A “reliable” source has told ITV Political correspondent Robert Peston that Theresa May has assured the European Research Group, and a number of other Politicians, that she will quit her post as Prime Minister if they vote for her third meaningful vote, which is theorised to be put forward to Parliament on Tuesday with revisions.
A source has told ITV that Theresa May has contacted Boris Johnson, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Steve Baker, Jacob Rees Mogg, and the Chequers that she will resign as Prime Minister if they vote for her deal, including the controversial backstop arrangement.
The promise allegedly came in a meeting with the Chequers today, following an emergency cabinet meeting this morning.
It is believed that even if the ploy manages to attracted the loyalty of the ERP, the full support of the DUP and even most, if not all, of her own Party’s MPs, the deal will still not pass through parliament.
It is also believed that May will seek to hold a third meaningful vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday in a final attempt to have her deal passed through Parliament before the withdrawal deadline on the 28th of March.
The terrorist attack in New Zealand has been marked as one of the worst tragedies in the Western World in recent years, however the details of this attack are a damning similarity to other ethno-nationalist and far-right attacks in the past, all revolving around one internet enclave operating out of two hugely popular and extremely controversial internet forums.
The forums in question are known as 4Chan and 8Chan, and the characteristics that have garnered a cultural following among internet-users of almost all walks of life, hobbies, and views are also among their most controversial- complete anonymity for its users.
4Chan and 8Chan do not require users to create an account and identity to converse on their forums, and instead anyone is allowed to freely post information on its various sub-forums, with each post simply being labelled as having been posted by “anonymous”. This has led many to see these websites as a “libertarian utopia” free from biases, both from the government and between individuals. The reality, however, if far from the truth.
While 4Chan is generally known to be the less extreme website of the two, far-right views can still easily be found on the board’s /pol/ sub forum, also known as the “politically incorrect” section of the website. The general pretext for this sub forum is that the majority of posts are in-jokes or intentionally shocking for audiences not affiliated with the general 4Chan community, also known as “shitposting”. However, there is a considerable number of posts, from both anonymous and registered users, that connote that 4Chan’s /pol/ board is significantly less self-aware than it would appear.
One post, sent several days after the Christ-Church Shooting, alludes to a conspiracy theory developed since the attack that the shooting was in some way staged by the now widely defunct Islamic State.
Another post, written on Saturday by an anonymous user, citicizes the New Zealand Shooter for not “eliminating” the right people, instead referring to an anti-Semitic right-wing conspiracy theory that governments are being influenced by “subversive zionists”. Another anonymous user responding to the post refers to right-wing terrorists as “heroes” and asks whether the actions of them were “in the best interest of the white race”.
4Chan and 8Chan is not a difficult website to access. These images were not taken from a closed off internet fringe website, or collected from somewhere within the dark-web, they were collected from a public website which can be accessed from most search engines and from a sub-forum that can be accessed by anyone, regardless of age.
4Chan is one of the largest internet forums in the world, with approximately 1.8 billion posts since it’s creation in 2004, and roughly 1 million posts made each day, with an average monthly view count of 703 million. The /pol/ sub-forum is placed prominently on the website’s front page.
The more recent image board of the two, 8Chan, is generally known for it’s more extreme views within its political sub-forums, and 8Chan is the forum that the New Zealand shooter was known to frequent, and also the website where he first announced his attack while approaching the Christ Church Mosque.
8Chan is where the most extreme white-supremacist views can be found, including numerous posts portraying the New Zealand attack as a “heroic sacrifice” and listing ways to “honor” the Christ-Church Shooter.
The data analytics website SimilarWeb has estimated 8Chan’s monthly traffic to be around 14-16 million views, with around half of the site’s views coming from America. The third highest country in terms of proportional viewer count is the UK, with around 5% of the site’s traffic taken up by UK registered computers. All images included in this article have been taken from the front pages of both political sub-forums at the time of writing.
Would these messages have been posted if 4Chan and 8Chan required its members to attach an account and identity? Probably not, many social media websites, such as twitter and facebook allow its users to hide behind fake account names, including the social media accounts of the New Zealand Shooter himself, who’s accounts were under a pseudonym, and the phenomenon of twitter and facebook “trolling” has been widely publicised in recent years.
Numerous media outlets have reported on the toxicity and potential for extremist content of both 4Chan and 8Chan, such as Vice back in 2016, however legislation on these forums has been sparse, and many countries are yet to enact any meaningful legislation against 4Chan and 8Chan and its use by citizens.
It’s safe to say not much has happened since the formation of The Independent Group.
Just what have they done? Well, I’m going to give my opinion on each stage of their formation and what they have done since. Let’s begin, shall we?
