Section: UK

Johnson’s mysterious Russian links continue to dog him

Anthony Robinson

The prime minister seems unable to shake off his mysterious connections to Russians and their money. The BBC is now reporting an $8m transaction between a Russian politician and the husband of Lubov Chernukhin, who is famous for donating £1.7m to the Tory party and paying handsomely for the privilege of playing tennis with David […]

Home Office risks immigration decisions being driven by “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”

Dr Stella Perrott

On 18 September, the Conservative-dominated public accounts committee (which examines the value for money of government projects, programmes and service delivery) published its report: ‘Immigration Enforcement’. The findings are damning, concluding that the Home Office’s approach risks making decisions on “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”. The directorate responsible for immigration enforcement has, as its vision: “to […]

Boris through the looking glass

Dr Pam Jarvis

In this upside-down, looking-glass world, Johnson plays the role of Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty to perfection, attempting to deceive an increasingly confused and anxious population that only he can correctly interpret his past statements. The prime minister has a track record of bending the truth, fabricating quotes and spreading disinformation about the EU, as well […]

Wakefield’s MP seems confused by the Brexit bells and whistles

Anthony Robinson

The new Tory MP for Wakefield may well be an ardent supporter of Brexit, but his understanding of it varies between shaky and non-existent. His article in the Yorkshire Post only demonstrates his own shortcomings. Imran Ahmad-Khan says he has spent many years in distant, sometimes dangerous, places and thinks Britain had ceased to be […]

Excuses, weakness and mendacity: the shambolic approach to Brexit continues

Lord Newby

As the government tries desperately to limit the domestic political damage caused by its plans in the internal market bill to break international law by unilaterally tearing up the withdrawal agreement, it has used a series of excuses to justify its position. Of these, perhaps the most pathetic was the agreement could be broken because […]

Johnson never intended to stick to the withdrawal agreement

Anthony Robinson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with President of the European Parliament David Sassoli for a meeting at Downing Street.

In what may be regarded as the ultimate in bad faith, last October – as the UK and EU teams were engaged in intensive final negotiations in Brussels – Johnson is alleged to have taken legal advice about repudiating the withdrawal agreement even before the text was completed. He was never committed to keeping the […]

From Operation Moonshot, to Project Overshot

Jane Thomas

Many were gripped by the shenanigans in parliament on Monday, and as the details unfolded so too did the government’s dilemmas. While I doubt they’re talking much about the internal market bill down the Dog and Duck, it’s certainly giving the government a headache – and one very much of its own making. The political […]

Take a walk in Theresa’s shoes

Andy Brown

Imagine that you could put yourself in Theresa May’s shoes for a short while. I realise that this may not be easy for those of you who don’t normally favour designer kitten heels, but stick with me for a while as it is worth the effort. It is a year ago and you are the […]

Not at all Good, seriously Bad, and incredibly Ugly: government game-playing is immature, disrespectful and downright dangerous

Amanda Robinson

As Anthony Robinson (no relation) highlighted on the 14 September, the UK government announced last week that they intend to break international law. Perfectly stated by David Allen Green, “the government of the United Kingdom is proposing to enact legislation that is deliberately intended to make it possible for ministers to make regulations that would […]

UK internal market bill: Henry VIII powers on steroids

Natalie Bennett

Unless you’ve just splashed down from Mars, you’ll have noticed that the government has got itself into a great deal of hot water over the internal market bill. Former prime ministers, of various hues, have lined up to express their horror at its cavalier, casual dismissal of international law and repudiation of a treaty that […]

Rebels with a clause: now the fun and games will start

Jane Thomas

Ester Weber, reporter at The Times told twitter this morning: “One Tory MP in a big Leave constituency tells me: ‘In a patch like mine I think almost anything would be tolerated in the name of Brexit … Except fly-tipping.’” This may well be true, and the expectation that the government is about to fall […]

Circling the wagons in Downing Street

Anthony Robinson

The furore about the UK proposing to break international law has every potential to grow into a full-blown constitutional crisis. If the UK internal market bill, which will override Johnson’s EU withdrawal agreement, passes the Commons this week it may well be blocked by peers, setting the two chambers against each other. However, the extraordinary […]

The revolving door of money and politics

Karl Francis

During the 1990s, the Conservative government was dogged by the fallout from the infamous ‘cash for questions’ scandal. Lessons were learned, or so we are always told. However, the release of the Russian report highlighted that those lessons may now have been forgotten again. A leading player in political donations and a good friend of […]

Brexit stage set for showdown, as EU vice president reads Gove the riot act

Anthony Robinson
Vice President Šefčovič

Following hard on the heels of the government’s announcement on Tuesday that it intends to break international law by allowing the UK internal market bill (UKIM) to supersede parts of the withdrawal agreement, EU Vice President Marcoš Šefčovič flew to London earlier today. In a meeting with Michael Gove, he read him the diplomatic equivalent […]

Johnson now heading for his own Suez moment

Anthony Robinson
Boris Johnson in Downing Street

In 1956, prime minister Anthony Eden conspired with France and Israel to invade Egypt and recover control of the Suez Canal, which had been seized by president Nasser. It was an act of monumental hubris and Britain was eventually forced to withdraw under pressure from the USA and Russia. It was a seminal moment and […]

Grenfell: the price of property profiteering

Andrew Leach

At around 1am on the 14 June, 2017, an apocalyptic inferno engulfed a residential apartment block in unimaginable horror. The block was Grenfell Tower, a 23-storey building. An electrical fire that began in a flat on the fourth floor quickly consumed the entire structure. Some 72 people died that night. The primary reason for the […]

Johnson is trashing Britain’s international reputation

Anthony Robinson

The Telegraph claimed in a banner headline this morning that the prime minister is to tell the EU that the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) he renegotiated and signed last year “never made sense”.  A senior government source is quoted as saying some of the consequences “were not foreseen” at the time. Simon Nixon, chief leader writer […]

White feathers for Tory cowardice

Beanna Olding

“We request that our elected representatives speak out about foreign interference in our democracy and take a stand against the government’s ongoing attacks on our democratic safeguards. Through peaceful means, we intend to hold all of them to account for their cowardice.” This is the message from Three Point Five Percent, a movement devoted to […]

Johnson’s approval rating among Tory party members nosedives

Anthony Robinson

The regular monthly survey of party members carried out by the website Conservative Home shows Boris Johnson’s satisfaction rating slumping into the bottom third of his own cabinet. The prime minister is not so much first among equals as nineteenth out of twenty-six. In a cabinet stuffed with mediocrities and incompetents he doesn’t even make […]

Rescuing the economy – the Keynesian way

John Cole
gold round coins

Just about everyone is aware of the huge increases in government spending in the last seven months, as the government bankrolls the economy in a world where many workers have been furloughed or made redundant. Not only has government expenditure increased, but the 20 percent reduction in economic activity means that tax receipts have fallen […]

Mum’s the word?

Dr Pam Jarvis
blue jeans

Childcare for working families is one of those perennial problematic societal issues, such as youth unemployment and domestic violence, which has not been created by covid but simply exacerbated by it, as it relentlessly picks at existing fault lines in our society. Antonia Bance, head of communications at the TUC, recently picked up the baton […]

Is there a way back to the EU?

Michael Hindley

As a Lancastrian European, let me begin by taking my hat off to ‘Leeds for Europe’ for recently getting the EU flag hoisted over Leeds Town Hall. However for any ‘rejoin’ campaign to gain traction, those who wish to have remained members of the EU must surely realise that even if Brexit proves to be […]

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