Theresa May has backed the growing Tory rebellion on overseas aid cuts, with 30 MPs now planning to inflict on Boris Johnson his first Commons defeat since his election victory.The former prime minister added her name to an increasing number of backbenchers who are supporting an amendment to force the government to spend 0.7% of GDP on international development.The amendment, tabled by former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, introduces a new clause to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill which has its report stage in parliament on Monday.The Commons showdown has been deliberately timed for maximum pressure on Johnson as he prepares to host the G7 summit of world leaders in Cornwall later in the week.The PM has come under heavy fire from within his party for temporarily reducing foreign aid from 0.7% of national income to 0.5% and thereby shelving his 2019 manifesto commitment to maintain spending at the higher rate.Aid charities and others have warned that the government’s decision to slash its aid budget in the middle of a global pandemic will have long term consequences.Backers of the Mitchell amendment believe it has both the cross-party backing and the careful wording needed for the Speaker of the Commons to select it on Monday, a move that would set the stage for the biggest threat yet to Johnson’s 80-plus majority.Government whips will be spending the next few days trying to shore up numbers, but many rebels believe they have at least 45 MPs needed to inflict a defeat, with the House of Lords also geared up to line up behind them.As well as May, former ministers Johnny Mercer and Damian Green added their names to the list on Thursday, swelling the public numbers from 18 to 30.Mitchell said: “More and more of my colleagues in the House of Commons are supporting this move to to stand by our manifesto promise. With our economy returning to growth, there is no justification for balancing the books on the backs of the world’s poor.“With G7 leaders coming to Britain next week, there is an opportunity for us to reclaim our rightful place on the global stage. Britain’s national interest is not being served by the devastating impact these cuts are already having on the ground and the unnecessary loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. We urge the government to think again.”The UK is the only G7 country cutting aid, as the French are set to reach 0.7%, the Germans will exceed 0.7% this year and the Americans are increasing aid by $14bn.The cuts to UK aid represent just 1% of what the Chancellor is borrowing this year, but they mean funding for the UN’s reproductive health programme has been cut by 85%. The UN says this aid would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths.The prime minister’s personal priority for aid is girls’ education. But girls’ education has been cut by 25%, while Unicef, the United Nations Children’s fund has had a cut of 60%.Most worrying for the PM, the rebellion is made up of Conservatives from all wings of the party, including traditional right-wingers like Sir Desmond Swayne and Sir Edward Leigh, as well as former Brexit secretary David Davis.The 30 Conservative MPs now backing the amendment are:1. Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell (former Development Secretary and former Chief Whip)2. Anthony Mangnall (former FCO adviser to William Hague)3. Rt Hon Sir Peter Bottomley (Father of the House)4. Rt Hon Theresa May (former Prime Minister)5. Rt Hon Damian Green (former de facto Deputy Prime Minister)6. Rt Hon Karen Bradley (Chair of the Commons Procedures Committee)7. Rt Hon Caroline Nokes (Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee)8. Rt Hon Harriett Baldwin (former Africa Minister)9. Rt Hon Sir Edward Leigh (former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee)10. Rt Hon David Davis (former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and former Brexit Secretary)11. Tom Tugendhart (Chair of the Foriegn Affairs Committee)12. Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood (Chair of the Defence Committee)13. Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt (Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, and former Foreign Secretary)14. Neil Parish (Chair of the Environment Committee)15. Rt Hon Sir Roger Gale (former Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party)16. Rt Hon Sir Desmond Swayne (former Development Minister)17. Derek Thomas (MP for the constituency hosting next week’s Cornwall G7 in Carbis Bay)18. Bob Seely (Foreign Affairs Committee Member)19. Nus Ghani (leading Trade Bill rebel)20. Rt Hon Tim Loughton (former Children’s Minister and leading Brexiteer)21. Ben Everitt (new intake MP)22. David Warburton (former Chair of the British Council APPG)23. Crispin Blunt (former Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee)24. Rt Hon Stephen Crabb (former Welsh Secretary)25. Sir Bob Neill (Chair of the Justice Committee)26. Pauline Latham OBE (Member of the International Development Committee)27. Simon Hoare (Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee)28. Bob Blackman (Executive Secretary of the 1922 Committee)29. Johnny Mercer (former Defence Minister)30. Giles Watling (who was re-elected with 72% of the vote in Clacton)The amendment is also signed by:• Sarah Champion (Chair of the International Development Committee)• Meg Hiller (Chair of the Public Accounts Committee)• Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge (former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee)• Preet Kaur Gill (Shadow Development Secretary)• Lisa Nandy (Shadow Foreign Secretary)The DUP, which sometimes votes with the Tories, appear resolutely opposed to the aid cuts and all other parties from Labour to the SNP and Lib Dems look poised to back the amendment.Home Office minister Victoria Atkins told Sky News the UK could “hold our head up high in terms of international development”.“The Prime Minister has made clear that this is a temporary measure. In 2019, no one could have foreseen the extent of the pandemic and the measures we were going to have to take as a country in order to deal with this.“It has had a huge impact on our economy. So we’ve had to make some very, very difficult decisions.”“Even with this small temporary reduction, we are still one of the largest donors of aid in the world, spending more than £10 billion on aid.”However, critics point out that because aid is already linked to GDP, it has fallen anyway because of lower growth and adding further cuts on top inflicts unnecessary harm on vital work in developing countries.Related...Why The Catch-Up Czar’s Resignation Is Boris Johnson’s ProblemBoris Johnson Hints Holiday Destinations Could Be Removed From Green List
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You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.When a Labour canvasser appeared on a doorstep in the Tooting area of London this week, they were greeted with a blunt “I’m voting Tory”. Given Sadiq Khan’s former parliamentary seat was a tight marginal not so long ago, that’s perhaps no surprise. But what was shocking was the Labour activist’s reply. “You need to check your values,” they told the astonished voter.That extraordinary exchange neatly sums up Keir Starmer’s problem this weekend. As he surveys a set of elections in which Labour was well and truly hammered in many of its heartlands, there’s a palpable sense that some voters have had enough of being patronised, ridiculed and ignored by the very party that needs their support.I’ve written elsewhere my early inquest into the Hartlepool disaster, but the results across the country are just as devastating. From Plymouth to Harlow, from Dudley to Nottinghamshire, Labour didn’t just lose seats and control of councils, it often lost by huge, huge margins. The vaccine effect, the Boris effect and the Brexit effect combined to reshape our electoral map.Labour wins over the weekend in Wales, London, Manchester, Bristol and Liverpool will take some of the edge off the awful performance in English small towns. Yet in some ways the May 6 performance is even worse than the 2019 general election result, precisely because Labour is nearly two years on and going backwards. It’s a reminder that William Hague’s 2001 disaster was more of a failure than the 1997 John Major wipeout.The difficulty for Labour is these defeats are becoming a feature not a bug. After a predictable wave of “we’re really going to listen to the voters”, will Starmer do what every leader since 2010 has done and simply carry on not listening? After the 2019 debacle, Tony Blair said the exit poll on election night was “like a flash of lightning that clarifies the landscape for you...the problem is the lightning goes, and if we are not careful we will just go back to the darkness again.”An extra, new problem for Starmer is that the voters are beginning to turn against him personally. The latest research from JLPartners shows that among those who switched from Labour to the Tories their number one reason was “Starmer”. After a year of pretty positive ratings on competence and ability to be PM, it seems the punters are just utterly uninspired by his leadership.For a year, his team have been saying that their task is to convert the 35% of voters who don’t know who Starmer is into committed converts. Once they see him up close, post-pandemic, they’ll come round, was the theory. The plan is to stage a series of ‘CameronDirect’ style events (although based more on Emmanuel Macron’s town hall meetings) this summer to properly “introduce” him to the public, as well as to listen directly to their concerns.It’s not a bad idea, but it will need Starmer to step up and bring some eloquence and energy that many feel he sorely lacks. While his PMQs performances have become punchy and polished, he still badly needs to learn the basics of delivering a crisp TV soundbite and a passionate stump speech. Everyone who knows him personally sees his private warmth, but that’s often missing from his media encounters.The problem was summed up by his pool clip for TV in