Everything you need to know about attending party political conference and how to make the most out of it and why it’s our business to know the people that can help your business.

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In today’s world of uncertainty with the constant threat of an election looming soon and the overshadowing of Brexit, there has never been a more important time to engage with key decision makers and influencers.

Party conference provides a good opportunity to meet with key stakeholders in both a formal and an informal setting and have those all-important conversations.

At Pentland it’s our business to know the people that can help your business and party conference is all about knowing the right people such as MP’s, MSP’s and Special Advisors.

Through our extensive network of political contacts and supported by our team of consultants and associates we can provide a bespoke  conference programme tailored to the needs of your business, and can assist in setting up meetings with the right mix of politicians; organise manage and promote fringe events, arrange exhibition conference stands and ensure that your message is effectively communicated.

 The conference season schedule:

Liberal Democrat Conference, 14-17 September, Bournemouth

Labour Party Conference, 21-25 September 2019, Brighton

Conservative Party Conference, 29 September – 2 October, Manchester

SNP Party Conference, 13-15 October, Aberdeen

For more information please email: barriecunning@pentlandcomms.co.uk

A class Act, Lib Dems win by-election, Scotland no more: The Week That Was

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A Class Act

In an attempt to re-define social class, Richard Leonard, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party said, “even a doctor on £100,000 is still working class.” The announcement attracted fierce criticism with Richard Leonard having to clarify the point he was attempting to make.

Liberal Democrats win By- election

The Liberal Democrats won the Brecon and Radnorshire By- election with 43.5% of the vote and a majority of 1,425 beating the Conservative Party and with the Labour Party in third place. In her acceptance speech Jane Dodds MP said “ My very first act as your new MP when I get to Westminster will be to find Mr Boris Johnson, wherever he's hiding, and tell him to stop playing with the future of our community and rule out a no-deal Brexit."

Frank Field to stand as Social Justice candidate in next election

Former Labour MP Frank Field has announced that he will stand for the Birkenhead seat at the next general election as the candidate for the Social Justice party. Field, who resigned the Labour whip last year stating, “the Labour Party has become a force for anti-Semitism.”

In announcing his intention to stand, Field said “I will be standing again as a candidate at the next election with the aim of doing what I have done for 40 years: always putting the interests of our town and our country first while championing the views and interests of the underdogs in our society."

Tory MP threatens to quit

Tory MP for Bracknell Philip Lee has said he will spend the summer recess contemplating his decision to leave the Conservative Party as a result of the party’s stance on Brexit. Lee who was elected in 2010 spoke about feeling alienated as a result of the party’s stance on Brexit.

In a podcast interview with fellow Tory MP Sam Gyimah who asked, “would you consider moving to the Liberal democrats” Lee said, “I’m increasingly feeling politically homeless.”

Scotland no more

In a week when every Conservative MP has spoken “passionately” about the UK Union and Scotland’s role within it including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Ryan Henson, Tory activist and Conservative candidate for Bedford and Kempston in 2017 accused Scotland of “fleecing” English tax payers and that Scotland remaining in the union would be a “catastrophe” for England.

In 2014 Henson wrote an article for Conservative Home in which he argued that “Scotland faces economic ruin if it continues with it’s socialist policies “ and further said “ it is we English who bankroll their free prescriptions, fund the entirety of their children’s four year long university courses .”

In an attempt to play down his remarks Henson said the article was meant to be taken as satire and that he “passionately” believes in the union.

 

Union at Risk, Spreadsheet Phil to resign, Peer pressure, ideological purity at any price will be costly. The Week That Was.

UKOK: Gordon Brown warns that the union is at risk if Boris becomes PM   Former Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has warned that Boris Johnson might be the last UK prime minister. Brown argued that Johnson’s anti-Europe Conservatism was largely perceived as being anti Scottish and that “no matter what he says now two decades of anti-Scottish invective will come back to haunt him.”   Spreadsheet Phil to resign if Boris becomes Prime Minister   Philip Hamond, Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that he will tender his resignation if Boris Johnson wins the Conservative Party leadership. Hammond, who has often spoken about the serious ramifications of a no deal Brexit will have on Britain’s economy said “a prime minister must have a chancellor who is aligned with his policy agenda and Boris has made it clear that a condition for serving in his government will be to accept the possibility of a no deal Brexit which I cannot do.”   Pursuing ideological purity at any price will be costly, Theresa May warns.   In her final speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May took aim at the absolutism of politicians like Boris Johnson. In a speech to the Chatham House think tank, Ms May said” An inability to combine principles with pragmatism and make a compromise when required seems to have driven our whole political discourse down the wrong path. It has led to what is, in effect, a form of absolutism. One which believes that if you simply assert your view loud enough and long enough you will get your way in the end.”   Peer pressure: Labour peers tell Jeremy Corbyn he has failed the test of leadership   More than sixty Labour Party peers took an advert out in the Guardian accusing Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party of “failing the test of leadership.” The advert said “The Labour party welcomes everyone* irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (*except, it seems, Jews). This is your legacy, Mr Corbyn.”  The advert was taken out following revelations from the BBC Panorama documentary in which eight former Labour Party staff members accused the Labour Party of failing to address complaints of antisemitism properly and interference from the leader’s office in disputes. The direct message to Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour peer’s said “It’s the style of your office and your followers to deny the truth of the message and shoot the messengers, whether they are party members or whistle-blowers from Labour’s head office. But we cannot stay silent while younger, braver party workers and members speak out. You have failed to defend our party’s anti-racist values. You have therefore failed the test of leadership.”   Gloria De Piero quits Labour Party front bench   Gloria De Piero announced that she was stepping down from the Labour Party front bench and won’t be standing as a Labour candidate in the next election. De Piero who was the party’s shadow Justice Minister said” lack of tolerance for different viewpoints in the Labour party frankly worries me”. We have to have respect for each other, even if we disagree, because we are all part of this party,” she added. This party is about a set of values not any individual and we would all do well to remember that. And while I’m at it, and it doesn’t happen in Ashfield, but when I hear people being called right wing in the Labour party, I find it utterly offensive.”

UKOK: Gordon Brown warns that the union is at risk if Boris becomes PM

Former Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has warned that Boris Johnson might be the last UK prime minister. Brown argued that Johnson’s anti-Europe Conservatism was largely perceived as being anti Scottish and that “no matter what he says now two decades of anti-Scottish invective will come back to haunt him.”

Spreadsheet Phil to resign if Boris becomes Prime Minister

Philip Hamond, Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that he will tender his resignation if Boris Johnson wins the Conservative Party leadership. Hammond, who has often spoken about the serious ramifications of a no deal Brexit will have on Britain’s economy said “a prime minister must have a chancellor who is aligned with his policy agenda and Boris has made it clear that a condition for serving in his government will be to accept the possibility of a no deal Brexit which I cannot do.”

Pursuing ideological purity at any price will be costly, Theresa May warns.

In her final speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May took aim at the absolutism of politicians like Boris Johnson. In a speech to the Chatham House think tank, Ms May said” An inability to combine principles with pragmatism and make a compromise when required seems to have driven our whole political discourse down the wrong path. It has led to what is, in effect, a form of absolutism. One which believes that if you simply assert your view loud enough and long enough you will get your way in the end.”

Peer pressure: Labour peers tell Jeremy Corbyn he has failed the test of leadership

More than sixty Labour Party peers took an advert out in the Guardian accusing Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party of “failing the test of leadership.” The advert said “The Labour party welcomes everyone* irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (*except, it seems, Jews). This is your legacy, Mr Corbyn.”

The advert was taken out following revelations from the BBC Panorama documentary in which eight former Labour Party staff members accused the Labour Party of failing to address complaints of antisemitism properly and interference from the leader’s office in disputes. The direct message to Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour peer’s said “It’s the style of your office and your followers to deny the truth of the message and shoot the messengers, whether they are party members or whistle-blowers from Labour’s head office. But we cannot stay silent while younger, braver party workers and members speak out. You have failed to defend our party’s anti-racist values. You have therefore failed the test of leadership.”

Gloria De Piero quits Labour Party front bench

Gloria De Piero announced that she was stepping down from the Labour Party front bench and won’t be standing as a Labour candidate in the next election. De Piero who was the party’s shadow Justice Minister said” lack of tolerance for different viewpoints in the Labour party frankly worries me”. We have to have respect for each other, even if we disagree, because we are all part of this party,” she added. This party is about a set of values not any individual and we would all do well to remember that. And while I’m at it, and it doesn’t happen in Ashfield, but when I hear people being called right wing in the Labour party, I find it utterly offensive.”

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt go head to head, The Labour family needs an intervention, Andrew Neil cross examines Tory leadership hopefuls: The Week That Was.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt go head to head   Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt went head to head in this week’s ITV debate. In an intense hour both candidates turned up the heat on one another during questions put to them by members of the audience.  In a heated exchange of words, Jeremy Hunt said “Boris, the difference between you and me is, you are peddling optimism, we need leadership that will guide us through this great constitutional change”.  Boris Johnson stuck to his core campaign message that it’s vital that we leave the European Union on the 31st October and that the £39bn payment to the EU should be suspended to create ambiguity and accused Jeremy Hunt of not being committed to leaving the European Union on the 31st October.  The question that everyone wanted an answer to was whether Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson would keep UK ambassador to the US on following the leaked document in which Kim Darroch suggested the US president was incompetent, inept and things are likely to not change.  In response to the leak, President Trump tweeted that he wanted Mr Darroch sacked. Jeremy Hunt categorically said he would not sack Mr Darroch whilst Mr Johnson refrained from answering the question.   The Labour family needs an intervention   The Labour Party has often described itself as a family but if that is the case then clearly an intervention is needed. As tensions escalate between Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party who accused Jennie Formby the party’s general secretary over poor handling over complaints of antisemitism the hard-left propaganda machine went into overdrive.  In what could be argued as the battle for winning the moral high ground, pro-Corbyn supporters accused Watson of political posturing motivated by self-gain which resulted in Len McLuskey, key Corbyn ally and leader of Unite addressing a crowd at the Durham Miners Gala in which he said "I've said it today at the Durham Miners' Gala so I'll repeat it here. Attacking a woman going through chemotherapy - @tom_watson you are a f****** disgrace. @JennieGenSec."  Calls for Watson’s resignation has intensified but the reality is that there is likely to be no winners in this situation.   Andrew Neil cross examines Tory leadership hopefuls   Veteran political broadcaster and journalist Andrew Neil interviewed both leadership contenders. In what can only be described as a tough cross examination for both leadership rivals. Jeremy Hunt was accused of being “Theresa May in trousers” and Boris Johnson was challenged on his understanding of the General Agreement on tariffs and Trade (Article 24), when asked by Andrew Neil how would you handle article 5b, Johnson responded and said “paragraph 5B, article 24, get the detail right, get the detail right Andrew, it’s article 24 paragraph 5B”.  When asked about how Mr Johnson would handle paragraph 5C, he said “ I would confide in entirely in paragraph 5B” and when asked by Mr Neil did he know what was contained in paragraph 5C he admitted that he didn’t.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt go head to head

Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt went head to head in this week’s ITV debate. In an intense hour both candidates turned up the heat on one another during questions put to them by members of the audience.

