A former Tory cabinet minister with decades of experience of epic parliamentary battles over Europe had this to say last week about Theresa May’s current Brexit conundrum: “I cannot for the life of me see how she can get any sort of deal done with Brussels that stands the slightest chance of passing through parliament.” Without a working majority, and reliant on the increasingly troublesome Democratic Unionist party (DUP) for support, he believed that the prime minister’s position was becoming more impossible by the day. He had lived through the Conservative party’s rows over the Maastricht treaty in the 1990s that ripped apart John Major’s government. But the current fissures were far wider and deeper. All discipline has disappeared. The issue of Europe has finally destroyed any remaining bonds of unity that had kept his party together down the years, and he worried for its very survival. “It could be terminal,” was his grim assessment. … [Read more...] about Has Theresa May finally run out of Brexit road?
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It is hardly surprising that the people of Britain, by which I mean the people of England, Scotland and Wales, are baffled by the key part in the Brexit drama being played out in Northern Ireland. After all, they have been treated to statements of breathtaking ignorance by Westminster politicians in recent months. Consider this sample about the Irish border by leading Tory Brexiteers. Jacob Rees-Mogg: “It’s not a border that everyone has to go through every day.” Boris Johnson: “It’s so small, and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly.” David Davis: the border problem can be solved by “a whole load of new technology”. In fact, because the border has existed in name only for the past 20 years, it is crossed and recrossed by many thousands of cars and lorries on a daily basis. There are 208 crossing points, and technological monitoring appears unfeasible even in the highly unlikely event that people opposed to the … [Read more...] about Brexit is a menace to society in Northern Ireland. Here’s why
Boris Johnson has warned of a Brexit “meltdown” and branded the Treasury the “heart of remain” in unguarded comments at a private dinner. At the gathering of the Conservative Way Forward, a Thatcherite campaign group, he said exit talks were approaching a “moment of truth”. The foreign secretary said he believed Brexit will happen and would be “irreversible” but the “risk is that it will not be the one we want”. In comments captured in a recording obtained by BuzzFeed News, he said Theresa May was “going to go into a phase where we are much more combative with Brussels”. He added: “You’ve got to face the fact there may now be a meltdown. OK? I don’t want anybody to panic during the meltdown. No panic. Pro bono publico, no bloody panic. It’s going to be all right in the end.” Johnson suggested the chancellor Philip Hammond’s department was “basically the heart of … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson admits there may be a Brexit ‘meltdown’
Twenty-one years ago, on Good Friday 1998, we put our signatures to the agreement to end the conflict in Northern Ireland. Our names, as prime minister and taoiseach, on that document were followed by individuals from across the political spectrum in the UK and Ireland who had worked so painstakingly towards peace. The Good Friday agreement was a monumental moment for our two countries, and the people in both countries seized the opportunities it presented. But when we felt the “hand of history upon our shoulder” on 10 April, 1998, it was pushing us to the start of a process, not signalling the end of one. In our eyes, the people of Ireland, north and south, have been signing that agreement every day since. Because it is the everyday actions and interactions of people, businesses, civil society, politicians and governments that enable a lasting peace, not signatures on a piece of paper. That is why we feel duty-bound, a generation on, to stress to Theresa May and Jeremy … [Read more...] about The Good Friday agreement is under threat – but it’s key to resolving Brexit
Caroline Flint today stood by her claim that Emily Thornberry branded northern Brexit voters 'stupid' as Labour tore itself apart in the wake of its disastrous general election. Ms Thornberry has angrily denied the accusation and is understood to be consulting lawyers after ex-minister and ousted MP Ms Flint claimed she made the dismissive jibe to a colleague. But Ms Flint told Piers Morgan on ITV's Good Morning Britain programme that she stood by what she said. ‘I made my comments yesterday,' Ms Flint said. 'I stand by them, but Piers, I may be subject to legal proceedings, so I don’t think I should comment on them any further.’ She added: ‘I stand by my comments yesterday but I don’t want to comment any further because there may be legal proceedings but I said what I said and I stand by them.’ The bitter spat came as senior figures raged that Jeremy Corbyn is 'in denial' for arguing that his leadership and … [Read more...] about Caroline Flint stands by her claim that Emily Thornberry branded northern Brexit voters ‘stupid’ as the shadow foreign secretary ‘consults lawyers’ and Labour infighting hots up in the wake of its election disaster