Speaker grants emergency Commons debate on allegations about Vote Leave breaking election spending rules – as it happened

Russia 0 Comment 5

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May’s Commons statement about last week’s EU summit

7.04pm BST

No, I’m sorry, that is not what I should be doing, my political secretary does a very good job. As I have said any statements that have been made were personal statement.

6.45pm BST

This is what Jeremy Corbyn said in his speech about the evidence for Russia being responsible for the Salisbury attack.

Based on the analysis conducted by government scientists, there can be little doubt that the nerve agent used in this attack was military-grade novichok of a type manufactured by Russia. Since that analysis was revealed by the prime minister two weeks ago the Russian state has had every opportunity to offer a plausible explanation as to how a nerve agent stock of this type came to be used in this attack.

They’ve offered nothing concrete in response except denials and diversion. Indeed, the only solid assertion they’ve offered so far in their defence was that all stocks of nerve agent were destroyed many years ago, an assertion that has been contradicted by intelligence reports. That suggests that just over a decade ago Russia invested in the use of nerve agents and developed new stockpiles of novichok to that end.

There is clear evidence that the Russian state has a case to answer and that they’ve failed to do so and we can therefore draw no other conclusion other than Russia has a direct or indirect responsibility for this.

6.26pm BST

In the Commons Corbyn says he has been criticising Russia for 20 years.

The Labour MP John Woodcock intervenes. He says that is just not true. He recalls reading articles by Corbyn about Ukraine which did not criticise Russia.

6.15pm BST

A Tory MP intervenes, and asks Corbyn for a clear answer: does he hold it responsible for the Salisbury attack, yes or no?

Corbyn says he has already answered that.

6.10pm BST

In the Commons Jeremy Corbyn is now speaking in the Russia debate, following May.

He condemns what happened in Salisbury. And he says the Russians have offered no plausible explanation for what happened.

6.07pm BST

Back in the Commons May is winding up her speech now.

She says the UK does not want to be in a permanent state of dispute with Russia. Many of us thought that, after the cold war was over, a better relationship would be possible, she says. But she says the UK will do everything necessary to keep its people safe.

6.05pm BST

Here is Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, on why EU countries have been so willing to support the UK’s stance against Russia.

Why has EU been more supportive of UK on #Skripal than expected? 1) UK provided convincing intel on Russia’s likely involvement; 2) Macron, Merkel & Tusk gave a firm lead; and 3) EU wants UK to contribute to European security post-Brexit – support on Skripal makes it more likely.

5.59pm BST

Jeremy Corbyn has posted on Twitter the text of the open letter he has sent to the British Board of Jewish Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council. (See 5.10pm.)

I have written to the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council. I will never be anything other than a militant opponent of antisemitism. In this fight, I am an ally and always will be. pic.twitter.com/QhQnFEpplU

5.56pm BST

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which has helped to organise the rally outside parliament protesting about antisemitism in the Labour party, has been tweeting from the event.

Members of the Jewish community, Labour MPs (including @LouiseEllman @ChukaUmunna and @wesstreeting) and anti-racist allies are amassing in Parliament Square to say #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/QgkidLgowq

.@JohnMannMP ‘’what is going wrong with our party when we have to hold this kind of event.’ pic.twitter.com/BtowufFCYq

5.46pm BST

Theresa May is now opening a general debate about national security and Russia.

She says Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are still critically ill and “may never fully recover”.

5.39pm BST

John Bercow, the speaker, says he is satisfied that this is a proper subject for an emergency debate. If there were to be a debate, it would be a general debate, he says. It would not be anything more or less than that. It would not be a matter of the Commons taking sides.

He asks if Brake has the leave of the House. MPs do not object, and so Bercow says Brake has the leave of the House.

5.35pm BST

The Lib Dem MP Tom Brake is now making an application for an emergency debate on the allegations published in the Observer at the weekend about Vote Leave breaking the rules on referendum spending limits.

He says he has written to the Electoral Commission about these allegations.

