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Things aren't good here, tomorrow I have to go to the polls after college to vote for one of the five main parties,


Sinn Féin


Ulster Unionist



There was a debate on tv last night and while some good points were made, there was no killer blow struck by anyone and they all reverted back to cheap political point scoring, 

Also one DUP MLA in seeking re-election posted an Facebook that the the party opposite, Sinn Fein were only in government with them "on sufferance", and because of their previous links to the IRA, could never be seen as equals to the DUP. This was a big mistake, and realising that he'd been rumbled, he took the post down and unfriended me as I had challenged him. There is too much bitterness in the older generation here and as a young person I want to see change and moving away from the orange and green politics that have formed our "governement" over the past 10 years



Please watch this video and tell me who you would vote for,

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When the story of this election is told, and I'm sure there's more time to run before we're ready to write it, it'll be shown what a poor strategist Arlene has been compared with Former First Minister Peter Robinson. In fact, was there any strategy except procrastination over announcing an Inquiry and when finally it was, it was by a Sinn Fein minister, and then claiming that she wanted one all the time. Then there's the failure to give roles in the election to her more liberal colleagues. And then name calling and renaming her partners in government as Gerry Adams/Sinn Fein over and over again despite ridicule. 

I'm really intrigued by Peter feeling he should write at this time. Like a lot of people, I'd quite forgotten about him. Now the article has raised the comparison in a number of our minds. 

This breakdown and snap election would never have happened under his watch.

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Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt is to resign

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt is to resign - the first major casualty of the Northern Ireland Assembly election.

"The buck stops here," he said, announcing his decision as the count continued and shortly after he won his seat at the Strangford count.

Sinn Féin has increased its vote in the poll, while the DUP has largely held its place.

Mr Nesbitt said the electorate had rejected his message and he had to take responsibility for what happened.

The turnout for the election is the highest since the vote which followed the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. A total of 64.8% of the electorate voted - up 10 points on last year - beating the 2003 figure by 0.8%.


So far 59 out of 90 seats have been confirmed.

Former First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster, Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and the Ulster Unionist leader are among those elected.

There was shock when four former ministers - two from the DUP, one from the SDLP and one from the Ulster Unionist party - lost their seats.

The first big shock came when Alex Attwood, SDLP, lost his seat in Belfast West. The second was when Danny Kennedy, UUP, was eliminated in Newry & Armagh.

Later, Nelson McCausland, DUP, lost his seat in Belfast North and DUP party chairman Lord Morrow lost his seat in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

The SDLP suffered a body blow in Foyle - the traditional heartland of the party and former seat of its founder John Hume. Sinn Féin came home first and second in the count, leaving the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Mark H Durkan trailing in their wake.

After Mr Attwood lost his seat, the party, which once held sway in west Belfast, now no longer has a presence there.

The election - the second in 10 months - was called after the collapse of a coalition led by Arlene Foster's DUP and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness.

Mr McGuinness resigned over Mrs Foster's refusal to step aside as first minister pending an inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which could cost the Northern Ireland tax payer £490m.

Former DUP Minister Jonathan Bell who was suspended from the party for allegedly speaking to the press without permission over the RHI scandal, has also lost his seat.

Under Northern Ireland's power-sharing agreement, the government must be run by Irish nationalists and unionists together.

DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said his party had held up well in the wake of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) debacle. Arlene Foster was the right person to lead the DUP, he said.

"Despite the torrents of abuse and smears and innuendo that was levelled against her, the people are sticking with her."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said Sinn Féin were the "net beneficiaries" of a huge nationalist turnout intent on punishing Mrs Foster.

"Those of us in the middle have been clearly squeezed," he said.

A total of 1,254,709 people were eligible to vote for 228 candidates competing for 90 seats in 18 constituencies. The turnout was up across the board.

The final make-up of the new 90-seat Assembly is unlikely to be clear until Saturday afternoon.

Among the smaller parties, Gerry Carroll, People Before Profit Alliance, kept his Belfast West seat. However, his running mate Michael Collins was eliminated on the first count.

