Hoey could be first Labour troublemaker to be deselected

Kate Hoey could be the first Labour troublemaker to be de-selected after her CLP, Vauxhall, voted to ask for an early trigger ballot beginning the deselection process.

The MP who has been a government ally throughout the Brexit process, voting in favour of the EU withdraw bill, is extremely unpopular in her constituency which voted overwhelmingly for Remain.

The early trigger ballot would allow Vauxhall CLP to move towards deselection swiftly and should it be successful this would allow for an open selection. Vauxhall CLP have asked for an early trigger ballot so that Hoey can be deselected soon before the chance of a snap election.

A local Labour party activist, who preferred not to be named stated:

Generally both the left and right factions in the CLP tend to agree that Kate should be deselected and it’s likely most, if not all, the branches in the CLP would vote for an open selection.

However, unions and societies affiliated to the CLP also get a vote and their allegiance is less certain.

The local activist also mentioned she (Hoey) may stand down before the next election, though she has said similar things before and changed her mind, if she doesn’t he expects a different person to be the Labour candidate for Vauxhall come the next general election saying:

If she doesn’t retire, I think her time’s up. Though she’s very jammy so who knows.

Hoey could be the first Labour MP to face deselection which could spark a ripple effect within the party. Many members are unhappy with the position of their MPs on many issues and how they undermine the party leadership. Namely Chris Leslie, Frank Field and Chuka Umunna.

Hoey, however, is unique in that she supports Brexit in a very remain area, leading for both sides of the party to not be satisfied with her representation.

Momentum has campaigned, since their rise to prominence, for a full and open selection process combined with mandatory deselection. Basically the abolishing of trigger ballots and a move to a system similar to a US primary for constituencies. This would give members more democratic control and representation but those on the right of the party believe it is an attempt to get rid of MPs who do not agree with the leadership.

A desire for deselection of certain MPs has grown in popularity in 2018 after attempts by rebel MPs to undermine the party throughout the spring. Many members blame such MPs for Labour’s underwhelming council election results.

 

 

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Chancellor caught lying about loss made in Lloyds’ privatisation

A claim by the chancellor that the government profited from the sale of Lloyds have been questioned by Whitehall’s spending watchdog, which calculated a loss to taxpayers of nearly £6bn.

In the lead up to the general election, Phillip Hammond claimed the taxpayer had made a profit of £900m in bailing out the bank.

The national audit has examined the sale of the bank and in a report stated that the government has lost £5.9bn in the bailout and sale.

The report was commissioned so that the government could learn lessons to be used in the privatisation of RBS. The government is set to make a £26bn loss on the sale of RBS and the taxpayer has already made a loss of  £2bn when the chancellor sold some of the government’s shares in June. Despite this the chancellor plans to continue the sell off of the bank.

The report detailed that the chancellor did not account for financing costs of running Lloyds stating:

“This gain included the dividends from owning the shares but did not include an estimate of its financing costs. We estimate that the government received between £3.2bn and £5.9bn less than it paid for the shares if the cost of finance is included in the calculation.”

George Osbourne stated that the government would make a profit on the acquisition of the banks but with this information, it has bee made clear the government has failed to make a profit on either Lloyds or RBS.

Gordon Brown’s government took a 43.4% in the bank in 2008 in an attempt to save the banking sector using £20bn of public money to bail out Lloyds and RBS.

Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief

Further losses mark failure in the government’s privatisation agenda. It breaks more Conservative Party promises and worse still means the taxes of hard-working Brits are being funnelled into the hands of rich via these bail-outs and corrupt sell-offs.

Hammond states that the government should not be in the business of owning banks, I imagine the electorate would disagree when they look at Lloyds’ accounts. The news marks another failure by this government on fiscal credibility and another story the mainstream media has failed to cover properly.

New Tidal lagoon project set days after government reject industry leading plans

BBC News

Just days after the government scrapped plans for a world-leading renewable energy source, tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, we have uncovered plans for an even larger tidal lagoon off the coast of North Wales.

Although still in the early stages of development, North Wales Tidal Energy & Coastal Protection (NWTE), the company creating this proposal claim the £7bn project could generate enough clean energy to power one million homes.

The proposed plans could see the lagoon stretch across the entire northern Welsh coast and be operational within a decade.

A tidal lagoon is a sea-based power station that creates electricity from the rise and fall of tides. A sort of enclosure is built on an active area of coastline where large volumes of water are collected and then released to drive turbines and generate electricity.

The proposed Swansea lagoon project, which was valued at £1.3bn, was rejected by the government due to a lack of value despite developers Tidal Lagoon Power making a revised cheaper offer. Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Securing our energy needs into the future has to be done seriously and, when much cheaper alternatives exist, no individual project, and no particular technology, can proceed at any price.”

Clark estimated the lagoon would cost the average British household an additional £700 between 2031 and 2050. But critics claim the figures are wrong. The scheme also had £200m backing from the Welsh Government.

Deputy Green Leader, Amelia Womack, said: “This is a bitter, dismal day for Wales and our clean energy future.