reaction to the election results. The longer raw feed, shown live on BBC News Channel, was four minutes and forty seconds of rattled, robotic obfuscation that made Theresa May look human. He got across his message that “I intend to do whatever it takes to fix” the “lost trust of working people”. But then he said he would be “changing the things that need changing, that is the change that I will bring about”. It was a word salad with croutons of random verbiage.At the end, after several refusals to explain what exactly he planned to change – his policy themes, his shadow cabinet – the BBC’s Jessica Parker clearly couldn’t believe Starmer wouldn’t want to re-do the clip. “You happy? We can keep going if you like..” she offered. But he replied: “No, that’s fine.”  Starmer had been candid enough to admit “we have changed as a party but we haven’t set out a strong enough case to the country”, but he couldn’t say what the case would look like. Saying “we” haven’t set out the case suggested a reshuffle of this team, though a culling of his frontbench may jar with his pledge to take personal responsibility for the defeats. Still, there’s no shortage of advice on who should go up and who should go down (as we report HERE).One old Labour hand told me recently that the job of leader of the Opposition is like that of England manager, in that everybody has an opinion and most think they could do it better. Starmer doesn’t need armchair punditry, podcaster chin-stroking or advice from Twitter. He can’t easily wave a magic wand when struggling against incumbency (Labour doing well in Wales shows how a sitting government can benefit from Covid competence) and long-term fissures in Labour’s coalition.He can however use the latest flash of lightning to rediscover just why he left the law for politics, and to map out how he will lead his party to power. That appalling “check your values” advice should be turned onto every Labour activist to make them listen to, rather than lecture, the voters. With a powerful mandate from his leadership victory, there’s no likely prospect of Starmer being ousted. He’s going nowhere for now. The danger is that unless he acts swiftly and boldly, his party is going nowhere too. Related...Labour Reshuffle: Who Might Be In And Out Of Keir Starmer's Top TeamConservatives Win Hartlepool By-Election In Stunning Defeat For LabourSix Reasons Labour Lost The Hartlepool By-Election
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You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.Keir Starmer certainly sounded like he was getting his excuses in early. Asked about a Survation poll suggesting the Tories would romp home in the Hartlepool by-election, the Labour leader said nobody “realistically” thought he could turn round his party “from the worst general election result since 1935 to a position to win the next general election within a period of one year”.In fact, people around Starmer have been getting their excuses in a lot earlier than this week. In January – when the Tories had only a two point national lead – I reported senior figures were already forecasting a “vaccine bounce” for Johnson.  They could see the writing on the wall, and it spelled a simple correlation between pride in the NHS rollout and Johnson’s feelgood factor.Some saw an attempt at expectations management at the time, but it turned out to be an accurate prediction. Starmer’s words on Tuesday were not quite such a bald admission of defeat, but they contained a similar plea for patience in the face of the public’s focus on the route out of lockdown.There’s no question that Johnson’s entire upbeat persona suits the good times best. When things were going badly last year, on everything from the A-levels fiasco to PPE shortages and test and trace failures, he sounded brittle. But thanks to the vaccine and a cautious roadmap, he has found a restrained optimism that seems to match the public mood.In Leave-voting areas like Hartlepool, the Brexit factor may well still be a powerful weapon for the PM too. Not for nothing did he effectively declare at last week’s PMQs that it was Brexit-wot-won-it on both the European Super League (the UK could threaten to rewrite competition law on its own) and on the vaccines (Brussels delays and in-fighting made even Remainers blanch).Several local Labour MPs and activists are certainly downbeat about the party’s chances in the seat. Many are pointing to Hartlepool’s historically stubborn streak, how its anti-Labour forces have always been strong but split. Labour came close to losing it in Thatcher’s pomp of 1983, and the combined “Hartlepools” seat had a wafer thin margin even in Attlee’s 1945 landslide. Although there’s a lot of chatter that even a small victory would be a defeat, I suspect Starmer would bite your hand off for any kind of win. Peter Mandelson, who told our podcast recently “I’d like a majority which is a darned sight larger than one, thank you very much”, would probably breathe a sigh of relief too.It remains to be seen just where the 25% Brexit party vote from 