Donald Trump Condemned For Retweeting Hate Posts

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has been condemned by a number of British politicians for retweeting three posts from the extremist group Britain First. The Government is yet to respond to the retweets but they have been condemned by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, and a number of other British politicians. There is also some pressure on the British Government to ban for US President from visiting the UK.

Corbyn said on Twitter:

“I hope our Government will condemn far-right retweets by Donald Trump. They are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society”.

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader in Westminster, said:

“Trump re-tweeting videos from far right organisations in the UK underlines once again why a state visit to the UK would not be appropriate for the President”.

Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party, said on Twitter:

“The President of the US has just retweeted a convicted British fascist. @theresa_may must publicly condemn him immediately. We cannot stand by and watch @realDonaldTrump spew this hate”.

 

Government Offers upto £50 Billion in Brexit Divorce Settlement

The BBC has reported that the Cabinet has agreed to a figure in the region of £50 billion to be offered as part of the UK’s divorce settlement from the European Union. The payment would be made as a compromise but would likely be reliant on securing a favourable trading agreement.

The EU and the British Government refused to comment on the speculation, but it is thought that it will be made apparent over the next few weeks if progress in the Brexit negotiations has been made.

Chris Grayling Calls for More Rail Lines to Re-Open as New Strategic Vision is Announced

Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, is today launching the Government’s strategic vision for the rail network. It includes plans to re-open previously closed lines, creating a new partnership for managing the track and trains and introducing new digital technologies.

Grayling said in a statement:

“The last few years have seen massive growth on Britain’s railways. This industry has reversed decades of decline under British Rail, delivered new investment and new trains, and doubled the number of passengers.

But now we need to build on that success by building a new model for the 2020s and beyond, one more able to deal with the huge rise in passenger numbers and the challenges of an increasingly congested network.

Rail passengers deserve a more reliable, more efficient service – and I will deliver it by ending the one-size-fits-all approach of franchising and bringing closer together the best of the public and private sector”.

The Department for Transport said in a statement:

“The Strategic vision for rail also commits to explore opportunities to restore capacity lost under the Beeching and British Rail cuts of the 1960s and 1970s by identifying new schemes that unlock new housing or economic growth and offer good value for money.

The government is already planning to reopen the railway line from Oxford to Cambridge and our new development programme will identify new connections and lines that were closed to passengers by British Rail, as part of finding and funding future rail schemes which offer good value.

At the heart of the new strategy is a commitment to improve passenger experience across the network and take advantage of new technology to improve services. This includes major changes that will extend passenger rights – including compensation for passengers when trains are more than 15 minutes late. We are also supporting the introduction of a Rail Ombudsman to ensure all passengers are treated fairly”.

Government Reports Progress Against Daesh

The Ministry of Defence has issued an update on the fight against Daesh and the air strikes which the UK is conducting in partnership with other nations. They confirmed that progress is being made and that Daesh are being driven back in both Iraq and Syria.

The department said in a statement:

“With Daesh having suffered major defeats in both Iraq and Syria, Royal Air Force missions continue daily, focused on armed reconnaissance to identify remaining terrorist locations and support, as necessary, clearance operations on the ground by Iraqi troops and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The SDF have continued their operations against extremists south-east of Al Mayadin, in eastern Syria, and an RAF Reaper provided close air support to them on Thursday 16 November. The first terrorist threat that the Reaper’s crew identified was a vehicle being driven at very high speed towards the SDF positions. Fearing this to be a probable truck-bomb, the Reaper’s crew tracked the lorry, ready to engage. However, no intervention was necessary, as the driver lost control of the vehicle, which crashed off the road and promptly exploded; it had indeed been a truck-bomb. The Reaper subsequently spotted a group of terrorists opening fire on the SDF; a GBU-12 guided bomb quickly eliminated this threat.

On Saturday 18 November, Tornados from RAF Akrotiri patrolled over north-west Iraq. Another coalition aircraft identified a Daesh truck, loaded with equipment, concealed under cover some 35 miles west of Sharaq. The Tornados were requested to conduct an attack with the very precise Brimstone missile, and did so successfully, destroying the vehicle.

Intelligence identified a complex of buildings in northern Iraq, some 30 miles west of Sharqat, as a truck-bomb factory. Two Typhoons bombed the target site with six Paveway IV guided bombs on Wednesday 22 November; two weapons demolished a large workshop, while single bombs dealt with the four other, smaller buildings”.

David Davis Ordered to Appear Before Brexit Select Committee

David Davis, the Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, has been told by John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, to appear before the Brexit select committee or face being held in contempt of Parliament. The Government had agreed to publishing internal reports about Brexit but has censored part of the text before they were handed to the Brexit select committee.

David Davis didn’t appear at the debate, but Robin Walker, speaking to MPs said:

“The sectoral analysis is a wide mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis contained in a range of documents developed at different times since the referendum. The House of Commons itself has recognised that, although Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament, the Government also have an obligation to consider where it will be in the public interest for material to be published”.