“Once again, we have seen that the Westminster Government has no vision for what a fossil-free future will look like.”

To date, North Wales Tidal Energy’s project has been funded by private investors but they seeking to raise £20m to reach the next stage of development.

Mr Dixon said: “Our immediate task is to raise funds and resources to carry out a full feasibility assessment of the north Wales tidal lagoon

Adding: “This would create a significant number of highly-paid and highly-skilled jobs that would be much in demand globally as worldwide interest in predictable renewable technologies grows

“And a north Wales tidal lagoon would be a major visitor attraction in its own right with a visitor centre and marine facilities being incorporated in its design.”

Tory run Northamptonshire council £410 million in red

Northamptonshire County Council has revealed that it is in debt to the sum of £410,430,000. The council that was previously cited as a model for Conservative governance owes £260,430,000 to the Public Loans Work Board but, more worryingly, owes £150,000,000 to private institutions.

The council is effectively bankrupt and in February became the first local authority in 2 decades to issue a section 114 notice. This means finances are so bad it may not be able to set a legal budget for 2018-19.

It’s £53 million HQ has been put up for sale only 3 months after being opened by the Home Secretary and many services that the council previously provided are simply not being run.

The council have plans to drastically cut gritting services and are also selling off libraries. There have also been disruptions to bus and children services.

The commissioners appointed by the central government to improve the running of Northamptonshire County Council have come under fire from councillors who criticised them for not attending important meetings. The commissioners received criticism from all three parties in the council, with many councillors simply dismissing them as ineffective.

However, Northamptonshire is not the only council in financial trouble, as it was revealed this week that Tory controlled Torbay Council may have to abandon its unitary authority status due to problems with funding. Surrey Council is also facing a £100 million cash crisis. The large number of councils who are under serious financial pressure has resulted directly from a 38% cut in central government funding since 2010.

Turkish Elections: Polls close in controversial election

Turkish voters turned up to the polls today in the country’s most hard-fought election in years.

They will decide whether to grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a second five-year term or vote in opposition candidate, the centre-left Muharrem İnce.

The election was called by Erdogan, a year ahead of schedule, as he looks to cement his power. The role of Turkish president was once ceremonial, but whoever wins this election will inherit new controversial powers narrowly accepted by the Turkish public in a constitutional referendum last year, which was marred by claims of electoral fraud.

Some fear similar tactics will ruin this election with Erdogan being filmed at a party meeting, urging supporters to do “special work” to defeat the opposition.

The president will now directly appoint top public officials, including ministers and vice-presidents. They will also have the power to intervene in the country’s legal system and impose a state of emergency. The role of Prime Minister will also be scrapped.

Critics have expressed concern over lack of checks and balances, with some accusing Erdogan of trying to impose one-man rule. His rival candidates have said they will not adopt these changes.

A key topic of this election is money. Turkey is currently in the middle of an economic slump with inflation rates north of 10%, and a huge fall in the value of lira, the Turkish currency, has left many voters demanding change.

Parliamentary elections will run side-by-side with the presidential poll and any dent into the majority AKP, Erdogan’s party hold in the 600-seat assembly could have a major impact.

Early polls suggest Erdogan is likely to win a second term, though thousands of voters turned out in Istanbul on Saturday in support of opposition leader Muharrem İnce. At the unprecedented rally he addressed the crowd saying: “Turkey’s hopes will be revived. This is going to be a united Turkey.”

The former physics teacher has pledged to restore the rule of law in Turkey and end the prosecution of dissidents and journalists. The country has been under has been under a state of emergency since 2016 after a failed coup led by the military. Over 107,000 public servants and soldiers dismissed from their jobs, and more than 160,000 detained according to the UN.

Whatever the result Turkey’s political landscape will be dramatically changed.

People’s Vote: Marchers call for vote on final Brexit deal

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Chants of “people’s vote” and EU flags have filled Pall Mall today as thousands of campaigners march through London to call for a final vote on the Government’s Brexit deal.

The protest forms part of the “summer of action” as campaigners intend to increase the pressure on Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn during Brexit negotiations.

The march comes after high-profile Cabinet ministers including David Davis declared that the UK is fully prepared to leave the EU with no deal.

One of the main organisers, People’s Vote, maintain that Brexit is “not a done deal” and the people must “make their voices heard”. James McGrory from Open Britain added that there “should be a choice between leaving with the deal that the government negotiates, or staying in the European Union”.

Guest speakers will include actor Sir Tony Robinson and Gina Miller, who successfully campaigned to ensure the UK could not trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval.

The government has already announced it is giving Parliament a say on the final deal. However, it still remains unclear what will happen if the deal is rejected.

According to James McGrory, “the most important thing is that this isn’t decided just by 650 politicians in Westminster… Brexit is such a big deal [that] it should include all 65 million of us in the country, and that’s why people today are marching for a people’s vote,”

 

 

 

 

EU imposes retaliatory tariffs on US goods in trade war escalation

The European Union has announced that retaliatory tariffs on $2.8 billion worth of US goods have come into force in a renewed attack against President Trump’s trading policy.

