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#Conservative win marks bad day for people of Britain, says #GUE/NGL


A statement by GUE/NGL Co-President Martin Schirdewan on the Conservative Party’s victory in the British general election: “Today is a sad day for people living in Britain.

“It is bitterly disappointing that the message of hope has not carried in the face of a dirty and dishonest campaign by the Conservatives.

“Voters who had voted for change, for an end to austerity, for social and tax justice, will now have to endure a government bent on social inequality, deregulation, discrimination and xenophobia.

“It is also now clear that Britain will be leaving the EU at the end of January. As the Left in the European Parliament, we will continue to hold the British government to their commitments under The Good Friday Agreement,” he added.

“Furthermore, we will protect the interests of people across the EU in the negotiations on the future relationship. We will also seek to safeguard the interests of the people in Britain, and will work with the broader labour movement and progressive forces in Britain to this end,” said Schirdewan.

Also commenting on the vote’s impact on Brexit, Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin, Ireland) said: “The people in the North of Ireland want to remain in the EU. The result of this election shows that the only way that this can happen is through Irish unity – a referendum on which is guaranteed under The Good Friday Agreement.”

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#Brexit – ‘We are ready to start the next phase, to defend and promote Europe’s interests’ #EUCO


 

The decisive victory by the British Conservatives in yesterday’s general election was widely and enthusiastically welcomed by European leaders attending today’s (13 December) European Council.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said that they welcomed the certainty that the election provided and said that it had been difficult when things had been agreed in Brussels, then rejected by the House of Commons. Bettel added that it is also time for Boris to deliver.

The President of the European Council Charles Michel said that the EU is ready to start the next phase: “We are ready also to defend and to promote the European interest the level-playing field is a very important goal for us.”

The President of the European Commission underlined that the timeframe to reach an agreement in the second phase was going to be very challenging, she said that the EU will be ready to get the most out of the short period available. Von der Leyen was keen emphasise that while the UK would become a third country, she hoped that the UK would enjoy an unprecedented partnership with the EU. She also said that she hoped for a deal that was: “no tariffs, no quotas, no dumping.” The reference to ‘dumping’ refers to the guaranteeing of minimum standards in several fields including state aid, environmental and consumer standards, social rights and other fields. She also added that we should “care” for the 3.5 million European citizens living in the UK.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar congratulates Prime Minister Johnson on and “an enormous victory for him […] and for his party.” Varadkar also welcomed the clear majority the PM enjoys and hopes that it will help in swiftly ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement. Varadkar reminded us that the agreement would guarantee no hard border between North and South, the protection of the common travel area, and the protection of British and Irish citizen’s rights.

Varadkar said it was also important to work with Prime Minister Johnson on getting the Northern Ireland executive and assembly up and running again and that this will have to be a key priority for the next couple of weeks.

All leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron were optimistic about an ambitious trade deal, but all made it clear that the deal would be conditional. However, it is already clear that many countries will have very specific red lines. On her way into the European Council, Danish Prime Minister said that she would insist on access to British waters for fishing.

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UK wing of Bangladesh’s ruling party appear to be campaigning for Labour candidate – Channel 4 News


Should a British parliamentary candidate receive campaign support from an organisation linked to an oppressive foreign government?

Questions are being asked about an operation to support  Labour’s candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn in north London. Tulip Siddiq is the niece of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, whose government is accused of serious human rights violations.

Channel 4 News has seen evidence that the UK wing of Bangladesh’s ruling party has been running a campaign to support Tulip Siddiq’s re-election.

Ms Siddiq claims this is “categorically untrue”. Fatima Manji reports



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Comedy writer David Javerbaum on religion, satire and controversial humour – Channel 4 News


God Almighty has been brought to life on the stage.

In a new play by the multi-award winning American comedy writer David Javerbaum God wears silk pyjamas and has some ‘wrath management issues’.

The writer who worked on the hugely popular comedy The Daily Show has adapted the play for a British audience incorporating topical issues like Brexit. I went to meet him at the The Vaults theater in Waterloo.



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‘The risk of #Brexit happening without a ratified deal still exists’ Phil Hogan 


European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan

Speaking at his first event in Ireland as the European Commissioner for Trade (6 December), Phil Hogan addressed what he described as the ‘seemingly endless’ question of Brexit, as well as other pressing trade issues.  

Hogan is hoping that next week’s UK general election will provide clarity and unblock paralysis. He told Irish business leaders that ‘we are not out of the woods yet’ and that the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit still exist. He advised the audience of Irish businesses to continue with their work on preparedness given the lack of certainty. The Commissioner appeared to unwittingly acknowledge that a new government, of any hue, will not deliver clarity on what the UK’s situation will be at the end of 2021. 

EU still in the dark about what the UK wants 

Hogan accused the British media of quoting him out of context when he said that he thought that a deal was achievable before the end of 2020. He said the truth was that there was no accurate way to predict how long it would take to negotiate a deal with the UK as there was no precedent. He said that the UK needs to focus on content, the ‘nuts and bolts’ not timing. 