Leaving the Labour Party:
As we all know, The Independent Group (TIG) formed after 7 Labour MP’s split from the party, citing Antisemitism and institutional racism as their reasons for leaving the party. There are some fundamental issues with this, first of them being that by leaving the Labour Party, they ensure an extended period of Tory rule. Let’s have some backstory.
The English media are some of the worst in the world. Antisemitism against the Labour Party, in particular, has taken over headlines across the country. This is problematic, and not for the reason you think. While it is true, the Labour Party do have an issue with antisemitism, the media continue to focus on it entirely. What you don’t hear about anymore, is Islamophobia.
Islamophobia and Antisemitism should bring about an equal concern, especially amongst the media, however, it doesn’t. Muslims are repetitively and routinely harassed. As are Jews, but we never hear about it. Especially considering the party TIG are supporting, the Conservatives, could be argued as institutionally racist against Muslims.
Leaving the Labour Party was henceforth: STUPID
Forming an ‘Independent’ Group.
Look, we all know Chuka Umunna’s insane levels of narcissism will lead to him founding an official party of some kind, but the formation of an Independent Group truly is strange.
The hilarious part is, they’ve given each other roles. They’re literally pretending to be the opposition. It’s like when you’re on a mad one with your mates, and you’re so drunk you start pretending to run the country. It is truly amusing.
Chuka’s face when Gavin Shuker was announced as the group leader; priceless.
Luciana and Chuka could have just formed their own party, instead of creating an Independent Group and giving up the leadership and direction when they’re so hell-bent on having it. That really was: STUPID
Submitting their Second Referendum amendment.
Well, this one’s hilarious.
It takes an incredible amount of skill and talent to have Peoples Vote advise against voting for your own People’s Vote Amendment.
There’s not really much more to be said. The very organisation you’re pretending to represent just shot you down. Where do you go from there? Well, the answer is clear. Obscurity.
It’s so blatantly obvious that the only service TIG provides is to better it’s own MP’s political careers, oh, and to gain some clout in the process. STUPID.
TIG really are going to descend into a pit of nothingness.
Oh, and by the way, their Nando’s meal was great, it was a bit like the last supper, except everyone thought they were Jesus.
Editor & Writer: Samuel J. Booker
Samuel J. Booker is the Director of Social Media and Marketing at TPN. He edits and writes alongside his other duties, posts he has held since the beginning of 2019. At just 16 years of age, he has already founded a political youth movement and has high hopes for a future political career. He hopes to have a positive impact on the world through international communication and cooperation.
On Tuesday, Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City council, and Labour councillor for Currock tabled a motion to declare a Climate Emergency. The motion, which was backed by the Labour party, passed by 29 votes to 22.
Carlisle as a city is no stranger to climate emergencies. The Border city has had 2 “1 in 100 year” floods already in the 21st Century, yet no action had appeared to be taken.
In 2015 Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called out then Prime Minister David Cameron on making “false promises” and ignoring climate scientists advising him on the scale of the flooding that climate change would cause. Over 3 years on from the floods that devasted Carlisle, adequate flood defences are yet to be produced, and the council decided it was time for action.
However, Carlisle Labour weren’t alone in their bill. They were joined by 6 year-old Emily from neighbouring Brampton, who gave a speech urging councillors to back the motion, and why it is important on both a local and international scale. The speech was a lot more impressive than anything I was doing at that age.
As Part of the motion, the Council aims to have their activities producing net zero carbon by 2030. Carlisle Council are setting a great example by passing this motion, and I firmly believe that all councils, and in extension, parliament, should table bills on making prevention of climate change one of the country’s most important tasks.
The roadblock to such change is the Conservative Party. In this case, the Conservative councillors in Carlisle abstained, as apparently the literal fate of the planet wasn’t important enough to vote on but right wing politicians have been resistant to action that hopes to mitigate climate change.
It wasn’t just Carlisle that declared a climate emergency last night, though. Kingston, a city in Ontario, Canada, also declared a climate emergency, the first of its kind in the Canadian state. Seeing this, partnered with the recent Youth Strikes for Climate, lead by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, fills me with optimism that as grass roots movements, uniting together, we may just be able to save the planet and all of the life upon it.
Staff who police the entrances and exits to Parliament will walk out for 1 day on the 20th March in a row over workload if no agreement between Parliament and the Public and Commercial Services Union is reached.
More than 240 guards were balloted with 86% voting for strike action with a turnout of 62%. Guards are unhappy with reduced breaks and greater work load being hoisted onto them without a pay rise.
The security guards now have the backing of Labour and Jeremy Corbyn who said the commons “must lead by example when it comes to workers’ rights”.
Union talks are still ongoing and an agreement could be reached that would end the need for industrial action.