The SDLP citadel of Foyle has fallen to the old enemy: Sinn Féin. For the first time, it has overtaken the SDLP in John Hume's heartland.

First, Elisha McCallion wiped the floor with the opposition, then former IRA hunger striker Raymond McCartney took his seat.

The SDLP always defended Foyle as if they owned it; now they don't.

It will be disappointing for SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and his colleague Mark H Durkan, They keep their seats. But no longer can the SDLP say: "This is ours."

And could Sinn Féin now set their sights on Durkan's Westminster seat?

This assembly election saw one significant change: The number of assembly members has been reduced from 108 to 90 which will mean each constituency returning five MLAs each and not six,

The number of MLAs has been cut in order to reduce the cost of politics. Forty-eight fewer candidates stood in this election than in May last year.

The largest unionist and nationalist parties after the election will have three weeks to form a power-sharing government to avoid devolved power returning to the British parliament at Westminster for the first time in a decade.

The BBC News NI website will carry the latest election results and analysis on Friday and throughout the weekend.

There will also be special election programmes running on BBC Radio Ulster from midday, on BBC Radio Foyle from 15:00 GMT and on BBC One Northern Ireland at 13:30 GMT.



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^ so,  the new political landscape... Is It a similar scenario like Scotland? 

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Arlene and the DUP.


She has proved herself to be a poor strategist. Undoubtedly she will go, perhaps not immediately, but go she will.


Looking back, at a political inquest if you wish, it might just dawn on the party that it was her inappropriate language, objuracy over standing aside, blaming the media for unbalanced reporting in the face of her own lack of balance, and her cold public persona, which effectively lost her party this election.


I will always feel some empathy, even pity for someone who finds themselves in situations such as this. There are these deeply humbling moments, which if handled properly can actually make us much more empathetic, ready to admit that others might just do a better job. Mike Nesbitt did it and did it well. I've always liked Mike, and his reputation for generosity, fairness, honesty and, above all, humility.


How the DUP proceed now is anyone's guess. Can I suggest a huge serving of humility, learning the language of respect, learning and living the ethos within the Belfast Agreement, and, practicing the art of negotiation face to face with Republicans as equals, and not as government partners 'on sufferance' or as less than Equal?


This is a seismic shift; are we even post Belfast Agreement? I would say for the time being let's make the Agreement work.


Brexit will be the biggest challenge of the next few years, especially here. Arlene's answer was "Martin and I wrote to Theresa May, and got a reply". Sorry, but not sorry, this was a rubbish answer. Don't get me started on this, money emerging from the shadows and some of it being pocketed by the party, presumably as unrestricted funds.


The next few weeks are time for reflection, open conversation, not just up the Hill but down it too, and for lots of swallowing of pride and feeling of superiority. Only then can we get on with workable political solutions for all our futures.


I am surprised at the result. Years ago I would've been shocked and appalled by the thought of a Sinn Fein majority in the assembly. But not anymore. These days it is the DUP that appals me. They are arrogant, pious, disrespectful and dismissive of others, corrupt and plain anti-women, anti-LGBT, anti-anything they perceive as 'different'. Plus the new leader of Sinn Fein is impressive and seems to be motivated by positive emotions and values.

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Net Closing In On 2015 Conservative Election Fraud

Tories deny wrongdoing as police investigate fraud allegations in six constituencies that could force by-elections.

Downing Street is said to be ‘deeply worried’ over the allegations which surround overspending, said to be in the region of tens of thousands of pounds, in marginal constituencies including South Thanet which was contested by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

Farage lost to Craig Mackinlay who, it is alleged, spent £34,000 yet only declared £15,000.

The Times reports that files are expected to be passed to the Crown Prosecution Services whilst The Daily Mirror has reported that 23 Conservative MPs failed to declare spending on ‘battlebuses’ which were used to support candidates during the election campaign, claiming that Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) picked up the £2,000 a day bill.

