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Josh
 Josh
(@michael-kirton)
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10/07/2019 6:11 pm  

Speaker John Bercow resigns, returning to backbench

After seven years as Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow announced today that he will be stepping down. In an unusual move, Bercow will return to the backbenches and leave the Commons at the next election. In a first for some time, Bercow will not join the House of Lords upon his exit from the Commons.

In a statement issued a few moments ago, Bercow expressed his gratitude to MPs of all stripes.

"For seven years, I have had the high honour to serve as Speaker," Bercow said. "As I reflect on my time in office, I believe the time is right for a new speaker to guide the Commons. I remain, now as ever, committed to service and will remain in the House of Commons until the next election."

MPs of all stripes have praised Bercow for his tenure as speaker, with Conservative MP William Croft tweeting "I'd like to offer my deepest thanks to John Bercow for his exemplary service to both the House of Commons and the nation. He's a true public servant and will be sorely missed."

Attention now turns to his successor. With the government already holding a slim majority in the Commons, the parliamentary math becomes complicated. Conservative sources, however, tell the BBC that the party "looks forward to nominating a candidate for the speakership." The Commons will shortly turn its attention to the election of a successor.

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Richard
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10/07/2019 8:23 pm  

Tories gain in by-elections

In six by-elections held concurrently on January 19, the Conservative Party gained two seats, one from the Liberal Democrats and one from Labour, erasing the gain that the Lib Dems received upon the defection of Alex Cardigan to their party. The results were as follows:

Darlington
LAB - 29.1%
CON - 29.1%
UKIP - 27.2%
LIB - 12.0%
GRN - 2.0%
TUSC - 0.6%

Dumfries and Galloway
CON - 39.2%
SNP - 39.1%
LAB - 9.1%
LIB - 7.2%
GRN - 2.7%
UKIP - 2.6%
SSP - 0.1%

Dunfermline and West Fife
SNP - 38.9%
LIB - 35.5%
CON - 10.2%
LAB - 8.9%
GRN - 3.7%
UKIP - 2.5%
SSP - 0.3%

Holborn and St. Pancras
LAB - 40.3%
LIB - 29.1%
CON - 19.2%
GRN - 8.7%
UKIP - 1.1%
BNP - 0.6%
CISTA - 0.5%
AWP - 0.4%
SEP - 0.1%

Tottenham
LAB - 49.6%
GRN - 16.4%
LIB - 15.5%
CON - 15.0%
UKIP - 3.4%
TUSC - 0.4%

Watford
CON - 38.1%
LIB - 37.7%
LAB - 10.7%
GRN - 6.4%
UKIP - 3.3%
TUSC - 3.2%
BNP - 0.6%

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Richard
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11/07/2019 4:55 pm  

Six civilians perish in Norwegian Escape disaster

Norwegian Cruise Lines has released the identities of the six civilians that died in the explosion on the Norwegian Escape.


Franca Alberici; Milan, Italy


Henrik Solberg; Trondheim, Norway


Bertha and Hartwin Brandle; Leipzig, Germany


Catherine and Barrett Ellsworth; Exeter, UK

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Richard
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18/07/2019 2:52 pm  

Electoral Commission announces Cornish Assembly seats

The Electoral Commission today announced the seats in the new Cornish Assembly. Comprising a total of 30 seats, 15 seats will be elected via First Past the Post and 15 seats will be elected in three regions.

The First Past the Post seats are: Bodmin and Blue Anchor, Camborne and Pool, Channel Coast, East Ryslegh, Falmouth, Kerrier, Launceston and Stratton, Liskeard and St Cleer, Newquay and Wadebridge, Penzance, Probus and Carland, Redruth, St Austell, St Ives, and Truro.

The three electoral regions are South West Cornwall, Mid Cornwall, and North East Cornwall. South West Cornwall comprises the seats of Camborne and Pool, Falmouth, Kerrier, Penzance, and St Ives. Mid Cornwall comprises Bodmin and Blue Anchor, Probus and Carland, Redruth, St Austell, and Truro. North East Cornwall comprises Channel Coast, East Ryslegh, Launceston and Stratton, Liskeard and St Cleer, and Newquay and Wadebridge.

Based on the 2014 General Election results by ward shared by the Electoral Commission, the results would be: 13 Liberal Democrat seats, 12 Conservative seats, 3 UKIP seats, and 2 Labour seats.

