UK citizenship. It is a privilege to represent, in Parliament and in my role in the Department for Exiting the European Union, all of my constituents regardless of their views on Europe. That is why I am pleased the Government’s vision for Britain outside the EU is clear: a fully-independent, sovereign country with the freedom to make our … [Read more...] about LETTERS FROM WESTMINSTER: More ‘momentous’ times ahead for UK politics?
Twitter was last night ordered to hand over evidence of Russian meddling in British politics.The influential Commons Culture select committee wrote to the internet giant calling for immediate action following revelations that some of the 2,752 Russian-related accounts set up to interfere in the US election were also posting content related to UK politics.In a letter to Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey, committee chairman Damian Collins said he wanted information on any Russian accounts posting about UK politics.The committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the phenomenon of “fake news”, in the wake of claims that social media may have been manipulated by overseas actors in an attempt to influence last year’s EU referendum or the snap general election on June 8.Twitter’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett this week gave evidence to a Senate hearing that the organisation had traced 2,752 accounts to the Russia-based troll factory, the Internet … [Read more...] about Commons demands Twitter hand over evidence of Russian meddling in UK politics
AUSTERITY is a phrase that’s been bandied about in the news for the past ten years,But as the penny-pinching policy comes under the political spotlight, we explain what it means?Now and again there comes a point when we realise we are spending too much.We’ve maybe taken out too many loans and now have to pay them back.Our own austerity measures are then put in place to make sure we get a grip.Time to look at what we can cut back.No weekends away, less restaurants and pub visits.For many it means beans on toasts for tea.It much the same for a government - kind of.In 2007 the UK experienced its worst financial recession since the Wall Street crash of 1929 and this is at the root of the country's financial woes.The Labour government - which was arguably already too generous with its spending - was forced to bail out the country’s banks to avoid complete financial meltdown.In the end some estimate £540 billion was tossed to the banks. Shortly after another £50bn … [Read more...] about What is austerity? Definition and meaning of the term widely used in UK politics – all you need to know
LABOUR’S embattled leader Jeremy Corbyn is the worst hypocrite in modern UK politics.He poses as a caring man of peace, an image reinforced by noisy opposition to nuclear weapons and British military action.Yet his Commons career has been dominated throughout by links to murderous extremism.So it is no surprise he finds his appalling connections to those who despise this country again hogging the headlines.And rightly so, as Britons gear up for the ballot box in 17 days, the awful truth of what this man really believes is turned up to full volume.Behind his supposedly benign facade, Corbyn is a warped apologist for terrorism.This is a hardliner who described the assassination of al-Qaeda boss Osama Bin Laden as “a tragedy” and referred to the notorious Islamist movements of Hezbollah and Hamas as his “friends”.But in this catalogue of moral inversion, nothing is more sinister than his long support for violent Irish Republicanism.It is incredible in the … [Read more...] about Jeremy Corbyn is the worst hypocrite in modern UK politics – he poses as a caring man of peace after career dominated by links to murderous extremists
TONY Blair stunned Westminster when he announced he would return to frontline politics, saying he couldn't resist the General Election.But while the former Prime Minister said he is keen to "get his hands dirty", what are his plans?The divisive former Labour PM has announced he will return to UK politics, vowing to take an "active part" in shaping policy debate ahead of the General Election.The man who was once Britain's youngest Prime Minister in a century said that he had been given "direct" motivation from Brexit to get involved in politics again, saying that he wanted to advocate for a "common sense" position.He had already hinted at a return, saying that he did not want the country being "hijacked" over Brexit by current PM Theresa May.But the 63-year-old admitted that he was prepared for a backlash, saying that while he expected to "get a bucket of wotsit poured all over me" he could not resist staying on the outside.He has previously been critical of his former party, … [Read more...] about Why is Tony Blair returning to UK politics, is he founding a new party and when was he Prime Minister?
