British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will probably win the Dec. 12 election with a small majority but the campaign has so far been uninspiring with a host of unrealistic promises on both sides, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said on Tuesday///CRIMSON TAZVINZWA
This is a complicated election, and the Conservative poll lead obscures a fragile national picture
After a few weeks of stagnant polls, the gap between Labour and the Conservatives had begun to very gently close. But in the middle of last week all hell broke loose when the Brexit Party stood down in more than half the seats in the country, and once the dust had settled, and some candidates had unilaterally pulled their nominations, the Brexit Party was standing in 274 seats. That’s fewer than Nigel Farage originally promised, with the Brexit Party not just avoiding the seats the Tories won in 2017, but also a number in the very Remain-voting Scotland.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage shelves plans to contest more than 600 seats in the 12 December 2019 General Election. Mr Farage told supporters at a rally in Hartlepool that the Brexit Party will not field 600 candidates as earlier planned; this effectively makes 317 hopeful candidates redundant; therefore cannot contest the 317 seats won by Tories in the 2017 election///CRIMSON TAZVINZWA
The Brexit Party leader said that the decision was not easy but he will not contest any of the seats won by Conservatives at the last election.
It will come as a relief to many of the Tory candidates, but some of the former Brexit Party hopefuls have voiced their disappointment.
The Brexit Party is less than a year old and does not have any MPs – but it was the clear winner in the UK’s European elections in May, with more than 30% of the vote.
Caroline Coram, who hoped to represent Sleaford and North Hykeham for the Brexit Party, will now stand as an independent candidate.
She told Lincolnshire Reporter: “My priority right now is for the people that this announcement is letting down.
“If we step back completely then we are letting them down, so
The ambassadors of the EU27 decided to postpone a final decision on a potential extension of the Brexit negotiations until next week on Friday (25 October) following Boris Johnson’s calls for an early election.
“We have had an excellent discussion but no decision,” said EU chief negotiation Michel Barnier when leaving the Council building after meeting the ambassadors. “We still have time,” a diplomatic source said.
According to EU sources “there was full agreement on the need for an extension,” but for how long has still not been decided. An EU diplomat, however, said that the only proposal under discussion still is a delay until 31 January.
Johnson’s letter urging opposition leader Jeremy Corby to hold an early election in December and to ‘try to get Brexit done’ by early November is making the decision harder for the member states, as the House of Commons will only vote on the proposal on Monday.
The EU does not want to get involved in UK domestic politics. “If the problem is in London, the solution cannot be found in Brussels,” EU diplomat said last week. But Johnson is using the extension to justify the call for a vote.
“If the EU offers the delay the Parliament has requested,” UK prime minister said in reference to the so-called Ben Act, “then it is clear that there must be an election.”
France has openly opposed a long extension without a specific reason, such as a new election or referendum, and has called for more clarity from the UK side on its intentions. Emmanuel Macron’s minister for EU affairs Amélie de Montchalin said on Tuesday (22 October) that the country would prefer a short technical extension of a few days.
No summit foreseen
Ambassadors will meet again early next week, “either Monday or Tuesday,” to continue the discussion, only a few days before 31 October, officially still the date when the UK is set to leave the EU.
The situation in the UK is “very volatile,” a diplomatic source explained and in order to make decision ambassadors need “all the elements.” Discussions will continue over the weekend with the aim of figuring out “what is more convenient for Europe so that the agreement can get over the line.”
In spite of the uncertainty, whatever the decision, it will be taken by written procedure. President Donald Tusk “has no intention to convene a special European Council,” EU sources confirmed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday (24 October) abandoned his promise to take the UK out of the European Union at the end of October and instead set out new plans to force a general election on 12 December.
In Westminster, there is confusion on whether Johnson’s election motion will get the support of the almost 140 opposition MPs he needs to reach the two thirds majority needed to call an election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn continues to state that his party will back an election if the government formally rules out the prospect of a no deal Brexit.
The Scottish National Party, which is the third largest force in the House of Commons, on Friday called for an election on 5 December, and said that the election should serve as a proxy referendum on EU membership.
For their part, Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, which opposes the Withdrawal Agreement struck by Johnson last week, has repeated its call to join forces with the Conservative party to ‘form an unstoppable Leave alliance, and get a proper, better Brexit done.’
‘The government has finally admitted what The Brexit Party has said all along: The Tories alone are powerless to deliver Brexit on October 31st,’ added Brexit Party Chairman Richard Tice.,
There is now contempt at the Foreign Office towards not just the leaker but also the probable next PM//Patrick Wintour- Diplomatic editor;The Guardian
The resignation of Sir Kim Darroch followed the failure of the probable next prime minister, Boris Johnson, to say he supported him staying in post, despite being given repeated chances to do so during his TV debate on Tuesday night with Jeremy Hunt. As the current Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan put it, by six times refusing to back the ambassador, Johnson had thrown him under a bus.
Without the backing of the US president or his future boss, Darroch naturally concluded he had no future as an interlocutor between London and Washington. He realised, in the words of a friend who spoke to the Guardian, that Johnson had left him no option.