In a heated exchange of words, Jeremy Hunt said “Boris, the difference between you and me is, you are peddling optimism, we need leadership that will guide us through this great constitutional change”.

Boris Johnson stuck to his core campaign message that it’s vital that we leave the European Union on the 31st October and that the £39bn payment to the EU should be suspended to create ambiguity and accused Jeremy Hunt of not being committed to leaving the European Union on the 31st October.

The question that everyone wanted an answer to was whether Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson would keep UK ambassador to the US on following the leaked document in which Kim Darroch suggested the US president was incompetent, inept and things are likely to not change.

In response to the leak, President Trump tweeted that he wanted Mr Darroch sacked. Jeremy Hunt categorically said he would not sack Mr Darroch whilst Mr Johnson refrained from answering the question.

The Labour family needs an intervention

The Labour Party has often described itself as a family but if that is the case then clearly an intervention is needed. As tensions escalate between Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party who accused Jennie Formby the party’s general secretary over poor handling over complaints of antisemitism the hard-left propaganda machine went into overdrive.

In what could be argued as the battle for winning the moral high ground, pro-Corbyn supporters accused Watson of political posturing motivated by self-gain which resulted in Len McLuskey, key Corbyn ally and leader of Unite addressing a crowd at the Durham Miners Gala in which he said "I've said it today at the Durham Miners' Gala so I'll repeat it here. Attacking a woman going through chemotherapy - @tom_watson you are a f****** disgrace. @JennieGenSec."

Calls for Watson’s resignation has intensified but the reality is that there is likely to be no winners in this situation.

Andrew Neil cross examines Tory leadership hopefuls

Veteran political broadcaster and journalist Andrew Neil interviewed both leadership contenders. In what can only be described as a tough cross examination for both leadership rivals. Jeremy Hunt was accused of being “Theresa May in trousers” and Boris Johnson was challenged on his understanding of the General Agreement on tariffs and Trade (Article 24), when asked by Andrew Neil how would you handle article 5b, Johnson responded and said “paragraph 5B, article 24, get the detail right, get the detail right Andrew, it’s article 24 paragraph 5B”.

When asked about how Mr Johnson would handle paragraph 5C, he said “ I would confide in entirely in paragraph 5B” and when asked by Mr Neil did he know what was contained in paragraph 5C he admitted that he didn’t.

Dear Jeremy, it's not us its you, more powers for Scotland, Fluff and Blunder wont solve Brexit, Oppressed people turning on their oppressors: The Week That Was

Devolution review   This week Theresa May announced a review into devolution to make sure UK government departments work in the best interests of devolution. In a move that has been described as “desperate” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the review will be conducted by Lord Dunlop, former Scotland Office Minister.   Scottish Labour leader announces review to deliver more devolution to Scotland   On Saturday, Richard Leonard, leader of Scottish Labour Party announced a review into the current devolution settlement pledging to bring new powers into Holyrood that would “make a real difference.”  In what many will perceive as a welcomed move for making the case for a more robust devolved parliament and strengthening the union, Mr Leonard also spoke of the need for Holyrood to have “borrowing powers fit for a parliament.”  Mr Leonard spoke about the need to identify what new powers would make a difference in tackling many of the problems in Scotland.   Anne Widecombe : Oppressed people turning on their oppressors   “It’s a great honour to speak on behalf of the largest single party in this place and may I say if I needed any convincing at all that the best thing for Britain is to leave here as soon as possible, it was the way those elections were conducted yesterday because if that is this places’ idea of democracy then that is a serious betrayal of every country that is represented here, because it is not democratic at all and that is just one of many reasons why Britain is right to be leaving this place hopefully on Halloween.  And it is right because it’s a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on the oppressors: Slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies against their empires and that is why Britain is leaving and it doesn’t matter which language you use, we are going and we are glad to be going. I represent the South West of the United Kingdom and I found on my first day what this place has decided today to increase to actually increase the size of fishermans meshes, thereby reducing their income by 40% , that’s what you do here, that’s why we are going.”   New President for the European Parliament   Members of the European Parliament have chosen David -Maria Sassoli as the new President of the European Parliament.  In a speech following Wednesday’s result Mr Sassoli spoke about an “imperfect union” and the need for reform calling for the EU to return to the spirit of its founding fathers who swapped warfare and nationalism for peace and equality. Mr Sassoril said “We need to strengthen our capacity to play a leading role in democracy, focusing particularly on the need for reform to the EU's system for asylum seekers. "You can't continue to kick this down the road. We don't want citizens asking, 'where's Europe' every time an emergency happens."   Charles Michel to replace Donald Tusk as President of the European Council   This week Charles Michel the interim Prime Minister of Belgium was elected as the new President of the European Council and will take over from Donald Tusk in October.  Mr Michel is the youngest Belgian Prime Minister since 1845 and has been described as cool headed and an effective conciliator which will come in handy irrespective of how the UK leaves the European Union.  It is worth noting that Mr Michel was one of the first EU politicians to talk about “burden sharing” with regard to migration and suggesting that some member states could lose rights as a result of being reluctant to take in migrants.   Fluff and Blunder alone won’t solve Brexit   Last week Tory leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson were in Perth for the latest Conservative Party leadership hustings and it wasn’t just the Conservative membership that was getting into the political action as a local café advertised its milkshakes and said, “perfect for quenching your thirst while waiting for Boris”.  In an attempt to woo Scottish Conservative Party members both candidates spoke about the need to enhance the UK union and Mr Hunt said, “he would never sign up to an independence referendum.”  One member of the audience asked, “whether a good prime minister needs to be a loyal husband and father” in response Boris said, “I just don’t comment on that stuff.”   Dear Jeremy, its not us, it’s you   In a week that has seen former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggest that a hard line approach should be taken against anyone that expresses anti-Semitic views with party expulsion, the downward spiral for the Labour Party continues and is now at the top tier of the party’s organisation.  John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and close ally of Jeremy Corbyn is urging the Labour leader to change the party’s policy on Brexit following the party’s poor performance in the European Parliament election.  Currently the party is 18% in the polls and is haemorrhaging votes to remain parties, namely the Liberal Democrats, with one in five voters saying that they would vote for the Labour Party if there was a general election.  With mounting pressure on Jeremy to change the party’s stance on Brexit, it is rumoured that close ally Diane Abbott MP is one of those in his inner camp who is advocating for the policy change and that she and John McDonnell are arguing for the sacking of Karie Murphy and Seamus Milne, two of Jeremy’s closest political advisors.

Devolution review

This week Theresa May announced a review into devolution to make sure UK government departments work in the best interests of devolution. In a move that has been described as “desperate” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the review will be conducted by Lord Dunlop, former Scotland Office Minister.

Scottish Labour leader announces review to deliver more devolution to Scotland

On Saturday, Richard Leonard, leader of Scottish Labour Party announced a review into the current devolution settlement pledging to bring new powers into Holyrood that would “make a real difference.”

In what many will perceive as a welcomed move for making the case for a more robust devolved parliament and strengthening the union, Mr Leonard also spoke of the need for Holyrood to have “borrowing powers fit for a parliament.”

Mr Leonard spoke about the need to identify what new powers would make a difference in tackling many of the problems in Scotland.

Anne Widecombe : Oppressed people turning on their oppressors

“It’s a great honour to speak on behalf of the largest single party in this place and may I say if I needed any convincing at all that the best thing for Britain is to leave here as soon as possible, it was the way those elections were conducted yesterday because if that is this places’ idea of democracy then that is a serious betrayal of every country that is represented here, because it is not democratic at all and that is just one of many reasons why Britain is right to be leaving this place hopefully on Halloween.

And it is right because it’s a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on the oppressors: Slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies against their empires and that is why Britain is leaving and it doesn’t matter which language you use, we are going and we are glad to be going. I represent the South West of the United Kingdom and I found on my first day what this place has decided today to increase to actually increase the size of fishermans meshes, thereby reducing their income by 40% , that’s what you do here, that’s why we are going.”

New President for the European Parliament

Members of the European Parliament have chosen David -Maria Sassoli as the new President of the European Parliament.

In a speech following Wednesday’s result Mr Sassoli spoke about an “imperfect union” and the need for reform calling for the EU to return to the spirit of its founding fathers who swapped warfare and nationalism for peace and equality. Mr Sassoril said “We need to strengthen our capacity to play a leading role in democracy, focusing particularly on the need for reform to the EU's system for asylum seekers. "You can't continue to kick this down the road. We don't want citizens asking, 'where's Europe' every time an emergency happens."

Charles Michel to replace Donald Tusk as President of the European Council

This week Charles Michel the interim Prime Minister of Belgium was elected as the new President of the European Council and will take over from Donald Tusk in October.

Mr Michel is the youngest Belgian Prime Minister since 1845 and has been described as cool headed and an effective conciliator which will come in handy irrespective of how the UK leaves the European Union.

