Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's speech Peeved. That’s the word I’d use to describe the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. As she took her position in her gold-glistered throne in the House of Lords, there was a weariness to that regal glare that suggested she was not entirely happy to be there. When MPs began filing in from the Commons, she issued a tired, wheezy sigh. I may be projecting, but it is quite possible the 93-year-old was fed up to the hind molars with the lot of them. After all the hoo-ha these past three years over Brexit, who could blame her? We got the pomp and we got the pageantry but it felt barely worth the effort. There was a flatness about proceedings unbefitting of such an occasion. With a General Election round the corner, it all seemed rather meaningless. Ten minutes is all it took the monarch to announce her government’s new legislative agenda – less time than it takes Prince Philip to barbecue a pork chop. The Queen … [Read more...] about HENRY DEEDES on a State Opening that was more panto than Parliament as the regal weariness in her Majesty’s glare raises questions as to whether the Queen was happy to be there
How are european parliament members elected
The Prime Minister (pictured today) has tried three times to call a general election but lost all three votes Political leaders are said to be facing a Christmas logistical headache if an election encroaches on the festive season because of a potential shortage of polling stations. Sir Mark Sedwill, the head of the Civil Service, is reported to have warned No 10 that going to the polls after December 12 could lead to difficulties arranging facilities. Many village halls and other locations used for national votes are expected to already be booked up for festive events like pantomimes and parties in the weeks leading up to Christmas, according to ITV. With five weeks needed for an election campaign it means an election would need to be called within the next three weeks to meet this deadline. The Prime Minister has tried three times to call a general election but lost all three votes. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn continuous to insist that he wants a vote but only … [Read more...] about General election ‘could CANCEL Christmas’: Civil Service chief Mark Sedwill ‘warns a vote MUST be held by December 12 or No10 faces turfing pantomimes, parties and Nativity plays out of village halls and schools used as polling stations’
For now, we know very few details of what Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar agreed at their private summit in Wirral yesterday. We do, however, know that it was enough for the UK and EU sides to enter the “negotiation tunnel” this weekend – an intensive period for hammering out the details of a potential new deal. Think the Channel tunnel, only this time you’re trying to drag two close partners further apart. When we take a step back from Brexit’s daily developments, it’s clear that nothing really changes. The position in Dublin and Brussels has not fundamentally moved since the day of the referendum. Namely, the EU cannot agree to a scenario which necessitates border infrastructure on the island of Ireland, now or at any point in the future. Theresa May’s deal satisfied that demand, because it kept Northern Ireland in both the EU’s customs union and single market for goods, and ensured the arrangement could not lapse without the consent of … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson has next to no chance of passing a Brexit deal by his deadline
Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has called for “anti-migration politicians” to take over Europe’s institutions after this spring’s elections, as he hailed a new partnership between Poland’s rightwing government and Italy’s populist interior minister, Matteo Salvini. “This is a topic that is radically transforming European politics, it’s the defining political process in Europe,” Orbán said at a rare press conference in Budapest on Thursday. “The party structures, traditionally left or right, are being taken over by a different dimension – those for migration and against immigration.” Orbán said Hungary’s goal was to gain an anti-immigration majority in the European parliament, then in the executive European commission, and later, as national elections change the continent’s political landscape, the European council, where national leaders make the most important EU … [Read more...] about Viktor Orbán calls for anti-migration politicians to take over EU
Even by the dramatic standards of Brexit, next week is shaping up to be a key one in deciding how, when and if the UK leaves the EU. It has also reintroduced some slightly confusing jargon. What is ‘the tunnel’? This is a Brussels-coined term for intensified Brexit negotiations intended to take place between small teams from the UK and EU, insulated as far as possible from the pressures of leaks and media scrutiny. The talks involve only senior negotiators, with no documents, media briefings, or anything else that could be used to derail the process. The tunnel-phase discussions, centring on proposals made by Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, on Thursday, have been given the OK by ambassadors representing the EU member states, sources said. Have we been in the tunnel before? Yes. A year ago, after Theresa May was humiliated when her initial Brexit proposals were publicly rejected at a summit in Salzburg, the EU’s deputy chief negotiator, Sabine … [Read more...] about Entering ‘the tunnel’: what does it mean for the Brexit talks?