In total, more than 100 people have been found guilty of electoral malpractice in the UK since 1994. The vast majority of convictions have involved postal or proxy ballots, often in conjunction with attempts to manipulate the electoral registers by registering bogus electors or adding electors to the register at empty properties.

Dark Money

Brexit referendum electoral allegations also refuse to go away. Not least the mysterious ‘dark money’ donation to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of £425,000 from an opaque group of pro-union business people led by a Conservative party member.

The money, donated by the Constitutional Research Council (CRC) was spent by the DUP on pro-Brexit advertising throughout the UK. Including £282,000 spent on a wrap-around for the Metro Newspaper which isn’t published in Northern Ireland.

The shadowy CRC appear relatively anonymous apart from chair Richard Cook, a former vice chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said that his party did not need to know the true source of the funds, however, the Electoral Commission has stated, “the onus is on the recipient to ensure that a donation is permissible. If they can’t confirm permissibility, then they need to return the donation.”

Investigative journalists Peter Geoghegan and Adam Ramsay attempted to contact Mr Cook on numerous occasions but were unable to obtain a comment however, Brexitshambles did obtain a response of sorts from Mr Cook after we asked him for an explanation:

This isn’t the only mystery surrounding funding of Brexit campaigns. A member of the SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica, have hit the headlines recently as one of the key components of the Donald Trump US Presidential Election victory. Both SCL, Strategic Communication Laboratories, and Cambridge Analytica are involved in data mining, data analysis and microtargeting.

In 2016 Leave.EU, led by UKIP donor Arron Banks, claimed to have engaged Cambridge Analytica but failed to declare anything to the Electoral Commission as they claim their work was pro-bono – this despite benefits in kind having to be declared. To further confuse matters Cambridge Analytica now claim not to have worked on the Leave.EU Brexit campaign.

Intriguingly, Roger Gabb a director of SCL Group, who in 2006 donated £500,000 to the Conservative Party, was fined £1,000, alongside former Conservative candidate for Vale of Glamorgan Lady Sue Inkin, by the Electoral Commission for “failing to include an imprint on, separate, newspaper advertisements” they placed during the regulated period (15th April to 23rd June 2016) for the EU Referendum.

Commenting on both cases, Louise Edwards, Head of Regulatory Compliance and Casework at the Electoral Commission, said:

“It is vital that voters can identify the source of campaign material that seeks to persuade them to vote a certain way. Referendums in particular highlight the importance of these rules, as many campaigners may only be campaigning for a short period of time and will not be familiar to voters.”

Both advertisements read: “On the 23rd June, you will be given a once in a lifetime opportunity to help shape the future of our country. Here are some of the reasons why your vote to LEAVE is so crucial”

If the Tory government is forced to re-run by-elections on the basis of fraudulent activity, the question of where exactly a line is drawn has to be answered.


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Cambridge Analytica affair raises questions vital to our democracy

The law is clear. It’s everything else in this dark and murky business that is not. Three months on from the first appearance by Cambridge Analytica in the Observer, the questions show no sign of going away. Instead, they have become more urgent, more serious, with ever more far-reaching consequences.

Cambridge Analytica, its parent company SCL, and its relationship to the Leave campaign raise questions that cannot be ignored – questions that are vital to the integrity of our democracy and what it means to be a citizen in the digital age. Was the referendum free, fair and legally fought? Were voters covertly manipulated without their consent? And, crucially, what role exactly does Robert Mercer – Donald Trump’s biggest donor and close associate of Steve Bannon – have in all this?

Did a US billionaire play a covert but vital role in the biggest political decision Britain has made in its postwar history?

In December, Cambridge Analytica wrote to the Observer to deny it had worked for the Leave campaign. It said: “It is a US company based in the US. It hasn’t worked in British politics.” This is the starting point for everything that followed. Because evidence upon evidence has mounted suggesting this is simply not true. We know this from words spoken by Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive, filings to the Electoral Commission, statements on Leave.EU’s website, appearances by Cambridge Analytica employees at Leave.EU events. Even as Cambridge Analytica continues to deny it, Arron Banks – the co-founder of Leave.EU – tweeted last week: “We made no secret of working with Cambridge.”

