LONDON, June 12 -- The UK’s former Secretary of State Boris Johnson has started his election campaign for the post of the Conservative Party’s leader and the Prime Minister.
The politician, who delivered his program speech in London on Wednesday, pledged that the country would leave the European Union on October 31. "After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on October 31," said Johnson, who is considered as the front runner to replace Theresa May as the Tory leader and the head of the government. "Now is the time to unite this country and unite this society," he said, stressing that this task can be only achieved after leaving the EU. Britain’s next prime minister is due to be announced by the end of July.
LONDON, June 11 -- The British unemployment rate remained stable at 3.8 percent in the three months to April 2019, the lowest since December 1974, according to figures released Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.
The data showed the employment figure across Britain increased by 32,000 in the three months to April 2019 to a record high of 32.75 million, with the employment rate being unchanged at 76.1 percent. The female unemployment rate fell to a record low of 3.7 percent. Figures revealed that the average weekly wage continued to grow, including bonus payments. "The labor market remains in fine fettle, and continues to break new ground," Tej Parikh, a senior economist at the Institute of Directors, said. "Businesses have steadfastly expanded their workforce while the fog of uncertainty clouds longer-term investment decisions," Parikh said.
LONDON, June 6 -- Fresh from its victory in European polls, Mr Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is hoping to win its first seat in Britain's Parliament on Thursday (June 6) in a by-election in Peterborough.
The poll in the eastern English cathedral city was triggered after the sitting MP, Fiona Onasanya, was dumped by voters after being jailed for lying over a speeding offence. The Brexit Party, formed by eurosceptic figurehead Farage only a few months ago, secured 38 per cent of the vote in Peterborough in May 23 elections for the European Parliament. It is hoping to capitalise on that momentum as well as voter disillusionment with the main Conservative and Labour parties, who have historically shared the seat. Both parties were punished by voters in the European polls for the political chaos over Brexit, which has forced out Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May. Onasanya was a Labour MP, but was expelled following her conviction and the party is fighting to keep the seat. It got 17 per cent of the vote in Peterborough in the European polls, while the Conservatives secured just 11 per cent, level with the Greens. The pro-European Liberal Democrats got 15 per cent.
Mrs May is stepping down after delaying Brexit twice as she tried and failed to get her EU divorce deal through Parliament. Mr Farage, who has called for Britain to leave the bloc without a deal, said the by-election outcome could top the European result. "Our political establishment were absolutely mortified by what happened," he said while campaigning in Peterborough last weekend. "But in some ways what happens here on Thursday is even bigger... the opportunity for the next chapter in this great story." The Brexit Party's candidate is Mr Mike Greene, a local businessman. The Labour candidate is the Unite trade union activist Lisa Forbes. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has visited the city, saying the party's campaign was about local issues and climate change. "We take that core Labour message out to all the doors of bringing our society and our community together... to ensure we maintain that trading relationship with our nearest neighbours in Europe and to ensure that we get a Labour government at the end of this," he said. Fifteen candidates are standing. Four pro-EU parties were planning to stand a joint 'Remain' candidate - Mr Femi Oluwole, a campaigner for a new Brexit referendum.
During the 2016 Brexit referendum, 62 per cent in the wider Peterborough area voted to leave the EU.
In the 2017 general election, Onasanya narrowly won the seat for Labour by 607 votes, or a 1.3 per cent margin, from the Conservative Stewart Jackson, who had been the MP since 2005. The 35-year-old lawyer was sentenced in January to three months in prison for perverting the course of justice. She was released on licence after four weeks and returned to sit in Parliament as an independent MP, wearing an electronic surveillance tag. Under a new law introduced in 2015, her conviction triggered a recall petition which was backed by 28 per cent of eligible voters. The polls close at 10pm and the by-election result is expected early on Friday.
LONDON, June 5 -- Boris Johnson, the front-runner to replace Theresa May as British prime minister, warned Conservative Party colleagues that they face "extinction" if they didn't deliver Brexit by the current deadline of Oct 31.
"We are facing an existential crisis and will not be forgiven if we do not deliver," Johnson told a private meeting of Tory members of Parliament, according to his office. "There is a very real choice between getting Brexit done and the potential extinction of this great party." He was speaking after the Conservatives set out an an accelerated procedure for selecting a new leader that will see a prime minister in place by July 26. The party has raised the bar for MPs who wish to run for the job, and two dropped out Tuesday, narrowing the field slightly to 11. The first hustings of the election was held behind closed doors in Parliament on Tuesday (June 4) evening, as four of the candidates - Sajid Javid, Rory Stewart, Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom - addressed the "One Nation" caucus of Conservatives, who want the party to focus on unifying issues of social policy, rather then Brexit.