5.31pm BST

During May’s statement the Labour MPs Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle both asked Theresa May to justify the decision of her political secretary, Stephen Parkinson, to out a whistleblower who accused Vote Leave of breaking EU referendum spending rules. (See 4.46pm and 4.49pm.)

They are both among the 16 Labour parliamentarians who have signed an open letter to May on this subject saying Parkinson should be sacked.

The outing of the whistleblower who exposed evidence of law breaking by the Leave campaign as gay, thereby endangering his family in Pakistan, was completely unacceptable & the PM must act. pic.twitter.com/pybC40iFjQ

5.24pm BST

Outside the House of Commons around 300 people have reportedly turned up for the joint Jewish Leadership Council/Board of Deputies of British Jews rally calling for Labour to to take antisemitism more seriously.

Around 300 protesters now in Parliament Square for the “Enough is Enough” protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour party, organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council

Before the big demo against antisemitism there’s a counter-demo – also in Parliament Square – in support of Corbyn pic.twitter.com/obeeF9ldPH

Now Board of Deputies cry “Shame on You” to pro Corbyn lobby pic.twitter.com/up9T0ctHMH

The two demos have now come together. “Left-wing fascists!” “Corbyn, anti-racist? You must be joking!” “Shame on you!”

“Oh Jeremy’s a racist” sing one group. “You don’t speak for us,” responds irate teenager

5.13pm BST

Back in the Commons Simon Hoare, a Conservative, asks if the ugly rise of antisemitism came up at the EU summit. May says it did not come up, but she says it has no place either on the continent or here.

5.10pm BST

Jeremy Corbyn has conceded that there is a problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party. Responding to last night’s forceful attack from the British Board of Jewish Deputies in a letter to them and the Jewish Leadership Council, he apologised “sincerely”. He said:

I recognise that antisemitism has surfaced within the Labour party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples. This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our Party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.

While the forms of antisemitism expressed on the far Right of politics are easily detectable, such as Holocaust denial, there needs to be a deeper understanding of what constitutes antisemitism in the labour movement. Sometimes this evil takes familiar forms – the east London mural which has caused such understandable controversy is an example. The idea of Jewish bankers and capitalists exploiting the workers of the world is an old antisemitic conspiracy theory. This was long ago, and rightly, described as “the socialism of fools.” I am sorry for not having studied the content of the mural more closely before wrongly questioning its removal in 2012.

Newer forms of antisemitism have been woven into criticism of Israeli government. Criticism of Israel, particularly in relation to the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people, cannot be avoided. Nevertheless, comparing Israel or the actions of Israeli governments to the Nazis, attributing criticisms of Israel to Jewish characteristics or to Jewish people in general and using abusive phraseology about supporters of Israel such as “Zio” all constitute aspects of contemporary antisemitism. And Jewish people must not be held responsible or accountable for the actions of the Israeli government.

The battle against antisemitism should never become a party political issue. It must unite all of us if we are both to honour the memory of the victims of the bestial crimes of the 20th century and build a future of equality and justice for all.

In that spirit, I must make it clear that I will never be anything other than a militant opponent of antisemitism. In this fight, I am your ally and always will be.

5.07pm BST

Asked about claims that rules were broken by Vote Leave in the EU referendum, May says that is a matter for the Electoral Commission.

5.05pm BST

Alistair Jack, a Conservative, asks for an assurances that fishing rights will not he hard-wired into a future trade deal with the EU. (He means fishing rights for EU countries. Jack is a Scottish MP, representing Dumfries and Galloway.)

May say, having looked at what happened to fishing rights in the negotiations to join the EEC in the 1970s (when, by general consent, the UK got a very poor deal on fishing), she is determined to do things very differently this time.

4.56pm BST

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory Brexiter, says as part of the transition the government has had to compromise on its red lines. He says this will be acceptable proved they are restored after the transition is over. Can May assure him that, at that point, the UK willr regain control of its borders and its laws and that the European court of justice will no longer have jurisdiction.