He’s right. It is no secret. But to not report a donation of a service that is made at any point in the campaign and relied upon later is against the law. To accept a donation from a non-UK citizen or company is against the law – though a donation from a UK subsidiary would be legal. If illegal, the issue would go beyond the Electoral Commission. If proven, this is a criminal offence that carries a fine or up to six months in prison, Gavin Millar QC, an expert in electoral law, told the Observer.

Will the police investigate?

The law is also clear on how political parties can use your data, Millar says. It’s just like somebody knocking on your door and canvassing you the old-fashioned way, he says. They have to explain who are they are, and if you don’t want to speak to them, you can shut the door. This is how it works online too. The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a major investigation, but questions remain about what data Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU have, as well as the bigger question of whether Facebook should be selling your data to political parties without your explicit consent.

Last week, the plot thickened still further. Until now, the attention has been on Leave.EU, but in November, it was reported that Vote Leave – the official campaign group for Leave, led by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – had made payments to two groups of campaigners totalling £725,000. By law, campaigns can do this if there is no collaboration between them. However, both groups spent the money on social media advertising. Both used AggregateIQ, a small Canadian data analytics company.

AggregateIQ had already done £3.6m of work for Vote Leave. On Thursday last week, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, removed a listing for SCL Canada from its site. The phone number belongs to Zack Massingham, the director of AggregateIQ. A spokesman for SCL said it was an outdated listing of a former contractor who had done no work for Vote Leave.

What is Robert Mercer’s interest in all this?

The Observer revealed that the billionaire hedge-fund owner, and a money man behind Donald Trump, was a key figure operating behind the scenes in Brexit. Andy Wigmore of Leave.EU told us that Mercer is a personal friend of Nigel Farage and that it was he who made the introduction between Leave.EU and Cambridge Analytica. He said: “They were happy to help. Because Nigel is a good friend of the Mercers. And Mercer introduced them to us.”

Increasingly, it seems Brexit may have been the warm-up for the Trump campaign. And if we were the laboratory rats in an experiment run by a foreign billionaire, what role did we play? How was our data used? And what exactly does Robert Mercer – and his close associate, Steve Bannon – want from us?

Is this our future?

Is it the case that our elections will increasingly be decided by the whims of billionaires, operating in the shadows, behind the scenes, using their fortunes to decide our fate?



It really seriously all feel like living in a twisted episode of Black Mirror... :gross:

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DUP spent £282,000 on Brexit ad that did not run in Northern Ireland

Advert in Metro newspaper included in party’s £425,000 spend on EU referendum campaign that dwarfed its election outlay

The Democratic Unionist party spent £282,000 on a pro-Brexit advert in a newspaper that is not published in Northern Ireland, according to documents released by the Electoral Commission.

The advertising cover wrap appeared in the Metro elsewhere in the UK as part of a total DUP spend on the EU referendum campaign of £425,000, more than seven times the party’s declared expenditure of £58,183 on the 2015 general election.

Under a provision in funding rules dating to the Troubles, which allows Northern Irish political parties to accept anonymous contributions, the identity of the donors to the DUP campaign had not been made public.

But after growing pressure to name the source of the money, the DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson revealed on Friday that the little-known pro-union Constitutional Research Council (CRC) had donated.

It came hours before the commission published the expenditure of organisations and individuals that had spent more than £250,000 during the campaign. Meanwhile, the body announced that it has opened investigations into the spending of both official campaigns in the referendum and is looking into the returns of more than half a dozen other organisations.

The size of the DUP spend has led to renewed concerns about the provision. Critics have also questioned how the party raised such a large campaign fund. One warned that Northern Ireland was being used by major political donors as an “offshore secrecy haven”.

Donaldson described the CRC, chaired by the former vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative party Richard Cook, as a “group of businessmen that promotes pro-union politics”.

“I believe it is a reputable organisation and we are very pleased to have received that donation for our national campaign,” he told the Guardian.