It is worth noting that Mr Michel was one of the first EU politicians to talk about “burden sharing” with regard to migration and suggesting that some member states could lose rights as a result of being reluctant to take in migrants.

Fluff and Blunder alone won’t solve Brexit

Last week Tory leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson were in Perth for the latest Conservative Party leadership hustings and it wasn’t just the Conservative membership that was getting into the political action as a local café advertised its milkshakes and said, “perfect for quenching your thirst while waiting for Boris”.

In an attempt to woo Scottish Conservative Party members both candidates spoke about the need to enhance the UK union and Mr Hunt said, “he would never sign up to an independence referendum.”

One member of the audience asked, “whether a good prime minister needs to be a loyal husband and father” in response Boris said, “I just don’t comment on that stuff.”

Dear Jeremy, its not us, it’s you

In a week that has seen former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggest that a hard line approach should be taken against anyone that expresses anti-Semitic views with party expulsion, the downward spiral for the Labour Party continues and is now at the top tier of the party’s organisation.

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and close ally of Jeremy Corbyn is urging the Labour leader to change the party’s policy on Brexit following the party’s poor performance in the European Parliament election.

Currently the party is 18% in the polls and is haemorrhaging votes to remain parties, namely the Liberal Democrats, with one in five voters saying that they would vote for the Labour Party if there was a general election.

With mounting pressure on Jeremy to change the party’s stance on Brexit, it is rumoured that close ally Diane Abbott MP is one of those in his inner camp who is advocating for the policy change and that she and John McDonnell are arguing for the sacking of Karie Murphy and Seamus Milne, two of Jeremy’s closest political advisors.

What a load of Boris, The Hunt is on, The Scottish Parliament twenty years on. Chris Williamson: Should i stay or should i go. The Week That Was

Chris Williamson: should I stay, or should I go   This week controversial figure, Chris Williamson was re-admitted to the Labour Party which caused a backlash of Labour MP’s signing a motion to have the decision overturned and over 100 Labour Party employees signing an open letter citing that “they would be made to feel unwelcome by his presence at work” which resulted in Mr Williamson having the Labour whip removed from him 48 hours after having been re-admitted.  In response, Mr Williamson tweeted “They say a week is a long time in politics: it seems two days is even longer. I'm naturally concerned by the lack of due process and consistency in how my case is being handled. I've been a loyal Labour member for 43 years and will do my utmost to fight for my membership."   Scottish Parliament 20 years on   On Saturday, HRH the Queen visited the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to commemorate the Scottish Parliament’s twentieth anniversary. What was once a dream, a vision is now embedded in Scottish politics and is seen as a progressive democratic parliament serving the people of Scotland.  All five political leaders spoke about the significance of the Scottish Parliament and Richard Leonard, leader of the Scottish Labour Party spoke about how it was the Labour Party that delivered devolution for Scotland and paid tribute to the late Donald Dewar, the first, First Minister.   The Hunt is on   In a move to woo Scottish Tories and reassure the wider Conservative membership that the union would be in safe hands if he were to become prime minister, Jeremy Hunt announced that he would keep the Barnett Formula and reiterated his strong pro-union stance.  The Barnett formula has long attracted criticism from Conservative members south of the Border and allegedly Boris Johnson has been a fierce critic in which he claimed was unfair on cities like London.   What a load of Boris   Conservative leadership hopeful, Boris Johnson has said “judge me on what I do, not what I say” but the problem with this is that for anyone seeking high office, words from a leader can have serious ramifications.  At the recent Conservative leadership hustings, Mr Johnson praised US President, Donald Trump, saying that he has many good qualities and paid further tribute to Mr Trump’s reliance on free market economics, something he insisted the Conservative party needed to embrace and be positive about.

Chris Williamson: should I stay, or should I go

This week controversial figure, Chris Williamson was re-admitted to the Labour Party which caused a backlash of Labour MP’s signing a motion to have the decision overturned and over 100 Labour Party employees signing an open letter citing that “they would be made to feel unwelcome by his presence at work” which resulted in Mr Williamson having the Labour whip removed from him 48 hours after having been re-admitted.

In response, Mr Williamson tweeted “They say a week is a long time in politics: it seems two days is even longer. I'm naturally concerned by the lack of due process and consistency in how my case is being handled. I've been a loyal Labour member for 43 years and will do my utmost to fight for my membership."

Scottish Parliament 20 years on

On Saturday, HRH the Queen visited the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to commemorate the Scottish Parliament’s twentieth anniversary. What was once a dream, a vision is now embedded in Scottish politics and is seen as a progressive democratic parliament serving the people of Scotland.

All five political leaders spoke about the significance of the Scottish Parliament and Richard Leonard, leader of the Scottish Labour Party spoke about how it was the Labour Party that delivered devolution for Scotland and paid tribute to the late Donald Dewar, the first, First Minister.

The Hunt is on

In a move to woo Scottish Tories and reassure the wider Conservative membership that the union would be in safe hands if he were to become prime minister, Jeremy Hunt announced that he would keep the Barnett Formula and reiterated his strong pro-union stance.

The Barnett formula has long attracted criticism from Conservative members south of the Border and allegedly Boris Johnson has been a fierce critic in which he claimed was unfair on cities like London.

What a load of Boris

Conservative leadership hopeful, Boris Johnson has said “judge me on what I do, not what I say” but the problem with this is that for anyone seeking high office, words from a leader can have serious ramifications.

At the recent Conservative leadership hustings, Mr Johnson praised US President, Donald Trump, saying that he has many good qualities and paid further tribute to Mr Trump’s reliance on free market economics, something he insisted the Conservative party needed to embrace and be positive about.