2019 travels in this by-election. Just how many of them were former Labour voters who felt voting Tory was a step too far? How many were Tories who loved Farage? How many Labour voters stayed at home because of Corbyn or Brexit and how many will now take the leap to backing Johnson?Well, even before he became PM, Johnson certainly grasped a reality that some in Labour didn’t: that divides within the north (between big cities and smaller towns) were often as big as divides between north and south. That’s exactly the point he made in a speech in April 2019, when he was a backbencher on a trip to support Teesside mayor Ben Houchen. Johnson was so enamoured of Houchen that he missed the last train back to London and had to be driven by a local supporter (as it happens a former Tory candidate in Hartlepool) on a four-hour journey to the capital. And it’s Houchen’s wider success (an upbeat narrative of green jobs and investment) that ought to worry Starmer even more than any Hartlepool result.In fact, it’s possible that the “Ben bounce” will count as much as the “Boris bounce” in the by-election. With the mayoralty on the same ballot paper, putting a cross against one Conservative candidate is the gateway drug to doing the same for Hartlepool contender Jill Mortimer.An Opinium poll suggests Houchen can win on first preferences (with 63%), but it also puts West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street on 54%. And here it’s the lack of a “Brum bounce” that could cost Labour, some MPs tell me, as the party’s turnout could be hit by the fact that Birmingham city council, the source of a usually solid Labour vote, is not voting this year.The pain may not end there either. If MP Tracey Brabin wins the West Yorkshire mayoralty this Thursday, Labour will at some point face another tricky by-election, in her seat of Batley and Spen. Some expect that one to be held off as long as possible, maybe until the autumn when furlough starts to be withdrawn.There is a glimmer of hope for Labour: Johnson’s chronic inability to plan ahead. When it comes to the concrete business of “levelling up”, the government is so far from knowing what that means that it has only today appointed an adviser to the PM on the topic (Neil O’Brien). His “White Paper” is a blank sheet of paper and not due until later this year.At least Starmer was frank enough to say on Tuesday that he would “take full responsibility” for any failures at the ballot box. If there are some serious setbacks, his shadow cabinet may have to shoulder some blame too however. The perception of Starmer as “the bland leading the bland” could prove as harmful as any other factor in voters’ minds.One party insider reports some good news from Hartlepool. “People in ‘15/’17/’19 were reporting back raw fury towards Labour on the doorstep, which is no longer the case.” Yet Starmer has to transform himself from being not-Corbyn into something positive. If the party loses the by-election, it could be down to the “meh” voters (who stay at home) as much as the ‘yeah’ voters (who back the Tories).Repeat that apathy in a general election, and Starmer could more resemble William Hague than Neil Kinnock.Related...The End Of Social Distancing? Here’s What We KnowKeir Starmer Accepts 'Full Responsibility' For Hartlepool By-ElectionUnite's Steve Turner Warns Split Left Vote Could See Len McCluskey Replaced By Centrist
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You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening. There were plenty of heartfelt and eloquent tributes to Prince Philip in the recalled parliament today. From Tory grandees such as Sir Bill Cash to the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing managed to unite politicians across the political divide. Even his infamous verdict that “we have 650 [MPs] and most of them are a complete bloody waste of time” didn’t deter the outpouring of goodwill.It was perhaps fitting that it fell to Boris Johnson to lead the speeches, given his own fondness for leavening his public duties with the odd risque gag or ten. As the prime minister listed all the qualities he most admired in the late Duke – a passion for the environment, a boyish fascination with science and technology, even a hint of rakishness  –  it was clear he felt the loss of a kindred spirit. When the PM said “he contrived to be at once politically incorrect and also ahead of his time”, the implicit parallel was unmistakeable.While Johnson hasn’t exactly followed Philip’s lead in putting his wife’s needs and career before his own, his speech underlined that public service can come in many different forms. And just a couple of hours beforehand, the rapid rate at which such service can be tarnished by politicians was all too evident when the PM ordered a review of David Cameron’s Greensill lobbying of government.It remains to be seen just how much more detail the Boardman review will unearth, but Cameron has done a pretty good job of trashing his own reputation so far. The grubby spectacle of a former prime minister repeatedly