Party Leaders React to European Election Results

The main political party leaders have reacted to the European Election results in the UK, which showed strong performances by the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the Brexit Party and the SNP. There were low shares of the vote for the Conservative and Labour parties, with the Labour party losing all of its seats in Scotland.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, posted on Twitter:

“A very disappointing night for @Conservatives. Some excellent MEPs have lost their seats, some excellent candidates missed out. But Labour have also suffered big losses. It shows the importance of finding a Brexit deal, and I sincerely hope these results focus minds in Parliament”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, issued a statement:

“After three years of Tory failure to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole country, these elections became a proxy second referendum. With the Conservatives disintegrating and unable to govern, and parliament deadlocked, this issue will have to go back to the people, whether through a general election or a public vote. Labour will bring our divided country together so we can end austerity and tackle inequality.

Over the coming days we will have conversations across our party and movement, and reflect on these results on both sides of the Brexit divide. We will not let the continuing chaos in the Conservative Party push our country into a No Deal exit from the EU. Parliament can and will prevent such a damaging outcome for jobs and industry in the UK.”

Vince Cable, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats posted on Twitter:

“A clear, honest, unambiguous message has won @libdems our best ever European election result. We have shown ourselves as the strongest Remain force in British politics. Thank you to everyone who put their faith in us. We will stand up for you and keep campaigning to #StopBrexit.”

Nigel Farage, the Leader of the Brexit Party, posted on Twitter:

“Never before in British politics has a party just 6 weeks old won a national election. If Britain does not leave the EU on October 31st, these results will be repeated at a general election. History has been made. This is just the beginning.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP, posted on Twitter:

“Outstanding results so far tonight for @theSNP – on course for our best ever Euro election result. Polling way ahead of any other party. Higher % in Scotland than Brexit Party’s current share in rUK. Emphatically clear that Scotland doesn’t want Brexit”

Prime Minister Congratulates Narendra Modi on His Election Success

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has congratulated Narendra Modi on his success in the Indian elections.

A spokesperson for Theresa May said:

“The Prime Minister spoke to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to congratulate him on his success in the election. The leaders agreed that the election was a significant exercise in democracy and that the authorities should be commended for delivering it so efficiently.

They also discussed the upcoming Cricket World Cup which the UK will host in June and July, and the passion for the sport that is shared between our two countries. Both leaders looked forward to continuing the close cooperation between our countries, including at the G20 Summit in Osaka next month.”

Five Candidates Join Race to Become Next Conservative Leader

Five candidates have so far joined the Conservative Party leadership contest, following yesterday’s resignation announcement by Theresa May, the Prime Minister.

Although more candidates are expected to announce their intentions to stand, the current five who have confirmed their plans include:

Rory Stewart – the Secretary of State for International Development

Jeremy Hunt – the Foreign Secretary

Matt Hancock – the Secretary of State for Health

Boris Johnson – the former Foreign Secretary

Esther McVey – the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

MPs React to Resignation of Theresa May

MPs have started to respond following the announcement this morning by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, that she will stand down in early June.

Graham Stuart, the Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, said:

“The Prime Minister gave a moving speech this morning. She has given everything for the country in the most challenging circumstances. It’s been a pleasure to work for her. Thank you, Theresa May.”

Stephen Crabb, the Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said:

“Among the public away from SW1 there was genuine good will & sympathy for Theresa May as she wrestled with Brexit. Her successor will face a different public mood. So huge pressure to make early progress but with none of the key variables having changed.”

Caroline Nokes, the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said:

“I am obviously sad to see Theresa May resign as Prime Minister, I have served in her Government since 2016 and seen first-hand, how hard she has worked to try to deliver a Brexit which works for everyone. Sadly, despite her tenacity and determination, that has not been possible.”

Stephen Hammond, the Conservative MP for Wimbledon, said:

“A dignified resignation speech from a dignified Prime Minister who deserves praise for always putting this country first.”

Brandon Lewis, the Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, said:

“We saw a speech this morning by our Prime Minister that highlighted why, for me, she has shown how driven by duty & service she is. I have been honoured to serve in our Government under her Premiership.”

Stephen McPartland, the Conservative MP for Stevenage, said:

“Theresa May is a strong and dignified lady. I am proud the Conservative Party are the only political party to have had a female Prime Minister and delighted we have had two female Prime Ministers. We are the true party of equality and opportunity.”

Jonathan Djanogly, the Conservative MP for Huntingdon, said:

“Sorry to see PM resigning in these circumstances. A determined and brave woman who misread the need for a consensus position- until too late. Her successor must understand this.”

David Rutley, the Conservative MP for Macclesfield, said:

“A very dignified and moving speech by the Prime Minister who has served our country with all her heart and soul. Very grateful for her dedicated public service for the nation.”

Conor Burns, the Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, said:

“The Prime Minister made the right decision this morning and announced it with dignity. We should thank her for her service. Now we must move to elect a new leader who can see opportunities in a good Brexit, restore power sharing in Northern Ireland and refresh our domestic agenda”.