May says, after the transition, the UK will leave the single market, the customs union and the common fisheries policy. She says the UK is clear it is taking back control of its laws. But she says Rees-Mogg will know that the agreement reached in December said the ECJ would continue to have a role in deciding cases relating to the rights of EU nationals after Brexit.

4.52pm BST

Sir Desmond Swayne, a Conservative, asks May if she agrees that Labour’s stance on the passport contract (see 3.56pm) would be a “passport to ruin’.

May agrees. She says, unlike Labour, the government believes in competition and open markets.

4.49pm BST

Labour’s Angela Eagle says May should sack Stephen Parkinson.

May says that is not what she should be doing. She says Parkinson does a good job.

4.46pm BST

Labour’s Ben Bradshaw asks how it could be acceptable for May’s political secretary, Stephen Parkinson, to issue a personal statement in response to the Vote Leave allegations outing someone as gay, and putting people at risk.

May says it was a personal statement that was issued. She says she understands the concern, but she wants to live in a world where people can be open about their sexuality.

4.44pm BST

In response to a question from the DUP’s Nigel Dodds, May says she agrees that, rather than focusing on the “backstop” solution to the Irish border problem, the UK and the EU should be focusing on finding a solution through option a (ie, through a new trade relationship).

4.42pm BST

Labour’s Hilary Benn, the chair of the Brexit committee, if the EU is trying to freeze the UK out of Galileo contracts being awarded in June. (See 12.38pm.)

May says, while the UK remains in the EU, it should be treated as an EU member. She says it is in the EU’s interest to keep treating the UK as a member because of the expertise it can provide.

4.35pm BST

John Redwood, the Tory Brexiter, asks when the government will legislate for things like a new farming policy and a new fishing policy. May says legislation will come forward.

4.34pm BST

Sir Bill Cash, the Tory Brexiter, asks of an assurance that the European court of justice will not have jurisdiction over the UK after Brexit.

May says the ECJ will still apply during the transition. She says it will not hold sway afterwards. But there are some issues to be resolved, she says, such as who will rule on the withdrawal agreement. She says there are some interesting proposals in play that would give neither side absolute primacy.

4.32pm BST

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, asks what May and EU leaders are doing to ensure NGOs in Russia get support.

He asks what the government is doing about Scottish limited partnerships, which he says have been abused for money laundering.

4.26pm BST

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader and former work and pensions secretary, praises May for her stance on Russia. He says she was right to reject Corbyn’s approach. Corbyn wanted a “never-ending dialogue with those what would harm you most”, he says.

4.25pm BST

May is responding to Corbyn.

She says she has been very clear about how a hard border in Ireland can be avoided. The government has set out proposals for this, she says.

4.22pm BST

Jeremy Corbyn is responding now.

He says he called for a multinational response to the Salisbury attack. So he welcomes today’s coordinated expulsions, he says.

4.16pm BST

May says people are tired of people refighting the arguments from the EU referendum. They are now coming together, she says.

4.14pm BST

May says there are key questions to be resolved, including the governance of the agreement and what to do about the Irish border.

She says the commission proposals for a backstop agreement on regulatory alignment between the EU and Northern Ireland were not acceptable because they did not properly reflect the joint report agreed in December.

4.12pm BST

Turning to Brexit, she says she is today placing copies of the draft EU withdrawal agreement in the Commons library.

EU leaders welcomed this, she says.

4.10pm BST

May is now talking about steel tariffs.

She says she welcomes the temporary exemption to new US tariffs offered to the EU. But the EU wants to make this permanent, she says.

4.10pm BST

Theresa May is making her statement now.

She starts by sending her condolences to those killed in the French terrorist attack on Friday. And she pays tribute to the French police officer, Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame, praising him in French.

3.57pm BST

Theresa May is about to give a Commons statement. Officially it will be about the outcome of last week’s EU summit, but this means it will also cover Brexit, and the transition deal, and Russia.

3.56pm BST

In the Commons Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister, has been responding to an urgent question about the proposal to award the contract for the new passports to a Franco-Dutch firm. She has been defending the decision in the face of criticism from, among others, the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who criticised the bid outcome and said that, in procurement decisions, the cheapest option wasn’t always the best.

