Sinn Fein accuses Boris Johnson of ‘coordinating’ with DUP
Demonstrators held placards reading “Back of Boris! Protect the protocol” as the prime minister’s motorcade swept into the official government residence.
Mr Johnson is meeting with the leaders of the five main parties to discuss potential changes to the post-Brexit trading arrangements.
Earlier, business leaders urged him to pull back from radical unilateral action to ditch protocol checks.
Ministers are reportedly ready to table legislation as early as this week to override the protocol – despite EU warnings that such a move would violate the Brexit treaty and could spark a trade war.
‘Help must come soon’ for people in cost-of-living crisis – Major
Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major said that “help must come” for people struggling with the rising cost of living.
Addressing the National Cathedrals Conference, he said providing support would help bring “trust and respect back to politics”.
Sir John said: “Help must come – and I hope it will come soon … Everyone needs to believe that the State cares about them – and not just the interests of the powerful, the motivators, and the elite.
“If the week lasts longer than the money, do the penniless believe the State cares about them?”
Sir John led the Conservatives from 1990 to 1997, after the party ousted Margaret Thatcher as PM.
Lamiat Sabin16 May 2022 18:00
Aslef train drivers’ union rejects motion to disaffilate from Labour
Train drivers’ union Aslef has rejected a motion to disaffiliate from Labour.
Delegates to the union’s conference in Bournemouth rejected it by 74 votes to nine.
Before the vote, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told delegates that staying in Labour is “the only game in town” for workers in a “two-party system”.
If the motion had passed, Aslef would have become the second union to disaffiliate from the party since Sir Keir Starmer succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Food workers’ union BFAWU disaffiliated from Labour in September, accusing Sir Keir of waging an “internal war”.
On Friday, firefighters’ union FBU voted against disaffliation from Labour by about 75 to 25 on a show of hands, LabourList reported.
Lamiat Sabin16 May 2022 17:40
Bank of England faces ‘biggest test to monetary policy framework’
The Bank of England (BoE) is facing the biggest challenge to its monetary policy framework in 25 years, its governor Andrew Bailey said.
He was asked by the Treasury committee of MPs how he feels about criticisms from politicians about the Bank’s response to inflation.
It comes after the BoE’s decision this month to raise interest rates in the face of an inflation rate they think will hit 10 per cent this year.
“I don’t live in the world of anybody’s politics actually,” Mr Bailey said. “I’m afraid it’s not a world that I particularly respond to at all. I read about it but I don’t respond to it.”
He said he was “always” concerned about ensuring the BoE’s independence, adding: “This is the biggest test of the monetary policy framework that we have had in 25 years, no question about that.
“What I would say to these people is that this is when both the independence of the bank and the target framework and the nominal anchor matter more than ever, frankly. More than in the good times, the easy times as it were.”
Lamiat Sabin16 May 2022 17:20
‘We waited long time for NI protocol talks,’ says DUP leader
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has welcomed the prime minister’s visit to Northern Ireland.
Earlier, he voiced doubts over Boris Johnson’s words on the Northern Ireland protocol today.
“We’ve waited a long time on this moment. We’ve waited a long time to see the government bring forward proposals that represent action to deal with the problems caused by the Irish Sea border,” Sir Jeffrey said.
Mr Donaldson also said that he expected Mr Johnson’s government to “make their position clear” on the protocol later this week.
Lamiat Sabin16 May 2022 17:00
DUP leader waiting to see ‘decisive action’ on protocol from PM
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson does not sound particularly impressed with what he heard from Boris Johnson this afternoon – saying he was still waiting to see “decisive action” from the PM on the protocol.
“Clearly we want a fully-functioning executive,” he told reporters. “We want that as soon as possible. Therefore we’re looking at the government – we’ve had the words, we now need to see the action.”
Sir Jeffrey said he still had not seen the government’s proposals for unilateral legislation to override the protocol and end checks.
“We’re waiting to see what they say in precise detail. So I will suspend judgement until I have seen what the government is proposing.”
