Tag Archives: boris johnson

Brexit: the penny drops as Sir Humphrey is wheeled in amidst the “whiff of sexism”

Sir Ivan Rogers, former UK ambassador to the EU, had to have an uncomfortable conversation with the then Prime Minister, Theresa May in 2016. He told her:

…you have made three commitments in good faith to different audiences, but they are not really compatible with each other.

You have said to the Irish, under no circumstances will a hard border be erected across the island of Ireland.

You have said to the Democratic Unionist community under no circumstances will there be divergence from the rest of Great Britain.

And you have said to the right of your own party that you are heading out of the customs union.

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In praise of Marcus Ball – doughty fighter against the £350 million red bus lie


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Marcus Ball has announced that he can no longer move forward with his legal fight to hold Boris Johnson responsible for his “£350 million a week” red bus statement.

High court judges threw the case out in June after Johnson challenged a summons to attend court on three claims of misconduct in public office. However, Marcus Ball had continued fighting in the hope of taking the case to the Supreme Court.

Last weekend, news came from the legal fraternity that this would not be possible.

This young man has put up an extraordinary fight over the last three and a half years, working at below the national minimum wage per hour.

Goodness knows, there are many roads to riches in the legal profession.

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Johnson to implicate the Queen in electoral shenanigans

Admittedly honesty is far from Johnson’s forte. Accordingly, I should not be so surprised that Johnson can simultaneously cry out for an imminent election and prorogue parliament for a Queen’s speech and new legislative session. 

Quite simply, it is not the function of the Queen to present an electioneering address on behalf of the Conservative Party. Having already abused the function of the Queen by illegally advising her on an overlong prorogation, Johnson is merely running true to form in forcing the Head of State to front an election pitch.

We have to make it clear that this is wholly unacceptable and that if he is intent on prorogation, he cannot concurrently expect an election in the near term.  Parliamentary sessions are seldom shorter 150 days, the shortest session in recent times was 65 days.  If the Queen’s speech is not voted down, we must insist there should be a reasonable period, perhaps six months, during which the government should try to work through its programme. We would press for a referendum on whatever it is Johnson has to offer within this period.

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Jo Swinson on Johnson’s speech: ‘Beneath the bluff & bluster, he’s determined to crash us out of the EU’

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Commenting on PM Johnson’s Manchester speech today, Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson said:

When you strip away the bluff and bluster, this was a speech by a Prime Minister who is determined to crash us out of the EU without a deal.

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27 September 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • No-deal prep for health supplies shows Brexit must stop
  • Boris Johnson is the champion of the well-off, not the people – Davey

No-deal prep for health supplies shows Brexit must stop

Responding to the National Audit Office’s report on the Government’s preparations on health and social care supplies under a no deal Brexit, Liberal Democrats Health and Social Care Secretary, Sir Vince Cable MP, said:

This report reinforces what we already knew from the Yellowhammer documents. We know that a no-deal Brexit would have a devastating impact on the UK’s health and social care supplies.

The risk is very real that traders may not

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25 September 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Johnson rides roughshod with the law again

Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture Secretary Layla Moran today questioned Ministers on payments made by the Government to Hacker House, a company owned by Jennifer Arcuri.

The Sunday Times alleged that the company was incorrectly registered in the UK.

The paper also alleges that Ms Arcuri, a friend of Boris Johnson, benefitted from preferential treatment for public money and access to overseas trade missions when the Prime Minister was Mayor of London. These are now subject to an investigation by the London Assembly’s Oversight Committee.

Speaking after her Urgent Questionn in the House …

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What Boris Johnson should have said to Omar Salem

I have nothing but sympathy for Omar Salem, the dad who confronted Boris Johnson today. Watch the video on the Guardian, here. Omar’s wee one is only a week old, but was admitted as an emergency. When she got to the ward, she wasn’t seen by a doctor for hours. I can’t imagine Omar would have got much in the way of sleep.

It is absolutely terrifying when someone you love is seriously ill. You need to have confidence in the care that they are getting.

I know.