Cook was twice a Tory general election candidate in East Renfrewshire to the south of Glasgow, once a Tory bulwark, where he stood against Labour’s Jim Murphy and lost on both occasions.

Seen as being on the right of the party, his initiative to fund an anti-EU campaign is understood to be a surprise to the party leadership. A Scottish Conservative source said: “It certainly has nothing to do with us and we have absolutely no knowledge of it at all.”

The DUP has not publicly identified any of the individuals or companies who donated to the CRC and is not obliged to do so under current rules. A party spokesperson said: “Our donor is the CRC and we have performed all the checks laid out by the Electoral Commission.”

In keeping with the rest of the UK, Northern Irish parties have to report donations of more than £7,500 to the commission. But while political parties in Northern Ireland are required to report their donations, the commission cannot publish this information other than for the purposes of civil or criminal proceedings. The exemption was designed to protect donors from possible threats or intimidation.

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said the body was unable to say if the CRC donation complied with the law, or if its staff had yet had an opportunity to check upon the donation, because of the privacy rules governing Northern Irish political parties.

Friends of the Earth in Northern Ireland started a campaign for party donor transparency five years ago.

In response to the revelations, it said: “We thought dark money was trickling through our political system, but now we know it is flowing like a torrent.”

James Orr, the environmental group’s director in Northern Ireland, said: “There are implications for the entire UK when even a small devolved country tolerates secret donations to political parties. This funding could be the tip of the iceberg.

“We have been warning everyone in the UK that the unjustifiable special status of Northern Ireland would eventually lead to a situation where major political spending could use Northern Ireland as an offshore secrecy haven.”

Investigations have begun into the official lead campaigns on both sides, Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave, which each registered total expenditures of more than £6.7m, the commission said. The elections watchdog added that £27m was spent overall, £16m by remain groups and £11m by leave organisations and individuals.

The campaigns had seemingly not provided all the invoices and receipts required to support their returns, with some other details also missing, the commission said.

The Liberal Democrats, who registered a spend of £2.2m for remain, are also being investigated over similar issues.

The commission, which has legal powers under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, said it was not yet known whether any offences had been committed.

It is also looking into the spending of six other campaigns, including Labour and Ukip, which submitted returns with discrepancies over how they reported some expenditures, the commission said.

Remain: £16,152,899

The In Campaign Ltd (Britain Stronger in Europe) - £6,767,584

Labour party – £4,845,733

Liberal Democrats – £2,225,058

Conservatives In Ltd – £658,431

Virgin Management Ltd – £488,101

Unison - £461,084

Best For Our Future Ltd - £409,438

European Movement of the UK Ltd - £297,470

Leave: £11,534,426

Vote Leave Ltd – £6,789,892

Ukip – £1,354,393

Leave.EU Group Ltd – £693,022

Brexit Express – £630,236

Labour Leave Ltd – £494,897

DUP – £425,622

Peter Harris – £421,433

Democracy Movement – £421,308

WAGTV Ltd – £303,623

Total: £27,687,325


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Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has told Newsnight that Sir John Major’s intervention into the Brexit debate "strangely bitter" and "rather sad". In a speech on Monday in London, the former Tory prime minister said Britons were being offered an "unreal and over-optimistic" vision of what leaving the EU will look like.





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Theresa May warns against ‘incentivizing’ EU to offer bad Brexit deal

British PM wants a final vote to be take-it-or-leave-it, not an opportunity for amendments




The British government told MPs that giving parliament a chance to alter the final Brexit deal would “incentivize” the EU to offer the U.K. a “bad deal.” Theresa May’s official spokesman on Monday said allowing MPs to amend whatever deal the government strikes with Brussels would “weaken” the country’s hand in negotiations.

“On the issue of the meaningful vote we shouldn’t commit to any process that would incentivize the EU to offer us a bad deal,” the spokesman said. “If we are in a position where any deal negotiated by the prime minister could be rejected by MPs obviously that gives strength to the other parties in the negotiations.”