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Dan
 Dan
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21/07/2019 10:22 pm  

CROFT REDEEMED - PM CRITICIZED

Image result for Bernard Hogan-Howe

Seen here; Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe clears both parties of wrongdoing

SCOTLAND YARD -- After a week of constant back and forth between the two major political parties accusing one another of abusing power or breaching national security restrictions the Metropolitan Police today has indicted neither the Prime Minister Caroline Blakesley, nor Shadow Foreign Secretary William Croft. 

In a statement to reporters Hogan-Howe made clear that despite the claims by the Express minutes were indeed taken for the official meeting between Mr Croft and the Prime Minister earlier this month, as is required by the Civil Service. However a full transcript was not taken. Despite this investigators were provided with accounts by the present individuals, including the Prime Minister and Mr Croft, as well as civil servants in their company at the time. The police, while clearing the Prime Minister, redeemed Mr Croft's claim of intimidation by making note of the Prime Minister's claim that 'there would be consequences' were he to continue labeling Pakistan as a state sponsor of terror. Despite this however the Crown Prosecution Service claims that such a threat "does not constitute an actionable abuse of position or office due to lack of a meaningful threat or reason for Mr Croft to feel the Prime Minister could quantify such a threat". Additionally it is noted that "the use of the Official Secrets Act in this capacity is deemed not by the Prime Minister as a means of making a threat and silencing Mr Croft, but in order to impart on him key intelligence protected within the bounds of the Official Secrets Act 1989 - intelligence that was presented to him during the meeting and thus justified the use of the act".

The CPS explained that while the Prime Minister indeed was skating on very thin ice, she provided no explicit threat that would threaten Mr Croft's person, position or reputation - largely in a manner seen as an off the cuff or angry remark. Additionally the Civil Service during the investigation provided evidence that the Prime Minister had no real means or plan to follow through on her threat, and as such Public Office was not abused as Mr Croft was under no obligation to take seriously her threat. Despite this the Prime Minister's use of language was criticized by the CPS who explained that her off the cuff remark, said differently, could have seen her liable for impeachment or worse.

The Report as such redeems the reputation of Mr Croft whom had come under fire from politicians outside of his party for his decision to go around the Official Secrets Act and publicly discuss his meeting with the Prime Minister under Parliamentary Privilege. This too was criticized by the CPS who noted that such an action set dangerous precedent for the use of Parliamentary Privilege to discuss issues of national security, especially as a secure sitting of the commons wherein the press and gallery are cleared could have been called. It is confirmed however that based on individual interviews and accounts despite Mr Macmillan's comments in the Commons Mr Croft has not breached the Official Secrets Act outside of Parliament by informing Mr Macmillan of details of the meeting.

Commentators now agree that today's report shows that what Mr Croft claimed did happen, even if it did not quite constitute a breach of the ministerial code of conduct by the Prime Minister. As such his actions in presenting the events to the commons and seeking the release of a transcript were legitimate and fair, even if possibly setting a bad precedent. The main question that remains however comes from the nature of the intelligence provided to Mr Croft - intelligence that likely refutes Mr Croft's claim of Pakistani state sponsor of terrorism. If it is in fact the case that there is no clear evidence for such suggested collaboration Mr Croft should apologize for his statements, if not for harming Anglo-Pakistani relations then for making claims with no evidence to back them up. However from our position of not having seen the minutes, all we know is intelligence was passed on - intelligence that will either have convinced Mr Croft or not, only time will tell.

In the mean time it is safe to say that while the Prime Minister's words did come close to abuse of office, there will not be a fourth Labour Prime Minister required any time soon. As for Mr Croft's actions, the various calls for his resignation can safely be called unwarranted and his statements to the commons legitimate. Though his statements on Pakistan may need retraction if there is in fact no evidence of Pakistani sponsorship of Terrorism, if only because on current polls he is likely to be our future Foreign Secretary - one tasked with negotiating with Pakistan regularly due to British forces presence in their neighbour Afghanistan and Anglo-Pakistani cooperation in the region.

 

 

Dan

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Richard
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23/07/2019 9:16 pm  

CIVIL SERVICE RELEASES BLAKESLEY/CROFT MINUTES

The Civil Service, on the orders of Prime Minister Caroline Blakesley, released the minutes of the meeting between her and Shadow Foreign Secretary William Croft, found below.