Three years ago, my husband was very seriously ill and spent 51 nights in hospital. He had some superb care from  truly exceptional people. But occasionally things went wrong. This was invariably because of under-resourcing.

I’ll never forget the day that I was on the ward at just before 5pm and I saw one of the health care assistants getting ready to serve dinner. She had been on night shift the day before until 8am that morning. Because the ward was so short staffed, she’d gone home for a couple of hours’ sleep and gone back in to do the lunches because there was nobody else to do it.

That is simply not safe – for her, mostly.

Other stuff went wrong as well. I won’t give you the gory details, but if you only have one person of a particular grade on duty overnight in an entire hospital, they can’t be everywhere they are needed and vital stuff just doesn’t get done.

If Nicola Sturgeon, or then Health Secretary Shona Robison, had turned up on the ward on one of these days, I might well have given them a piece of my mind. As a worried wife, and a human being, not as a Liberal Democrat.

And if I had done that, I reckon Shona and Nicola would have shown me some kindness. They’d have asked questions and listened. Because they are actually kind and empathetic human beings, and because they know that it is important to handle these things well.

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Jo tackles Boris on sexist insults

Twice this week, Boris Johnson has used sexist insults. In deeply dignified and mature behaviour for a Prime Minister, he called Jeremy Corbyn a “big girl’s blouse” the other day. And now we discover he called David Cameron a “girly swot.”

This is how Jo Swinson responded.

She took the fight for liberal values to him the other day and he was all over the place as a result. Jo is usually very prepared about what she is going to say, but she was clearly furious with his dismissive answer when challenged on his dangerous racism and she handed his backside to him on a plate.

Jo is fired up and ready to go when the inevitable election eventually comes along, after she and others have protected the country from government shenanigans which could force no deal on us.

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Observations of an ex pat: Intelligence insulted

I hate it when politicians insult my intelligence. When they speak and act in a manner which implies that the voting public are no more than gullible poll fodder it undermines their credibility and damages the democratic process.

Not that the current prime minister had much credibility to start with. Boris Johnson is infamous for his deceits, distortions, half-truths, vacillations and outright lies in pursuit of political ends which are clearly designed to serve only the interests of Boris Johnson.

His latest porky is the claim that proroguing parliament has nothing to do with the Brexit debate.  That is so obviously false. It is right up there with the NHS bus, floods of Turkish immigrants, dismissal of the Irish border as “not a problem”, having our cake and eating it too, and the assertion that the German car industry will be on its hands and knees grovelling for a deal.

The Johnson government claims that using the tactic of an early Queen’s Speech to prorogue parliament in the middle of the run-up to the No Deal deadline of 31 October is perfectly normal.  It will, says Johnson, have no impact on parliament’s ability to debate Brexit. “Nothing to do with Brexit,” says Michael Gove. “A bit boring actually,” claims Jacob Rees-Mogg.

More accurate was the comment from Father of the House Ken Clark: “I don’t know how they keep a straight face.”

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We need a flexible Conference

With the terrible twins Johnson and Cummings in charge, this country is in the most dangerous situation since the start of World War Two. They are planning a right wing coup, with neither of them elected by the British public. Johnson was elected by a handful of elderly right-wingers in the Tory Party and Johnson elected Cummings, who is contemptuous of our democratic process

The news changes every day, and the likelihood is that we are approaching a democratic and economic disaster.

Lib Dems now have a higher profile than for some years, and we can expect more interest in our Conference than in the past.

The public will want to know:

  • What are our solutions to the major issues this country faces?
  • What is our response if we are forced into a No Deal Brexit?

We need to achieve maximum publicity for our response to this crisis.

We therefore need to clear the decks at conference in order to address these issues in the light of the then current circumstances.

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Surely there is a way that Johnson can give us a treat on Halloween, rather than a trick?

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WARNING: This article contains high amounts of hysterical optimism (or at least non-pessimism)

Here are, to my mind, three significant things about Boris Johnson in the context of the current Brexit dilemma:

1. It is conceivable that he harbours ideas of having statues of himself built in future. When grappling with the choice of being a politician or a journalist, he allegedly once said:

They don’t put up statues to journalists

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On politicians and TV

Dorothy Byrne is Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4. She was invited to give the annual MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Festival, and she grasped the opportunity to say some pretty pertinent things about politicians.

