Theresa May Seeks New Brexit Delay, Offers To Work With Labour’s Corbyn

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May gives a statement inside 10 Downing Street in London on April 2, 2019, after chairing a day-long meeting of the cabinet.
Jack Taylor / POOL / AFP

 

Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday she would ask the EU to delay Brexit again to avoid Britain crashing out of the bloc next week, signalling she could accept a closer relationship with Europe to break months of political deadlock.

After more than seven hours of talks with her ministers, May said she would request a delay that was “as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal” through the British parliament.

In a move which enraged the Brexit-supporting wing of her Conservative Party, she also offered to work with the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who favours closer ties with the European Union.

“This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands. And it requires national unity to deliver the national interest,” May said in a televised address.

Corbyn responded saying he was “very happy” to meet.

READ ALSO: Theresa May To Make Statement After Brexit Cabinet Talks

Brussels has set Britain an April 12 deadline to pass the divorce deal it agreed with May four months ago, settle on an alternative, or leave the EU without an agreement.

In reality, the deadline is even closer as the EU has called an emergency leaders’ summit for April 10.

EU president Donald Tusk responded cautiously to May’s statement, saying: “Even if, after today, we don’t know what the end result will be, let us be patient.”

Break The Logjam

Britain voted by 52 to 48 per cent to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. However, the exit process has only exacerbated divisions among the public and politicians, including May’s cabinet.

Her statement follows weeks of turmoil.

MPs have rejected May’s divorce deal three times, but after seizing control of the process, were unable to come up with their own plan.

May said she was “taking action to break the logjam”.

She noted calls in her own party for Britain simply to end its 46-year-old membership of the bloc without any agreement with the EU, but she said that “leaving with a deal is the best solution”.

May said she believed her existing deal was still necessary for an orderly Brexit, but offered to talk to Labour about a new plan for future trade ties.

Corbyn has called for a new customs union with the EU and close alignment to the bloc’s single market, two things that until now, May has strongly opposed.

“I recognise my responsibility,” Corbyn said, stressing that the most important issue was “to make sure we don’t crash out of the EU next week with no deal”.

Corbyn said any new proposals could be voted on by parliament “early next week”.

If May and Corbyn could agree on a plan that MPs supported, the prime minister said she hoped to take it to the April 10 Brussels summit.

If not, she promised to allow MPs to direct what she does, expressing hope that Britain could still leave with a deal before May 22, so it did not have to take part in European Parliament elections.

The political chaos has already forced May to ask the EU to postpone the original Brexit date of March 29, but European leaders have warned they will not delay Brexit indefinitely.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that while he was “open” to a lengthy delay on certain conditions, it was “neither certainty nor automatic”.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned that the other 27 EU nations were prepared for a “no deal” situation, and “it becomes day after day more likely”.

Future Relationship

The EU has repeatedly refused to renegotiate the Brexit divorce deal it agreed with May last November after almost two years of negotiations but has said it could revise the accompanying political declaration on future relations.

“What we need to focus on is our future relationship with the EU,” May said of her talks with Corbyn.

Key Conservative Brexit-backers slammed May’s move.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said it was “very disappointing” that Corbyn was being given a key role in the Brexit process.

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP suggested the Labour leader could undermine the referendum.

“Getting the support of a known Marxist is not likely to instil confidence in Conservatives,” he said.

AFP

 

British Lawmaker Suspended Over Anti-Semitism Comments

Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacts as Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks after making a statement to the House of Commons in London on February 26, 2019. 
HO / PRU / AFP

 

Britain’s main opposition Labour on Wednesday suspended one of its MPs, a close ally of leader Jeremy Corbyn after he claimed the party had been “too apologetic” over a tide of anti-Semitism allegations against it.

The move followed video footage emerging of lawmaker Chris Williamson telling a meeting of the left-wing Momentum activist group: “We have backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic.”

Williamson was speaking in Sheffield, northern England, in the wake of the resignations of nine Labour MPs last week, with many alleging a growing culture of anti-Jewish racism within the party under veteran socialist Corbyn’s watch.

He told the audience he had sung Kool and the Gang’s 1980 hit “Celebration” in response to their decisions to quit the party.

READ ALSO: Other Illegal Acts Involving Trump Being Probed, Says Cohen

Labour said it has suspended Williamson pending an investigation and that his pattern of behaviour would be reviewed by staff.

“Chris Williamson is suspended from the party, and therefore the whip, pending investigation,” a Labour spokesman said.

Labour had already branded Williamson’s actions “completely unacceptable” after he booked a room in parliament for the screening of a film about an activist suspended over anti-Semitism complaints.

In a statement, Williamson said: “I deeply regret, and apologise for, my recent choice of words.

“I was trying to stress how much the party has done to tackle anti-Semitism.”

He told the BBC: “I am going to clear my name within the party procedures. I think I’ve got a very strong case. There is no evidence against me in reality.”

Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “This is a man who has baited Jews and befriended Labour activists suspended or expelled over anti-Semitism for years.

“It is outrageous that he is only being investigated now, and that it is only happening in response to a public outcry.”