Conservative Party leadership hustings: Opening speeches

Boris Johnson   “The hour is darkest before dawn and I’m here to tell you in all confidence that we can turn this thing around and that we can go on to defeat Jeremy Corbyn and the first thing we need to do is get Brexit done, and as someone who campaigned for Brexit , who believes in Brexit, someone who has meditated deeply on the opportunities that Brexit could bring our country, I am the right man to unleash now on that project, and in fact there is a pretty broad consensus as you saw in the recent BBC debate about how to do it .  You disaggregate the elements of the otherwise defunct withdrawal agreement, you take the protections of the 3.2 million European Union nationals living in our country, you put them into law, you reserve the payment of the £39 billion, create ambiguity until there is a solution, and then you solve the problems of free movement of goods across the Irish and Northern Irish and other borders to were they logically belong and that is in the context of the free trade agreement we will negotiate in the implementation period after we have come out on October 31st, and of course there will be those who will say it will all be difficult, and Brussels will say no, and all I can say is that I’m utterly convinced, that with the right energy and the right commitment, common sense will prevail.  But just in case it does not, we must prepare to come out anyway and we must be able to come out on WTO terms, so that for the first time in these negotiations , we carry conviction , and precisely because we will be preparing between now and October 31st for a no deal Brexit, that we will get the deal we need, and if we can get this done and over the line, then we will pitchfork this incubus of our backs, we will end the sense of drift downed decision and we will be able to get on with a fantastic modern Conservative agenda and if I could sum up in one sentence my ambition for this country it is to unite our country and unite our society and to bring the whole of the UK together in the way we were able to do in London.  Because when I became elected 11 years ago, they talked of a tale of two cities in London, we had four of the six poorest boroughs in the whole of the UK, and I can tell you after two terms, eight years, at the end of my time as mayor, we had none of the poorest twenty boroughs anywhere in the UK in London, society came together, and how did we do it, we did it by fantastic investments in infrastructure to help people on modest incomes to get to their place of work, we got crime down to about 20%, we got the murder rate down by 50% and of course we championed the resurgence of education in London, and now is the time to apply that formula, education, investment in infrastructure, use of technology to bring our whole country together, because too many people, look at that Brexit vote, too many people feel left behind of the incredible success of this country and our ambition must be now to bring Britain, bring the whole of the UK together, uniting all four nations, the awesome foursome, and uniting society.  You do it first with increased education funding, I want to level up across the country, I want to see fantastic infrastructure and I would like to be the prime minister who helps Andy street to do here in the west Midlands with his fantastic plans for metro rail connectivity, what we were able to do with Crossrail and tube upgrades across London, we should be pushing forward broadband across the whole country and that is the way, far quicker than the current programme to create a platform for business to grow and invest  We know this incredible UK economy soars as it does like an eagle, because it has two wings , a dynamic free market enterprise culture and fantastic public services, each giant wing propelling the other, and Jeremy Corbyn simply doesn’t understand that, he’s a Hamas supporting anti-Semitism condoning apologist for Moscow, continue with all the compound adjectives that your familiar with, he would whack up taxes, corporation tax, financial transaction tax, inheritance tax, income tax, up to 50%, all to pay for his deranged £300bn programme of renationalisation, he and John Mcdonell would pluck from taxation, so many feathers from the wealth creating wing that the whole UK economy would go into a death spiral, so lets keep Corbyn out, lets keep McDonnell’s plucking fingers away from this country, and lets take Britain forward, lets take Britain forward and all the incredible range of businesses and industries in which we lead the world.  We’re here in the birth place, not just of the industrial revolution, the first industrial revolution, the incredible thing is that Birmingham and the West Midlands are today the home of revolutions in new technology that will cut Co2, but create tens of thousands of jobs here and in the future.  What we need to discover now my friends, is a new confidence in our country , we need to re revitalise our party, we need to unite and defeat Jeremy Corbyn and I believe we can do it, and in case I’ve failed to make this point earlier on in these remarks, and seeing as I have 32 seconds left , let me remind you that the last time I had to face an enemy of the London Labour left, considering more fertile and ingenious than Jeremy Corbyn , I was able to defeat him when we conservatives were 17 points behind Labour in London, we did it then, we can do it again, we can and we must , and I believe if I’m allowed to succeed in this contest with your help we will and I hope I can count on your support.”   Jeremy Hunt   “Colleagues, friends, we had an exciting start to this campaign, for me here in the west Midlands, I’ve been to a steel factory outside Kidderminster, a chocolate factory in Tenbury , I’ve had a free hair cut and made a Balti in Birmingham, and you know, the internet, because I’m the underdog , the internet has been kind to me for the first time in my life, and they’re actually, running a campaign to help find me a slogan I should be putting to the membership and the country and we’ve had hashtag take a punt on Hunt, hashtag Jezza’s the bezza and hashtag huntymchuntface, now be very careful how you say that as we are the party of family values.  Friends, we are in a very serious situation. Get things wrong and there will be no Conservative government, maybe even no conservative party. Get things right and we can deliver Brexit, unite the party and send Corbyn packing, that’s our choice, but in this Brexit debate we’ve had a lot of discussion of how we solve Brexit but not enough discussion of who, who is the prime minister we trust to send to Brussels to lead us out of this crisis and if we send the wrong person catastrophe awaits.  If you choose me, I will have been the first prime minister that’s been an entrepreneur by background, how many people here have set up their own businesses, put your hand up, that’s the Conservative family, lots and lots of hands going up. And what is it we entrepreneurs do, we negotiate.  If we send the wrong person there’s going to be no negotiation, no trust no deal, and if parliament stops that and maybe no Brexit. Send the right person and there’s a deal to be done. Send that right person and we can do what we all need which is to come back with something that’s positive for our country, that’s what I want to do, and when we do that what incredible opportunities await this fantastic country.  As someone who set up on their own, I am championing to turn our economy into the most pro-business, pro enterprise, fastest growing, most high tech, greenest economy in Europe. That’s what I did, and I want other young people to do exactly the same thing I did.  We have the best universities in Europe, we’ve got more tech entrepreneurs, we could be the worlds next silicon valley and that could happen right here in the West Midlands, because you’ve got the 5g pilot happening in Birmingham, you’ve got driverless cars happening at Warwick manufacturing group, you’ve got so many gaming companies in Lemington spa, it’s been re-christened silicon spa, not the kind of spa you take your wife to after you’ve got her nationality wrong, mind you, but there is this potential, incredible potential and I’m going to take a giant step to making that happen, by making a radical cut to corporation tax to 12.5% Irish levels to turbo charge the British economy, I want to land an economic jumbo jet on Europe’s door step, so that when it comes to those trade talks , they needs us every bit of much as we need them.  I’m also the foreign secretary who wants Britain to walk tall in the world. My dad was in the Navy, we followed him around from Portsmouth to Plymouth to Surrey and Scotland, which is why I’m passionate about our union, thanks to his generation we won the cold war, and the risks out there are increasing, and that’s why I’ve said I will increase defence spending to beyond 2% of GDP on top of the 0.7 % aid commitment, and I’ve said I’ll do that, not just because of increasing aggression from countries like Russia, but because the point of Brexit I want the world to know that Britain, the country, one of the very few countries that has championed democratic values and the security necessary to underpin it, I want the world to know that Britain is here, Britain is back, Britain’s voice is strong in the world and we will defend those values.  I’d also be the first prime minister that’s run our NHS and you have some fabulous hospitals here in Birmingham, UHB, Birmingham Women and Children’s , but you also have Midstaffs or had Midstaffs and I’ll never forget my first month as health secretary, the department of health advised me to not meet the families of Midstaffs, I rejected that advice and I met a lady called Julie Bailey, she lost her mum in a horrible, horrible death, she looked me in the eye and said Jeremy, you could change all this and I hope I did, because by the time I finished nearly 3 million people were using good or outstanding hospitals compared to the time I started.  We Conservatives, we can’t just have an economic mission, we must have a social mission and I want our next social mission to be the social care system for every single older person so they can live in dignity, and I want it be the education system, so that no one leaves education not being able to read or write and not with a rigorous qualification so that they can get a decently paid job. I want us to be the first government, the first conservative government that abolishes illiteracy in our society and shows the world our conservative values.  Finally, politics is about winning elections and I’ll be the first prime minister in half a century to win a marginal seat. I know what it’s like to knock on every door, need every single vote, I’m looking at every single vote right now, I love you all, and there are some very important marginal seats in the West Midlands; Stoke North, Halesowen, Stourbridge, Walsall North , brilliant MP’s and we’ve got to be there for them, and I promise you two things as a campaigner, firstly when we go back to the British people, we will get more younger people voting Conservative, because we can’t be the party of aspiration if the most aspirational people aren’t supporting us, and we’re going to get them back. And the second thing I will promise you is that I will never provoke a general election before we have left the European Union.  The lesson of Peterborough is that that would kill us. Ignore that and we ignore the crocodile lurking under the surface of British politics. A Labour Party led by the most ruthless, dangerous, anti-wester, anti-British, hard left cabal that’s ever been under Jeremy Corbyn. Now, faced with a hard-left populist we could choose our own populist, or we could do better, we could choose our own Jeremy.  A Jeremy who’s going to deliver Brexit, unleash the potential of our extraordinary country, deliver true social justice. Not so much for those of us in this hall, most of us have done ok, but for people watching at home, young people desperate to get a decent paid job, families struggling to afford a home, older people who just want to live out their day’s with dignity and respect . We have to be there for them, that is our Conservative Party, let me show you how.”

Boris Johnson

“The hour is darkest before dawn and I’m here to tell you in all confidence that we can turn this thing around and that we can go on to defeat Jeremy Corbyn and the first thing we need to do is get Brexit done, and as someone who campaigned for Brexit , who believes in Brexit, someone who has meditated deeply on the opportunities that Brexit could bring our country, I am the right man to unleash now on that project, and in fact there is a pretty broad consensus as you saw in the recent BBC debate about how to do it .

You disaggregate the elements of the otherwise defunct withdrawal agreement, you take the protections of the 3.2 million European Union nationals living in our country, you put them into law, you reserve the payment of the £39 billion, create ambiguity until there is a solution, and then you solve the problems of free movement of goods across the Irish and Northern Irish and other borders to were they logically belong and that is in the context of the free trade agreement we will negotiate in the implementation period after we have come out on October 31st, and of course there will be those who will say it will all be difficult, and Brussels will say no, and all I can say is that I’m utterly convinced, that with the right energy and the right commitment, common sense will prevail.

But just in case it does not, we must prepare to come out anyway and we must be able to come out on WTO terms, so that for the first time in these negotiations , we carry conviction , and precisely because we will be preparing between now and October 31st for a no deal Brexit, that we will get the deal we need, and if we can get this done and over the line, then we will pitchfork this incubus of our backs, we will end the sense of drift downed decision and we will be able to get on with a fantastic modern Conservative agenda and if I could sum up in one sentence my ambition for this country it is to unite our country and unite our society and to bring the whole of the UK together in the way we were able to do in London.

Because when I became elected 11 years ago, they talked of a tale of two cities in London, we had four of the six poorest boroughs in the whole of the UK, and I can tell you after two terms, eight years, at the end of my time as mayor, we had none of the poorest twenty boroughs anywhere in the UK in London, society came together, and how did we do it, we did it by fantastic investments in infrastructure to help people on modest incomes to get to their place of work, we got crime down to about 20%, we got the murder rate down by 50% and of course we championed the resurgence of education in London, and now is the time to apply that formula, education, investment in infrastructure, use of technology to bring our whole country together, because too many people, look at that Brexit vote, too many people feel left behind of the incredible success of this country and our ambition must be now to bring Britain, bring the whole of the UK together, uniting all four nations, the awesome foursome, and uniting society.

You do it first with increased education funding, I want to level up across the country, I want to see fantastic infrastructure and I would like to be the prime minister who helps Andy street to do here in the west Midlands with his fantastic plans for metro rail connectivity, what we were able to do with Crossrail and tube upgrades across London, we should be pushing forward broadband across the whole country and that is the way, far quicker than the current programme to create a platform for business to grow and invest

We know this incredible UK economy soars as it does like an eagle, because it has two wings , a dynamic free market enterprise culture and fantastic public services, each giant wing propelling the other, and Jeremy Corbyn simply doesn’t understand that, he’s a Hamas supporting anti-Semitism condoning apologist for Moscow, continue with all the compound adjectives that your familiar with, he would whack up taxes, corporation tax, financial transaction tax, inheritance tax, income tax, up to 50%, all to pay for his deranged £300bn programme of renationalisation, he and John Mcdonell would pluck from taxation, so many feathers from the wealth creating wing that the whole UK economy would go into a death spiral, so lets keep Corbyn out, lets keep McDonnell’s plucking fingers away from this country, and lets take Britain forward, lets take Britain forward and all the incredible range of businesses and industries in which we lead the world.

We’re here in the birth place, not just of the industrial revolution, the first industrial revolution, the incredible thing is that Birmingham and the West Midlands are today the home of revolutions in new technology that will cut Co2, but create tens of thousands of jobs here and in the future.

What we need to discover now my friends, is a new confidence in our country , we need to re revitalise our party, we need to unite and defeat Jeremy Corbyn and I believe we can do it, and in case I’ve failed to make this point earlier on in these remarks, and seeing as I have 32 seconds left , let me remind you that the last time I had to face an enemy of the London Labour left, considering more fertile and ingenious than Jeremy Corbyn , I was able to defeat him when we conservatives were 17 points behind Labour in London, we did it then, we can do it again, we can and we must , and I believe if I’m allowed to succeed in this contest with your help we will and I hope I can count on your support.”

Jeremy Hunt

“Colleagues, friends, we had an exciting start to this campaign, for me here in the west Midlands, I’ve been to a steel factory outside Kidderminster, a chocolate factory in Tenbury , I’ve had a free hair cut and made a Balti in Birmingham, and you know, the internet, because I’m the underdog , the internet has been kind to me for the first time in my life, and they’re actually, running a campaign to help find me a slogan I should be putting to the membership and the country and we’ve had hashtag take a punt on Hunt, hashtag Jezza’s the bezza and hashtag huntymchuntface, now be very careful how you say that as we are the party of family values.

Friends, we are in a very serious situation. Get things wrong and there will be no Conservative government, maybe even no conservative party. Get things right and we can deliver Brexit, unite the party and send Corbyn packing, that’s our choice, but in this Brexit debate we’ve had a lot of discussion of how we solve Brexit but not enough discussion of who, who is the prime minister we trust to send to Brussels to lead us out of this crisis and if we send the wrong person catastrophe awaits.

