Today’s Political Headlines include Cabinet disagreements over May’s transition strategy, Unilever choosing the Netherlands over the UK, Williamson warning of a Russian threat and Abbott causing controversy.
Cabinet did not agree May’s transition strategy
The Daily Telegraph reports that the Cabinet did not agree Theresa May’s strategy for the transition period before it was sent to the EU. The strategy prompted a backlash after raising the prospect of an open-ended transition period. The paper also reports that David Lidington has offered to transfer to Scotland all powers repatriated from the EU that involve devolved policy areas, in an attempt to break deadlock. As the BBC says, ministers are to gather at Chequers this afternoon to agree the Government’s approach to Brexit. The Times adds that Jeremy Corbyn is planning a major Brexit speech on Monday to set out his approach, while fears of defeat over the customs union have prompted the Government to delay the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill for up to two months.
Government braced for Unilever to pick Netherlands as its new HQ
According to the Financial Times, Theresa May is braced for the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever to announce that it has chosen the Netherlands rather than the UK for its unified headquarters following months of political pressure. The paper adds that the UK hasn’t lost all hope and believes it could still benefit from the reorganisation in other ways.
Williamson warns of Russian threat, announces new combat air strategy
Appearing before the Commons Defence Select Committee, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said that ‘state-based threats’ are his department’s ‘top priority’, citing threats from Russia, China and North Korea. The Times says that this is a change from earlier policy, which put terrorism first. The Financial Times adds that Williamson promised a new combat air strategy in the summer and a review of national security capabilities by the end of March,
Abbott causes controversy by comparing UK attitudes to immigration to 1930s Germany
The Daily Telegraph claims that Diane Abbott has ‘sparked fury’ by comparing those with concerns about immigration to the UK to people who ‘scapegoated’ minority groups in pre-Nazi Germany. Abbott used Weimar Germany as an example in a speech on immigration policy, arguing that ‘economic collapse has always led to scapegoating the other’.
Domestic abusers to be given longer sentences
According to The Times, new guidance drawn up by the Sentencing Council will see domestic abusers given longer sentences than those who commit similar offences outside the home environment. The change has been made because such behaviour is rarely a ‘one-off’.
Tories set to lose at least three London boroughs
The Mirror reports that a poll shows the Conservatives are set to face a ‘humiliating’ defeat in at least three London boroughs this May. Across the capital, Labour has 54% of the vote and the Tories have 28%. If this result is replicated at the London council elections in May, Labour would have the highest share won by a party in the elections since 1968.
Gove asks Ofwat to investigate water companies’ behaviour
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, Michael Gove, has written to Ofwat asking it to investigate concerns over prices, leaks, executive pay and payments to shareholders by water companies, the BBC says. He is willing to give Ofwat new powers if it asks for them.
Sinn Fein says May has no plan to save powersharing
Sinn Fein has accused Theresa May of having no plan to save powersharing in Northern Ireland, and claim the Prime Minister is ‘facilitating’ the DUP in blocking the process, The Guardian reports. The party’s leader, Mary Lou McDonald warned that a political vacuum would be ‘extremely dangerous’.
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