May promised MPs and members of the House of Lords a vote on the final Brexit deal, but has said she wants this to be a take-it-or-leave-it vote, without the chance to make amendments. The Lords will on Tuesday vote on an amendment to the Article 50 bill that would commit the government to giving parliament a proper vote on the final deal. The Telegraph reported that more than a dozen Conservative peers are expected to rebel against the government and at least 20 Tory MPs will follow suit.

But the PM’s spokesman said, “Our view is that this should be a simple bill in relation to triggering Article 50. It will be a meaningful vote. But what we don’t want to do is commit to anything that would weaken our hand in negotiations.” May has repeatedly said that no Brexit deal is better than a bad Brexit deal.

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The Lords on BBC2

Am enjoying this , one is always curious to learn how the laws of the UK have come into being.

Also really interested in Lord Dubs amendment to allow unaccompanied refugee children into the UK.

Great to see Lord Trimble several times during the programme. He was instrumental in bring peace to Northern Ireland in the 1990's

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Talk about stubborn, patronising and blind

How to break up two unions indeed




Theresa May: SNP has independence 'tunnel vision'


Theresa May has accused the SNP of having "tunnel vision" over independence as she insisted that "politics is not a game". But the prime minister refused to be drawn on whether or not she would grant permission for a second referendum. She was speaking to BBC Scotland ahead of her speech at the Scottish Conservative conference on Friday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mrs May's government had "no mandate" in Scotland. And she accused the UK government of "obstinacy and intransigence" in its dealing with the devolved administrations ahead of the formal triggering of the Brexit process, which is expected to happen later this month.

The Scottish government has published a 60-page document which sets out proposals it believes could allow Scotland to remain in the EU single market even if the rest of the UK leaves - with Ms Sturgeon saying a second independence referendum is "all but inevitable" if that does not happen. Mrs May said she was "looking very closely" at the proposals and said the issues raised had been taken on board.

She said her objective was to use the Brexit negotiations to secure a "good trade agreement that works for the whole of the UK, but crucially a trade agreement that works for Scotland as well".





And she said it was wrong to say she backed a so-called "hard Brexit", but that she instead wanted "a Brexit that is going to be right for the United Kingdom, and that means being right for all parts of the United Kingdom". She also said it was "very clear" that people in Scotland did not want another vote on independence - but did not say whether she would grant permission if the Scottish Parliament called for a second referendum.

Mrs May added: "I can't help but feel that the SNP has a tunnel vision about independence. Actually I think what people want is for the SNP government to get on with dealing with the issues they want to see addressed on a day-to-day basis. "Issues like the state of the economy, reforming schools - education used to be such a great flagship for Scotland, but sadly in recent years we have seen that deteriorating."


'Grave challenge'

Mrs May said she was "passionate" about preserving the United Kingdom and pointed out that the first visit she had made as prime minister was to Scotland. In a speech earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon warned that elements of farming and fishing policy could be taken back to Westminster after Brexit, despite promises by the Leave campaign that they would be handed to Holyrood.

She said devolution was facing a "grave challenge" after "20 years of progress". But Mrs May said "no powers that are currently there will be taken away, but more could come" to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit. She added that there were some areas would need to stay at a UK level.

In response, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish government had offered "substantial concessions" over Brexit in its dealings with the UK government, which she said had shown "no similar willingness to compromise but has in fact hardened its position over Brexit".


'No mandate'

She added: "If the prime minister thinks she can come to Scotland and sermonise about where power should lie, in the manner of one of her Tory predecessors, she should remember this: Her government has no mandate in Scotland, and no democratic basis to take us out of Europe and the single market against our will.

"But increasingly, this Tory government seems to think it can do what it wants to Scotland and get away with it." In her speech at the two-day Scottish Conservative conference in Glasgow, Mrs May will highlight her commitment to "strengthening and sustaining the bonds that unite us" and say she is confident about the future of the UK.

She will also praise the work done by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who she will say has successfully "exposed the SNP's mismanagement of Scotland's schools". The Conservatives are currently the second-largest party in the Scottish Parliament, having overtaken Labour in last year's election.