Spoiler

The meeting began with the PM informing the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Mr. Croft, that the meeting would be covered under the OSA. The Prime Minister proceeded to detail her activities that morning in dealing with the fallout of Mr. Croft's statements on Pakistan, highlighting the importance of Pakistan for British national security, and informing him that Sir Alex Younger, MI6 Chief had informed her that there is no intelligence suggesting that the Pakistani government is a state sponsor of terrorism. The Prime Minister then told Mr. Croft that she and the Government would not stand for the compromising of national security by Mr. Croft and that "there may be consequences for [him]."

Mr. Croft replied by offering evidence that supported his claims on Pakistan and then proceeded to inform the Prime Minister that he was not undermining national security and that he found the closed-door meeting and threatening actions of the Prime Minister to be "more becoming of a mafia thug."

The Prime Minister and Mr. Croft proceeded to have a tete a tete on Pakistan, with the rime Minister stating that any foreign aid could be used to remedy Pakistan's status as a safe haven for terrorists and that Pakistan pulling out of operations would be bad for British military personnel. She then proceeded to inform Mr. Croft that she did not consider Pakistan to be a state sponsor of terror, as there was no political decision made by the government of Pakistan to support terrorists.

Mr. Croft then attempted to convince the Prime Minister to offer some compromise amendments on his State Sponsors of ISIL Act that was in the Commons and stated again his belief that the intelligence the PM received did not represent the totality of the situation in Pakistan, to which the PM replied, "Well, it's you versus the security services then." During this portion, Mr. Croft informed the PM that he would pause his criticism if she worked with him on the State Sponsors of ISIL Act.

The Prime Minister then left her office with her staff, leaving Mr. Croft behind to be escorted out.

This post was modified 3 months ago by Richard

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Kandler
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31/07/2019 12:56 pm  

Parliament uninhabitable 'within years,' warns report

Crumbling stonework, cracked windows, antiquated electronics, extensive erosion and water damage, sinking foundations and a high risk of fire - these are just some of the problems identified by a joint report by MPs and former Lords, released today, with the Palace of Westminster.

The Palace, some of which dates back to the 11th century, is described by the report as 'at serious risk of becoming totally uninhabitable within years,' with a host of health and safety violations already having been identified.

The Houses of Parliament are a marvel of medieval and Victorian architecture and have been Grade 1 listed and designated a UNESCO word heritage site. But with much of the electronics dating back to the 1940s, the plumbing bedevilled with leaks and much of the estate infested with rats, Britain's Parliament is fast declining into disrepair.

The report, fronted by the former Shadow Chancellor Douglas Byrne, warns that a rolling programme of repairs would take more than 30 years and cost approximately £5.8 billion - enough to fund the construction of the Shard nearly six times over.

An alternative option, described as the 'temporary decamp,' would see MPs and Senators abandon the Palace for up to seven years and relocate in a temporary home elsewhere, with the bill for repairs being reduced to £4 billion.

One architectural firm, Gensler, was commissioned to explore proposals for creating a temporary Parliamentary home adjacent to the existing building, in a concept described as the 'Slug-on-Thames.' The proposal would see new debating chambers assembled by boat, floating on the Thames and connected by a secure bridge to the Palace.

Another option would be to relocate Parliamentarians into the recently-vacated Richmond House building, which used to host the Department for Health & Social Care - but for security reasons, such a proposal would likely involve the pedestrianisation of part of Whitehall.

The so-called 'nuclear option' identified by the report is to abandon Parliament's traditional location altogether, investing in a whole new building elsewhere in London or even beyond the bounds of the M25. Suggestions include a 'travelling Parliament,' which would move from city to city with each new session.

MPs and Senators will have to make the final decision as to what to do, but action will need to be taken quickly - just last week, a large piece of stonework fell from the roof of an internal courtyard and smashed the windscreen of a ministerial car. PROSPECT, the Union which represents many Parliamentary staff, has warned that its members 'cannot be expected to continue working in a death trap.'

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Kandler
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31/07/2019 2:47 pm  

UK set to scorch in summer heatwave

Temperatures could reach an all-time record high next week, as a heatwave sweeps across much of western Europe.

Forecasters are predicting that temperatures could rise against the 38.5C UK temperature record, which was set in 2003, and could peak at highs of as much as 40 degrees.