BRITISH politics has woken up to yet another 2016 shock after Zac Goldsmith lost his seat to Lib Dems in the Richmond Park by-election.But what does Sarah Olney's stunning victory over the anti-Heathrow campaigner mean? Here are five things we've learned: It might not have been the reason the by-election was won or lost, but the reason we had a contest in the first place was Heathrow.Zac Goldsmith had said he would resign if the west London airport got the go-ahead to expand, and that’s exactly what he did when it was given the green light to build a new runway last month.But although the woman who defeated him is also anti-Heathrow, the fact the former Tory ran on an explicit anti-Heathrow protest ticket and lost will be a boost to Theresa May’s hopes of getting this through.And the removal of one of the most vocal campaigners from the House of Commons means that the long-awaited attempts to build a third runway are a little bit closer. It was a great night for the Lib … [Read more...] about 5 things the stunning Liberal Democrat victory over Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election tells us about British politics
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," English author Charles Dickens wrote. "It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." Though Dickens penned these immortal words in 1859, they could just as well have been written today, as they capture the mood in the United Kingdom as it enters 2017. The June 2016 Brexit vote to leave the European Union began a long and uncertain process that will dominate the political agenda this year. In early January, British Supreme Court justices are due to rule on who can rightfully trigger Article 50 - the government or parliament. Despite the outstanding judgment, consensus remains that the trigger will occur. "I do think Article 50 will be triggered," James Sproule, Chief Economist and Director of Policy for the Institute of Directors told DW in a phone interview. "The current Supreme Court battle is a storm in a tea cup." Co-Executive Director of Open Britain James McGrory also acknowledged the inevitable March 2017 start of … [Read more...] about Brexit battle to dominate UK politics in 2017
The semi-circular "swingometer" graphic has become an integral feature of television coverage of UK general elections, measuring the sometimes infinitesimal shifts in party allegiance on which governments can rise and fall. Late Friday morning, for the first time ever, the swingometer failed, the digital needle freezing way beyond the furthest point it had ever reached after an almost 40 percent shift from Labour to the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Glasgow North East. The SNP had effectively broken British politics. Across Scotland, the shift to the SNP was off the charts - often quite literally. The Scottish nationalists went into Thursday's general election holding six of Scotland's 59 seats. Now they have 56. "The tectonic plates of Scottish politics shifted yesterday - it is a historic result," Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said Friday. By far the biggest losers in the remarkable SNP surge was Scottish Labour, which went from 41 seats in 2010 to just a … [Read more...] about Scottish Nationalists redraw UK’s political map
Life moves slowly in the picturesque town of Annan, a few kilometers on the Scottish side of the border with England. A tractor trundles down the main street on a midweek morning, past solid terrace houses hewn of red sandstone. In the car park of a local shopping center around a dozen Scottish nationalist canvassers have gathered. It's not even 11:00 a.m. and they have already been out delivering leaflets and posters ahead of the UK general election on May 7. In normal election times, Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate Emma Harper would have no hope in this part of Scotland. The nationalists barely scraped 10 percent of the vote here in the 2010 general election. But these are not normal times. In Scotland, the center-left SNP are as much as 28 points ahead of Labour, according to opinion polls. Despite defeat in last year's referendum, the nationalists are predicted to win up to 54 of Scotland's 59 Westminster seats - a remarkable six-fold increase on their current … [Read more...] about SNP surge leaves UK election wide open
With just over three months to go before UK voters take part in a referendum on European Union membership, divisions in the ruling Conservative Party have upset the value of the currency, and changed the outlook for the party's next leadership. The resignation of euroskeptic Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith on Friday night heightened worries over divisions in Prime Minister David Cameron's government ahead of the June 23 referendum. The prime minister's spokeswoman said on Monday that Cameron would no longer pursue cuts to state disability benefits, the issue on which Duncan Smith based his resignation. For his part, Duncan Smith denied speculation that his resignation was triggered by his position on Europe. He has called for Britain to leave the EU, a stance which pits him against Cameron and his finance minister, Chancellor George Osborne, but alongside more than 100 members of parliament who back Britain leaving the bloc. Sensitive currency On Monday, the UK … [Read more...] about Rifts develop in ruling UK Conservatives ahead of Brexit vote