If you choose me, I will have been the first prime minister that’s been an entrepreneur by background, how many people here have set up their own businesses, put your hand up, that’s the Conservative family, lots and lots of hands going up. And what is it we entrepreneurs do, we negotiate.

If we send the wrong person there’s going to be no negotiation, no trust no deal, and if parliament stops that and maybe no Brexit. Send the right person and there’s a deal to be done. Send that right person and we can do what we all need which is to come back with something that’s positive for our country, that’s what I want to do, and when we do that what incredible opportunities await this fantastic country.

As someone who set up on their own, I am championing to turn our economy into the most pro-business, pro enterprise, fastest growing, most high tech, greenest economy in Europe. That’s what I did, and I want other young people to do exactly the same thing I did.

We have the best universities in Europe, we’ve got more tech entrepreneurs, we could be the worlds next silicon valley and that could happen right here in the West Midlands, because you’ve got the 5g pilot happening in Birmingham, you’ve got driverless cars happening at Warwick manufacturing group, you’ve got so many gaming companies in Lemington spa, it’s been re-christened silicon spa, not the kind of spa you take your wife to after you’ve got her nationality wrong, mind you, but there is this potential, incredible potential and I’m going to take a giant step to making that happen, by making a radical cut to corporation tax to 12.5% Irish levels to turbo charge the British economy, I want to land an economic jumbo jet on Europe’s door step, so that when it comes to those trade talks , they needs us every bit of much as we need them.

I’m also the foreign secretary who wants Britain to walk tall in the world. My dad was in the Navy, we followed him around from Portsmouth to Plymouth to Surrey and Scotland, which is why I’m passionate about our union, thanks to his generation we won the cold war, and the risks out there are increasing, and that’s why I’ve said I will increase defence spending to beyond 2% of GDP on top of the 0.7 % aid commitment, and I’ve said I’ll do that, not just because of increasing aggression from countries like Russia, but because the point of Brexit I want the world to know that Britain, the country, one of the very few countries that has championed democratic values and the security necessary to underpin it, I want the world to know that Britain is here, Britain is back, Britain’s voice is strong in the world and we will defend those values.

I’d also be the first prime minister that’s run our NHS and you have some fabulous hospitals here in Birmingham, UHB, Birmingham Women and Children’s , but you also have Midstaffs or had Midstaffs and I’ll never forget my first month as health secretary, the department of health advised me to not meet the families of Midstaffs, I rejected that advice and I met a lady called Julie Bailey, she lost her mum in a horrible, horrible death, she looked me in the eye and said Jeremy, you could change all this and I hope I did, because by the time I finished nearly 3 million people were using good or outstanding hospitals compared to the time I started.

We Conservatives, we can’t just have an economic mission, we must have a social mission and I want our next social mission to be the social care system for every single older person so they can live in dignity, and I want it be the education system, so that no one leaves education not being able to read or write and not with a rigorous qualification so that they can get a decently paid job. I want us to be the first government, the first conservative government that abolishes illiteracy in our society and shows the world our conservative values.

Finally, politics is about winning elections and I’ll be the first prime minister in half a century to win a marginal seat. I know what it’s like to knock on every door, need every single vote, I’m looking at every single vote right now, I love you all, and there are some very important marginal seats in the West Midlands; Stoke North, Halesowen, Stourbridge, Walsall North , brilliant MP’s and we’ve got to be there for them, and I promise you two things as a campaigner, firstly when we go back to the British people, we will get more younger people voting Conservative, because we can’t be the party of aspiration if the most aspirational people aren’t supporting us, and we’re going to get them back. And the second thing I will promise you is that I will never provoke a general election before we have left the European Union.

The lesson of Peterborough is that that would kill us. Ignore that and we ignore the crocodile lurking under the surface of British politics. A Labour Party led by the most ruthless, dangerous, anti-wester, anti-British, hard left cabal that’s ever been under Jeremy Corbyn. Now, faced with a hard-left populist we could choose our own populist, or we could do better, we could choose our own Jeremy.

A Jeremy who’s going to deliver Brexit, unleash the potential of our extraordinary country, deliver true social justice. Not so much for those of us in this hall, most of us have done ok, but for people watching at home, young people desperate to get a decent paid job, families struggling to afford a home, older people who just want to live out their day’s with dignity and respect . We have to be there for them, that is our Conservative Party, let me show you how.”

Channel 4 Tory leadership hustings: Believe in the bin, believe in Britain, it's rubbish

Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt, Sajid David, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Rory Stewart all took part in last nights channel 4 hustings, all bar one, front runner and leadership contender Boris Johnson.   In what can only be described as a good-tempered hustings amongst the Tory leadership hopefuls, there was no clear winner of the hustings, although that said, Rory Stewart emerged as the favourite amongst audience members.  Questions varied from how do you intend to defeat Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage to caring for elderly members of society to what is your top priority if you become prime minister.   Michael Gove spoke passionately about the need to “prevent Jeremy Corbyn from getting into parliament” and that “the party needs someone who has strong beliefs in conservative principles” and further warned against the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn government who he said “would push Marxist economics”.  Throughout the hustings, Mr Gove spoke about his achievements in office and that he is often told something isn’t achievable and then proving sceptics wrong and further illustrated his point by talking about the leave campaign and winning.  Jeremy Hunt was the first candidate to attack Boris Johnson in which he said “I just want to say: where is Boris? If his team won’t let him out to debate with five   friendly colleagues, how is he going to get on with 27 European colleagues? He should be here to answer that question.”  Throughout the hustings Jeremy spoke about being an entrepreneur and his ability to negotiate a deal and that he was the man to deliver Brexit, and subsequently this became a major theme of the hustings in which both Dominic Raab and Sajid David spoke about their respective backgrounds as a lawyer and banker and having been involved in multibillion dollar deals.  Rory Stewart, the outside horse whose campaign is clearly gaining momentum received the biggest applause from the audience as a result of his straight talking no nonsense and yet humorous approach to questions from the audience.  Mr Stewart said “the fundamental issue here is that there is a competition of machismo. Everyone is saying I’m tougher. Every time I have this debate everyone is like, trust me I’m the guy, I can defeat the impossible odds. And I’m accused of being a defeatist by trying to be realistic. It reminds me of trying to cram a whole series of rubbish bags into the rubbish bin, I was tempted to say believe in the bin, believe in Britain, its rubbish.”  In distancing himself from the other contenders, Mr Stewart said “all four other candidates, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Sajid David, are willing to contemplate a no deal Brexit as an option, but a no deal Brexit is nonsense. It’s going to deeply damage our economy.”  They say a week is a long time in politics, but the next 24 hours is going to be make or break for the remaining leadership hopefuls.

Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt, Sajid David, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Rory Stewart all took part in last nights channel 4 hustings, all bar one, front runner and leadership contender Boris Johnson.

In what can only be described as a good-tempered hustings amongst the Tory leadership hopefuls, there was no clear winner of the hustings, although that said, Rory Stewart emerged as the favourite amongst audience members.

Questions varied from how do you intend to defeat Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage to caring for elderly members of society to what is your top priority if you become prime minister.

Michael Gove spoke passionately about the need to “prevent Jeremy Corbyn from getting into parliament” and that “the party needs someone who has strong beliefs in conservative principles” and further warned against the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn government who he said “would push Marxist economics”.

Throughout the hustings, Mr Gove spoke about his achievements in office and that he is often told something isn’t achievable and then proving sceptics wrong and further illustrated his point by talking about the leave campaign and winning.

Jeremy Hunt was the first candidate to attack Boris Johnson in which he said “I just want to say: where is Boris? If his team won’t let him out to debate with five friendly colleagues, how is he going to get on with 27 European colleagues? He should be here to answer that question.”

Throughout the hustings Jeremy spoke about being an entrepreneur and his ability to negotiate a deal and that he was the man to deliver Brexit, and subsequently this became a major theme of the hustings in which both Dominic Raab and Sajid David spoke about their respective backgrounds as a lawyer and banker and having been involved in multibillion dollar deals.

Rory Stewart, the outside horse whose campaign is clearly gaining momentum received the biggest applause from the audience as a result of his straight talking no nonsense and yet humorous approach to questions from the audience.

Mr Stewart said “the fundamental issue here is that there is a competition of machismo. Everyone is saying I’m tougher. Every time I have this debate everyone is like, trust me I’m the guy, I can defeat the impossible odds. And I’m accused of being a defeatist by trying to be realistic. It reminds me of trying to cram a whole series of rubbish bags into the rubbish bin, I was tempted to say believe in the bin, believe in Britain, its rubbish.”

In distancing himself from the other contenders, Mr Stewart said “all four other candidates, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Sajid David, are willing to contemplate a no deal Brexit as an option, but a no deal Brexit is nonsense. It’s going to deeply damage our economy.”

They say a week is a long time in politics, but the next 24 hours is going to be make or break for the remaining leadership hopefuls.

Plotters plotting, straight talking, party hopping, potential leader Boris Johnson: The week that was.

The week that was .jpg

A change of heart is as good as a rest..

Former Labour Party and Change UK MP Chuka Umunna announced that he has joined the Liberal Democrats. In announcing his move to the Liberal Democrat’s Mr Umunna said, “I was wrong to think millions of politically homeless people... wanted a new party and that he “massively underestimated just how difficult it is to set up a fully-fledged new party without an existing infrastructure".

In a move that has resulted in further criticism from Mr Umunna’s former Labour colleagues, Ian Lavery MP and Chair of the Labour Party said “Three parties in as many months... who's next? Put your immense popularity to the good people of Streatham... let's have a PV [People's Vote] on you and your principles."

The future’s bright, the future’s Boris..or is it?

Tory heavyweight, Boris Johnson overwhelmingly beat every Conservative leadership hopeful when it was announced on Thursday that he received 114 votes guaranteeing him a place in the final two.