Mr Johnson’s ministers are reportedly ready to table legislation as early as this week to override the protocol.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss is said to be ready to make a statement about the legislative plan on Tuesday.
Asked how quickly he expected to see the move, the DUP leader said: “I don’t see the point in having legislation unless you table it. Legislation only becomes law when it is enacted by parliament. I believe the government will make their position clear later this week.”
Rejecting Sinn Fein’s claim that Mr Johnson was siding with the DUP, Sir Jeffrey also said: “The idea that the prime minister is taking sides is for the fairies … They need to stop this purile nonsense.”
Lamiat Sabin16 May 2022 16:40
Foreign Office ‘more concerned with China than reducing poverty’
Charities and Labour are accusing the government of being “more concerned with tackling China than tackling poverty” with its new aid strategy.
The government said – in its International Development Strategy published today – that it would spend more of its aid budget working directly with other countries and less on multinational bodies, such as the UN.
The switch is also intended to allow the UK to offer an alternative to support from “malign actors” – understood to mean China. But international aid organisations have said the strategy prioritises geopolitics over poverty alleviation.
Stephanie Draper, chief executive of UK aid network Bond, said: “Though this strategy contains some positive elements, it seems largely driven by short-term political and economic interests rather than the attempt to tackle the root causes of global crises such as inequality, conflict and climate change, which impact us all.”
Oxfam’s head of government relations Sam Nadel said the “strategy prioritises aid for trade and the financialisation of development” and is “clearly motivated more by tackling China than tackling poverty.”
The government reduced aid spending from 0.7 per cent of gross national income to 0.5 per cent – in breaking a manifesto promise and cutting £4.5 billion from the aid budget.
Mwanwhile, Labour’s shadow international development minister Preet Kaur Gill said: “‘Aid for trade’ simply doesn’t work.
“British people want the aid budget to help those most in need around the world, not horse-traded for favours to big British corporations. The government appears to want to take us back to the 1980s and corruption scandals like the Pergau Dam.
“It’s not just bad for those facing famine and conflict – it’s short-sighted and wrong.”
Lamiat Sabin16 May 2022 16:20
Employer of man accused of egging Thatcher statue decries deed
A university has said it “does not condone defacement” after one of its staff members was accused of throwing eggs at a statue of Margaret Thatcher.
Jeremy Webster, who is deputy director at the University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre, is alleged to have been responsible for the incident.
Three eggs were thrown at the monument of the late former Conservative prime minister – by a man in a white t-shirt – shortly after the memorial’s installation in Thatcher’s hometown of Grantham, Lincolnshire, on Sunday morning.
The university said the matter is being addressed “in line with (their) own procedures.”
Lincolnshire Police said no arrests had been made on Sunday in connection with the incident, but they did receive a report of criminal damage shortly afterwards.
In February 2019, a planning committee unanimously voted in favour of the £300,000 statue – which was originally intended for Parliament Square in Westminster.
Two CCTV cameras have been installed around the memorial to combat any threats of vandalism, the local council said.
Lamiat Sabin16 May 2022 16:00
I’m too worried about money to care about politics – and it’s my job
This is the first time I am experiencing inflation as an adult and I am struck by the sense of sheer powerlessness that comes with it, writes Marie Le Conte.
Read Marie’s full piece below:
Matt Mathers16 May 2022 15:30
Boris Johnson booed as he arrives for talks in NI
Some protesters, including anti-Brexit activists, booed Boris Johnson as his car arrived at the gates of Hillsborough Castle just outside Belfast for talks with political leaders.
Activists held banners which read: “Back off Boris. Protect The Protocol”.
Mr Johnson is in Northern Ireland for talks aimed at solving issues around the post-Brexit trading arrangments.
Matt Mathers16 May 2022 14:56
Priti Patel set to give herself more powers to ‘intervene’ in policing
Planned changes to the Policing Protocol Order, which governs the relationship between the home secretary, chief constables, elected police commissioners and scrutiny panels, have sparked alarm.
Our home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden reports:
Matt Mathers16 May 2022 14:47