texting and phoning serving ministers on behalf of a firm of financiers will be hard to live down. Cameron’s own admission that he should have used “the most formal of channels” failed to grasp that an ex-PM really shouldn’t be lobbying anyone in government for profit.Testing to breaking point the maxim that what often matters in Britain is not just what you know but who you know, the former premier seemed to rely on his personal pulling power in pressing the interests of Greensill on Matt Hancock, Jesse Norman, John Glen and Rishi Sunak. For the chancellor in particular, as the man in charge of the nation’s finances, the political risks of this whole row are more than obvious.Sunak’s text message to Cameron on April 23 last year – in which he said “I have pushed the team” [of Treasury civil servants to find a possible Greensill solution]  – has been pounced on by his critics. Even though the Treasury points out that Cameron’s lobbying failed because Greensill was not given a penny in government-backed loans through the Covid corporate financing facility (CCFF), it’s that phrase “pushed” that smacks of favours.Allies of Sunak can see how it all looks but strongly deny any impropriety. I’m told the p-word stems from the chancellor being proud of the fact that he “pushes” civil servants, challenging them to interrogate policies and their own assumptions. Officials were already exploring alternative models to see if Greensill could help more small businesses, and the text to Cameron was a polite courtesy rather than a trigger for action, insiders say.Last spring, Sunak was indeed pushing civil servants, with policies like the unprecedented furlough scheme having to be processed through ministerial direction or even legal direction in the face of officials’ understandable nervousness about the sheer cost and scale of the plans. Any change to the Covid financing structure would have needed his approval, and in the end he rejected it.I’m told Sunak did not treat Cameron like an “old mate” precisely because they were not old mates. The pair had met just once when the new Richmond MP was elected in 2015. Although Cameron is reported to have said during the Brexit referendum ”if we’ve lost Rishi, we’ve lost the future of the party”, the two had no personal connection.Sunak’s other defence is that he last week proactively, voluntarily released his only two texts to Cameron. I understand that for at least a fortnight there was no clear guidance from the Cabinet Office, from Freedom of Information officials, from government lawyers, on whether the chancellor could or should publish his texts. In the end, believing he had “nothing to hide”, he went ahead. In doing so, he may well have created a transparency precedent.Which brings us back to Cameron, whose own texts the government felt it had no duty to publish. Bombarding a chancellor with texts, phone calls and emails for profit may be demeaning enough. But it’s the murkiness of his lobbying operation that makes Cameron’s own famous commitment to transparency curdle like sour milk.Cameron made a big play in opposition and government of his phrase “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. In a delicious irony, the phrase was first coined as a metaphor by former US Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, in a 1914 collection of anti-trust articles titled: “Other People’s Money: And How the Bankers Use It”.Sunak isn’t out of the woods yet. Although Labour’s urgent question on Tuesday on Greensill business interruption loans may technically fall within the remit of the business department, the chancellor could be proactive once more by turning up to the Commons to make his case. In James Graham’s political play Privacy, Sunak’s Richmond constituency predecessor William Hague had a memorable catchphrase: “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”.Given Boris Johnson’s own chaotic approach to the ministerial code (keeping Priti Patel in post, failing to replace Alex Allen as independent adviser), Sunak could emerge with credit if he can prove not just no impropriety on his part but also a commitment to open government. Notwithstanding the new Boardman “review” of the Greensill affair, just imagine if the Treasury select committee opted to investigate and hear testimony in public from each of the players?As for Cameron, how long ago it seems since he jibed Tony Blair “he was the future once”. It was Prince Philip, the reformer who pushed for the televising of the coronation, who did his bit to “let daylight in upon magic”. Brand new laws and rules on lobbying, either under PM Johnson or PM Sunak, could perform a similar public service for our politicians.Related...Boris Johnson Orders Probe Into David Cameron Lobbying RowTexts Confirm David Cameron Lobbied Rishi Sunak To Help Save Greensill CapitalLabour Urges Ministers To Tighten Rules On Lobbyists After Cameron Controversy