Interestingly, on this issue, the Labour party is being more economically nativist than the Sun newspaper, which published this editorial on the subject last week.

Really interestingly pitched leader from the Sun on the blue passports pic.twitter.com/ckRH6TOMHw

3.50pm BST

Here is the full text of Sir Keir Starmer’s Brexit speech. The shadow Brexit secretary did not have anything to announce going beyond what was trailed in advance. But he made a clear case as to why he thinks the Brexit talks are going badly, and why he thinks Labour has been right not to side with leave or remain.

The most important sections were those were he described the amendments to the EU withdrawal bill Labour will table in the Lords. Here are the key passages.

Lord Callanan [a Brexit minister] said just last week that if the deal is voted down it would be ‘an instruction to move ahead without a deal’.

No it won’t. That is totally unacceptable.

Legal certainty is now needed.

That is why – working with others – Labour will ensure an amendment is introduced to the EU withdrawal [bill] that would prevent checks, controls or physical infrastructure of any kind at the border.

No Q&A from Keir Starmer after his speech today, despite the Labour Party promising on Saturday that there would be one…

This from Labour’s Brexit speech today is classic @Keir_Starmer – Intriguingly open for those who want to see a second referendum if the deal is rejected, and implausibly/confusingly cake-and-eat-it on the likelihood that going back to Brussels and trying again will change much. pic.twitter.com/u8qSX1rcrg

3.34pm BST

The Russian embassy in Washington has said that Moscow will retaliate for the closure of its bureau in Seattle by closing an American consular office in Russia. It’s holding a Twitter ballot on possible candidates.

US administration ordered the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle @GK_Seattle. What US Consulate General would you close in @Russia, if it was up to you to decide

3.24pm BST

This is from the BBC’s Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg.

Russian foreign ministry calls mass expulsion of Russian diplomats an “unfriendly step…provocative gesture”, accuses those countries which expelled Russians of being “puppets of the British authorities.”

To give you an idea of the flexibility of Russ official position, State TV now reporting UK using Brexit to “force solidarity” from Euro allies. Both counter to previous multiple positions and general logic

3.11pm BST

Ukraine (which is not in the EU, of course) is participating in the anti-Russian initiative. It is expelling 13 Russian diplomats.

In response to #SalisburyAttack and in the spirit of solidarity with our British partners, Ukraine decided to expel 13 Russian diplomats https://t.co/spjSJRn2Q9

3.07pm BST

This is from the Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen. Denmark is expelling two Russian diplomats.

Russia has gone too far. An assassination attempt in a European city with a Russian nerve agent is completely unacceptable. The UK has our full support. Denmark will expel two Russian diplomats in our joint European response to the #SalisburyAttack. #dkpol

3.03pm BST

Boris Johnson says today has seen “the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers” ever.

Today’s extraordinary international response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever & will help defend our shared security. Russia cannot break international rules with impunity

3.01pm BST

And France is also expelling four Russians. This is from the French foreign ministry.

#SalisburyAttack: @JY_LeDrian has announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats from France. https://t.co/KxHWotoJWp pic.twitter.com/fLlnBX4E3Y

2.54pm BST

Germany is expelling four Russian diplomats. This is from the German foreign ministry.

Germany will expel four Russian diplomats. To this day #Russia has shown no efforts to support investigations after the #Salisbury attack. “The decision was not taken lightly”, says FM @HeikoMaas. pic.twitter.com/FypOcf2PjM

2.51pm BST

Canada is expelling four Russian diplomats, and refusing entry to another three, as part of its response to the Salisbury attack, its foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has said in a statement.

Canada expels Russian diplomats in solidarity with United Kingdom. Full statement: https://t.co/rsI8gYxccZ

2.48pm BST

Here is the full text of Donald Tusk’s statement about 14 EU countries expelling Russian diplomats today.

2.46pm BST

Here is the US state department’s statement on the Russian diplomat expulsions.