Johnson, who has kept a low profile in recent weeks, has yet to set out how he would achieve his goal, but according to Nicky Morgan, one of the MPs who organised the event, he said the existing deal negotiated by May didn't work. He also said that while he didn't want a no-deal Brexit, the country should prepare for one. He ruled out a second referendum or a general election. "Sajid was very responsible, Rory was a direct pitch to colleagues, Boris was more subdued, and Andrea was more optimistic," Morgan said. Morgan said Johnson had told the room that if the UK delayed its departure from the European Union past Oct 31, the current deadline, "the relevance of the referendum starts to wane." That is a comment that could come back to haunt him if Britain does end up seeking a further delay. His office didn't deny he'd made it.
MONTREUX, 28 MAY 2019 – The 67th Bilderberg Meeting will take place from May 30 – June 2, 2019 in Montreux, Switzerland.
About 130 participants from 23 countries have confirmed their attendance. As ever, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia, labour and the media has been invited.The 2019 edition of the exclusive Bilderberg Meeting will take place at the Hotel Montreux Palace in the Swiss town of Montreux from Thursday to Sunday. It will feature Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, the head of Germany’s Christian Democrats, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Crédit-Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam among others. According to Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be among the attendees, although he is not on the official guest list on the Bildberg website. The Swiss paper reports that Pompeo is set to sit down with Ueli Maurer. The two are tipped to discuss the situation in Iran where Switzerland represents US interests.
However, the Swiss Finance Ministry told The Local on Tuesday that no meeting was envisaged between Pompeo and Maurer. The yearly Bilderberg talk-fest, which dates back to 1954, features a guest list of around 130 people from Europe and North America including everyone from royals to business tycoons and academics. A highly secretive affair without a fixed agenda, the Bilderberg Meeting is regular fodder for conspiracy theorists who believe its participants act as a secret world government. However, organisers argue the private nature of the event gives attendees the chance to hold informal discussions about major issues. Topics up for discussion this year include climate change and sustainability, Brexit, China, Russia, the future of capitalism and the weaponization of social media. According to the official Bilderberg website, discussions are held under the Chatham House Rule, which means participants can use any information they receive during the meeting but cannot reveal its source. This year will be the second time the Bilderberg meeting has been held in Switzerland. In 2011, it was held in St Moritz in the country’s southeast.
The key topics for discussion this year are:
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS 2019
LONDON, May 29 -- Boris Johnson has been ordered to attend court over accusations of misconduct in a public office during the Brexit referendum.
A judge ruled there was a case to answer after a private prosecution was brought against the former Foreign Secretary. Remain supporter Marcus Ball claims Mr Johnson - the favourite to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister - knowingly made false statements during the 2016 campaign about the amount of money the UK sends to the EU. It is understood his accusation relates to the Vote Leave battlebus, which claimed the UK could afford to give the NHS an extra £350m a week after Brexit. In a written judgement issued at Westminster Magistrates Court, District Judge Margot Coleman said: "The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact.
"Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offences as drafted. The charges are indictable only. "This means the proposed defendant will be required to attend this court for a preliminary hearing, and the case will then be sent to the Crown Court for trial. The charges can only be dealt with in the Crown Court."
Mr Johnson has previously described the court action as a "political stunt."
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is backing the Uxbridge MP's leadership bid, told the Telegraph: "The court should not be used for obviously political purposes, it is an abuse of legal procedure. "The courts should not be politics by other means, it sets a dangerous precedent." But Lib Dem MP Ed Davey said: "Given Boris Johnson wants to be the next Prime Minister of this country, it's only right that he is held accountable for the lies he told in 2016." Meanwhile, a poll for the ConservativeHome website shows Mr Johnson has maintained his clear lead with party members. It shows him on 33%, well ahead of second placed Dominic Raab, who is on 15% and Michael Gove on 12%.
LONDON, May 24 -- Theresa May's turbulent leadership of the Conservative Party will end on June 7, paving the way for a new prime minister to lead the Brexit process.
Watched by husband Philip and her closest aides, an emotional Mrs May said it was in the "best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort". Announcing her departure from a job she loved, Mrs May said: "I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7th June so that a successor can be chosen." Concluding her resignation statement, Mrs May broke down as she said it had been "the honour of my life" to serve "the country that I love". Earlier, in a sign that the leadership race to replace Mrs May is already under way, Helen Grant quit as Conservative vice chair for communities to "actively and openly" support Dominic Raab. She quit her Tory party role to avoid any "perception of a conflict" between Mr Raab's campaign and Conservative HQ". Ms Grant said the former Brexit secretary "has an inspiring vision for a fairer Britain and I think he is undoubtedly the best person to unite the Conservative Party and our country".
LONDON, May 18 -- Britain’s Brexit crisis moves, with each passing week, ever higher up the fiasco index. If it were not so grave for the future of one Europe’s major democracies and economies it would be comical.