Jeremy Hunt who was second received 43 votes beating Michael Gove who got 37, Matt Hancock received 20, Dominic Raab received 27, Sajid David received 23 and outsider Rory Stewart received 19 votes just taking him over the line to remain in the competition.

Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Mark Harper are out of the competition as they didn’t get the minimum votes required to stay in the race, and its speculated that most of their votes will go to Boris in the next voting round.

With growing speculation that Boris Johnson is almost certainly going to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister anything can change between now and the next vote on the 18 June.

Straight talking politics: Lorraine Kelly style

TV presenter Lorraine Kelly said what many people in the country feel about the current state of UK politics in which she said “We've had two and a half years of people going round in circles and not sorting Brexit out. And now we've got a state in Britain where people are at each other's throats and it's got to stop." Ms Kelly said she was "really, really, really disappointed" that Ruth Davidson, the openly gay Scottish Conservatives leader, was not standing in the race. When asked by Piers Morgan if she remembers Tory leadership hopeful, Esther McVey Ms Kelly said “I’ll be genuinely honest with you, I don’t remember, it was such a long time ago, my show was separate from that show and there was no kind of interaction.”

Hancock’s half hour no more

Tory MP Matt Hancock has announced that he has pulled out of the Conservative leadership contest and said he is “focused on the future but the party needed a leader to succeed in the here and now"

In an interview with John Pienaar, Deputy Political Editor, Matt Hancock said “"I've been incredibly encouraged and humbled by the amount of support that I've had in this campaign. I've tried to make the argument about the values that the Conservative Party needs to hold dear, of free enterprise and support for a free society and being open and optimistic and enthusiastic about the future."

All remaining candidates will be in discussions with Mr Hancock in an attempt to woo his votes to their campaign.

 

Policy u turns, leadership drop outs and drug use: The week that was

The week that was .jpg

A clever move

James Cleverly MP withdrew his leadership candidacy citing a lack of support for his campaign which required “a leap of faith to skip a generation and vote for a new MP.” It is also worth noting that since then Mr Cleverly has announced that he is backing Boris Johnson for leader which makes one wonder what he has been promised in a Johnson lead administration.

Welcome to Peterborough: The mother of all marginals

In the run up to the Peterborough by-election every political pundit and commentator predicted that the Brexit Party would win the election but as luck would have it Labour held the seat with a slight increase in its majority. Whilst this is a small victory for the Labour Party the real winners are the Brexit Party who took a lot of votes from both the Conservatives and UKIP and as the mother of all marginals, its anyone’s guess how future elections and by elections will pan out.

Scottish Labour Party back a second referendum

In what many will regard as the mother of all political U turns following a poll that suggested the Scottish Labour Party faced annihilation at the next general election, the Scottish Labour Party has announced that it supports a second referendum.

This policy shift will put Richard Leonard, Leader of Scottish Labour Party at odds with Jeremy Corbyn who is still struggling to convey what the Labour Party’s position on Brexit is. /

Leonard who is a strong supporter of Corbyn has faced criticism of the policy shift with critics saying it’s an un principled move that stinks of desperation and will legitimise the prospect of a second independence referendum in Scotland, but to those in the Shadow Cabinet who advocated such a move it will be perceived as a positive turning point that will resonate well with the people of Scotland.

The Gaffanator

Scottish Labour MP Hugh Gaffney attended a Scottish Affairs Committee event in Canada in which he spoke about the possibility of Scotland becoming an independent country. His remarks sparked controversy in what many have regarded as the Gaffanator making another gaff as he did last year over comments about Robert Burns that resulted him in having to attend equality and diversity training.

In his attempt to convey what many people in Scotland have said about the real prospect of a hard Brexiteer becoming the next PM, for some people in Scotland that will be enough for them to vote for independence, but it will up to party’s such as Labour for making the case for the union.

Cocaine

Since Rory Stewart’s admission that he smoked opium whilst attending a wedding in Iran every Tory leadership hopeful has come out of the woodwork to talk about their own drugs experience. First up was Michael Gove who commented that he took cocaine on several occasions as a young journalist and stressed this was before he knew he was going into public office, Andrea Leadsom said that she had smoked cannabis and that MP’s deserve to have a private life before being in office, Jeremy Hunt said he had a cannabis laced lassi whilst travelling in India as a student and Tory heavyweight, Boris Johnson said he tried cocaine and sneezed. Perhaps next week we will see a firm commitment from Tory leadership contenders to reforming current UK drug laws.

 

Conservative Party leadership Timetable

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Friday 7 June - Theresa May will officially resign as Conservative Party leader in a letter to the Tories' 1922 Committee.

Monday 10 June - Leadership candidates have between 10am and 5pm to formally apply to enter the contest. Each candidate will need the backing of eight MPs in order to join the race.This is a change from the last Tory leadership election in 2016, when candidates needed the initial backing of only two MPs.

The 1922 committee will announce the final list of candidates at 5.30pm.

11/12 June - The candidates will take part in the first hustings event organised by the 1922 Committee.Only Conservative MPs will be able to attend.

13 June - The first ballot of Tory MPs will take place. Each MP will cast their vote - either in person or by proxy - by posting their papers into black tin boxes in Committee Room 14 in parliament.

The votes will then be counted in another room before the 1922 Committee's co-chairmen, Dame Cheryl Gillan and Charles Walker, will announce the results.

Candidates will be required to win 5% of votes (a total of 17 MPs) to move on from the first round. If candidates don't meet the threshold, they will be eliminated.If all candidates (or indeed no candidates) meet the threshold, the one with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated. If no candidates meet the threshold and there is a tie at the bottom, there will be a "frank discussion" with those candidates about whether or not they agree to drop out.If they don't, this could mean the ballot is voted on again.

17 June - The candidates will take part in a second hustings event organised by the 1922 Committee.

18 June - A second ballot of Tory MPs will take place with candidates this time requiring 10% of votes (33 MPs) to make it through the second round.The same rules as the first ballot on candidates being eliminated will apply.

19/20 June - A third, fourth, fifth and possibly sixth ballot of Tory MPs will be held, depending on how many rounds of voting are needed to whittle the candidates down to a final pair.At each round, the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated.

22 June - The final pair of candidates are expected to be in Birmingham to take part in the first hustings event in front of Conservative Party members.

Further hustings events are likely to be held in every region of the country.

22 July - It is expected the party's grassroots members will be asked to submit their vote for their favoured candidate by 5pm on 22 July.

23 July - This could see the announcement of the winning candidate by the 1922 Committee and might also be the day Theresa May visits the Queen to resign as prime minister in order to hand over to her successor.

Welcome to Peterborough: The mother of all marginals

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As far as marginal seats go you can’t get any more marginal than the Westminster constituency of Peterborough which is currently being contested following the recall petition of former Labour MP Fiona Onasanv who was convicted of perverting the course of justice over speeding charges.

Political pundits and commentators are predicting that the Brexit Party looks set to win the seat which would see them return their first MP which would have serious ramifications for both the Labour and Conservative Parties, but the question is how so?

Firstly, if the Brexit Party wins as many expect it will, it will further reignite the narrative around the Conservative Party leadership debate to adopt a tougher stance on the withdrawal agreement with many pro Brexit candidates talking about the need to prepare for a no deal Brexit in the event of no further negotiations, but a strategy to out Brexit the Brexit Party will only divide the Conservative Party further, and may have the opposite effect for those pro Brexit candidates.

It is worth noting that over 60% of the electorate in Peterborough voted to leave in the EU referendum compared to just over 30% that voted to remain; therefore, Brexit will be a dominant factor which will shape the outcome of the by- election.

If the results from the EU election are anything to go by the Labour Party will be preparing it’s self for another electoral defeat which will result in more speculation over Jeremy Corbyn’s ability to remain as leader of the Labour Party, following the party’s disastrous performance in the EU election.

 

 

For the Labour Party in Scotland to succeed it must embrace change

When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, he spoke about straight talking politics and a new kind of politics that would see grassroots party members empowered and decide party policy and direction.  Since then the Scottish Labour Party has suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election which resulted in the Scottish Labour Party being replaced by the Scottish Conservatives as the official opposition, a new leader who has failed to breakthrough to the Scottish electorate and who is simply out of touch with the people of Scotland and oversaw a devastating result in the European Parliament election.  In politics clarity of message is everything as people need to know where you stand on the issue of the day and what you intend to do about it, but Labour’s message over Brexit was at best confusing with many people on the door step unsure of what the party’s policy on Brexit was, and lets not forget that Labour party members agreed the party’s position on Brexit at the party’s conference last year, which included the option of pursuing a peoples vote with remain being on the ballot if the party couldn’t secure a general election, and yet party members up and down the country continued to debate the interpretation of the party’s adopted stance on Brexit with both sides claiming victory.  It beggar’s belief that a political party that once dominated Scottish politics could get its messaging catastrophically wrong on what can only be described as the most important political issue of the day, but that’s what happens when party leaders and senior advisers are more interested in winning internal battles than winning the country, the focus becomes inward rather than outward looking and the real losers in this scenario are the people in this country that need a strong Labour voice.  The lack of clarity in labour’s message has created a vacuum that only works to the benefit of other party’s and in Scotland the clear winners of the European Parliament election were the SNP and the Scottish Liberal Democrats who had a consistent pro EU message that resonated well with the Scottish electorate.  It’s worrying that the party that gave Scotland devolution and in turn the Scottish parliament couldn’t convince many of its own members to vote for them with many members voting for a remain party. The question that’s on everyone’s mind, is were does Scottish Labour go from here and what does it have to do to ensure that it doesn’t face electorate irrelevance?  The starting point is for the Labour Party to acknowledge that the electorate has changed, the days of blind party loyalty are over, the electorate is more fluid, some may say it’s nothing more than consumer politics and if that’s the case nobody is buying what Labour has to offer. If the Labour Party was a commercial entity it would take serious action in the face of poor sales by changing tactic, changing strategy and changing leader, and its no different for the Labour party.  For the Labour Party in Scotland to flourish and become a force in Scottish politics again it needs to go back to basics; starting with its vision, what type of Scotland does it want to lead whilst simultaneously making the case for the union and offer radical policies that will set the Labour Party apart from its counter parties.