You can read her funny and very pointed speech in full here, but we can give some extracts:

On trust and politicians:

Don’t believe politicians when they say that the public doesn’t trust the so-called mainstream media in the UK. They trust TV. Remember, terrestrial television has huge levels of trust:  71 percent. 

It’s politicians who are not trusted – they have a trust rate of 19 per cent  And news on the internet – the medium  politicians are increasingly using to bypass us – has, according recent Reuters Institute figures,  a trust level of only 22 percent with a mere 10 percent for news on social. 

But in recent years, there has been a dramatic fall in politicians holding themselves up to proper scrutiny on TV and in recent months and even weeks, that decline has, in my view, become critical for our democracy. 

We have a new Prime Minister who hasn’t held one major press conference or given one major television interview since he came to power. 

That cannot be right. And we have a leader of the opposition who similarly fails to give significant interviews on terrestrial TV. We may be heading for an election very soon. 

What are they going to do then? I genuinely fear that in the next election campaign there will be too little proper democratic debate and scrutiny to enable voters to make informed decisions.  

On TV interviews:

During the 1987 election, Thatcher and Kinnock chaired daily press conferences and gave several full-length interviews. Even more recently, Miliband and Cameron also did extensive interviews in election campaigns.

However, Theresa May, when she was leader, and Corbyn, failed to hold themselves to account in the same way. In the 2017 election, May and Corbyn did only one or two events a day. 

Outside of election periods, and setting aside some interviews with Andrew Marr, Theresa May’s PR people generally said she would do interviews of only four minutes, maybe six if you were lucky. 

Throughout her time as PM, May’s longest interview with Channel Four News was seven minutes. How do you delve into the complex problems of our times in a few minutes. Jeremy Corbyn sometimes permits only one question, and then doesn’t answer it!

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Lord William Wallace writes….Boris Johnson think rules don’t apply to him

We now face a really nasty government, hell-bent on leaving the EU without a deal.  What Boris Johnson described only weeks ago as ‘a million-to-one chance’ has now become the central planning assumption for No.10.  Johnson’s airy language about a rapid re-negotiation has evaporated; he has refused to visit even Dublin, and has made no effort to talk directly to prime ministers he casually offended when he was foreign secretary. He is focussing instead on blaming the EU for refusing to accept the UK’s demand to drop the ‘Irish backstop’, even though the British government has no alternative workable proposals on how to manage the Irish border after Brexit.  He and his advisers calculate that, in a slickly-presented election campaign, enough British voters might blame foreigners to carry this right-wing version of Conservatism back into office, without looking too closely at its own contradictions.

On top of this, our new government is threatening a constitutional crisis.  Briefings by No.10 staffers remind journalists that the expectation that a Prime Minister will resign in the event of losing a vote of no confidence ‘is only a convention’.  The British constitution is built on conventions, and on the expectation that honourable politicians will observe them. But Boris Johnson is not an honourable politician.  On resigning from Theresa May’s government, he broke several clauses of the ministerial code: the Daily Telegraph announced he would be resuming his handsomely-paid column three days after he resigned, in defiance of the code’s requirements to wait a month before accepting other posts, to consult the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments before doing so, and not to announce the move until the committee had pronounced.  As an Etonian master commented, Boris Johnson does not think that rules need apply to him – even constitutional rules.

This is a Vote Leave government, not a Conservative one.  The appointment of Dominic Cummings as chief of staff, and the recruitment of special advisers from the 2016 campaign team and from the clutch of interconnected right-wing think-tanks grouped around the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the Institute of Economic Affairs, makes its ideological direction clear.  During the Vote Leave campaign several Conservative MPs tried to remove Cummings and Matthew Elliott (previously the director of the Taxpayers Alliance) as campaign directors: they saw off the plotters successfully.  Cummings despises most politicians – including Ian Duncan Smith, whom he served as director of strategy for 9 months before resigning, labelling the then-Conservative leader ‘incompetent’.  He has referred to the European Research Group of MPs as ‘useful idiots’, and no doubt considers the opportunists in the Cabinet who have hung onto Johnson’s coat-tails – Matthew Hancock, Grant Shapps, Amber Rudd – to be worse than that.