Hogan said he was still in the dark about what type of Free Trade Agreement the UK ultimately want. He said that the UK must outline preferences, define its offensive and defensive interests for each stage of the negotiations, consider the necessary trade-offs and compromises. He urged UK negotiators to involve also stakeholders in defining each stage of negotiations and to have a frank discussion about pros and cons. He said that there was little point negotiating a deal without knowing whether it will gain domestic approval. 

Hogan said the new agreement will secure that there was no hard border on the island of Ireland, but did not address the checks and controls that would apply across the Irish Sea. Today, the Labour Party revealed the contacts of a report on future arrangements written by Her Majesty’s Treasury. Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Brexit Keir Starmer accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of lying about his deal when he has made repeated claims that it would mean no customs checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.  

Hogan told his audience that he warmly welcomed the deal’s commitment to maintaining EU state aid and VAT rules in Northern Ireland, enforceable in the European Court of Justice.  

Making a point that has been made by the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, he made it clear that given the EU’s geographical proximity and economic interdependence the EU would expect solid guarantees in relation to state aid, labour, environmental protection and tax arrangements. He said that the EU has made it abundantly clear that an ‘ambitious’ deal will be contingent on these guarantees.  

It is the UK’s desire to diverge from these EU level-playing-field standards that will be highly problematic. During the campaign Johnson has promised that he will introduce new state aid rules, that will allow the government to intervene more in the economy.  

Hogan lamented that many in the UK had not yet ‘woken up’ to the fact that anything other than EU membership would be greatly inferior to the status quo. 

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Court of Appeal overturns convictions 47 years after four men jailed – Channel 4 News


Nearly 50 years after being found guilty of stealing handbags at a London tube station – three men had their names cleared today at the Old Bailey.

They were convicted on the evidence of a corrupt police officer in 1972. Winston Trew, Sterling Christie, George Griffiths alongside another man, Constantine Boucher, who’s not been traced became known as “The Oval Four”.

Their convictions rested on evidence given by a British Transport Police  Detective Sergeant named Derek Ridgewell whose career ended in disgrace.

Winston Trew who’s now 69, has always maintained his innocence.

He served eight months of a two year prison sentence back then.



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Growing division on future of NATO – Channel 4 News


There’s growing evidence of division among leaders on the future of NATO – as a war of words continued throughout the day between Presidents Trump and Macron.

Tomorrow’s leaders meeting – involving 29 member states including Russia – could see heated talks on a number of issues, including Turkey’s military actions in Syria, and President Macron’s recent comments about NATO becoming “brain-dead”.



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Cressida Dick applauds police for swift response to London Bridge terrorist


The Met’s commissioner says police confronted the suspect within five minutes (Picture: Getty/BBC)

The speed at which officers dealt with the London Bridge terror attacker has been praised by the Metropolitan Police’s top cop.

Cressida Dick made the remarks as she confirmed two victims lost their lives to the knifeman and that three others are being treated in hospital.

She condemned the ‘the empty ideology of terror’ and also thanked members of the public for showing ‘extraordinary courage’ by stepping in to help disarm the assailant.

At a press conference outside Scotland Yard this evening Ms Dick refused to comment on the identities of the fatalities or the condition of the injured parties.

Praising how officers handled the situation at Fishmonger’s Hall, she said: ‘My understanding is that police were called at 1358, two minute to 2 and city of London Police officers had bravely and professionally confronted the suspect at 1403, just five minutes later.’

She urged members of the public with video of the incident to come forward (Picture: Sky News)

She called on anyone with video footage of the incident to get in touch with authorities to help them with their investigation.

The commissioner added: ”I also want to thank the members of the public who have helped, either by showing extraordinary courage by stepping in to tackle this attacker or by following the instructions they have subsequently been given by officers at the scene and in the area.’

‘The empty ideology of terror offers nothing but hatred and today I urge everyone to reject that.

More: London

‘Ours is a great city because we embrace each other’s differences. We must emerge stronger still from this tragedy. In doing that we will ensure that the few who seek to divide us will never, ever succeed.’

‘We will be working as fast as we can to understand who this man is, where he comes from and whether there is anyone else who we need to find quickly who might be in touch with him.’

Earlier Ms Dick gave a briefing to Home Secretary Priti Patel and Boris Johnson, who is due to hold an emergency COBRA meeting this evening.

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the scale of the challenge – Channel 4 News


With the world facing natural disasters, rising sea levels and species on the brink of extinction, what will it take for politicians to act on the climate crisis?

Reports show countries will have to cut their carbon emissions five fold to maintain the 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures.

We take a look at the scale of the climate crisis and why those in power after the election will have to take action.



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LGBT children forced into homelessness by fear of persecution in their own homes – Channel 4 News


Imagine growing up with the threat of violence, attacks – and forced marriage. And this from your own parents.

A new survey has found more than a quarter of people in the UK say they wouldn’t be proud to have an LGBT child – and shockingly more than one in ten claim they wouldn’t be comfortable living with that child at home.

The Albert Kennedy Trust charity says that some LGBT young people have found the situation so hostile, they’ve been forced into homelessness.



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