Labour won 262 seats in parliament at the 2017 general election but is now down to 245 after a series of suspensions and resignations.

AFP

UK Opposition Leader Calls For No-Confidence Vote In May’s Govt

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain’s main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn giving his response and tabling a motion of no confidence in the Government in the House of Commons in London on January 15, 2019, after MPs rejected the government’s Brexit deal. HO / AFP / PRU

 

The confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government taking place on Wednesday, which she is expected to win, is the first in nearly 26 years.

The vote was called by main opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn following the government’s historic defeat over May’s Brexit deal with the European Union.

It will be held at around 1900 GMT.

Under the 2011 Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, losing a confidence motion begins a two-week process that could end in fresh elections.

If the vote is lost, the government has 14 days to regain the confidence of parliament’s lower House of Commons — majority support — confirmed by the passing of a motion to that effect.

If it cannot, then theoretically, Corbyn himself could seek to build a coalition with other opposition parties to take office.

In the event that no alternative government can be formed from the current composition of the house, parliament is automatically dissolved and elections called.

May runs a minority government which relies on the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for a slim majority.

– Past precedence –

Since 1900 there have been only three occasions when a government has lost a vote of confidence: twice in 1924 and once in 1979.

In the last such vote, the Labour government of prime minister Jim Callaghan lost the opposition motion by just one vote: 311-310.

Callaghan immediately called a general election, which brought the Conservatives to power under prime minister Margaret Thatcher. They remained in office for 18 years.

The last time a confidence motion was formally tabled in the Commons was in 1993 — then, as now, in stormy times over Britain’s relationship with Europe.

Conservative prime minister John Major’s government tabled the motion of confidence following its defeat in a vote on the Maastricht Treaty which turned the European Economic Community into simply the European Community, extending its competences.

Major’s government won the motion by 339 to 299, shoring up his position.

– Strength of May’s support –

May, who took over from David Cameron in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, called a snap general election in June 2017, seeking to strengthen her hand in negotiations with Brussels.

But the gamble backfired and she lost her majority.

The Conservatives now have 316 votes in the chamber, with 320 needed for a majority. The DUP, with whom they have a confidence-and-supply agreement, have 10 votes.

The pro-Brexit DUP have indicated that they are against the EU divorce deal but want to give the Conservative government the chance to secure a better agreement.

Hardcore Brexiteer Conservative MPs triggered an internal no-confidence motion in December, which May won by 200 to 117.

However, following Tuesday’s 432 to 202 Commons vote against the deal, May opened the door for Corbyn to try a no-confidence motion.

“We need to confirm whether this government still enjoys the confidence of the house. I believe that it does,” she said.

AFP

British Opposition Leader In Trouble Over Theresa May’s Comments

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons in London on July 18, 2018. HO / PRU / AFP

 

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn got himself into trouble on Wednesday for apparently muttering “stupid woman” at Prime Minister Theresa May during a heated exchange in parliament over her delaying tactics on Brexit.

The Labour Party leader could be seen appearing to mouth the words in response to May making a joke about his failure to demand a no-confidence vote against her government after he had accused her of leading the country “into a national crisis”.

Conservative MPs shouted “disgraceful” when the allegations were first raised after the angry exchanges, and May herself was asked what she thought of the supposed comment.

“I think that everybody in this House, particularly in this 100th year of women getting the vote, should be encouraging women to come into this chamber and to stand in this chamber and should therefore use appropriate language in this chamber when they are referring to female members,” she said.

Several Conservative MPs said the alleged comment was a reflection of abusive language faced by many female politicians and a culture of bullying in parliament that has become a focus for concern in recent months.

Parliament speaker John Bercow said he did not see the incident himself but, if true, the allegation meant that Corbyn would have to apologise in front of parliament.

“It is incumbent upon all members of this House to operate in accordance with its best conversion… If a member has failed to do so that member has a duty to apologise,” he said.

Bercow, who has himself been accusing of bullying and using abusive language, said he would also look at video evidence and seek professional advice on the alleged incident.

AFP

Brexit Deal Is ‘Act Of National Self-Harm’ – Labour Leader

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain’s opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn (R) and Britain’s opposition Labour party Brexit secretary Keir Starmer (2R) listen as Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May stands and delivers a statement to the House of Commons in London on November 26, 2018, to update parliament on the newly-agreed Brexit deal.  HO / AFP / PRU

 

The Brexit deal agreed by EU leaders is an “act of national self-harm”, Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn told parliament on Monday as Prime Minister Theresa May sought to persuade MPs to back her.

“It’s an act of national self-harm… For the good of the nation, the House has very little choice but to reject this deal,” Corbyn said.

AFP

Corbyn Gets Rock Star Reception At Glastonbury

Corbyn

He’s not your normal headline act, but British politician Jeremy Corbyn got a rock star reception and pulled a huge crowd when he appeared on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury on Saturday afternoon.

The crowd chanted ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ and waved flags with the Labour leader’s name on as he came on stage, introduced by Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis.

