Commons vote on customs union will add to pressure

Yvette Cooper Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yvette Cooper is among the MPs tabling a debate on the customs union

The House of Lords voting to reject the government's existing plan for how customs will work after we leave the EU was as surprising as the sun rising in the morning and setting at night.

Why it mattered was the political encouragement and cover it gives to Conservative rebels who are considering defying Theresa May on the issue in the Commons next month.

The extent of the Lords defeat last night gave succour to MPs from different parties who are working closely together to try to change the government's current position of avoiding any form of customs union once we are completely out of the EU.

Ministers had hoped to avoid the nightmare of holding a vote on the issue in the Commons until next month, giving more time to get likely rebels on board, more time to persuade and cajole.

The fact is, as the government knows full well, if there was a one-off vote on the issue with no other strings attached, most MPs would probably choose to stay in some form of customs union.

Read full article Commons vote on customs union will add to pressure

Windrush: More than just coincidental errors

Newly arrived Jamaican immigrants on board the "Empire Windrush" at Tilbury. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Windrush generation are named after the Empire Windrush ship which brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948

As in every walk of life, mistakes happen in politics and policy.

And mistakes can happen by accident, sometimes out of negligence, or sometimes because no-one could quite have imagined the consequences of actions that they decided to take.

Read full article Windrush: More than just coincidental errors

Syria air strikes: Did MPs back May?

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMay: We have not done this because President Trump asked us to

MPs are still talking. And they will talk again tomorrow.

There are, after all, hugely important principles for them to talk about. They will not, however, have votes that make a difference to anything other than the political atmosphere at Westminster, unless something very unexpected happens.

Read full article Syria air strikes: Did MPs back May?

PM faces 'almighty row' over Syria strikes

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe PM said the use of chemical weapons could not be allowed

Prime ministers don't choose the decisions that face them. But they have to judge which way to jump.

In 2013, Theresa May's predecessor tried and failed to get approval for military action against President Assad. There was international alarm, then as now, about his suspected use of chemical weapons.

Read full article PM faces 'almighty row' over Syria strikes

Does the Brexit dividend actually exist?

  • 29 March 2018
  • From the section UK
Boris Johnson Image copyright PA
Image caption Voters were promised an additional £350m a week to fund the NHS

As was crystal clear with a focus group in Coventry last night, for many voters, Brexit was a demand for something else, a response to big promises made by politicians.

With only a year to go, and the government's main achievement so far being establishing a grace period that will pretty much keep us in the EU for another couple of years, I can't help using the phrase that haunted the prime minister in the election: "Nothing has changed."

Read full article Does the Brexit dividend actually exist?

What do people think about Brexit?

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWith a year until our departure, what do voters make of the Brexit progress so far?

There's plenty on this blog, and on our TV and radio reporting, about the political progress of Brexit, or lack thereof - the moments where it's felt like the wheels were coming off, then wheels up, as the PM flew to Brussels in the dead of night when it was suddenly all back on.

But it was the public's decision, even if it was close, and politicians across the spectrum are still dealing with the consequences of that momentous decision.

Read full article What do people think about Brexit?

Jeremy Corbyn and Labour's anti-Semitism issue

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Reuters

"Occasionally toxic." That's not Jeremy Corbyn's description of what he now admits are "pockets" of the Labour Party where prejudice against Jews can be found.

It's the description of the atmosphere in the Labour Party in an official 2016 report that investigated claims of anti-Semitism inside the party after concerns were raised over many, many months. There lies the problem.

Read full article Jeremy Corbyn and Labour's anti-Semitism issue

Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings hits out over Analytica claims

Dominic Cummings
Image caption Dominic Cummings appeared before MPs in April 2016

You couldn't make it up. On the day that the prime minister finally got the green light from her EU counterparts to move onto the next stage of the EU saga, a new blast was fired in an ongoing Brexit battle at home.

For the past week it has been impossible to ignore the controversies around Cambridge Analytica, with the excruciating, watch from behind the sofa, undercover sting on its boss, and the public relations disaster for Facebook, one of the biggest companies in the world.

Read full article Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings hits out over Analytica claims

Russian spy: EU leaders give firmer backing to May's claims

Theresa May greets European Council president Donald Tusk at the EU summit in Brussels Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Theresa May greets European Council president Donald Tusk at the EU summit in Brussels

It might not sound much, but a few small words can make a big difference.

In the last few minutes, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has used the prime minister's language about the Salisbury attack, accepting and agreeing with the British verdict that there is no other "plausible" explanation for what happened.

Read full article Russian spy: EU leaders give firmer backing to May's claims

EU summit: Theresa May's Russia mission faces Brexit test

Theresa May Image copyright EPA

Guess what? The prime minister's priority in Brussels tonight won't be Brexit.

Yes, you read that right, top of Theresa May's list at the EU summit won't be giving the long-running talks a shove forward.

Read full article EU summit: Theresa May's Russia mission faces Brexit test