Power for power’s sake: Johnson’s profoundly alarming premiership

25 Feb

Some commentators hoped that Boris Johnson, having secured a five-year mandate in a General Election, would embrace a softer Brexit than his rhetoric implied. They were mistaken. Johnson seeks power for power’s sake, writes Phil Syrpis (University of Bristol), and rejects scrutiny and constraint. Last July, I argued that Boris Johnson’s aim was not to … Continued

Boris Johnson sacks NI Secretary Julian Smith…

13 Feb

As predicted Boris Johnson has sacked Julian Smith in his reshuffle. Serving the people of Northern Ireland has been the biggest privilege. I am extremely grateful to @BorisJohnson for giving me the chance to serve this amazing part of our country. The warmth & support from people across NI has been incredible. Thank you so much. — Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithUK) February 13, 2020 A very risky move from Boris Johnson in removing a Secretary of State who was not … Read more

Britain needs friends in the post-Brexit era. Alienating EU allies would be counter-productive

10 Feb

Amid the posturing about trade, the fact that Britain no longer has a voice in the EU has gone largely unremarked. N Piers Ludlow (LSE) warns that alienating European allies by talking tough risks harming the UK’s soft power and long-term interests. At the heart of Edward Heath’s speech winding up the so-called ‘Great Debate’ … Continued

Picture editors write to Number 10 after press photographers ‘excluded’ from historic Brexit moments with PM

6 Feb

Press photographers are being “excluded from historic moments” in British politics in favour of Boris Johnson’s new official snapper, according to a number of agencies and national picture editors. The UK Picture Editors’ Guild wrote to Number 10 this week demanding assurances that the “status quo will be preserved” and the press continue to be … Continue reading “Picture editors write to Number 10 after press photographers ‘excluded’ from historic Brexit moments with PM”

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Cabinet urged to investigate Number 10’s selective briefing of political journalists after Lobby walkout

4 Feb

Labour leadership hopeful Sir Keir Starmer has called on the Cabinet Office to investigate Number 10’s decision to brief political journalists from select titles only, excluding others. It follows a walkout by Lobby journalists yesterday after only a handful were invited to a briefing at Downing Street within hours of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech … Continue reading “Cabinet urged to investigate Number 10’s selective briefing of political journalists after Lobby walkout”

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A way can be found between the EU rock and the GB hard place. But will Boris Johnson let us take it?

4 Feb

Katy Hayward We are literally at sea over what Northern Ireland’s special status with the EU will mean  in practice.   Our Brexit guru – or should I now say, our Guru on Trading Relations with GB and the EU Katy Hayward  writing in the Belfast Telegraph explains neatly why Northern Ireland is between a rock and a hard place    In  the past  Katy was keen to repeat assurances that  NI’s  different economic  relationship with the EU from GB  had … Read more

BBC among media outlets to snub Boris Johnson’s Brexit Day ‘address to nation’ footage

3 Feb

Some of the UK’s major broadcasters and news agencies snubbed Boris Johnson’s Brexit Day speech on Friday in protest at a break from tradition that saw the address filmed and distributed by the Government. The Prime Minister addressed the nation in a three-minute video about how the UK would move forward in the next “act … Continue reading “BBC among media outlets to snub Boris Johnson’s Brexit Day ‘address to nation’ footage”

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Brexit in GE2019 political advertising: an asset for some, a liability for others

24 Jan

Yes, Brexit was key to the 2019 General Election campaign – but it wasn’t all that voters wanted to hear about. Tristan Hotham (University of Bath) analyses Facebook advertising in the run-up to the vote and finds that while the issue proved an asset to the Conservatives and a liability to the Lib Dems, Labour … Continued

Brexit is the perfect opportunity to ramp up our engagement with the Middle East

20 Jan

The thumping majority for Boris Johnson in the General Election has shattered the hopes of the Remainers who for too long blocked, delayed and obstructed the will of the people. The fundamental mismatch that existed between the House of Commons and the people has finally been resolved. Brexit will now be delivered at the end […]

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It’s still the money, stupid: Britain continues to pay into the EU budget

20 Jan

Although Britain leaves the EU at the end of January 2020, it will continue paying into the EU budget until the end of the implementation period. Iain Begg (LSE) says that although the issue has faded from view, Boris Johnson will still have to decide whether to continue paying in order to secure access to … Continued

The fishing community expects this Government to take back control of our coastal waters

19 Jan

We are finally fast approaching the critical juncture that’s loomed since 2016 – will the Government ensure the UK genuinely ‘takes back control’ of our waters to be a sovereign, independent coastal state no different to Norway, Iceland or Faroe? Or will the Government cave to EU demands on fishing where we have a continuation […]

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The Welsh Tories provide a positive alternative to Labour’s anti-Brexit politicking in Cardiff Bay

16 Jan

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, architect of Welsh Labour’s General Election debacle, will apparently stick with their “basic message”. Welsh Labour’s campaign had an “unreservedly and enthusiastically” Remain stamp. And at last week’s Questions to the First Minister, he claimed he was right to campaign for a second referendum as “Wales’ future was better off […]