Addressing the crowd, Corbyn urged that there should be a more humane world, saying, “Build bridges, not walls.”

In a wide-ranging speech covering environmental issues as well as racism, Corbyn also spoke about the recent general election, saying he was proud of his party’s campaign, which he said brought “a lot of people back into politics”.

Corbyn, a 68-year-old leftist, has not only survived attempts by some members of his own party to oust him but has also now led Labour to unexpected electoral gains against the Conservatives.

Speaking a few minutes after Corbyn’s mid-afternoon speech, twenty-nine-year-old Lewis James from Kent said he was moved to tears by what he heard: “It’s very rare that your generation get a moment in time when you can start to change the tide and the tide will start to turn I was in tears watching him.”

In the lead up to the election, Corbyn offered voters a promise to build a fairer society through policies such as raising taxes for the richest 5 percent, scrapping university tuition fees and investing 250 billion pounds ($315 billion) in infrastructure – plans the Conservatives said were uncosted.

“I think it’s all about bringing Labour back to its roots, instead of this new Labour thing that Tony Blair found …Labour policies that Jeremy Corbyn has brought through are like scrap the table we’ve started over again,” 25-year-old Chloe Lawrence said.

Corbyn was on the main stage at Glastonbury for about ten minutes before American hip hop group Run the Jewels performed.

‘Difficult’ Talks Needed With Saudis After London Attack – Corbyn

Corbyn

Britain needs to have “difficult conversations” with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states about the funding of Islamist extremism, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday, resuming his election campaign after a deadly attack in London.

The Labour party leader, who is hoping to win Thursday’s (June 8) national election, said the vote should go ahead to show democracy would not be halted by the London Bridge attack that left seven dead and 48 injured.

“Our democratic values must be maintained. We must resist Islamophobia and division and turn out on the 8th of June united in our determination to show our democracy is strong, however, you decide to vote. And yes, we do need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states who have funded and fuelled extremist ideology,” Corbyn said.

“It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of extremist groups, we have to get serious about cutting off their funding to these terror networks, including ISIS (Islamic State), here and in the Middle East.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Theresa May called for a stronger response to Islamist extremism after three knife-wielding assailants drove a hired van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby.

Corbyn said Britain’s democratic values must be maintained.

He attacked May for cutting police numbers during her tenure as interior minister and repeated his pledge to recruit 10,000 new police officers, including armed officers.

Reuters

General Election: UK Parliament Approves Theresa May’s Snap Vote

General Election: UK Parliament Approves Theresa May's Snap VoteMembers of the British Parliament have approved Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to hold an early general election on June 8.

The early poll was expected to secure the two-third commons majority in order to go ahead, with labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, welcoming the Prime Minister’s surprise announcement on Tuesday.

After debating the motion put forward by May in Parliament, 522 of the 650 sitting MPs voted in favor of the motion, while 13 voted against it.

Mrs May had said earlier, that she wants to secure the backing of the British people for her Brexit negotiations.

The next general election had been expected in 2020, but the fixed term parliament’s act allows for one to be held earlier.

Panama Papers: David Cameron Releases Tax Returns Information

David CameronPapers released by British Prime Minister, David Cameron, revealed that he paid almost £76,000 in tax on an income of more than £200,000 in 2014-15.

Mr Cameron also earned £46,899 in rent on the London family home.

The documents show that he inherited £300,000 when his father died, and the next year was given two payments of £100,000 by his mother to balance out the legacy.

Mr Cameron announced a new task force to investigate tax-dodging allegations.

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said that the matter highlighted “a whole ethos” and how the very wealthy handled their tax affairs, adding he would publish his own tax return “very, very soon”.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister admitted he could have better handled the row over his financial affairs.

This followed a week of questions and successive statements over whether Mr Cameron had owned and sold units in an offshore fund run by his late father, Ian Cameron.

Details of the Blairmore Holdings fund had been contained in a leak of 11 million documents, known as the Panama Papers.

UK MPs To Vote On Syria Bombing

UK MPs To Vote On Syria BombingIn a fresh bid to completely defeat the Islamic State (ISIS), British Members of Parliament will meet later on Wednesday, whether to back UK air trikes in Syria.

A 10-hour house of commons debate will culminate in a vote on whether the UK should join the US, France, Russia and other bombing targets in Raqqa, the group’s stronghold, and other areas.

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, said ISIS is a threat to Britain’s security.

But Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, opposed bombing the group in Syria though, he has given MPs a free vote amid divisions within his own ranks.

With up to 50 Labour MPs likely to back the government both the Democratic Unionist Party and the Liberal Democrats are also giving their backing, Mr Cameron is expected to win parliamentary approval for the UK to intervene militarily in the four-year conflict in Syria.

The government said that military action is “only one component of a broader strategy” to tackle ISIS and the UK government would not deploy troops on the ground.

The Prime Minister is likely to face tough questions about the scope of air strikes, their likely impact and how they fit into the strategy of helping to stabilise and rebuild Syria.

Mr Cameron has been asked to explain his claim that there are 70,000 “moderate” ground forces able to fight ISIS in Syria.