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Theresa May paves way for new generation of grammar schools

Philip Hammond to set aside £320m in budget for expansion of government’s free school programme, with schools free to offer selective education


Theresa May speaks with headteacher Dan Abramson, left, and students at King’s College London Mathematics school, a free school.


Theresa May will pave the way for a new generation of grammar schools on Wednesday, as her chancellor uses the budget to push ahead with a controversial policy that is seen as a key priority for the prime minister.

Philip Hammond will plough £320m into expanding the government’s free school programme, creating 70,000 places in 140 schools, which will be free to offer selective education after the government passes legislation.

May’s pledge to end the ban on grammars during this parliament means that many of the new schools, which are largely due to open after 2020, could opt to choose pupils based on academic merit.

The chancellor will underline the government’s focus on selective education by also extending free public transport for the poorest children to grammar schools, covering those within two to 15 miles of their homes.

The news triggered an immediate backlash from groups representing teachers, asking why the money wasn’t going to existing state schools. They claimed that a funding crisis meant children faced being taught in bigger class sizes, with limited resources and fewer teachers.

Labour accused the government of “throwing more good money after bad” while the Liberal Democrats described it as an unbelievable decision in the face of “devastating cuts to school budgets”.

The policy comes alongside plans, expected to be announced on Wednesday, to put aside rising tax revenues to help build up a £60bn reserve to deal with Brexit-related uncertainty. Hammond is also likely to react to a Conservative backlash over the government’s business rates reforms by offering more transitional relief to companies and to put money towards plugging a massive funding gap for social care.








Theresa May refuses to publish her tax return following Jeremy Corbyn

Theresa May


LONDON — Theresa May has refused to publish her tax returns, following the publication of those by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Former PM David Cameron did publish his tax returns as PM. However, a spokesperson for the current prime minister said there was no "long-standing convention" for May to do the same.

"The PM published her tax returns in July as part of the Conservative party leadership process and there was no commitment then and no long-standing convention to publish [again] and there are no current plans to do so," he said. Asked whether the public would ever see another tax return from the PM, her spokesperson replied:

"No. There are no further plans to do so."

The chancellor has also refused to publish his tax return. Philip Hammond told Andrew Marr on Sunday that "I have no intention" of publishing them. "Just for the record, my tax affairs are all perfectly regular and up to date. But this demonstration politics isn’t helping to create a better atmosphere in British politics." Hammond was accused in 2014 of avoiding tax on a buy-to-let property by gifting his share of it to his wife.

The row follows the publication of Jeremy Corbyn's tax return at the weekend. The release revealed that the Labour leader earned £114,000. However, there was confusion after Corbyn's income as leader of the opposition was listed under pensions.



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8 hours ago, XXL said:









Talk about stubborn, patronising and blind

How to break up two unions indeed




Theresa May has accused the SNP of having "tunnel vision" over independence as she insisted that "politics is not a game".












the nerve!!!

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Well, Brexit already has affected the EU big time. Those 5 scenarios proposed by Junker are leading to a new EU with different integration at different speed, because that's the formula supported yesterday by Merkel and Hollande. I do wonder what will that mean. Will it mean more integration for euro countries? Will it be less integration for everyone? Will it be a door to have integration only in certain politics (economy and not social?). 

Meanwhile, social rights are not integrated AT ALL. Gays are married in a country, but not married in another. Minimum wages are a misery in some countries, and 100 hundred times higher in others. 

The only way this project could work, in my opinion, is total integration. But i guess nowadays that would be the disruption of all process, because some countries want to leave. 

Well, this next couple of years will have big surprises for the spirit of the EU. If the migrations and refugees still come by the millions, I wouldn't be surprised if there's only and economic EU, as it was before 1992, and the social and move pillars are restricted. 