Close ideological and financial links with the libertarian right within the USA are evident.  Liz Truss, the former Young Liberal who has now embraced free market libertarianism, spent part of her ministerial visit to Washington last week with the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, learning about deregulation and tax cutting strategies.  Ministers are flowing to North America, rather than to our European neighbours, for consultations on future relationships.  Matthew Elliott has joined the Treasury as special adviser to Sajid Javid – who once claimed that Ayn Rand, the American philosopher of selfish individualism, was his favourite author.

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29 July 2019 – today’s press release

Swinson: Sturgeon and Johnson have more in common than they realise

Commenting on Boris Johnson’s visit to Glasgow today, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson warned against the divisions profered by the new PM and SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon.

Jo said:

The best way to strengthen the United Kingdom is to stop Brexit.

Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson have more in common than they realise. Both are failing to listen to Scotland with their respective ideological pursuits of independence and Brexit.

When it comes to working with our closest neighbours, we have been clear: our future is best served with a

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LibLink: Jo Swinson: The Lib Dems represent modern Britain and we’re aiming for the top

It’s been a busy first week as leader for Jo Swinson.

She’s questioned two Prime Ministers, been all over the media, headed to Brecon and Radnorshire to campaign with Jane Dodds ahead of the by-election next Thursday and has found time to write for the Evening Standard as well.

She contrasted the hype and the reality of our new Prime Minister:

Earlier this week, when Boris Johnson, London’s former Mayor, finally got the keys to No 10, he promised a Cabinet that represents modern Britain. But as all Londoners know, promises made by Johnson tend to be less impressive in reality than they are in rhetoric. In his reshuffle this week, he gave jobs to people who have supported the death penalty, who have bragged about not being a feminist, and who are completely opposed to abortion even in cases of rape. He has also sacked the only LGBT+ member of the Cabinet.

It shouldn’t surprise us that these are the people Johnson picked. Just look at him and what he has said. He has compared Muslim women to letterboxes and described elite women athletes as “glistening like wet otters”. He is determined, despite all the evidence on how damaging it will be to our economy, to pursue a no-deal Brexit. And yesterday, when I asked him to fulfil his reassurances that the three million EU citizens — our friends, family and neighbours — would retain their rights after Brexit, and to back a Lib Dem Bill to that effect, he was all talk and no trousers.

It’s enough to make anyone cry -but there is hope.

From Aberdeen to Cornwall, and everywhere in between, I’ve met so many people who believe that Britain should celebrate our differences, not just tolerate them; who believe that we should embrace the cultural diversity that has made Britain great, and who believe that we are at our strongest when we work with our European neighbours, not when we turn our back on them.

Those fundamentally liberal values — openness, inclusion, internationalism — are what truly represent the best of Britain, and it’s those values that I’m determined to fight for as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

And when she fights both Johnson and Corbyn, she is doing it as their equal.

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“Is he all talk and no trousers?” Jo’s first question to PM Boris

Jo Swinson had her first chance to question Boris Johnson today, as he made his first statement as Prime Minister.

Here’s the full exchange from Hansard:

The 3 million EU citizens are our family, our friends, our neighbours, our carers, yet for three years they have been made to feel unwelcome in our country. They deserve better than warm words and more months of anxiety. They deserve certainty, now. The Prime Minister has made assurances, so will he back the Bill of my Lib Dem colleague Lord Oates, which would guarantee in law the rights of EU citizens? Or is he all talk and no trousers?

The answer pretty much confirmed that that was indeed the case.

The Prime Minister
I congratulate the hon. Lady on her own election and join her in insisting on the vital importance of guaranteeing the rights and protections of the 3.2 million who have lived and worked among us for so long. Of course, we are insisting that their rights are guaranteed in law. I am pleased to say that under our settlement scheme some 1 million have already signed up to enshrine their rights.