The proximate cause of the hot weather is a strong current of warm air being swept northwards by a low pressure system from sub-saharan Africa, passing over the mediterranean and into Europe. The heatwave is also being boosted by the El Niño effect, which so far has made 2016 one of the hottest years on record.

The map of the United Kingdom has been transformed from lush green to dirty brown, as much of the country's natural grassland has faded in the sunshine.

Network Rail is warning of 'significant travel disruption' in the coming weeks, with all but essential travel strongly advised against as speed restrictions to prevent rails from buckling are put in place.

The UK's hottest five years on record have all occurred since 2002, with the trend linked to global climate change exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions.

'The UK is getting wetter and warmer, and approaching a tropical climate,' said climate expert Dr Harrison Buchanan, 'and this is inexorably a consequence of global warming.'

Public Health England are urging members of the public to carry water with them. A hosepipe ban is in effect across most of the country.

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Kandler
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02/08/2019 6:56 pm  

World economy slows

Image result for london financial capital

Economic growth around the world has decelerated, driven downwards by a slowing Chinese economy and the slumping of oil prices.

The UK economy is performing comparatively well, growing at a faster rate than the European Union average and the United States, but growth has still declined compared to last year.

The pound has continued to grow in strength as it has done since the ascension of Caroline Blakesley to power. The government’s 2015 capital investment boost also created a rally around sterling, which is now worth $1.72 - its highest value since before the financial crash of 2007/8, ahead of which the pound was worth 2 dollars.

The strong pound has hurt exports, making British goods less internationally competitive and causing export growth to decline by 1.5%. It has, however, made imports relatively cheaper; the UK has a significant balance of payments deficit, meaning that it imports more than it exports. This has had the effect of lowering pressure on prices, eliminating the effect of cost-push inflation. Combined with a smaller demand-pull effect as the economy slows, this has caused inflation to fall to 1.7% - below the Bank of England’s 2% target.

But as businesses tighten their belts, with exporters in particular struggling in a damp global market, wage growth has slumped too - falling to 1.8% this year, meaning a real terms pay increase of just 0.1% for the average earner in real terms. 

Foreign direct investment has also stalled, partly due to the global slowdown and partly due to the increasing costs of a strong pound.

The latest economic figures make it very unlikely for the Bank of England to raise interest rates, which would push the value of sterling higher and have a further disinflationary attempt. The Governor of the Bank, Mark Carney, has however said that the Monetary Policy Committee is equally unlikely to sanction any further quantitative easing, saying that “the economy is in a sluggish but stable position; right now that stability forms the basis for future growth, and policymakers must not do anything that jeopardises that.”

Meanwhile, unemployment has fallen to 5.8%, its lowest level since 2008.

The Office for Budget Responsibility is now projecting that growth will continue to decline over the next two years, settling at 1.3% by 2018. Inflation is predicted to continue to fall, as is unemployment.

 

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Kandler
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03/08/2019 10:49 pm  

EU Commission President calls for 'United States of Europe' by 2025

The President of the European Commission, Martin Schulz, has said that it is his ambition to push for ever-closer integration and to create a 'United States of Europe' by 2025.

“I want there to be a constitutional treaty to create a federal Europe," Schulz said on Thursday during a speech in Brussels. The drafting process of such a constitutional treaty, Schulz said, should involve citizens across the Continent. Once drafted, it would "be presented to the member states, and those who are against it will simply leave the EU," he said, adding that Poland was already systematically undermining European values and Hungary was increasingly isolating itself.

"By 2025, we should have much stronger cooperation on defence, much stronger cooperation in the other issues I’ve mentioned... much stronger union."

The Schulz Commission has already promulgated proposals to move to EU towards 'fiscal union,' which would entail a harmonisation of tax rates and spending plans across the 28-member bloc.

President Schulz also called for a drastic shift in Europe's position on eurozone reform. His stance echoes several demands made by French president Francois Hollande but is at odds with longstanding positions of the Merkel government. “We don’t need a European austerity diktat, we need investments in a eurozone budget,” Mr Schulz said. “We need a Europe which curbs the race to the bottom in tax policy and ends the insufferable avoidance of tax. We need a European framework for a minimum wage that ends wage dumping."

The President of the European Council, Federica Mogherini, appeared to support President Schulz's comments, saying that: 'the time has come for Europe to move forwards with ambition for the future and for what we can achieve together.'