Talking about the strike ballot, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:
“The mandate for action from our members is strong and the House of Commons Commission need to recognise this strength of feeling amongst their security staff and settle this dispute. Hardworking staff are only asking for justice and fairness in the workplace. They are not prepared to put up with a culture of fear.
A spokeperson from Parliament stated:
“We have taken swift action to rectify the issues raised by the PCS Union regarding staff rest breaks and remain committed to finding a way forward that addresses outstanding concerns. Should the strike action proceed, business resilience plans will be put into place to ensure the security of the estate and the continued functioning of Parliament.”
The dispute with guards is another example of MPs pay being out of step with workers in the country, even workers closest to them.
In the recent announcement of future Parliamentary pay MPs got a pay rise of 2.7% while their Parliamentary staff got a rise of 1.5%.
MPs pay has now gone up 4 years in a row and this year’s rise was above the rate of inflation. This is in stark contrast to most public service workers who still face pay caps below that of inflation.
The general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, Mark Serwotka said the rise was
“an outrage… while civil servants, who do some of the most vital jobs in society, are still subject to a cruel 1% de-facto pay cap.”
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has the power to increase MP pay without permission from Parliament so while lots of Labour MPs have spoken out against the rise they have no power to stop it.
Jeremy Corbyn attended a Labour rally in Anna Soubry’s East-Midlands constituency of Broxtowe this morning. The Labour-Leader made a campaign-esque speech in-front of thousands of Labour voters and members. The constituency of Broxtowe is a marginal one, with a fiery and passionate Labour party hoping to capitalise on Anna Soubry’s split from the Tory party.
Corbyn hit out at the newly formed Independent Group and openly criticised Soubry and his ex-colleagues. He said he was sad some of his MP’s had left the party, but he wouldn’t be changing policy to suit them. Restating his current policies many times.
“I’m disappointed that a small number of Labour MPs have decided to leave our party and join forces with disaffected Tories, who say they have no problem with austerity that has plunged thousands into desperate poverty and insecurity,” he said.
“Our programme for change won huge support in the general election because we offered hope, instead of the same old establishment demand for cuts, privatisation and austerity. That’s why we now back public ownership of the utilities and railways, why we now oppose tuition fees and corporate giveaways, and why we’re no longer afraid to ask the rich to pay their fair share of tax.”
He then went on to discuss the nationwide youth climate strikes,
“They were condemned by Tory ministers because they said they should have been studying … they should be working, they shouldn’t be doing all that,” he said. “All I simply say to them is ‘thank you for educating all of us that day.”
Corbyn was joined at the rally by John McDonnel and Emily Thornberry, among others.
When talking about the antisemitism issues within the party, Corbyn said: “I’m proud to lead a party that was the first ever to introduce race relations legislation and also to pass the equality act and the human rights act into the statute book. Antisemitism is unacceptable in any form and in any way whatsoever, and anywhere in our society.”
He went on to heavily criticise the voting records of Anna Soubry and Chris Leslie, the later defecting from Labour to form The Independent Group. Labour’s candidate for the Broxtowe, Greg Marshall, called for a by-election, claiming Corbyn was in Broxtowe more often than Soubry, she holds a slim majority of 863 votes.
Labour has announced it will consult on extending the right of constituents to petition to recall their MPs if they change parties.
Labour say this will be part of a radical program to reform British democracy that will culminate in a Constitutional Convention to radically democratise politics and power in our country.
Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
“Power comes from the people but for too long the overwhelming majority have been shut out. That’s why trust in politics and in elites is rightly falling. “Communities should not have to wait for up to five years to act if they feel their MP is not properly representing their interests, especially with the restrictions of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. “This proposed reform has the dramatic potential to empower citizens and will be one of many measures the Labour Party is planning to consult on and announce that will change the way politics in this country is done”.
The issue has come to light as 8 Labour MPs and 3 Tory MPs defected to the centrist Independent group. Many constituents are unhappy that MPs elected on party tickets no longer represent them. These MPs refuse to call by-elections.
Gavin Shuker, who represents Luton, is one of the defectors and the leader of Luton Borough Council has called for a by-election stating:
“As a CLP, we’re very disappointed that a lot of us put aside political differences with Gavin in 2017 to knock on doors and work towards his increased majority – which he only got because of Labour’s 2017 manifesto.”
Cllr Sian Timoney said that by not calling by-elections Shuker was “disrespecting and ignoring the electorate who put you there.”
Many of the defectors, including Leslie, Shuker and Ryan, had lost votes of no confidence in them put forward by their local parties.
Jeremy Corbyn has issued a strong message to the 7 MPs who resigned from his party on Monday, saying that they stood in the 2017 general election representing a Labour manifesto, and that they “were elected to carry out those policies”.