Jonny Oates explained earlier this month why his Bill was much better than settled status.

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How will Boris fix the Irish border problem?

Boris ‘Kipper’ Johnson appears to believe that technological solutions can quickly be found for the Irish border problem. Everyone in the computer industry knows that is fantasy, which would lead to an orgy of criminality.

Right now, clever people are thinking about juicy ways to make money from a new land frontier, or just to cause trouble. My own taste runs more to throwing grit in bureaucracy than throwing mud at surveillance cameras, but readers can probably think of far worse things to do.

We should be thinking about another side to this issue. The day is not far off when all road vehicles will be permanently tracked, much as mobile phones and airliners already are. This will be part of the self-driving revolution, promised to reduce vehicle usage, air pollution, and road accidents. In principle, having a tracker in your car should be voluntary, but of course government and insurance companies will make it compulsory.

If Mr Kipper gets his way, every border-crosser in Ireland will be tracked. Not just vehicles and the commercial goods they carry, but also all passengers, human, animal, and explosive. There will be penalties for evasion, massive databases to be hacked by cyber-criminals, and huge scope for corruption. Mission creep will lead to facial recognition software, cross-correlation with phone data, etc.

But BoJo’s folly may have a silver lining. Back in 1964 the Smeed Report on Road Pricing spelled out how road users ought to pay the costs they impose upon others. It contained so much good sense that successive governments buried it, but Smeed’s ideas must prevail eventually. A future in which every vehicle is tracked (and charged) for every yard it moves is scary, but it would solve many problems near me in south-east London.

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Prime Minister Johnson – two potential glimmers of positivity


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I could ramble on for ages on the negative aspects of Prime Minister Johnson. There are, however, two glimmers of positivity:

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“Mandate”? A.B.dP.Johnson has a mandate from 0.14% of the UK population

There have been a number of Tory voices saying that A.B.dP.Johnson has a “mandate”. It is important to recognise that this “mandate” is from precisely 0.14% of the UK population:

For the record, those parroting the “mandate” word have included our old china plate, Dominic Raab on Radio Five Live (just after the result was announced) and Tim Montgomerie on Twitter:

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18 July 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

There was a bit of a glitch yesterday, as the press releases ended up in my spam folder for some reason. Things seem to be back to normal, so the usual service resumes here…

  • Welsh Lib Dems – time to embrace zero-carbon housing
  • Lib Dems: EU resolution a vital step in UK’s duty to stand up for people of Hong Kong
  • Davey demands urgent action as knife crime epidemic continues to spread
  • Umunna: OBR report shows No Deal Brexit would be unforgivable
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s ‘fishy tales’ have no plaice in Number Ten
  • Lib Dems: Milestone victory to block no-deal
  • Gauke talks the talk but can’t walk

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The unstoppable Rise and Fall of “Tony” or “Pony” Johnson

Will the Dutch Mark Rutte stay on being the only European Prime Minister who, sitting alongside President Trump during an official White House visit, dared to loudly and unambiguously contradict The Infallible Donald, and on US-EU trade relations no less? The Women’s Football World Championship showed that resisting (longer than others) an American onslaught is a Dutch speciality, but we would like some allies.

The British political reactions to the affair of the ambassadors leaked email comments about the Trump White House showed outsider Tory leadership contender Jeremy Hunt standing up for the ambassador sending his candid “long telegrams” just as George Kennan did in 1946, while Boris Johnson continued appeasing Trumps tender ego, the ITV debate being the clearest demonstration (see the Guardian and the BBC). Boris even almost-supported Trump disqualifying a British prime minister. Hopefully the discrete Mr. Johnson will do the same when he is PM; Trump spares no ally whatsoever when doing his early morning twitter fusillades.

If that doesn’t remind the British electorate of Tony Blair playing the “Iraq poodle” to president Bush junior (with foreign minister John Bolton pushing the WMD myth), the fact that Boris & Raab like Charles I and Buckingham still see proroguing Parliament as a normal way to push through European policies, should reinforce that analogy. In his Guardian interview about creating an “Boothroyd parallel parliament”, Rory “Realist Tory” Stewart reminds us that when Blair wanted to evade a vote on starting the disastrous Iraq War by prorogation, MP’s threatened to reconvene in Church House to demonstrate their opinion that a “War Powers vote” (my term) was obligatory.

