GR: Destroying a nature refuge to satisfy a campaign promise is probably more than Trump’s fellow phobes wanted. But there is no limit to the damage Trump will do to get some approval. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the harm from such a wall. Perhaps we can help some of Trump’s supporters […]
Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs
It was Tony Blair’s government that got rid of the principle of “double jeopardy” in English law (the principle that you cannot be put on trial for the same crime twice). So there is something appropriate about the fact that, although the Chilcot inquiry effectively cleared Blair of lying to MPs as he made the case for war, the Commons is going to debate a motion saying that Blair did mislead parliament and that this should be investigated.
The motion has been tabled by the SNP and this is what it says:
That this House recognises that the Chilcot Inquiry provided substantial evidence of misleading information being presented by the then Prime Minister and others on the development of the then Government’s policy towards the invasion of Iraq as shown most clearly in the contrast between private correspondence to the United States government and public statements to Parliament and to the people and also in the presentation of intelligence information; and calls on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, further to its current investigation into the lessons to be learned from the Chilcot Inquiry for the machinery of government, to conduct a further specific examination of this contrast in public and private policy and of the presentation of intelligence, and then to report to the House on what further action it considers necessary and appropriate to help prevent any repetition of this disastrous series of events.
At a time when Blair is planning his political comeback, it is high time that this parliament and its committees at long last brought this dark stain on UK foreign policy to a close by investigating how such grave misleading occurred and taking the appropriate action to avoid it happening again.
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Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen
Last week’s autumn statement was one of the most important government announcements since Theresa May became prime minister and we’ve got the first set of Guardian/ICM polling since it took place. As everyone knows, polling is not always an exact predictor of how people will vote but it is a much better guide to public thinking than guesswork and so, with those caveats, here are the figures.
State of the parties
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Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen
So it looks as if there could be a second legal challenge to the government’s decision to leave the EU. British Influence, the pro-European group, is arguing that while people voted in the referendum to leave the EU, that is not the same as leaving the European Economic Area (a slightly wider group, including three other countries in the single market but not in the EU), and it is threatening to go to court over the issue. My colleague Anushka Asthana has the details here.
MPs and peers are having a say at the moment. We had a debate just last week on Brexit and how it affected the future in Britain. Ministers like David Davis, who heads the [Brexit] department, are regularly subject to questioning in the Commons. It is right that parliament should be involved in tracking the negotiations. But what we are not going to do is open up our entire negotiating hand, precisely because it concerns a lot of the complexities of the sort we are going to be discussing with the Polish delegation today.
There is no delay. We have already announced we are going to start the negotiations by triggering the famous article 50 next spring, and those negotiations are prescribed in the treaty lasting two years.
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Share breaking news, leave links to interesting articles online and chat about the week’s political events in our open thread
I’m not writing my usual Politics Live blog today so, as an alternative, here’s Politics Live: readers’ edition. It is intended to be a place where you can catch up with the latest news and find links to good politics blogs and articles on the web.
Please feel free to use this as somewhere you can comment on any of the day’s political stories – just as you do during the daily blog. It would be particularly useful for readers to flag up new material in the comments – breaking news or blogposts or tweets that are worth passing on because someone is going to find them interesting.
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Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including reaction to the autumn statement and the IFS press conference
Q: Are you saying you don’t believe the OBR forecasts? The Telegraph says you take these forecasts with a pinch of salt.
Hammond says forecasting is not a precise science. The OBR itself says there is a large degree of uncertainty. The government should not ignore these forecasts. It should include them in the range of possibilities for which it plans. It should not ignore the strengths of the economy. And it is right to keep something aside.
Q: This is higher debt than after the oil crisis or the banking crisis. Some people say this is not just an economic failure, but a moral failure. That is what the Tory manifesto said in 2015.
Hammond says the government has controlled public spending. It has generated nearly 2.8m new jobs. And the OBR says another 500,000 new jobs will be created this parliament.
Nick Robinson is interviewing Philip Hammond.
Q: Is it time to apologise for saying you would tackle the deficit when you haven’t?
As usual, the morning after the autumn statement, the chancellor and his Labour opposite number are doing a round of interviews. Philip Hammond will be on the Today programme shortly, and I will be covering his interview in full.
Yesterday Hammond told MPs that the Office for Budget Responsibility thinks Brexit will cost the country £59bn over the next five years. Tory Brexiteers have dismissed this analysis, and Iain Duncan Smith, the former work and pensions secretary, said this was “another utter doom and gloom scenario”. But last night David Gauke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, defended the OBR. He told Newsnight:
We have an independent body that makes the forecasts and it is sensible for a government to work on the basis that that independent body has got it right.
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Rolling coverage and analysis as chancellor Philip Hammond presents his first autumn statement at 12.30pm
- Introduction: What is left for Hammond to announce?
- Economists expect Brexit black hole
- Autumn statement: Hammond set to unveil giveaways and gloomy forecasts
- Five key charts you need to see before the autumn statement 2016
Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned as work and pensions secretary earlier this year after the budget because he objected to the way George Osborne, the then chancellor, was cutting universal credit while offering tax cuts to higher earners, has been urging ministers to scrap those cuts to universal credit, which are worth £3.4bn.
On the Today programme this morning he gave a cautious welcome to the news that the Treasury will ameliorate the impact of those cuts, by reducing the taper rate. But he said he wanted the government to go further.
I consider this really a down payment – this is not game over. This is really about the fact the chancellor has said, given the circumstances and given that we don’t know where we are going to be, necessarily, as we get into Brexit stuff over the next two years, he wants to give a strong indication that they want to help those who are struggling. Here’s a starter for this, let’s see where we go over the next two to three years.