Of the various goods listed, tariffs have been levied on products such as Harley Davidson motorcycles, orange juice, and bourbon whiskey.

In a statement to the Irish Parliament, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker stated that the duties imposed on the EU by the US go “against all logic and history”. He added: “we will do what we have to do to rebalance and safeguard the EU”.

Additionally, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said this week that the 28-nation bloc was “left with no other choice” but to impose tariffs of its own after the “unilateral and unjustified decision of the US.”

Despite the reluctance of UK international trade secretary, Liam Fox, to support the EU’s proposed measures, the European Commission confirmed that it had the “full support” of the 28 member states to act.

What is the purpose of tariffs?

Essentially, tariffs are a tax on products that are made abroad.

By taxing foreign items imported into a country, consumers are less likely to purchase them as they become more expensive. Thus, the rationale behind the policy is to encourage consumers to buy cheaper local products instead- boosting the country’s economy and protecting a domestic industry.

How did this begin?

The economic conflict began when the White House announced tariffs of 25% on steel imported to the US, predominately from China.

Accusing Beijing of “stealing intellectual property”, President Trump expressed his desire to cut the trade deficit with China- citing reports of unfair trading practices.

Shortly after the announcement, India, South Korea, Canida, and Mexico responded with their own tariffs on US goods:

  • India will raise taxes on 29 products imported from the US
  • Canada announced retaliatory tariffs on C$16.6bn worth of US exports w/b 1 July.
  • Mexico imposed tariffs on £3bn worth of US exports two weeks ago.

Together with these tariffs, the EU’s response is now the latest development in the trading conflict, with financial markets fearing severe consequences to the global economy.

Analysis from Oliver Murphy- Editor

It is unsurprising that this latest announcement has intensified fears of a full-blown trade war. With Donald Trump first announcing steel tariffs on imported aluminum, the European Union’s response with a tit-for-tat escalation risks seriously damaging the economies of both- not to mention the impact on the consumer.

Indeed, Rick Helfenbein, president and chief executive officer of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, says the average family of four in the US will pay at least an extra $500 a year to buy consumer products affected by the tariffs.

Britain has remained silent throughout this escalation. This is unsurprising. With our formal cessation from the EU just around the corner, Downing Street will be wary of joining this trade spat given the keenness to secure a trading arrangement with the US post-Brexit.

At present, there is no signal that Trump plans to step-back from his protectionist policy. Indeed, the President reckons trade wars are “good” and “easy to win”, and his current tactics are proving popular with his supporters in the ‘rust belt’. Ironically, many in the EU share Trump’s concerns about unfair competition from China. Yet, by imposing tariffs they are merely alienating each other and this is only counterproductive in the pursuit of a fairer free trade system.

Of greater significance, however, is the damage inflicted upon the image of the US presidency. Presidential credibility is one of the most important factors to the functioning of the international system. Yet, Trump’s actions and the subsequent EU response have eroded this. There is still time to avert a trade war, but even so, the faith in US leadership has been seriously damaged.

 

 

 

Breaking News | Electoral Commission to find Vote Leave broke electoral law

The Electoral Commission has announced in a draft report of its official investigation that Vote Leave did break electoral law during the EU Referendum campaign. The People’s News understands that in addition to its findings, the Commission will recommend at least one fine. The final report is scheduled to be published in a matter of weeks.

The watchdog’s latest investigation comes after allegations of collusion were made by whistleblowers Christopher Wylie and Shahmir Sanni, who reported of links between the official campaign and a smaller group, BeLeave. However, it is reported whilst the commission did consider the evidence, it was not ‘decisive’ in proving a breach of electoral law.

At present, it is not clear whether the watchdog is planning only to recommend civil sanctions, or whether it will refer the issue to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In a statement, an Electoral Commission spokesperson said: “In accordance with its Enforcement Policy, the Electoral Commission has written to Vote Leave, Mr Darren Grimes and Veterans for Britain to advise each campaigner of the outcome of the investigation announced on 20 November 2017.”

They added: “The campaigners have 28 days to make representations before final decisions are taken.”

More follows. 

BREAKING: Tory international trade minister resigns over Heathrow

Greg Hands MP has today announced his resignation.

He said on Twitter: “As the government will be whipping the vote on Monday, this means I am resigning from the government.

“It has been an honour to serve the prime minister (and her predecessor) for the last seven years and I wish the PM & the government every continuing success.”

This will likely put further pressure on the Prime Minister, as the Heathrow vote approaches.

More to follow…

It’s all over- Lords approve EU withdrawal Bill

After 250 hours of debate, the EU withdrawal bill has made it through Parliament. The Lords approved the government’s motion to agree with the final version of the bill as sent to them by the Commons.

The EU withdrawal bill will go for royal assent in its current form.

Earlier today, the government won a key vote 319-303 that would give MPs the power to stop a no deal Brexit. The bill leaves Parliament a spectator in the Brexit process and MPs unable to stop a no deal Brexit.

The Tory ‘rebels’ were given assurances that MPs will have a meaningful say which granted victory to the government when Grieve, and other allies, voted against his own amendment.

More follows