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Kandler
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05/08/2019 3:58 pm  

MPs should get 10% pay rise, says regulator

The body that regulates MPs’ pay is set to implement a 10% increase in their salaries to £74,000.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) said there appeared to be no material reason to change a previous proposal for a raise from the current £67,000.

Officials said it was expected the pay rise would go ahead at the end of this month despite average wages rising by just 0.1% throughout the economy. The Prime Minister, Caroline Blakesley, and other ministers would benefit from the increase to MPs’ pay.

The announcement has prompted a furious reaction from public sector unions and taxpayers’ organisations.

Public sector unions called for parity in the treatment of their members and MPs.

Mark Serwotka, the head of the PCS union, which represents many civil servants, said: “It would be grossly hypocritical for any MP who voted for years of pay cuts for public sector workers to accept a 10% increase for themselves.”

Rob O’Neill, assistant general secretary of the FDA, whose members include the most senior civil servants in Whitehall, said the government should now offer similar pay rises to civil servants.

“The FDA agrees that recommendations of independent review bodies should be followed and also urges that Ipsa’s independent, evidence-led approach to setting pay should be extended throughout the civil service,” he said.

The proposed salary increase was first announced in 2012 to address complaints that pay has dropped behind the rest of the public sector. At the time, the then Prime Minister David Cameron said such a rise was “simply unacceptable" while the rest of the public sector was restricted to 1%.

Blocking the rise for rank-and-file MPs would require a change in the law and it is far from clear whether such a proposal could win a vote in the Commons.

The consultation document issued by Ipsa claims that, due to cuts in pensions and expenses such as a ban on claiming for evening meals, the overall package of changes would not cost taxpayers “a penny more”. 

The document says: “We remain of the view that it is right to increase MPs’ pay to £74,000 for all the reasons we set out in December 2012 and which we summarise above. 

“Subject to any new and compelling evidence arising from this review, we therefore intend to implement the determination as currently drafted, with a one-off adjustment in MPs’ pay to £74,000 and subsequently linking it to changes in average UK earnings for the remainder of this parliament.” 

The watchdog argues that MPs’ pay has fallen to 78% of that of “equivalents in the public sector”. It compares their role to the top tier of the civil service, chief superintendents in the police and colonels in the armed forces.

Ipsa was set up in 2009 in the wake of the expenses scandal. It took over the function of setting MPs’ pay from Parliament after MPs were accused of being selfish, or were too frightened of being accused of selfishness, to vote on a possible pay rise.

In Westminster, some MPs privately say that the issue of pay and expenses remains so toxic they cannot speak out about it.

One told the BBC that it would be “morally and constitutionally wrong” for MPs to step in and interfere with the decision of an independent body.

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Kandler
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05/08/2019 6:02 pm  

Leaders assemble in east Asia

The Prime Minister, Caroline Blakesley, has been joined by the Prime Ministers of Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore, and the US Secretaries of State and Defence, at a top-level summit in Tokyo to discuss what Number 10 is describing as 'an ambitious new defence and security partnership in the east Asia / south Pacific region.'

The high-stakes meeting is being hosted at the Japanese Defence Ministry, the Kokubōshō, and is widely seen as a direct response to recent Chinese and North Korean activities in the region - most recently the seizure of a Japanese whaler in disputed waters, with the United States has decried has illegal.

The South Pacific / East Asia Security Forum, as it is being called, will meet for three days of crunch talks before the Prime Minister returns to London. The discussions will focus on naval security, but will also incorporate discussion about cyber and information security threats.

The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is said to be keen to push for an enhanced British and US presence in the region. Presently the UK has deployed only a token force of small destroyers to patrol the disputed seas east of China, and the United States is said to be considering reinforcing the USS George Washington with a second carrier strike group.

The US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, has said that 'the aggression of bellicose states in the region, including China and the illegitimate government of North Korea, cannot go unanswered by the freedom-loving people of the world.'

'We cannot underestimate the value of maintaining peace and security for our democratic allies; and we cannot overestimate the costs of the alternative.'

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05/08/2019 9:24 pm  

Macmillan resigns

Image result for hugh laurie speech

'It has been the honour of my life to lead the Conservative party, which I love, through the good times and the bad - through triumphs and travails and out through the end of the tunnel.

