Fox News’ Ed Henry reported Tuesday evening that Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has declassified information calling into question the conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump.
Henry told Tucker Carlson on Tucker Carlson Tonight that the new information would suggested John Brennan, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, “also had intel saying, actually, Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win because she was a known quantity, she had been secretary of state, and Vladimir Putin’s team thought she was more malleable, while candidate Donald Trump was unpredictable.”
Former National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz made a similar claim in an article on FoxNews.com April 22:
House Intelligence Committee staff told me that after an exhaustive investigation reviewing intelligence and interviewing intelligence officers, they found that Brennan suppressed high-quality intelligence suggesting that Putin actually wanted the more predictable and malleable Clinton to win the 2016 election.
Instead, the Brennan team included low-quality intelligence that failed to meet intelligence community standards to support the political claim that Russian officials wanted Trump to win, House Intelligence Committee staff revealed. They said that CIA analysts also objected to including that flawed, substandard information in the assessment.
On Tuesday, Henry said that he had obtained independent confirmation of the claims made by Fleitz in that report.
For three years, the received wisdom in Washington has been that 17 intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered in the election to help Trump win. It then transpired that only four agencies had actually been involved.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by embattled Republican Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), issued a report last month that appeared to confirm the work of the intelligence agencies.
However, that conclusion may soon be contradicted.
President Trump has accepted the claim that Russia interfered in the election — though he does not believe Russia actually helped him win, and he has publicly cast doubt on the idea that Russia preferred him over Clinton, his Democratic rival.
Breitbart News noted in 2017: “[T]he Russians may just as well have preferred Hillary Clinton, who had given Russia everything it wanted while serving as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State — from the ill-fated “reset,” to a surrender of U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe, to the sale of 20% of America’s uranium reserves to a Russian company closely tied to the Russian state.”
“This could be a bombshell,” Henry told Carlson on Tuesday.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
(Bloomberg) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador scored a political victory on Sunday by convincing oil nations to let him cut production far less than other OPEC+ members, reinforcing his nationalist project to revive state-owned producer Pemex.
Mexico will only cut 100,000 barrels — just a quarter of its pro-rated share of the 9.7 million barrels a day reduction agreed by the oil-producing nations forming OPEC+. After three days of resistance by the Latin American country, the group abandoned the initial proposal of cutting 10 million barrels per day as the most seasoned oil countries including Saudi Arabia couldn’t convince Lopez Obrador to implement a deeper cut.
The U.S., Brazil and Canada, the other larger oil producers in the Americas, will instead contribute with a combined 3.7 million barrels as their production declines.
The outcome is a win for a president who showed once again that his domestic goals rise above all else, particularly when it comes to the energy industry. Reversing 15 years of oil production declines at state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has been one of the main goals of the Lopez Obrador administration, which explains the president’s reluctance to accept bigger voluntary reductions even if it meant angering other nations and risking the failure of a historic oil deal.
The victory comes at a time when Mexico is facing a significant economic contraction and increasing discontent from the country’s business elite over a lack of significant stimulus measures to combat the devastating impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. It’s a cautionary tale for companies and lobby groups calling for a strategy change by a leader who has stubbornly gone his own way, including an initial refusal to enact stringent actions to combat the disease.
“This confirms that even in an international negotiation, the president continues to be very focused on his agenda, his priorities, including Pemex,” Eurasia Group analyst Carlos Petersen said by phone on Sunday. “His beliefs come before any other analysis or forecast of the economy, and room for change or adjustment in the near term seems very slim.”
Read More: The Unexpected Holdout to a Global Oil Production Deal
Government officials in Mexico City didn’t wait to celebrate the outcome. In a tweet, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard congratulated Energy Minister Rocio Nahle for “defending the interests of Mexico” by refusing to accept a bigger oil production cut as part of the OPEC+ pact. “The strategy designed by Lopez Obrador worked. Good news!!!”
“It went very well for us, super well” AMLO said about the agreement at his daily press conference on Monday morning. “Mexico had special treatment. It was respected by the group of oil producing nations.”