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Lord Heseltine: Sacked Tory grandee reveals he has never met Theresa May despite being government adviser

The Peer lost his job after defying Ms May in Lords Brexit vote




Sacked Tory grandee Lord Heseltine has revealed he has never met Theresa May despite having been a government adviser since the Prime Minister took office. The ex-Conservative cabinet minister said he had “no relationship” with Downing Street and had been getting on with his job of promoting the devolution agenda.

Lord Heseltine was sacked after voting for and helping to pass a plan to give Parliament, and not Downing Street, the final say over Brexit, inflicting a humiliating defeat on Ms May.

In an interview he said the British public should understand that every other Parliament of every European Union nation would vote on the Brexit agreement, but that British MPs are being blocked from doing so. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he told how he had been at dinner with his wife when he received a text summoning him to a meeting with the Lords Chief Whip.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said he was given no warning he would lose his job, given to him by David Cameron, but accepted that it had been widely speculated upon in the press and that some Tories had called for it. He said: “I heard nothing from Number 10. Indeed I’ve had no relationship with Number 10 since the new Prime Minister. “I’m not complaining I was getting on with the job that I was doing.”

Lord Heseltine was instrumental in bringing down Margaret Thatcher who, like the current Prime Minister, had a reputation for centralising power in her own office. Ms May’s administration has been dogged by claims that the Prime Minister only deals with a small inner circle of trusted aides.

He added: “I’ve never met Theresa May and so I can’t make a judgement. She’s doing very well in the polls, public opinion approves of what she’s doing, so I’m not going to get involved in a tick-tack of personalities.” Downing Street later questioned Lord Heseltine's claim, with the Prime Minister's spokesman saying: "My understanding is that the PM has met Lord Heseltine."

On Tuesday Labour, Liberal Democrat and crossbench Lords joined forces with Tory rebels, including Lord Heseltine, to push through what has come to be called the “meaningful vote” amendment to the Article 50 Bill, by 366 to 268 votes.




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WTH   :manson:


PM laughs on council tax deal question | Theresa May laughs off Surrey council tax deal question. Prime Minister Theresa May very visibly tried to laugh off Jeremy Corbyn's questions about a Surrey council tax deal at Prime Minister's Questions. It comes after a leaked recording of council leader David Hodge saying he struck a deal with the government before scrapping a 15% council tax hike was obtained by the BBC. On the recording, Mr Hodge said he had written government assurances and recordings of talks. But a government spokesman said "there was no special deal".







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Where is an opposition with balls of steel to stand up against those ugly disgusting fascist bullies?

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12 hours ago, XXL said:






When this woman will finally trigger Article 50?

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6 hours ago, Nessie said:




When this woman will finally trigger Article 50?

Are you in a hurry to trade with the Divided Kingdom of twats by any chance?

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24 minutes ago, pjcowley said:

Are you in a hurry to trade with the Divided Kingdom of twats by any chance?


Absolutely not! LOL

This fiasco should be over sooner for the sake of Europe! They can pack their bags and leave for good! Better for Europe to get rid of the Divided Kingdom of twats sooner than later! Just saying.

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20 hours ago, XXL said:

WTH   :manson:


PM laughs on council tax deal question | Theresa May laughs off Surrey council tax deal question. Prime Minister Theresa May very visibly tried to laugh off Jeremy Corbyn's questions about a Surrey council tax deal at Prime Minister's Questions. It comes after a leaked recording of council leader David Hodge saying he struck a deal with the government before scrapping a 15% council tax hike was obtained by the BBC. On the recording, Mr Hodge said he had written government assurances and recordings of talks. But a government spokesman said "there was no special deal".







OMG.  She looks likes she has a fit of the hiccups but is enjoying them.  Who laughs like this ?  :wacko:  They could use this footage of her as the basis of an evil cartoon character.  Totally off-putting., 

14 hours ago, pjcowley said:

Where is an opposition with balls of steel to stand up against those ugly disgusting fascist bullies?

They are needed worldwide more than ever.,  Bernie Sanders is doing an amazing job in the USA at the moment. Speaking out all the time and exposing the issues and Trump continually.   English politicians need to step up and do it now. 

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