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The Irish Government now ought to prioritise securing a swift UK-EU Free Trade Agreement

9 Jan

Following the expected ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by the new Parliament in London and the European Parliament, almost immediately the issue of the longer-term trade and economic relationship will come into focus. The issues, which dogged the withdrawal discussions, will again re-emerge. This is especially true in relation to the Irish border. It is […]

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‘Get Brexit done’: Johnson’s election win won’t allow the EU to move on from Brexit

8 Jan

Boris Johnson’s victory in the United Kingdom General Election has been welcomed in the European Union for the ‘clarity’ it is said to bring to the question of Brexit. However, the only certainty at this point is that, from early this year, the UK will no longer be represented in EU institutions. As Ferdi De Ville and Gabriel … Continued

Why I will vote for the Withdrawal Agreement in the European Parliament

7 Jan

I entered the political arena in April last year only to ensure that the democratic result of the 2016 referendum was enacted, that the UK Brexits and that it does so properly. I had been a Conservative voter all my life but had totally lost faith in their ability to deliver the largest democratic mandate […]

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After a momentous 2019, it’s time to feast on the delicious opportunities afforded by Brexit

6 Jan

Optimism abounds as people return to work. Millions of people have new-found enthusiasm, energy and hope, akin to a delicious cake baked with the trusty ingredients of political stability and economic potential. What a difference a few months can do for a major nation’s fortunes. It’s worth reflecting on and correcting some misleading impressions of […]

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‘Experience has taught Johnson that the penalty for breaking promises is vanishingly low’: Dimitri Zenghelis on Brexit in 2020

6 Jan

LSE Brexit asked some of our academics to predict what kind of Brexit we can expect in 2020. Dimitri Zenghelis (LSE) says we should expect plenty of brinkmanship and subsequent climbdowns from a PM who knows he can get away with them. Britain will leave the European Union at the end of January 2020 and the next … Continued

What next for the Brexit Party?

5 Jan

The question I was most asked over the Christmas holiday was what next for The Brexit Party? After all, Santa has given us pretty much everything we asked for. We are leaving the EU, there will be no extension beyond the end of 2020, No Deal is firmly back on the table. The new Government […]

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Labour paid the electoral price for failing to take several chances to put Brexit to bed

5 Jan

In 2016, workers voted to leave the EU. Three and a half years later, they confirmed that decision by voting Tory. And they were right to do so. Labour lost, heavily; it was foiled by both its strategy and its tactics. A general election called before Brexit was delivered was bound to be a Brexit […]

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A Short History of the “L” Word

1 Jan

The American poet Robert Frost was only partly joking when he said a Liberal was definable as ‘a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.’ Liberals of both (or more) genders have of course historically taken a side: their own. Now that a new decade has begun, and another important anniversary is being marked today, and there are question marks over how much longer liberalism is likely to last, now seems as good a time as … Read more

At the election the people voted again for Brexit – it’s time Labour trusted them and accepted their decision

19 Dec

Boris Johnson has returned to Westminster to honour the pledges of the campaign. There will be no more Brexit betrayal. Britain will leave the EU in January 2020, the transition phase will end next December. Further delay is ruled out under the EU Withdrawal Bill due to have its Second Reading today. One year after […]

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Boris Johnson must avoid being overconfident and prepare to play hardball with the tricky EU negotiators

18 Dec

Be boosted by the election and the rout of Remain – but don’t get too confident. It ain’t over yet. Prime Ministerial honeymoons are shorter these days and the rampant Remainers will regroup and revive; the most difficult bit is still to come and negotiating with the EU is like getting cows not to fart. […]

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The Brexitlands of Wales have shown complacent Welsh Labour that they have somewhere else to go

18 Dec

Lord Mandelson once said: “The people of south Wales will always vote Labour because they have nowhere else to go”. The former EU Commissioner was proven wrong by voters last week as Welsh Labour saw the collapse of its North Wales red wall and major inroads from Boris Johnson’s revived Conservatives in South Wales. Labour’s […]

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Boris Johnson’s Government now needs to anchor Brexit and embrace the many opportunities it affords

17 Dec

When people have strained at the yoke for what seems a lifetime and then suddenly the top of a steep hill is reached, there is exhilaration – all at once: the lifting of a great burden, a great sense of relief, a wonderful view towards the horizon. This is what I and I suspect many […]

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Labour’s defeat was their own guilty secret. But Boris Johnson’s matters much more

15 Dec

Andrew Parsons i/Images Now they tell us. Labour moderates had been watching the growth of the Conservative vote in north east of England council elections for years. But so had the Conservatives’ evil genius Dominic Cummings and he knew how to act on it. Forget  obsessions with social media, go knock on doors. As Tip O’Neill the old Speaker of the US House of Representatives memorably once said,  All politics is local.” And we can add,  it transcends ideology alone. … Read more

By slaying Labour dragons, Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party helped deliver the Tory majority

14 Dec

It was not an auspicious start for Nigel Farage this autumn when he announced that he would stand Brexit Party candidates in every single seat, despite ostensibly being on the same side as Boris Johnson. As Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru boasted of a ‘Remain Alliance’, sending warning currents around constituencies in the South […]

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