Alun Cairns, the Conservative MP for Vale of Glamorgan, said:

“Dignified and powerful statement from @theresa_may. I have seen at first hand throughout her time as PM her ongoing support and absolute commitment to a prosperous Wales – a true public servant.”

Theresa May Resigns as Prime Minister

Theresa May, the Prime Minister since 2016, has confirmed that it is her intention to resign after failing to secure a deal on Brexit. She will resign as Prime Minister on 7 June 2019 and will continue until the next leader of the Conservative Party is elected by the party membership.

Andrea Leadsom Resigns From Cabinet Over Brexit

Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom has resigned from her Cabinet position as the Leader of the House of Commons, saying that she can no longer support the Government’s Brexit position.

In a letter to Theresa May, the Prime Minister, she wrote:

“I stayed in cabinet to shape and fight for Brexit. There have been some uncomfortable compromises along the way, but you have had my determined support and loyalty in your efforts to deliver Brexit as our shared goal. I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result.”

Boris Johnson Confirms He Will Stand in Tory Leadership Contest

Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary, has confirmed that he will stand in the next contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party. The news comes amid rumours that Theresa May, the Prime Minister, is expected to soon announce the date of her departure.

Asked at the BIBA conference in Manchester whether he’d stand, Johnson said:

“I’m going to go for it. Of course I’m going to go for it. I don’t think that is any particular secret to anybody. But you know, there is no vacancy at present.”

He added:

“There’s no vacancy. On the other hand, what I will say is that there has been a real lack of grip and dynamism in the way we’ve approached these talks.

We’ve failed over the past three years to put forward a convincing narrative about how we exploit the opportunities of Brexit. All I can say, as tactfully and usefully as I can, is that I have a boundless appetite to try to get it right, and to help the country to get on the right path.”

Simon Armitage Confirmed as New Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage has been confirmed as the new Poet Laureate, a role he will hold for ten years after succeeding Carol Duffy who has held the role for the last decade. He will be the 21st holder of the role, with John Dryden being the first Poet Laureate who was appointed in 1668 by King Charles II.

Armitage said in a statement:

“It’s a huge honour to be appointed Poet Laureate, one of the great high offices of literature. Over the past two decades the laureateship has become a working role, with previous laureates actively involved in the promotion of poetry and in numerous initiatives to identify and encourage talent, especially within education and among younger writers; I hope to build on the work of my predecessors with energy and enthusiasm.

Since the laureateship was first conceived many hundreds of years ago Britain has changed enormously and the position of Poet Laureate has changed accordingly – I want to celebrate and speak on behalf of the variety of voices who contribute to the rich chorus of British poetry from a wide range of personal, literary and cultural experiences, and to help poetry explore its potential in a multi-faceted, multi-vocal and multi-media age.

The poetry of these islands is one of our greatest achievements, and as well as being proud of its traditions I want poetry to feel confident and at home in the contemporary world and to demonstrate that in a hectic and sometimes frenetic age the combination of considered thought and crafted language is more relevant and vital than ever. I hope poets, readers and audiences will support me in my efforts.”

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said in a statement:

“I’m delighted Simon Armitage has been appointed the UK’s new Poet Laureate. As one of our most popular and respected poets, Simon brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this important role. He is well placed to attract even more people into the literary world, and further enhance our nation’s proud tradition of producing exceptional poetry.

I would also like to thank Dame Carol Ann Duffy for her work over the last decade – championing literature, showcasing other poets’ contributions, and marking significant national moments through her outstanding poetry.”

British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Meet with Libyan Prime Minister

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, have today met with Fayez Al-Serraj, the Prime Minister of Libya. There were discussions about the humanitarian situation in Libya and Al-Serraj called for more help with dealing with the ongoing crisis.

Jeremy Hunt said in a statement:

“The UK government shares Prime Minister Serraj’s grave concern at the situation across Libya, where the security and humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Recent violence has caused the displacement of thousands of people and blocked emergency aid to casualties, including civilians. It is imperative that all parties respect International Humanitarian Law.

In our discussions today, we called on Prime Minister Serraj to encourage all sides to commit to a ceasefire, secure humanitarian access for those desperately in need and return to UN-led political negotiations. We’ve been clear that there can be no military solution in Libya – diplomacy is the only way to bring this bloodshed and uncertainty to a close.”

Prime Minister Refuses to Confirm What Action Being Taken Following Leak of National Security Council Meeting

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has refused to explain what action she is taking following an unprecedented leak of information from the National Security Council. Information discussed at the council’s meeting on Tuesday was leaked to the Daily Telegraph with rumours that the Prime Minister may have now ordered a criminal investigation into the breach.

The spokesperson for the Prime Minister also refused to confirm a report made in the Guardian Newspaper that Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, had written to those present at the meeting. The leak from the National Security Council means that the Government may have lost some control over security secrets despite all those at the meeting having signed the Official Secrets Act.

Sir Michael Fallon, the former Conservative Defence Secretary, said that the breach was so serious that it required police action to investigate the breach of trust. All of the Cabinet Ministers at the meeting have issued denials that they were responsible for the leak and Jeremy Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has confirmed that a criminal investigation hasn’t been ruled out.