State department statement on expulsion of Russian spies. pic.twitter.com/bp9NKRKz0a

White House statement on Russian spy expulsions pic.twitter.com/2KGb4imstF

The White House has put out an official statement on the Russian spy expulsions but nothing so far from Trump’s Twitter feed or from him verbally. Same pattern as always when it comes to Russia. https://t.co/IWTcjtaMcw

2.43pm BST

This is from the Lithuanian foreign minister, Linas Linkevicius.

In solidarity with the UK over #SalisburyAttack Lithuania has undertaken decision to: expel 3 Russian intelligence officers operating under diplomatic cover; sanction additional 21 individuals under the Lithuanian Magnitsky Act; ban 23 more from the entrance to LT. @BorisJohnson

2.42pm BST

This is from the BBC’s Daniel Sandford.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova is not happy. She has written on Facebook a long post about the ” conspiracy of anti-Russian solidarity imposed by the British” on EU countries pic.twitter.com/nkJaOX3ULe

2.41pm BST

Sky’s Alistair Bunkall is keeping a running total of the Russian diplomat expulsions.

Mass co-ordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats:

US – 60
Czech – 3
Ukraine – 13
Lithuania – 3
Latvia – 1
Poland – 4
Germany – 4
France – 4

Good day for Downing St.

It’s not over yet…
Netherlands – 2
Estonia – 1

2.20pm BST

Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, has been making a short statement in Bulgaria about the expulsion of Russian diplomats from EU countries.

2.08pm BST

The US has ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials, including a dozen based at the United Nations, who Washington says are spies, in response to the nerve agent attack in the UK, my colleagues Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour report.

Related: US to expel 60 Russian diplomats over Skripal attack

2.05pm BST

This is from my colleague Patrick Wintour.

US expelling 60 Russian diplomats from Washington in wake of Skripal poisoning and now as many as 14 EU countries preparing to follow suit. Germany expelling 4 intelligence related officials.

1.59pm BST

Jewish Voice for Labour is opposed to the joint Jewish Leadership Council/Board of Deputies of British Jews rally being planned for Parliament Square this afternoon calling for Jeremy Corbyn to take antisemitism more seriously. JVL is organising a counter-rally to support the Labour leader. In a statement it said:

We are Jews in the Labour party currently actively campaigning for Labour in local elections. We are appalled by the actions and statements of the Board of Deputies. They do not represent us or the great majority of Jews in the party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness. Jeremy’s consistent commitment to anti-racism is all the more needed now.

As the British people call time on May and the Tories, they are getting more desperate. There is massively more antisemitism on the right of politics than on the left.

Join us tomorrow. Join in solidarity. Join us. pic.twitter.com/9sFRc1jXvV

1.26pm BST

More voters in Great Britain rate leaving the EU as a priority ahead of maintaining the Union with Northern Ireland, a poll has suggested. As the Press Association reports, more than a third of those polled (36%) said exiting the European Union was a higher priority than keeping Northern Ireland within the UK. Of those surveyed, 29% said retaining Northern Ireland within the UK was more important than Brexit.
Around 22% said neither was important, while the remainder said they did not know which one to prioritise higher. The YouGov poll, commissioned by radio station LBC, did not survey voters within Northern Ireland. The online poll sampled 1,630 adults living in Great Britain. It was conducted between March 21 and 22.

1.24pm BST

Simon Case, the official in the Brexit department in charge of finding a solution for the Irish border, has resigned after three months, my colleague Lisa O’Carroll reports. Case is leaving his role to become Prince William’s private secretary.

Related: Brexit official tasked with solving Irish border issue quits

1.19pm BST

According to BuzzFeed’s Mark Di Stefano, the whistleblowers Shahmir Sanni and Christopher Wylie will not be appearing at the Bindmans press conference this afternoon.