When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, he spoke about straight talking politics and a new kind of politics that would see grassroots party members empowered and decide party policy and direction.

Since then the Scottish Labour Party has suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election which resulted in the Scottish Labour Party being replaced by the Scottish Conservatives as the official opposition, a new leader who has failed to breakthrough to the Scottish electorate and who is simply out of touch with the people of Scotland and oversaw a devastating result in the European Parliament election.

In politics clarity of message is everything as people need to know where you stand on the issue of the day and what you intend to do about it, but Labour’s message over Brexit was at best confusing with many people on the door step unsure of what the party’s policy on Brexit was, and lets not forget that Labour party members agreed the party’s position on Brexit at the party’s conference last year, which included the option of pursuing a peoples vote with remain being on the ballot if the party couldn’t secure a general election, and yet party members up and down the country continued to debate the interpretation of the party’s adopted stance on Brexit with both sides claiming victory.

It beggar’s belief that a political party that once dominated Scottish politics could get its messaging catastrophically wrong on what can only be described as the most important political issue of the day, but that’s what happens when party leaders and senior advisers are more interested in winning internal battles than winning the country, the focus becomes inward rather than outward looking and the real losers in this scenario are the people in this country that need a strong Labour voice.

The lack of clarity in labour’s message has created a vacuum that only works to the benefit of other party’s and in Scotland the clear winners of the European Parliament election were the SNP and the Scottish Liberal Democrats who had a consistent pro EU message that resonated well with the Scottish electorate.

It’s worrying that the party that gave Scotland devolution and in turn the Scottish parliament couldn’t convince many of its own members to vote for them with many members voting for a remain party. The question that’s on everyone’s mind, is were does Scottish Labour go from here and what does it have to do to ensure that it doesn’t face electorate irrelevance?

The starting point is for the Labour Party to acknowledge that the electorate has changed, the days of blind party loyalty are over, the electorate is more fluid, some may say it’s nothing more than consumer politics and if that’s the case nobody is buying what Labour has to offer. If the Labour Party was a commercial entity it would take serious action in the face of poor sales by changing tactic, changing strategy and changing leader, and its no different for the Labour party.

For the Labour Party in Scotland to flourish and become a force in Scottish politics again it needs to go back to basics; starting with its vision, what type of Scotland does it want to lead whilst simultaneously making the case for the union and offer radical policies that will set the Labour Party apart from its counter parties.

Resignations, court summons and party expulsion: The week that was.

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Neil Findlay MSP resigns from the Scottish Labour front bench

On Tuesday, Neil Findlay resigned from the Scottish Labour Party front bench citing internal battles as his main reason for doing so. In what can only be described as a major blow to Jeremy Corbyn and his Scottish allies, Mr Findlay was instrumental in helping Jeremy Corbyn be elected as leader of the Labour Party.

Mr Findlay who was one of Scottish Labour’s strongest political campaigners spoke about the internal battles in the Scottish Labour Party and further announced that he will not be seeking re-selection for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.

In an interview with BBC Reporting Scotland, Mr Findlay spoke about the party’s poor performance at the European Parliament election and said “I played a part a part in that election and clearly I have some responsibility and I’ve never in my life shirked my responsibility. I have a difficulty with arguing for another referendum because you then open up the whole issue of another referendum in Scotland.

If the next one goes a different way, do you think the people who lose out in that referendum will stop calling for it, we are going to be in absolute neverendum territory.

In a parting shot Mr Findlay said “they’ve never accepted that their candidate lost and its as simple as that. They think their version of politics , if we go back to the era of Tony Blair, if we don a union jack suit and take an ultra-unionist position, that will somehow be the way in which Scottish Labour comes back, we need to win back people who went from labour and voted SNP, and if they think their politics is the way in which that will come back they are seriously deluded .”

Daniel Johnson MSP quits Labour Party front bench

Once tipped as a future leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Daniel Johnson MSP resigned from the Scottish Labour Party front bench and as the party’s spokesperson on justice, following the party’s disastrous result from the European Parliament election Mr Johnson said “I represent a constituency that voted 80 per cent in favour of remain, where over 20,000 people signed the Revoke Article 50 petition and where the electorate voted overwhelmingly for parties that were clearly for remain and pro-Europe. “

This election took Labour from first at the last European election to sixth in Edinburgh. My constituents are clear not only that we must have another referendum but that we must make every effort to ensure the UK remains a member of the EU. That is a view I share.”

Richard Leonard under pressure to resign

Richard Leonard, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party faces mounting pressure to resign as leader following the party’s poor performance in the European Parliament election and the resignations of Daniel Johnson MSP and close ally Neil Findlay MSP.

Boris Johnson summoned to appear in court

On Wednesday it was announced that Boris Johnson MP has been ordered to appear before District Judge Margot Colman for alleged Misconduct in office over the claims that the UK sends the EU £350 million a week.  

Those close to Mr Johnson have said the decision to summon him was “extraordinary and risks undermining our democracy.” District Judge Colman said, "The applicant's case is there is ample evidence that the proposed defendant knew that the statements were false."

She continued: "I accept that the public offices held by Mr Johnson provide status, but with that status comes influence and authority."

 Alastair Campbell expelled from Labour Party

Alastair Campbell, the former spin doctor to prime minister Tony Blair announced that he had voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament election as a result of the party’s unclear stance over Brexit.

Campbell, who is a strong campaigner for a second referendum and having remain on the ballot was informed by the Labour Party that he had been expelled from the Labour Party for voting for another party.

The decision to expel Mr Campbell resulted in a backlash of former MP’s and party members announcing that they had voted tactically and using the twitter hashtag of #expelmetoo with Mr Campbell announcing that he is likely to appeal the decision.

 James Cleverly MP throws his hat In the ring to become next Conservative Party leader

On Wednesday, James Cleverly MP announced that he would be standing for leader of the Conservative Party. Cleverly, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party said, “the Conservatives needed to look new and sound different to survive.” A strong advocate of Brexit, cleverly said “once Brexit has been delivered, we need to think about how we can make the Conservatives look new and sound different.”

 

 

United we stand divided we fall: The continual saga of the Scottish Labour Party

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They say a week is a long time in politics but if yesterday is anything to go by five minutes can change everything. Following Sunday’s disastrous result in the European Parliament election for the Scottish Labour Party, party members and members of the Scottish Executive Committee took to social media condemning the leadership and looking for answers. In response to the dismal performance by the Scottish Labour Party, Neil Findlay the parties campaign chief announced his resignation from the front bench five minutes into the Labour Groups meeting followed by Daniel Johnson MSP resigning as the party’s justice spokesperson.

Findlay, who has been an MSP since 2011 and a fierce critic of the Blairite faction of the Scottish Labour Party played an instrumental role in getting Jeremy Corbyn elected in 2015 as Labour Party leader. In an interview with Reporting Scotland Mr Findlay said “I played a part in that election and clearly I have some responsibility and I’ve never in my life shirked my responsibility. I have a difficulty with arguing for another referendum because you then open up the whole issue of another referendum in Scotland.

If the next one goes a different way, do you think the people who lose out in that referendum will stop calling for it; we’re going to be in absolute neverendum territory. 

In a parting shot Mr Findlay concluded by saying “they’ve never accepted their candidates lost and it’s as simple as that. They think their version of politics, If we go back to the era of Tony Blair , if we don a union jack suit and take an ultra-unionist position, that will somehow be the way in which Scottish Labour comes back, we need to win back people who went from Labour and voted SNP, and if they think they’re politics is the way in which that will come back they are seriously deluded”.

So, what does Neil Findlay’s resignation from the front bench mean for the Scottish Labour Party? Firstly, Richard Leonard will be tasked with finding a replacement for Findlay and this won’t be an easy task. 

Last year, Richard Leonard sacked Anas Sarwar and Jackie Bailie from the front bench and its unlikely that former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont will serve in his cabinet.  So that leaves Mark Griffin MSP, Jenny Marra MSP and Neil Bibby MSP as the only contenders to fill the current void, but irrespective of who is selected for the positions, one thing that is certain is that Richard Leonard will continue to face mounting pressure for his resignation with strong rumours of a leadership challenge in the coming weeks.

The week that was

Milkshakes, elections, resignations, leadership speculation  Theresa May announces departure date  On Friday Theresa May announced her departure date for the 7th June when she will step down as prime minister. In what can only be described as an emotional farewell speech Theresa May said “I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold. The second female prime minister but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”  European Parliament election  On Thursday the United Kingdom took part in the European Parliament election and although the result won’t be announced till Sunday it’s expected that both the Conservative and Labour Party will not return any MEP candidates in Scotland.  Andrea Leadsom resigns from Government  On the night before the European Parliament election, Andrea Leadsom resigned from the government as Leader of the House saying she no longer believes that the government can deliver Brexit. In what many will perceive as the firing pistol for a leadership challenge, Ms Leadsom was critical over the governments handling and inability to deliver Brexit arguing that she did not believe “the UK would be a truly sovereign United Kingdom through the deal that is now proposed"  Ruth Davidson says she can work with Boris Johnson as leader of Conservative Party  On Wednesday, The Scotsman reported that Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party said she would be willing to work with Boris Johnson if he becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party. Johnson who is seen as the front runner to replace Theresa May announced his intention to stand as a leadership candidate last week, but in the words of Tory stalwart, Ken Clark MP “historically the Tory front runner usually never wins the leadership contest.”  Milkshake Monday  On Monday, Nigel Farage, Leader of Brexit Party attended a rally in Newcastle which ended in a milkshake being thrown at him. Milkshake aside, the Brexit Party is predicted to make significant gains in the European Parliament election.  Hancock’s half hour  Matt Hancock announced on Saturday that he intends to stand in the forthcoming Conservative Party leadership contest. At a dinner with four cabinet ministers and party donors, Mr Hancock said that he is the candidate that can take the party into the next general election and win.