The news that Philip Hammond will announce a rise in the minimum wage to £7.50 per hour from April 2017 has received a subdued welcome.
Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, argues that workers need more help:
“We welcome any pay rise for low-paid workers, especially now in these uncertain times with speculations about food and other prices set to rise.
The reality, however, is that a fifth of UK workers aren’t paid enough to live on. There’s still a gap between the Government minimum and our real Living Wage of 8.45 in the UK and 9.75 in London, which is based on what families need to earn to meet everyday costs.”
Don’t fall for living wage hype: rate will rise 4 per cent to £7.50 — lower than the £7.64 expected earlier this year. #AutumnStatement
Hammond may insist he’s trying to help those of us who are ‘Just about Managing’.
But any new dollops of help for the Jams will be wiped away by the impact of the government’s existing austerity measures.
Before leaving No 11 this summer, George Osborne planned £13bn in benefit cuts and a further £16bn taken out of the budgets of “unprotected” Whitehall departments.
He also slashed spending for local councils. Given his ambition to balance the budget (by some as yet unspecified date), Mr Hammond is unlikely to drop any of those plans. So a working family that will earn a slightly higher minimum wage and a bit more next year on their universal credit will still have their tax credits frozen for the rest of this decade; their Sure Start centres will face the threat of closure and many of their children’s clubs and libraries could go to the wall. If Theresa May considers this helping, her version of hurting doesn’t bear thinking about.
We’ve pulled together some key charts to get you up to speed ahead of the autumn statement:
Last night, the Treasury released a series of picture of Philip Hammond perusing the autumn statement in a comfy armchair – and curiously perched by a window.
It reminded Baron Wood of Anfield, former advisor to Gordon Brown, of happier days:
Ten years ago I used to sneakily warm my bum on that radiator vent in 11 Downing Street too. http://pic.twitter.com/eGrn71YV8X
George Osborne has tweeted Hammond his support from the back benches:
Very best wishes to my friend @PHammondMP as he delivers his first Autumn Statement today & helps UK prepare for challenges ahead
Philip Hammond’s plan to clamp down on letting fees has sent shares in Britain’s property sector tumbling.
Foxtons shares plunged by 10% at the start of trading, with Countrywide (Britain’s biggest estate agent) shedding 5% and LSL Property down 6%.
Foxtons shares down as much as 11 percent in London — no more nickel-and-diming agency fees for them.
Exactly five months after the EU referendum, we’re finally going to get the first official estimate of the impact of the Brexit vote on the UK economy. And it may be a worrying picture.
Economists are certain that Philip Hammond will tear up the forecasts announced by George Osborne in March’s budget. Growth in 2017 could be revised to just 1.4% (or lower), down from 2.2%, which would be the biggest downgrade since the eurozone crisis.
Something odd happened in Westminster yesterday. At around 1pm political journalists started getting an email from the Treasury with a press release headed “Chancellor delivers on government pledge to support ordinary working class families”.
There is nothing unusual about the government briefing out selected titbits from the autumn statement and the budget in advance. But this read like The Full Monty: a £1.4bn affordable housing announcement, a (modest) increase in the “national minimum wage”, a measure to reduce the impact of planned cuts to universal credit (but only slightly), a ban on letting agents’ fees, tighter whiplash compensation rules intended to reduce the cost of car insurance by £40 a year, and investment in research and development.
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Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen
Life certainly hasn’t been dull since Donald Trump was elected as the next US president. One awakes every morning in the UK ready to discover what the latest shocker to emerge overnight from his Twitter feed is and today’s is a corker.
Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!
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Theresa May has signalled she will not let UK simply crash out of EU in 2019 without some sort of parachute for business
Theresa May’s has spoken about the need to have some transitional trading arrangements post-Brexit. That is significant because it amounts to the strongest hint yet that the government will not let the UK simply crash out of the EU in early 2019 without business having the protection of some sort of parachute.
Politics blog | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2gdaTwz
Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s speeches to the CBI conference
In his Financial Times preview of Theresa May’s speech (subscription) George Parker describes one of the ideas that May is apparently looking at as an alternative to having workers on company boards.
The prime minister is looking at alternative models, rather than having an ordinary worker at board meetings. This could include a director instructed to reflect shop floor or consumer opinion.
When Theresa May became prime minister she said that she did not want her government to be defined by Brexit. For the last four months she has been conspicuously failing to achieve this ambition – Brexit has overshadowed almost everything else the government had done, virtually on a daily basis – but this morning May will step away from EU policy for a moment and give a speech to the CBI setting our her vision of how business should operate in Britain.
Some aspects of the speech have already been briefing in advance. May will commit the UK to a £2bn annual fund for scientific research and development and a review of tax incentives for innovative corporations in an effort to boost the technology industry. She will reaffirm the government’s commitment to keep business taxes lower than in any other G20 country. But she is also expected to signal that she is watering down her plan to force firms to have workers’ represented on company boards.
The people who run big businesses are supposed to be accountable to outsiders, to non-executive directors, who are supposed to ask the difficult questions, think about the long-term and defend the interests of shareholders. In practice, they are drawn from the same, narrow social and professional circles as the executive team and – as we have seen time and time again – the scrutiny they provide is just not good enough. So if I’m Prime Minister, we’re going to change that system – and we’re going to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but employees as well.
I am asking British businesses to work with me to change this. It will mean establishing the best corporate governance of any major economy, ensuring the voices of employees and consumers are properly represented in board deliberations and reforming executive pay. This will be essential to ensure business maintains and — where necessary — regains public trust.
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