The big joint-press conference with Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie and Leave whistleblower Shahmir Sanni has just been canned. Replaced instead by lawyers. pic.twitter.com/Et6StVT3GQ

1.15pm BST

A Tory peer will push through a draft law introducing same sex marriage into Northern Ireland in the House of Lords at the same time as a Labour MP introduces an identical bill into the House of Commons. The marriage (same sex couples) (Northern Ireland) bill will be introduced by Conservative peer Lord Hayward on Tuesday afternoon. The following day, Labour MP Conor McGinn will introduce his identical Bill in the House of Commons. Lord Hayward said:

It gives me great honour to launch the Westminster campaign for equal marriage rights in Northern Ireland in the House of Lords.

I am pleased to introduce the marriage (same sex couples) (Northern Ireland) bill in the Lords with the support of the Love Equality campaign from Northern Ireland. The strength of public opinion for equal marriage rights in Northern Ireland will be shown by the petition they are due to present to Downing Street later this week.

1.12pm BST

There will be an urgent question in the Commons this afternoon on the passport contract row. That means Theresa May’s statement will not start until about 4.15pm.

There will also be an application for an emergency debate on the Vote Leave over-spending allegations. If this does get granted, the debate will take place tomorrow.

One urgent question granted to @LizTwistMP to ask @AmberRuddHR if she will make a statement on why the contract for the new UK Passport has been awarded to a French-owned company

Application for an emergency debate on alleged breaches of electoral law during the EU referendum will be made by @tombrakemp after PM’s statement

12.55pm BST

Measures to cut global inequality would be at the heart of British aid policy under a Labour government, according to a green paper published by the party today. As my colleague Karen McVeigh reports, a Labour government would introduce Britain’s first explicitly feminist international development policy, with a threefold increase in funding for grassroots women’s groups.

Related: Labour: cutting global inequality must be at core of British aid programme

12.38pm BST

Here are the main points from the Number 10 lobby briefing.

Observer/C4 story utterly ludicrous, #VoteLeave won fair & square – and legally. We are leaving the EU in a year and going global #TakeBackControl #GlobalBritain

The prime minister is clear that cheating has absolutely no place in cricket, or indeed any sport. The Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said that cricket fans will be shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news, and the prime minister agrees with that.

The European Commission wrote to the UK in January to explain that it would be inappropriate to divulge highly sensitive information about post-2019 PRS plans to a departing member state.

“If the commission shared this information with the UK (which will become a third country) it would irretrievably compromise the integrity of certain elements of these systems for many years after the withdrawal of the UK,” the commission said, according to an official who had seen the letter.

FT: May battles to keep Britain in EU’s €10bn Galileo satellite programme #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/7AKRbUIXRs

The government’s position is very clear, which is that there will be a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal where parliament can choose to either accept that deal or we can leave without a deal. But we will be leaving the European Union on March 29 2019.

Diplomatic expulsions about to start. Baltic States {Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and Poland summoning the Russian ambassador in respective countries for meetings.

11.49am BST

I’m back from the Number 10 lobby briefing. There were a few half-interesting lines on various stories, but I suppose this was the main line.

10.56am BST

Here are alternative views on the Corbyn antisemitism row from two sensible Labour figures.

From the Labour MP Chuka Umunna

Thread: There inevitably will be those that jump to defend and who declare this issue is being ‘weaponised’ to attack @jeremycorbyn. But every @UKLabour member should be deeply ashamed that it has come to this. /1 https://t.co/MIKJqsrGFS

If you are incapable of seeing that @UKLabour has a problem with anti-semitism, you really should not be in our party. We are not a personality cult, we are a party that is supposed to stand against hatred and racism. It’s about time we lived up to our values. /2

My comments will attract abuse, the usual ‘get out of the party, ‘get behind the leader’, ‘sabotage’& ‘coup’ claims. Frankly, I don’t care. As a family that have been the victims of racism, I never ever will let that get in the way of saying what must be said on these issues. /3

Sorry to see Jewish leaders ganging up on Corbyn. Far less anti-semitism in the Labour Party than in other parts of society and in some other political parties. Suspect it has more to do with criticism of Israel than anti-semitism.

Alleged anti-semitism yet another stick with which to beat Corbyn — along with Corbyn ‘friend of the IRA, Hizbollah, Hamas, Czech spy, Soviet spy….’ You name it. Whatever next?