This week’s chapter — the collapse of the government’s six-week attempt to find a compromise with the Labour opposition — was entirely predictable. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was unprepared to let go of his demand for a post-Brexit customs union, even though that is what is offered, albeit temporarily, in the withdrawal treaty that prime minister Theresa May has negotiated with Brussels, and that, inexplicably, Labour has consistently voted down. Every step of the way, Mr Corbyn and most of his MPs have grasped each and every opportunity to put party interest above that of the country. In doing so they have shown their contempt for the many Labour-held constituencies that voted leave in the 2016 referendum. For her part, Ms May is right to blame the failure of the cross-party talks in part on her government’s inability to see a common Labour position on the UK’s exit from the EU: Does it want to deliver Brexit — the promise in its 2017 election manifesto — or hold a second referendum which could kill it?
Profound divisions in the Conservative Party also limited the government’s scope for compromise on a withdrawal agreement that, in any event, cannot be amended because Brussels has refused to have a word of it changed. It cannot, without the EU’s approval, offer improved exit terms, and the party’s hardline leavers would not have accepted any compromise that included a second referendum, known euphemistically as a people’s vote, as the 2016 poll was nothing of the sort. It is difficult to underestimate the contempt in which Ms May is held not only by a sizeable chunk of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons but also by leave-voting Tory activists. They have forced the PM to give advance notice of her resignation, giving Mr Corbyn another wound at which to gnaw. How, he asks — with tears in his eyes and hand on heart — could Labour agree a common policy with the government, only for it to be torn up by a Tory prime minister who actually understood Brexit and was capable of getting the job done? He doesn’t do sincerity that well. As many predicted, the talks were a waste of time. Britain and its neighbours are back where they were months ago. Brussels waits and watches, and Leo Varadkar’s Government must lift the sofa cushions to find €50m to part-fund an aid package for the Brexit-related losses being suffered by cattle farmers.
Next up is another problem for Ms May: An election in which British voters normally take scant interest but which paradoxically is now of enormous interest because, firstly, it should not be happening, and secondly it will give the country — and its four nations — the chance to return a verdict on the farce so far. With the Conservatives and Labour having mounted campaigns that so far can be viewed only with the aid of a telescope, and the Brexit Party surging ahead in polls, it’s likely to be seen — certainly in England as distinct from the rest of the UK — as a second referendum. If the pro-Brexit vote holds, the issue goes back to a House of Commons still being dominated by remain-inclined MPs and incapable of producing a majority for any way forward. A general election, with the Conservatives under a new leader and Labour offering a clear policy, now looks inevitable sooner — much sooner — rather than later.
LONDON, April 23 -- The European elections are shaping up to be a colourful affair with both the Brexit Party and pro-EU Change UK revealing a spate of new candidates this morning. Along with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister Annunziata, libertarian Claire Fox will stand for Nigel Farage’s party.
Meanwhile on the Remain side, a member of a political dynasty has decided to try and win election as an MP for Change UK. Step forward Rachel Johnson. Johnson is to follow in the footsteps of her father Stanley and brothers Boris and Jo by entering the political arena. The writer has revealed she will stand as a European election candidate in the South West region for Change UK, set up by the Independent Group MPs. Explaining her decision to the Evening Standard, Johnson said:
‘A vote to leave the EU is so important, so life-changing for the next two generations that I am impelled to stand up and be counted for what I believe in, which is that we are far better in Europe.’
Mr S wonders whether Johnson will have better luck than the last time she joined a political party. In 2017, Johnson announced that she was joining the Liberal Democrats in protest at the Conservative party’s Brexit stance. However, that endorsement failed to provide the party with much in the way of a poll boost. Will Johnson’s latest foray into politics lead to change?
LONDON, April 12 -- Nigel Farage ahead of the launch of his new Brexit party todayHe said today that he was "determined to make sure the referendum result is enacted" and fight back against the betrayal of the British people.
Speaking to Radio 4 he blasted EU politicians for "talking down to and bullying" the UK which has made us "a laughing stock in the eyes of the world". And he said Ukip are finished because "the brand is now tarnished". His new Brexit Party would be able to take large chunks out of the Ukip, Tory and Labour votes, telling them we should have left the EU on March 29. It's raked in three quarters of a million pounds in just over 10 days, mostly made up of smaller donors, he claimed in an article for The Daily Telegraph today. And describing Brexit is a "national humiliation" he insisted Britain was still being governed by a "ruling class" who didn't believe in the country. "We are a great nation and a great people. But we are being held back by weak leadership. The time to change this is now,' he wrote.
"We see the next few weeks as the beginning of a fightback against an establishment that has wilfully betrayed our trust." Today he put a whopping £1,000 bet that his new party would win the European elections and get the most seats if Britain is forced to take part in them.
Tories fear their own party will face a battering at the local polls next month, and the European elections if we have to hold them. Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman said today the party "will get a kicking" on May 23 and lose half of their 18 MEPs.