Hardline Tory Brexiteers have called for a key part of Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement to be scrapped, despite voting for it last year.The European Research Group (ERG) said the Northern Ireland protocol, an attempt to solve the vexed issue of the Irish border and Brexit, “has to go” as unionist politicians claim it has driven a wedge between the region and the rest of the UK.Responding, Labour said: “The ERG – and this cannot be stressed enough – voted for this.”The protocol, designed by the EU and UK to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, has long proved one of the most troubled parts of Brexit negotiations.The original version proposed by Theresa May would have seen similar rules applying to the whole UK, but would have restricted the government’s ability to sign free trade deals around the world.When Johnson took over as prime minister, he ripped up May’s commitment for the whole UK to be treated the same, instead agreeing to move regulatory and customs checks to the Irish Sea, with goods imported into Northern Ireland from Great Britain subject to a range of new processes.This has caused some disruption to trade since it came into effect on December 31, which could intensify significantly on April 1 when a grace period currently limiting the bureaucracy applied to imported supermarket goods ends.In a report, the ERG said the EU’s “bungled” and short-lived attempt to suspend the protocol to block vaccines leaving the bloc for the UK via Ireland has created a “political opportunity” for the government to seek to renegotiate this part of Johnson’s deal.The groups said that although it voted for the protocol as part of Johnson’s withdrawal agreement, “it was not necessarily intended to be permanent” because it can be replaced by a vote in the Northern Ireland assembly.The group also pointed towards backbench Tory attempts during negotiations to replace the protocol with so-called “alternative arrangements”, which did not make it into the exit deal after being dismissed by the EU.The UK should now seek to renegotiate the deal and replace it with these alternative arrangements, based on technological solutions, or suspend the protocol and replace it with domestic laws, it said.ERG chair Mark Francois said: “We will no doubt be told that the EU will never renegotiate the protocol – just as we were repeatedly assured they would never re-open the withdrawal agreement, or indeed abandon the dreaded ‘backstop’, which the protocol eventually replaced when they subsequently did both. “Our report explains, in detail, why we believe that the protocol now has to go, or to paraphrase William Hague, why ‘we will not let matters rest there’.”The Democratic Unionist Party has already demanded the scrapping of the protocol.Following a meeting of the UK/EU joint committee overseeing the mechanism on Wednesday, Northern Ireland first minister Arlene Foster said the protocol had “completely ruptured the flow of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland”.She called for the UK to take unilateral action, saying Johnson’s should “step up and protect the United Kingdom internal market”.In a joint statement after the virtual joint committee meeting on Wednesday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said both sides committed to the “proper implementation” of the protocol.Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Louise Haigh said the ERG had voted for Johnson’s Brexit deal, including the Northern Ireland protocol, but now wants to create further instability.“The ERG – and this cannot be stressed enough – voted for this,” she said.“This was the deal they demanded, for the Brexit they chose.“Now they would rather tear things down, and provoke further instability, than show even a hint of responsibility.”Related...Nigel Farage Supporters 'Least Likely To Take Up Covid Vaccine' Among Voters'Red Wall' Voters Strongly Back Green Policies, Study FindsWhy Teachers Won’t Get Fast-Tracked In Boris Johnson’s Covid Vaccine Rollout
He will claim that the Government appears to have “lost control” and there were signs that MPs were prepared to take action to “assert the authority” of Parliament.Highlighting a generational split in the result of the 2016 referendum, he will say “those of a certain age who voted 70:30 to leave” are “rapidly being replaced by a younger generation who voted 70:30 to stay”.At the rally in London’s ExCel centre, which will also be addressed by politicians including Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, Tory former ministers Anna Soubry and Philip Lee and celebrities including Charles Dance and Jason Isaacs, Lord Heseltine will claim that those campaigning for a second vote are “British patriots” who are “proud of our Commonwealth and empire”.The event, organised by the Best for Britain and People’s Vote campaigns, will feature politicians from the Tories, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Plaid Cymru.Heseltine will hit out at Brexiteers who have called pro-EU politicians “traitors”, saying: “May our opponents never be forgiven for their allegations that it is us who are letting Britain down.”He will say: “Let us make our position clear.