I am not a Corbynista, but I can see what’s going on here. Sorry to see that some of my Labour colleagues have fallen for it. Anyone in doubt should read this morning’s Tory press. https://t.co/ndwSkH9NTz

10.29am BST

British officials are in Brussels today to discuss the Irish border aspect of the Brexit negotiations. According to a story by Tom McTague and Charlie Cooper for Politico Europe, they are “developing a plan to solve the Irish border issue by keeping the whole of the UK aligned with a subset of the EU’s single market rules”.

10.23am BST

To mark the third anniversary of the escalation of the Yemen conflict, Save the Children ambassadors Joely Richardson and Natasha Kaplinsky have signed a petition urging the UK government to immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and ensure unfettered humanitarian access to children in Yemen. As the Press Association reports, Richardson said: “Children should never be the victims of war, and they should be protected, and we shouldn’t be selling arms towards anyone that would bomb children and civilians.” The petition, which has more than 60,000 signatures, is being handed in to the Foreign Office.

10.17am BST

John Mann, the Labour backbencher and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on antisemitism, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show that antisemitism could destroy the Labour party. Here are the main points from his interview.

If [Corbyn] is incapable of dealing with this problem now, then the Labour party is not going to survive …

He is not going to be prime minister of this country if he does not lead and sort this problem … If he can’t sort this problem now, he will not be the prime minister of this country, we will not be in power. And, frankly, the Labour party has an even bigger crisis than that because this is about the actual existence of the Labour party. The Labour party was formed to deal with prejudice and discrimination. It’s been in our DNA through our 100 and more years’ history. If he fails to deal with this, then he destroys the very essence of the Labour party.

I don’t know. I don’t think he’s antisemitic.

What I do know is that he has failed to take action on removing antisemites from the Labour party. And there are an increasing number of them who have joined, explicit antisemites.

Having seen that mural, I’m astonished … because that mural is classic antisemitism. I’m astonished that any senior politician, of any kind, cannot recognise that antisemitism. [Corbyn] needs to answer why he failed to see that.

9.47am BST

This is the full text of the open letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council about antisemitism in the Labour party that was released last night.

Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough. We have had enough of hearing that Jeremy Corbyn “opposes antisemitism”, whilst the mainstream majority of British Jews, and their concerns, are ignored by him and those he leads.

There is a repeated institutional failure to properly address Jewish concerns and to tackle antisemitism, with the Chakrabarti report being the most glaring example of this.

9.32am BST

There will be a lot of politics around this afternoon, including two major Jewish organisations holding a protest in Parliament Square this afternoon about antisemitism in the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged failure to deal with it properly. This has been a longstanding complaint against the Labour leader, which was reignited last week after it emerged that in 2012 he put a message on Facebook supporting a mural that was clearly antisemitic. In a message at the end of last week he said he had not looked at the mural properly. Last night, with the row continuing to escalate, he posted a much extensive message on Facebook, saying he was “sorry” for the pain caused by antisemitism in the party. He said:

Labour is an anti-racist party and I utterly condemn antisemitism, which is why as leader of the Labour Party I want to be clear that I will not tolerate any form of antisemitism that exists in and around our movement. We must stamp this out from our party and movement.

We recognise that antisemitism has occurred in pockets within the Labour Party, causing pain and hurt to our Jewish community in the Labour Party and the rest of the country. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused.

Related: Jewish leaders accuse Jeremy Corbyn of ‘siding with antisemites’

I also will be asking him how he could possibly say that he did not really look at the mural which he supported which was grotesquely antisemitic. I want him to explain to me how he’s a member of two notably antisemitic Facebook groups, and he says he did not notice. Everything with Jeremy Corbyn is, one, ‘I hear no evil, I see no evil, I wasn’t looking, I did not see anything’. Frankly, I find that strains my credulity.

Continue reading…
Source: russia
Link : Speaker grants emergency Commons debate on allegations about Vote Leave breaking election spending rules – as it happened


Leave a comment


Back to Top