The only difference between the Blair-Bush and Johnson-Trump relationship is that Boris, in his liberal mayorial affectation in 2015/6, was more forceful in disqualifying presidential candidate Trump, than Blair ever was about Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign.

Boris will absolutely hate being identified as a second Blair (wanting to put the UK “at the heart of Europe”, after defending the 1983 eurosceptic Labour platform); all the more reason to start calling him “Tony Johnson”.

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How able is “negotiator” Hunt as compared to Johnson?

The Tory leadership campaign of Jeremy Hunt is, according to himself and many supporting MPs in the media, based upon the premise that Hunt will be (far) more trusted and more easily welcomed at EU negotiating tables than Johnson. They say this is the case because the European players (national ministers, EU negotiators like Barnier) have come to know him as sitting Foreign Secretary, and that they would trust him more than Boris (who they also know from his accident-prone Brexit spell at the Foreign Office).

Hunt also insists he has experience as an entrepreneur, including negotiating deals, which Johnson lacks because he was a journalist, not a businessman, between his public school/Oxbridge education and his political career.

But right at the start of his term as Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt made a massive negotiating gaffe while trying to use his personal background to curry favour with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

At the start of his business career, Hunt had learned Japanese to be able to work as an English language teacher in Japan in the late 1980s; and minister Wang Yi studied Japanese and was a former ambassador in Japan (2004-07). As a minister in Cameron’s shadow cabinet, Hunt in 2008 met and married his Chinese wife, Lucia Guo. As the new Foreign Secretary negotiating in Beijing in July 2018, Hunt and Wang Yi had been speaking in Japanese, when Hunt, switching to English, made his gaffe when he talked about his wife and her parentage. According to the BBC, Hunt said “My wife is Japanese – my wife is Chinese. Sorry, that’s a terrible mistake to make.” The company at the table politely laughed it off, and Hunt went on to say that he and his wife had close ties with his in-laws still living in the Chinese city Xi’an.

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27 June 2019 – today’s press releases

Johnson pandering to Farage over immigration

Responding to Boris Johnson’s promises to investigate an ‘Australian-style’ policy for immigration, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Immigration has been a great thing for our country. But politicians like Johnson have vilified those coming to help build and contribute to our great country for their own political gain in the Brexit debate.

Yet businesses across the country are already having to deal with acute shortages of staff thanks to the Brexit uncertainty, and this proposal from our potential next PM does nothing to solve that. If implemented, an Australian-style visa cap would

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LibLink: Chuka Umunna: Boris as PM would tell world Britain brazenly tolerates prejudice and hatred

So, it’s Chuka Umunna’s LibLink debut.

And he’s used his Independent column to talk about Boris Johnson’s unsuitability to be Prime Minister.

Chuka contrasts the Tory membership with the population as a whole:

The average age of a UK citizen is 40, over-65s make up around 18 per cent of the population, and those aged between 18 and 24 make up 9 per cent of the population. On this measure, the Tory party is in no way representative. The project found that the average age of a Tory party member is 57, significantly older, with 38 per cent of Tory party members aged 66 and over, and 7 per cent between 18 and 25 years old.

And it doesn’t get better with other diversity characteristics:

The population is split more or less equally between the genders, yet three-quarters of Tory members are men. Whereas around 14 per cent of the population is of an ethnic minority background, just 3 per cent of Tory party members are non-white.

And then we get to Boris and his greatest transgressions:
He has described black people as “piccanninnies” with “watermelon smiles”. Last summer, he compared Muslim women wearing veils to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”. And, this weekend, none other than Steve Bannon, right-wing populist and former campaign manager to Donald Trump, revealed that he worked with Johnson on his government resignation speech last year. I don’t know whether Johnson is a racist or not – only he can answer that question definitively. But there is no doubt that the aforementioned comments are racist and, at the very least, they reveal a complete disrespect and condescension towards those of a different ethnicity.