Keir Starmer, the Shadow Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union, said in the debate:

“”Transparency” and “accountability” are two words this Government do not understand. On 1 November, after a three-hour debate, this House voted in favour of a Humble Address requiring all 58 sectoral analyses to be passed to the Brexit Select Committee—not some of the reports, not redacted copies, but the full reports. The Government did not seek to amend the Humble Address, nor did they vote against the motion. After your advice to us, Mr. Speaker, the Government accepted that the motion was binding. It is simply not open to the Secretary of State to choose to ignore it and to pass to the Select Committee the documents he chooses. Whether he is in contempt of Parliament is a matter we will come to at some later date, but he is certainly treating Parliament with contempt”.

Kenneth Clarke, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“If the Government wished to resist the publication of the papers that they had, they should have voted against the motion, and if they wished to qualify or edit the papers that they had, they should have sought to amend the motion. We cannot allow, post-Brexit, the reduction of parliamentary sovereignty to a slightly ridiculous level. Will the Minister at least consider the possibility of sharing, at least with the Chairman of the Exiting the European Union Committee, the papers in the original form they were in when we voted on the motion, before this editing process started? The House would then no doubt be guided by the Chairman of the Select Committee on changes and omissions that are legitimately in the national interest and should be made”.

John Bercow said during a point of order into Davis’s behaviour:

“Beyond that formal statement, and in the hope that this is helpful to Members in all parts of the House, I would emphasise that we all heard what the Chair of the Brexit Select Committee had to say. He indicated that the Committee had made a public statement and requested an urgent audience with the Secretary of State, and that information from the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) was extremely important. The Minister responded, indicating a willingness on the part of the Secretary of State to meet, and to do so soon. May I very politely say to the Minister, who is always a most courteous fellow, that he was wise to make that statement? When it is suggested that that meeting should be soon, it means soon; it does not mean weeks hence. It means very soon indeed. Nothing—no commitment, no other diarised engagement—is more important than respecting the House, and in this case, the Committee of the House that has ownership of this matter, and to which the papers were to be provided. That is where the matter rests. As and when matters evolve, if a further representation alleging contempt is made to me, I will consider it very promptly and come back to the House. I hope that the House knows me well enough to know that I will do my duty”.

Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, Says Labour Can Make Large Gains in 2018

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has said that the Labour Party is well positioned to make large gain in the city in the 2018 local elections. Khan is also expected to make Brexit a core theme of the party’s campaigns in the capital, and the London Mayor is also expected to back the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking at a party conference in London, Khan is expected to say:

“There is now no corner of London where Labour can’t win – and with enough hard work we can challenge the Tories even in their crown jewels of Wandsworth and Barnet”.

The local elections will take place in May and the Labour Party currently hold 22 off the capital’s 33 councils. Khan is also expected to say:

“However, Londoners that desperately need Labour in power across London cannot afford for us to be complacent about the upcoming local elections. That’s why we must keep taking the fight to the Tories – who are weaker and more divided than ever – and I pledge to lead Labour members in that fight”.

Foreign Secretary Issues Statement on Terrorist Attack in Egypt

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has condemned the attack on a mosque in the North Sinai area of Egypt. There have been over 300 confirmed deaths and tens of injuries with the country’s President, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, saying that the country would respond with “the utmost force”.

In a statement Johnson said:

“I strongly condemn the horrendous and sickening attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai. My thoughts are with the people of Egypt and the families of all those affected by this terrible and cowardly act.

I have been in touch with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to offer my condolences and underline the UK’s full commitment in standing with Egypt in its fight against terrorism”.

Government May Pay More to EU in Exchange for Favourable Trade Agreements

Following a Cabinet meeting to discuss the future of Brexit, it is thought that Ministers have agreed to increase the sum of money to be paid as part of the divorce settlement. No figure was raised in the meeting, but it any additional payments would be subject to the UK receiving a favourable trade agreement.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, is expected to have wanted the additional funding so that talks on a future trade agreement can begin in December 2017. Peter Bone, the Conservative MP for Wellingborough, criticised the Government saying:

“There is no legal obligation whatsoever for us to pay any money. We are net contributors, over £200 billion over the years to the European Union superstate. If anyone should get any money from this divorce, it’s us. The idea we would pay £38 billion is absurd.”

Government Introduces new Cross-Border Bill to Parliament

The Government has introduced a new bill into the House of Commons which is designed to allow for goods can be smoothly moved in and out of the country with the appropriate level of tax being paid. The measures were out-lined in the Queen’s Speech and are designed to assist with the Brexit process.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a statement:

“Britain is a great trading nation and innovative UK businesses are central to the success of our economy. This Bill represents the first step in setting up an independent UK customs regime and reaffirms our commitment to deliver a smooth transition for businesses as we leave the EU”.

 

UK Loses European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency as Result of Brexit

The European Union has confirmed that due to Brexit a number of agencies will be leaving London. These include the European Banking Authority, which will move to Paris and the European Medicines Agency which will move to Amsterdam.

A spokeperson for the European Commission said in a statement:

“The European Commission welcomes today’s agreement at the General Affairs Council (Article 50 format) to move the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) to Amsterdam and Paris, respectively. Both Agencies are currently located in London.

The relocation of these two Agencies is a direct consequence – and the first visible result – of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, as notified to the European Council on 29 March 2017. The EMA and the EBA are two key regulatory Agencies for the EU’s Single Market, and are essential for the authorisation of medicines and for bank regulation. They must continue to function smoothly and without disruption beyond March 2019″.