‘Have I Got News For You’ panellists Ian Hislop and Paul Merton have addressed the lack of female politicians who have guest hosted the topical show over the years.In the past 54 series of ‘Have I Got News For You’, the show has featured a number of prominent politicians serving as guest host for an episode, from Boris Johnson and William Hague to John Prescott and Alastair Campbell.But of the 11 politicians who have sat in the presenter’s chair, only one of them has been a woman, with former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe having presented the show on two separate occasions.However, during a fresh interview with Radio Times, Ian and Paul have insisted this lack of female MPs isn’t for lack of trying, claiming that “everyone you think should have been asked has been”.Paul Merton explained: “The producers always ask more women than men.Ian Hislop also said: “There was a period where people said, ‘Why haven’t you had French and Saunders on?
They are spreading fake propaganda in the hope of destabilising Western democratic processes; they are financing insurgent political groups; they run so-called ‘troll factories’ to swamp social media sites with anti-Western messaging ― oh yes, and they use chemical weapons on the territory of sovereign nations to try to eliminate perceived enemies.Do I have good reason to believe that you are to blame?We know that Russia has advanced cyber-warfare capabilities.We also know that according to Facebook, in testimony to the US Senate, Russia-backed content reached as many as 126million Americans during and after the 2016 presidential election.And of course, in the US, a special prosecutor is hard at work looking at links between Moscow and the Trump campaign.To weaken and destabilise Russia’s European neighbours at a time when it looks to Moscow as if they are already deeply riven by internal disagreements (Brexit, refugees, the rise of anti-establishment sentiment).
Aid organisations are on notice to clean up their houses after the earthquake that’s rocked Brand Oxfam.The damage to your brand will be as nothing compared to the disaster of a cover-up exposed.Once again, the issue is sexual impropriety, and International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has threatened to withdraw Government funding from Oxfam unless they divulge the full facts of the scandal.Meanwhile, the Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into whether Oxfam disclosed details about the allegations at the time in 2011 and its handling of incidents since.There are calls for the Government to put a stop to its £32m funding to the charity, currently celebrating 70 years of a mission to “create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and social injustice”.Luckily, not everyone holds with the notion that a few rotten apples should be allowed to spoil a barrel-load of good work.
A key ally of William Hague during his leadership, he was later protected in Government by his old boss at the Foreign Office despite repeated complaints from Eurosceps that he had ‘gone native’ as Europe Minister.Writing in the Times’ Red Box, Antoinette Sandbach hits back: “My family were thrown out by the Nazis, I’m no collaborator”.And far from telling the EU to ‘go whistle’ (copyright B Johnson) the Brexit divorce bill could go up from the Florence figure.The PM is in Sweden today and faces a reality check from Donald Tusk that the UK needs to do more to get a deal next month.The Politico scoop of a leaked paper suggesting we won’t get a ‘bespoke’ trade deal certainly helped Tusk’s case.Swapping the orthodoxy of ‘borrowing-bad, cuts-good’ with a new emphasis on investment, the Shadow Chancellor hoped to lay the groundwork for Jeremy Corbyn’s Budget response next week (don’t forget Parliamentary convention means the Leader of the Opposition responds to Budgets).
Much worse than a smartphone zombie Credit: AlamyI have been interested in the recent correspondence about the menace of people reading books while walking along the street, becoming so engrossed that they bump into each other – or into us innocent passers-by.In my experience, it is the fiction addicts who are the worst.I ve seen a man so enslaved by a biography of Napoleon that mothers with buggies were forced to swerve and, on one appalling occasion I watched as someone, distracted by William Hague s life of William Pitt, seriously inconvenienced a small child on a micro-scooter.And of course they go on and on about their latest acquisition.You see them in the local library with their noses stuck in some volume, ignoring the vibrant life all around them – the gossip, the pilates classes and kids drama groups.