There have been good days and bad days; victories and losses; wonderful moments in which the enthusiasm and optimism of our movement shone through and effected real change in communities across Britain. There have been long, difficult nights, and warm, beautiful days. There have been great innovations, bold new ideas, and there have been humiliating moments of reflection.

Through it all, I have been well-served by a small army of likeminded people from all walks of life; black, white, man, woman, rich, poor; bound together, in every corner of our island nation, by a common vision of a freer, fairer and more open country. 

In taking the reigns of the Conservative party as Prime Minister two years ago at a time of devastating contrition, I have been proud every day to reinvigorate this movement into one that can win again - and win convincingly. In London, never a natural territory for the Tories, we levelled with Labour in the Assembly. In Scotland, where Labour once dominated and our party finished in last place, we denied the SNP a majority and now form the most potent opposition to their nationalist, divisive rhetoric. In Wales, a bastion of the Labour Party, we won and won well, and are now close to forming the first ever Conservative-led Welsh government. In the senate, we are the largest party; were an election held today, we would be the largest in the Commons too. We stand 14 points ahead of our nearest opposition in the opinion polls, and each week more and more people join our clarion call for a fresh election which gives the British people a fresh choice. In the face of a disastrous and dangerously misguided government, the Conservative movement has represented an impassioned pea for personal freedom, for economic reinvigoration and for responsible radicalism: all in all, for a quiet revolution of liberty matched with responsibility, individual choice matched with a common cause, reform partnered with the defence of our values: and for democracy, at a time when our country is so badly in need of politicians who listen a little more than they talk.

My vision has always been of a more open, more tolerant, more free and more fair Britain. A Britain with world-leading and public services and a world-beating economy; a bastion of free enterprise and a beacon for free spirit - a country in which anyone, whatever their background, can traverse the road from aspiration to achievement and deliver on their dreams. I have fought every day for a more United Kingdom, in which what divides us falls away and is forgotten in the great embrace of what we value together. I have pinned my colours to the mast of opportunity: and I have done battle every day for the sake of an Opportunity Agenda which could cast off the stale shackles of the old life, and grant to everyone a good life.

I believe, and the Conservative party that I have led believes, in creating in Britain the freest, most open, most flexible and most competitive economy in the world. Low taxes, rational regulation, and a highly nurturing business environment in which the only obstacle to growth is the limitation of human conception. We believe in creating the freest, most open, most tolerant and most fair society on Earth, in which the content of your character defines you and in which it is where you want to go, not from whence you came, that is important in determining your place in our national community.

I fought for better schools, where the interests of each individual child were reflected and where young people had more choice than ever before in what they wanted to learn and how. I fought for an unprecedented commitment to lifelong learning, assuring millions that it is never too late to develop new skills and to better your circumstances. I fought for an economic revolution, with a dramatic reform of the tax code to give people back more of their own money and to help businesses to take flight. I have always been the most ardent backer of the disrupters and the innovators, which so exemplify the plucky spirit of the Britons who  fostered the railways, the telephone and the world wide web. I wanted to build in our United Kingdom an economy which was the premier global hub for new thinking: and a society in which the old thinking which held people back and kept them apart was replaced with a new, inclusive vision of Britain as a country for the many.

For the many and at once for the individual; for all and for each. An £800 pay rise; schools that served your needs; and NHS driven by patient power, not political power; businesses which could thrive and which were rewarded for investing in the future; and an embrace of the future with our nation as its driver, not a mere passenger on the road into those bright lights that we see ahead of us. In the coming years, artificial intelligence, digitisation, automation and the growth of the flexible economy with revolutionise our world: we can choose to let it happen, or we can choose to make it happen. Those who are the masters of their own destiny are the masters of the future, and it is the Conservative party which has most virulently flown the flag of self-determination and self-belief. We are the party that is ready to forge the future, to meet tomorrow's challenges and make the most of its opportunities. The word conservative is often taken to imply traditionalism or a reticence to change; in Britain, that word has taken on a new meaning. We are the party of tomorrow, and when our day comes again it will be with a great and dynamic energy that we will turn every stone and search every corner for the real, radical and bold ideas that can set us on a clear course to lead the march into the future, rather than wallowing in the rear guard.

I want Britain to feel like a young country again. A new country; proud of its past, but prouder still of what it is yet to do. And full of self-belief, secure in the knowledge that in our nation you are best-placed in all the world to receive an education, to buy a house, to start a career or a business, to enjoy a long and prosperous life, and to live more freely and in a society more at peace with itself.