There is now shock and contempt across the Foreign Office and in parliament, not just towards the leaker and Trump but also towards Johnson. Whatever sanctimonious expressions of regret Johnson mouths and however much he blames the leaker, the Foreign Office knows he effectively sacked Darroch, believing he was carrying out the orders of Donald Trump
His resignation means the malicious leaker has got his or her way. It was pretty clear from the outset that the political purpose of the leak was to get Darroch removed, to be replaced by a true Brexiter of the kind that Nigel Farage – and now, apparently, Johnson – believes is necessary if the UK is to extract maximum political and economic value from Brexit.
It was also clear that despite the Foreign Office’s protestations, Trump was determined to blackball Darroch. The ambassador excluded himself from a meeting between the trade secretary, Liam Fox, and Ivanka Trump to avoid any embarrassment for the president’s daughter. But he found himself struck off the dinner guestlist for the visit of the emir of Qatar, and a second meeting between Fox and Wilbur Ross, the US trade secretary, did not go ahead.
Darroch spent a restless night pondering whether to quit or try to soldier on until he was due to retire at the end of the year. When he was reached on the phone early on Wednesday morning by Sir Simon McDonald, the permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, it was clear to McDonald that the ambassador had made up his mind. According to McDonald, Darroch felt that as long as he stayed in Washington he and his family would be a target.
An ambassador can acquire a personal profile but they should not become the story or see their views unmoored from the government they represent. Darroch could sense that a wounded Trump meant to carry out the threat to ostracise him. A diplomat is by profession the ultimate networker and cannot continue if the lines of communication are cut.
These were all cogent reasons to resign. Johnson’s decision not to defend him was a deliberate act of sabotage. His explanation that if he had defended him he would have unfairly dragged Darroch into politics was bogus.
Johnson chose to betray him because he regards his relationship with Trump as critical to the success of Brexit, and he simply could not afford to to start his premiership with a standoff with the US over an emissary for whom he anyway had little sympathy.
Barring a daring pre-emptive appointment by May designed to thwart Johnson, the chances now rise that an external political appointment of the kind advocated by Farage will be made. It would not be unprecedented. But the loss of Washington to, for instance, a Brexit businessman would be a blow to the prestige of the diplomatic service and represent a further sign that in these riven times the concept of a neutral civil service is harder to protect. Diplomatic telegrams in future will all be a bit more grey and circulated to fewer pairs of eyes.
Those populist Brexiteers that blame the disappointments in their cause on treacherous civil servants will feel they have claimed a scalp. But the episode possibly foretells something about the nature of the special relationship under Trump and Johnson. The former foreign secretary David Miliband, for example, said Johnson’s eagerness to please the White House signalled a weakness inherent in the Brexit process. “In today’s global village, when you pull away from your neighbours everyone can take advantage,” Miliband said.
By putting all his chips on Trump and going for the kind of hard Brexit the president believes is available, Johnson clearly hopes he will get a generous and quick free-trade deal with the US. Political goodwill is the key to unlocking this.
The last three days have shown a man who when asked to jump only answers: “How high?” It is not surprising that the Trump administration is so optimistic that Johnson will follow Trump’s thinking on issues such as Iran, Huwaei and Israel.
The incident has also told the civil service about Johnson as a man. For some he will have revealed himself to be shallow and willing to take advantage of an illegal leak to oust a civil servant who had dedicated himself to public life. Yes, ultimately the leaker is to blame, and Trump’s thin skin, but evasion of personal responsibility is already becoming the defining negative feature of Johnson’s candidacy.
When he goes through the doors of No 10 at some point this month, smiling and wanting to be loved, many will instead see only “the nasty piece of work”, as he was described by the broadcaster Eddie Mair.
In the words of the chair of the foreign affairs select committee, Tom Tugendhat, a former army officer: “Leaders stand up for their men. They encourage them to try and defend them when they fail.”
There is now shock and contempt across the Foreign Office and in parliament, not just towards the leaker and Trump but also towards Johnson. Whatever sanctimonious expressions of regret Johnson mouths and however much he blames the leaker, the Foreign Office knows he effectively sacked Darroch, believing he was carrying out the orders of Donald Trump.
The newly-elected MEP used her maiden speech in the European Parliament to say that “Britain is right to be leaving this place”.
Nigel Farage facing some stiff competition as chief clown of the Brexit Party in the @Europarl_EN. By the way, when Widdecombe talks about “colonies liberating themselves from their empires”, is she really referring to the American Revolution of 1776?
“There is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on the oppressors. Slaves against their owners. The peasantry against the feudal barons.” Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe makes her maiden speech in the European Parliament.
Widdecombe gives her 1st EP speech & it’s fiery: ‘If I needed any convincing at all the best thing for Britain is to leave here ASAP it was the way those elections were conducted. If that’s this place’s idea of democracy that’s a serious betrayal of every country represented…
‘It’s not democratic at all and that is just one of many reasons why Britain is right to be leaving this place, hopefully on Halloween. It is right because there is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on the oppressors…
‘Slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies Mr Verhofstadt against their empires, and that is why Britain is leaving. And it doesn’t matter which language you use – we are going and we are glad to be going…
‘I represent the South West of the UK and I found on my first day that this place, at least the powers that be, have decided to actually increase the size of fishermen’s meshes, thereby reducing their income by 40%. That’s what you do here…
It is disgusting that Ann Widdecombe would reference slavery and colonisation to describe our relationship with the EU. Her and Farage are bankrolled by elites – she’s part of the establishment which has created such a divide in this country.