He describes how his fellow panellists on Politics Live last week dismissed Johnson’s remarks:

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Bungling Boris and his baffling Brexit bravado

Likely next PM, Boris Johnson, now has the unenviable task of facing disgruntled Tory party members at hustings across the UK. Worse, he has to do this side-by-side with the bland Jeremy Hunt.

Boris is surely aware that these disgruntled souls feel that way because, after 40 years of anti-EU and anti-immigrant campaigning by the far-right UK press, they were then promised (and voted for) a painless easy Brexit, and a grovelling EU. Once Brexit is implemented, the UK can then go about kicking out various foreigners, as they have been led to believe. Britain as a Great Power, they believe, would be able to trade with the EU on the same easy terms as now, and on better terms with the rest of the world … whilst ending free movement in the EU and severing all links with the European Court of Justice and its supposed terrorist-loving human rights regime.

The last three years has inevitably dented such ‘true faith’ beliefs as reality has set in. However the Tory members being faced by Boris in the coming weeks have been desperate to find a saviour who can restore their faith, and preserve their whole weltanschauung. Boris has found a very willing audience indeed for the view that the stalemate of the last three years is not due to inflated expectations at all. No. They are merely due to Theresa May, Olly Robbins and Mark Sedwill being weak negotiators. These Tories desperately want to believe in Boris and believe that all the promises can be kept and their patriotic beliefs kept intact.

Thus Boris has to give them what they want, and he has made it his raison d’etre. His audience must have hope to cling on to. Boris, though vague so far, does have a discernible plan for them to lap up. It will probably be presented to Tories like this.

He will say that Article XXIV of the GATT and Article V of the GATS (WTO conditions of membership) allow the UK to declare that after Oct 31st  they are ‘in the process’ of negotiating a new trade agreement and thus the EU is allowed to give the UK special treatment and continue the current tariff & regulatory regime as an interim agreement, giving the UK 10 years to negotiate a permanent deal. He will say that the EU will be forced to agree to this interim agreement, and allow the UK to exclude free movement and ECJ jurisdiction from it, because if they don’t accept all this, the UK will refuse to pay the £39bn EU exit fee.

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18 June 2019 – today’s press releases

Cable: Looks like Boris will lie down and let Heathrow expansion happen

Responding to the publication of Heathrow’s plan for a third runway which will include diverting rivers, moving roads and rerouting the M25 through a tunnel under the new runway, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Twickenham MP Vince Cable said:

Expanding Heathrow is the wrong decision for the country and for South West London, where air pollution, air traffic noise, and congestion are already a blight. Heathrow’s plan all but confirms this.

The economics of Heathrow expansion also look questionable at best while it will do nothing for regional economies. Above

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Caroline Pidgeon writes…Who is the real Boris Johnson?

Just who is the real Boris Johnson? 

Is it the man who for eight years was the Mayor of one of the world’s most multi-racial cities, or instead the man who in his 2002 Daily Telegraph column included racist insults against black people, citing “regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies” in the Commonwealth and referring to “the tribal warriors… all break out in watermelon smiles”.

Is it the man who now argues in favour of a no deal Brexit, or instead the Boris Johnson who declared in his Daily Telegraph column: “It is also true that the single market is of considerable value to many UK companies and consumers, and that leaving would cause at least some business uncertainty.”

Or indeed the Boris Johnson of 2012 who stated that whenever he considered the prospect of Britain leaving, he always came down “narrowly” in favour of Britain staying.  And the Boris Johnson who took full advantage of the cheap lending from the European Investment Bank to fund London’s transport infrastructure.

Within a few weeks Conservative party members will be making a decision on whether they want Boris Johnson as their leader. They have to make a decision over a man whose views over the years have had more twists in them than a corkscrew.

Yet examining his contradictory and insulting statements on so many issues only gets us so far.  In contrast the actual record of Boris Johnson is clear cut.  

As someone who witnessed and scrutinised his activities at City Hall for eight years I have a clearer recollection of events than the Conservative MPs now scenting the chance of a ministerial post.