Milkshakes, elections, resignations, leadership speculation

Theresa May announces departure date

On Friday Theresa May announced her departure date for the 7th June when she will step down as prime minister. In what can only be described as an emotional farewell speech Theresa May said “I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold. The second female prime minister but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”

European Parliament election

On Thursday the United Kingdom took part in the European Parliament election and although the result won’t be announced till Sunday it’s expected that both the Conservative and Labour Party will not return any MEP candidates in Scotland.

Andrea Leadsom resigns from Government

On the night before the European Parliament election, Andrea Leadsom resigned from the government as Leader of the House saying she no longer believes that the government can deliver Brexit. In what many will perceive as the firing pistol for a leadership challenge, Ms Leadsom was critical over the governments handling and inability to deliver Brexit arguing that she did not believe “the UK would be a truly sovereign United Kingdom through the deal that is now proposed"

Ruth Davidson says she can work with Boris Johnson as leader of Conservative Party

On Wednesday, The Scotsman reported that Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party said she would be willing to work with Boris Johnson if he becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party. Johnson who is seen as the front runner to replace Theresa May announced his intention to stand as a leadership candidate last week, but in the words of Tory stalwart, Ken Clark MP “historically the Tory front runner usually never wins the leadership contest.”

Milkshake Monday

On Monday, Nigel Farage, Leader of Brexit Party attended a rally in Newcastle which ended in a milkshake being thrown at him. Milkshake aside, the Brexit Party is predicted to make significant gains in the European Parliament election.

Hancock’s half hour

Matt Hancock announced on Saturday that he intends to stand in the forthcoming Conservative Party leadership contest. At a dinner with four cabinet ministers and party donors, Mr Hancock said that he is the candidate that can take the party into the next general election and win.

The European Parliament election: What does it mean for Scotland and the future of UK politics.

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When it comes to elections clarity of message is everything and it has never been more important than now. Tomorrow the United Kingdom will vote in the forthcoming European Parliament election with many suggesting that the outcome of the election will be a pre-cursor for the outcome of a second referendum.

To others, and arguably most of the electorate, this election is about identity in which both leavers and remainers argue that this election is the single most important election in a generation which could dictate the UK’s future relationship with the European Union, but will it do anything to help overcome the Brexit deadlock and the short answer is no.

Yesterday, Theresa May announced the government’s new Brexit deal which was quickly slammed by MP’s from all sides of the chamber and in an attempt to gain support for the proposed withdrawal agreement it was suggested that if MP’s supported the  agreement they would be  allowed to vote on the prospect of a second referendum.

In short, the impasse continues, and the Brexit deadlock tightens even more which will put more pressure on Theresa May to announce her long awaited departure date or if the withdrawal agreement is voted down to resign with immediate effect.

This in turn will result in a Conservative Party leadership contest with Brexit being the main topic of debate at any leadership hustings, and whilst the media has often commented that Boris Johnson, former foreign secretary is the likely frontrunner to succeed Theresa May, its too early to make any solid predictions, but the reality is that a Boris Johnson lead Conservative government would potentially damage the Tory party brand in Scotland that Ruth Davidson successfully de-toxified.

So, what’s likely to be the outcome of the European Parliament election for Scotland? The Scottish National Party (SNP) have been consistent in their pro Europe message and are expected to win three seats in Scotland. Like the SNP, the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party has consistently projected a pro Europe message and are expected to win one seat, with the other two seats split between the Scottish Green Party and the Brexit Party, whilst the Labour and Conservative Parties are expected to not make any gains in tomorrows election.

Change UK - The Independent Group announce EU election candidates

Change UK – The Independent Group which consists of former Labour and Conservative party members announced their list of candidates for the forthcoming EU parliament election. Amongst those selected was Rachel Johnson, sister of hard Brexiteer Boris Johnson MP and Gavin Esler, former BBC news reporter who stated Brexit was based on “cheating and lies” and further said he was fed up of the likes of Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees Mogg “peddling snake oil”.  The full list of Change UK – The Independent Group candidates are as follows:   North West   1. Andrea Cooper  2. Daniel Price  3. Arun Banerji  4. Michael Taylor  5. Philippa Taylor  6. Victoria Desmond  7. Andrew Graystone  8. Elisabeth Knight   North east   1. Frances Weetman  2. Penny Hawley  3. Kathryn Heywood   London   1. Gavin Esler  2. Jan Vincent Rostowski  3. Carole Tongue  4. Annabel Mullin  5. Karen Newman  6. Ali Sadjady Naiery  7. Nora Mulready  8. Jessica Simor   East of England   1. Emma Taylor  2. Neil Carmichael  3. Bhavna Joshi  4. Michelle De Vries  5. Amanda Gummer  6. Thomas Graham  7. Roger Casale   East Midlands   1. Kate Godfrey  2. Joan Laplana  3. Narinder Sharma  4. Pankajhumar Gulab  5. Emma Jane Manley   South East   1. Richard Ashworth  2. Victoria Groulef  3. Warren Morgan  4. Eleanor Fuller  5. Robin Bextor  6. Nicholas Mazzei  7. Suzanna Carp  8. Phil Murphy  9. Heather Allen  10. Diane Yeo   West Midlands   1. Stephen Dorrell  2. Charlotte Gath  3. Peter Wilding  4. Amrik Kandola  5. Joanna Mckenna  6. Victor Odusanya  7. Lucinda Empson   Yorkshire and Humber   1. Diana Wallis  2. Juliet Lodge  3. Sophia Bow  4. Joshua Malkin  5. Ros McMullen  6. Steve Wilson   Wales   1. Jon Owen Jones  2. June Davies  3. Matthew Paul  4. Sally Stephenson   Scotland   1. Joseph Russo  2. David Macdonald  3. Kate Forman  4. Peter Griffiths  5. Heather Astbury  6. Catherine Edgeworth

Change UK – The Independent Group which consists of former Labour and Conservative party members announced their list of candidates for the forthcoming EU parliament election. Amongst those selected was Rachel Johnson, sister of hard Brexiteer Boris Johnson MP and Gavin Esler, former BBC news reporter who stated Brexit was based on “cheating and lies” and further said he was fed up of the likes of Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees Mogg “peddling snake oil”.

The full list of Change UK – The Independent Group candidates are as follows:

North West

1. Andrea Cooper

2. Daniel Price

3. Arun Banerji

4. Michael Taylor

5. Philippa Taylor

6. Victoria Desmond

7. Andrew Graystone

8. Elisabeth Knight

North east

1. Frances Weetman

2. Penny Hawley

3. Kathryn Heywood

London

1. Gavin Esler

2. Jan Vincent Rostowski

3. Carole Tongue

4. Annabel Mullin

5. Karen Newman

6. Ali Sadjady Naiery

7. Nora Mulready

8. Jessica Simor

East of England

1. Emma Taylor

2. Neil Carmichael

3. Bhavna Joshi

4. Michelle De Vries

5. Amanda Gummer

6. Thomas Graham

7. Roger Casale

East Midlands

1. Kate Godfrey

2. Joan Laplana

3. Narinder Sharma

4. Pankajhumar Gulab

5. Emma Jane Manley

South East

1. Richard Ashworth

2. Victoria Groulef

3. Warren Morgan

4. Eleanor Fuller

5. Robin Bextor

6. Nicholas Mazzei

7. Suzanna Carp

8. Phil Murphy

9. Heather Allen

10. Diane Yeo

West Midlands

1. Stephen Dorrell

2. Charlotte Gath

3. Peter Wilding

4. Amrik Kandola

5. Joanna Mckenna

6. Victor Odusanya

7. Lucinda Empson

Yorkshire and Humber

1. Diana Wallis

2. Juliet Lodge

3. Sophia Bow

4. Joshua Malkin

5. Ros McMullen

6. Steve Wilson

Wales

1. Jon Owen Jones

2. June Davies

3. Matthew Paul

4. Sally Stephenson

Scotland

1. Joseph Russo

2. David Macdonald

3. Kate Forman

4. Peter Griffiths

5. Heather Astbury

6. Catherine Edgeworth

Scottish Liberal Democrats announce EU Parliament candidates

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The Scottish Liberal Democrats have announced their list of MEP candidates for the forthcoming European Parliament election.

  1. Sheila Ritchie - A solicitor and former leader of Gordon District Council and Convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrats tops the list. A life long supporter of the European Union, Sheila spent two decades supporting small businesses in the Aberdeen area through her work with the Elevator scheme, Enterprise Trust and Business Gateway.

  2. Fred Mackintosh - Edinburgh based human rights lawyer and advocate and a former councillor at Edinburgh City Council is also standing.

  3. Catriona Bhatia - Former Deputy Leader of Scottish Borders Council and daughter of Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Steel, Catriona Bhatia will be standing as a candidate in the forthcoming election.

  4. Vita Zaporocenzko - Case worker for Alex Cole Hamilton

  5. John Edward - Director of Scottish Council of Independent Schools and previously the head of office for the EU Parliament in Edinburgh and chief campaign spokesperson for Scotland Stronger in Europe.

  6. Clive Sneddon - Former Leader of North East Fife District Council and local government representative in Europe, Clive previously stood as a Lib Dem candidate in 2017 for the Westminster constituency of Angus.

Scottish Conservative Party announce MEP candidates

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The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has announced its list of EU candidates who will take part in the forthcoming EU parliament election:

  1. Nosheena Mobarik – the current incumbent, she is also a life peer and former Whip in the House of Lords.

  2. Iain McGill – a businessman contesting his 13th election, McGill was on the Scottish Euro list in 2014. He has told the Edinburgh Evening News that he hopes that the MEP role will be abolished by the UK leaving the EU “very swiftly”.

  3. Cllr Shona Haslam – a former charity manager, Cllr Haslam took on the role of leader of Scottish Borders Council as soon as she was elected for the first time in 2017

  4. Cllr Iain Whyte – the leader of the Conservative group on Edinburgh City Council, Cllr Whyte also sits on the board of Police Scotland

  5. Andrea Gee – a former staffer to Nosheena Mobarik, Gee now works for Paul Masterton, Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire.

  6. Michael Kusznir – a solicitor in Aberdeen, Kusznir has also researched and campaigned against human trafficking in the city.