It is this visionary and bold Conservative movement, embracing Nelson's claim that the boldest measures are the safest and also the claim that right fears no might, that will lead from the front in the coming months and years and one day soon form a government again. It is this Conservative movement that will prove once and for all that no mountain is insurmountable, that no opportunity is beyond reach and that no challenge is beyond resolution. We would do more and we would do it better: and with the fantastic pool of talent that I see around me, from the future leaders in William Croft, Steven Andrews or Felicity Moore to the hardworking activists in my own constituency, in Biggleswade and Langford and Bromham, many of them young people, who will be the great figures of the next generation, I know that the Conservative party stands in good stead for the election that must surely soon come.

But I have decided that a country governed by STV is not a country in which I can continue to stake my political fortunes. I believe profoundly and sincerely that STV will be a bad system for Britain, which compels us to live in uncertainty and instability, and which renders the principle of promising much and delivering more moot and void. It is a system that will perpetuate the existence of weak and drifting governments, without the mandate or the wherewithal to deliver the real change that we need to see. I believe, quite simply, that it is a gravely bad system which will have gravely bad consequences for our democracy.

I am therefore today resigning as leader of the Conservative party, and returning to the backbenches, where I hope that I can continue to serve the party, the country and most of all the constituents in whom I put my ultimate trust.

Thank you.'

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Richard
(@richard)
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Posts: 159
06/08/2019 3:24 pm  

Civil servant leaks to Belfast Telegraph

In a front-page story in today's Belfast Telegraph, a civil servant at the Department for Economy in Northern Ireland (formerly the Department for Enterprise, Trade, and Investment,) leaked civil service documents that informed First Minister Arlene Foster about how four million pounds had been wasted in the Renewable Heat Investment scheme. Foster served as Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Investment from June 2008 through May 2015 and oversaw the rollout of the scheme.

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Kandler
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Posts: 98
06/08/2019 6:22 pm  

Flash flooding follows summer heatwave

Image result for 2016 uk floods

Strong thunderstorms spawned by unusually warm weather have caused heavy rainfall and flash flooding across the south of England, particularly in London where 35mm of rain was recorded in one hour. The south-east London suburbs of Mitcham, Croydon and Wellington have been worst affected, with floodwater up to two metres deep recorded on roads in Wallington. The London Fire Brigade has received over 100 emergency calls and attended to three incidents of cars being swept away by floods, rescuing one person.

Covent Garden tube station has been closed due to flooding, with a platform at London Victoria station also facing closure.

Flooding has also led to a loss of electrical power at London Luton Airport. Meanwhile, in Penicuik in Scotland, a primary school and a leisure centre have been flooded as well as numerous homes, with severe hail also being reported. Flash floods have been reported in Dunstable and other areas in Bedfordshire, as well as parts of Yorkshire.

Greater Manchester has also been affected by flooding, particularly in the towns of Oldham and Rochdale after just 25 minutes of reported rain. In Middleton, rising floodwaters forced people to abandon their cars, while Middleton Shopping Centre has been closed after water began to enter the entrance halls and some shops.

Outside the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs in Westminster, angry protestors are staging a demonstration at a perceived lack of action from the government on flooding. During the election campaign in 2014, the Labour Party pledged to establish a new independent Coastal & Inland Flooding Agency, which would have a legal duty to manage flood risk, and to double the budget allocated for flood prevention and management from £500 million to over £1 billion a year. Though the second promise was fulfilled, the first was not, and residents affected by the recent flash floods are said to be furious.

One woman told the BBC: 'It's a disgrace that we don't even have an automatic right to compensation when this happens; there's nobody to sue because nobody in the UK has a statutory responsibility to prevent or manage flooding. We've lost everything; we live in a ground floor flat and it's just ruined.'

'The government promised to do much more about flooding and they've done nothing. It's a disgrace.'

The thunderstorms follow a heatwave in which UK temperatures reached an all-time record high of 40.1 degrees Celsius, far higher than the previous record of 38.5. Severe rainfall is expected throughout the latter part of the summer and into the autumn.

A DEFRA spokesman said: "the Environment Agency has had an injection of more than £700 million since 2014 to pay for flood defences. We are doing all we can to manage the situation at present.'

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Kandler

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