When examined in the round, his record was one of inactivity, missed opportunities and an immense waste of public money.  Always putting himself before anything else. 

Yet his supporters, such as Jacob Rees Mogg and James Cleverly are now peddling the idea that his record of Mayor of London was that of unbridled success and huge achievement.

It is said that a lie can get half way around the world before truth has even got its boots on.   

We now run that risk with some of the fanciful claims being made by Boris’ supporters will start to be believed.  We cannot allow that to happen.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games

Incredibly some people seek to credit Boris Johnson with the overall success of the 2012 Games.  His contribution to their success was in fact minimal. The hard work and the groundwork at the Olympic Park started long before he arrived at City Hall.  London won the bid for the 2012 Games in July 2005, three years before he became Mayor. There was a huge amount of work undertaken in preparing our bid in the years before that.  His biggest contribution was waving the flag at the opening ceremony.

Crime 

It is claimed during his time at City Hall that great progress was made in tackling crime. The reality is that there was serious rioting across the capital in the summer of 2011, wrecking many high streets and small businesses. His supporters also overlook the fact that knife crime was increasing in the last two years of his office.

Housing

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7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 1)

A busy day yesterday and overnight, so today’s press releases will come in two sections…

  • Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work
  • Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU
  • Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day
  • Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim

Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has secured assurances from the Home Secretary that he is ‘open-minded’ about her Bill which would loosen rules around asylum seekers’ right to work.

The Edinburgh West MP raised her campaign with Sajid Javid in a joint meeting organised by cross-party group, More …

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Just in case you thought the ERG was acting on principle…

So Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris and the rest of the European Research Group of 100 or so Tory backbenchers have been making an almighty fuss about the backstop. They don’t like the part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement that would keep the UK in a temporary customs union in the (highly likely) event of a full trade deal not being agreed by the end of the transition period in December 2020.

It has alway been clear that the EU will, quite rightly, to be honest, not consider any watering down of that commitment. There is no solution to the Irish border problem that doesn’t involve some sort of customs union. It is obvious.

But an article in today’s Mirror suggests that the ERG might give in and vote for May’s deal just to get us out of the EU – on condition that Theresa May goes after the local elections on May 2nd so they have a chance of getting Boris as PM.

Political editor Nigel Nelson suggests:

As things stand at least 20 hardcore ERG backbenchers will not back Mrs May’s deal – either with or without changes to the backstop.

But if they think they can get Boris for PM, it is expected they will back down.

With the ERG on board, and 20 Labour rebels who Mrs May is trying to bribe with cash for their constituencies, the PM will have enough votes to get across the line.

In essence, this doesn’t really change anything because the idea of the ERG caving to get us out has always been a possibility.

But it does give us the chance to reflect on why the deal passing is far from the end of the issue.

As I said the other week, the Deal itself is bloody awful. It kicks so much down the road that we have no idea what sort of economy we will end up with.

Bad as it is, it is a million times worse with an ERG PM driving the trade negotiations. The chance of us welcoming in 2020 (or even before) by jumping off a no deal cliff is high.

But this lot have another agenda. Theresa May is going on about workers’ rights in a bid to appease Labour MPs. Jo Swinson called bullshit on those claims this week.

But the ERG are a whole world of right wing small-state extremism away from even May’s Conservatives. Jacob Rees-Mogg and co praise Singapore, a place where you get 12 weeks maternity leave rather than the 12 months shared parental leave (thanks, Jo), where you only get 2 weeks paid holiday a year and where redundancy protection is not mandatory.

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18 January 2019 – today’s press releases

As another week draws to a close, the opportunism of the Conservatives becomes more apparent, using the chaos of Brexit to disguise their true intent. And it isn’t to make life better for ordinary people, or to fulfil the promises of the Leave campaign…

  • Lib Dems: Boris still peddling mistruths on Brexit
  • Lib Dems fight Tory threats to human rights
  • Lib Dems: Final fig leaf of leave campaign falls off with Fox

Lib Dems: Boris still peddling mistruths on Brexit

Responding to the speech Boris Johnson made today, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

No one will take lessons from Boris Johnson on eroding trust

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