David Davis MP today becomes the highest-achieving computer science graduate in British politics.Strictly speaking, Davis graduate with a BSc in Molecular Science/Computer Science in 1971 from the University of Warwick.He is now the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU or SSEE-U , a freshly-minted post.Davis later took a Master s at London Business School and in his thirties studied management at Harvard for a year.The recent route into the British political class is typically to take a PPE Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at Oxford, which began in 1920.PPE graduates include David Cameron, Theresa May, Philip Hammond, Ed Miliband, William Hague, Ed Balls, Jeremy Hunt and Matthew Hancock.
While Hague said that encrypted messaging services are necessary - there are cases where the authorities should be able to access encrypted data, such as in the recent case between Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino shooting suspect."My own views are coloured by that and if I was advising technology companies offering encryption unbreakable by law enforcement authorities, I'd give this advice; public opinion on these issues can turn around very quickly", he said suggesting that while tech companies are winning approval for protecting privacy right now that may not always be so."It's undoubtedly the case that criminal networks are highly sensitive to finding channels of communication they believe will be undetected - it makes all the difference between them going to jail or not".And I can only see that in ending up in one place; because seeing what I have on security and how unacceptable it is in a modern society for the security of the mass of the population to be jeopardised, I can't see that an absolute right to privacy can with stand the pressure of argument and events over the coming years," said Hague."Privacy International, alongside experts from across academia, human rights groups, and the legal profession have repeatedly criticised the lack of safeguards that the bill contains."We will continue to seek significant improvements to the Bill as it moves to the House of Lords for consideration to get the kind of bill that protects our privacy and protects our security.
In a keynote address to a packed London hall at Infosecurity Europe, Hague spoke about intelligence gathering by spies at GCHQ, the government's stance on strong encryption and how former NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden had aided terrorism."There should be many constraints to intruding on that privacy, but what there has to be and what there has been in the past is the sense of shared responsibility between service providers and governments to protect both privacy and security as best they can."On 7 June, it passed in the House of Commons with 444 votes to 69."People don't often hear what its like to actually make these decisions about intercepting communications.In his speech, Hague did not hide his distain for Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked a trove of data that exposed the spying apparatus used by both UK and US intelligence outfits."The Snowden affair led many people to change their behaviour in ways that have led to reinforced privacy for criminal activity," he claimed.
Let us spy on you or we'll choke off civil liberties, says ex foreign secLord HagueInfosec 2016 Lord Hague has predicted that Western societies will enact laws and regulations against unbreakable encryption – while conceding that the technology has always existed.The former UK foreign secretary, who is also a historian and author of a biography of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, told delegates at the Infosec trade show that a book-based cypher written by an 18th century politician remains unbroken.Unless we know the book it s based on, or can find example of the same code being used in other messages, then it will remain unbroken, he said.The senior politician, who signed interception warrants authorising the operations of GCHQ for four years while foreign secretary, said that businesses are becoming more vulnerable as they become more efficient through greater use of technology.Attacks of this type – often targeted against military contractors and aerospace firms – have historically been blamed on China, an accusation the country routinely denies.Defensive capabilities are limited without an offensive capability to detect deter or prevent attack, he said during his keynote presentation at the Infosec trade trade in London on Wednesday.
Labour MPs Toby Perkins and Yvette Cooper also called for an extension - "People can't be denied right to vote because computer says no," Ms Cooper said on Twitter.A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "We became aware of technical issues on the registration website late on Tuesday night due to unprecedented demand.Before the deadline, the Electoral Commission said 1.65 million people had applied for a vote since a campaign began last month.In other developments,:UKIP leader Nigel Farage was questioned for 30 minutes by a live studio audience on ITV, before David Cameron followedEx-foreign secretary William Hague is set to warn that leaving the EU would be "downright irresponsible"Those eligible to cast a vote - which include British or Irish citizens living in the UK who are 18 or over and Citizens of Commonwealth countries who are 18 or over and who have leave to remain in the UK - have to be on the electoral register to actually do so.The Electoral Commission said that its most recent estimate, from 2014, suggested 7.5 million were not correctly registered despite being eligible to vote.Levels of turnout - the number of people who actually vote - are likely to be crucial to the outcome of the referendum, with both sides trying to mobilise their supporters and to warn people of the consequences of staying at home on the big day.
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