AMLO, a grassroots populist who spent decades decrying Mexico’s crony capitalism, has relied frequently on his reputation as a president who advocates for his people, especially poorer workers, and who says he came to power to fundamentally change government-business relations. He’s yet to leave the country since his inauguration in December 2018, having missed all multilateral meetings including the United Nations General Assembly.
His legendary obstinacy, as demonstrated during the exhausting OPEC+ negotiations, is likely to play well with voters who like his “Mexican people first” message in a country where displays of patriotism are frequent.
Read More: Mexico’s Low-Key Stimulus Plan Criticized by Business Groups
Yet some analysts argue that AMLO’s fierce defense of his nationalistic energy policy — which is at the heart of his ambitions to upend Mexico’s public life in the model of the country’s revolutionary past– came at a huge cost: by refusing to cut production, Pemex may continue operating unprofitable fields. And by holding out on a key global negotiation, Mexico could face reprimands from other nations in the months to come.
“There are no reasons to celebrate,” Carlos Elizondo, a former Pemex independent board member, wrote in an opinion piece published by Reforma newspaper Sunday. “The cost of getting away with it in front of the international community will be high, particularly at this moment of crisis.”
Mexico’s own future inside OPEC+ is uncertain now, as it’s expected to decide over the next two months whether to leave the alliance, delegates said. A representative of Mexico’s energy ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
AMLO already said he is aiming to export less crude, instead sending it to the country’s refineries as part as his big plan to rid Mexico of dependence on foreign energy markets. His longer-term bid to revive production at Pemex, whose debt is the highest of any oil major at more than $100 billion, could result in even bigger losses.
The company is building an $8 billion refinery in AMLO’s home state of Tabasco to reduce fuel imports that have soared to account for as much as 65% of Mexico’s demand. This, even as the country’s six existing refineries are operating at less than 30% of their capacity and lose more money as they increase production because of a lack of investment in maintenance and refurbishments.
Pemex will have a negative cash flow this year of $20 billion if Mexican oil trades at $30 a barrel, according to Anne Milne, a strategist at Bank of America.
Investors fear that Moody’s Investors Service could downgrade Pemex’s bonds to junk after Fitch Ratings Inc. cut Pemex bonds even deeper into junk earlier this month. S&P Global cut its rating in March.
At the same time, the government has canceled oil and gas auctions and joint-venture contracts with Pemex that enabled the state driller to share in the financial and technical burden of developing Mexico’s vast, mostly unexplored deep-water oil territory.
While AMLO prioritizes his energy strategy, some analysts say his refusal to follow the OPEC+ general agreement could come at a cost. AMLO “has put Mexico in an internationally awkward position with other players, said Eurasia’s Petersen. “We don’t know what the unintended consequences of this might be.”
(Updates with comment by AMLO in eighth paragraph.)
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Jose Mourinho has promised to end Tottenham’s trophy drought.
Mourinho insists he will prove he has not lost his magic touch even though he admits he faces a huge task in turning around their last 16 Champions League tie.
Tottenham boss Mourinho has won the European Cup twice and three Premier League titles in a glittering career with Porto, Chelsea , Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United .
But Mourinho knows he is under pressure at Tottenham who brought him in to deliver silverware as they have not won anything since the League Cup in 2008.
Mourinho, who signed a three and a half year contract until 2023, said: “I believe Tottenham is not going to be my only club without silverware. I won it at every club and I believe I am going to do it also with Tottenham.
“I am here for three or four months. I get the team in v difficult situation and now even more difficult but I believe in me, in the players, in the club and I believe that during my contract I will help the club to do it.”
Mourinho has been dealt another huge injury blow after ruling £26m January signing Steven Bergwijn for the rest of the season after he suffered a sprained left ankle at Burnley on Saturday.
Tottenham trail 1-0 from the first leg and Mourinho said the players must embrace the club’s To Dare Is To Do motto and be brave and attack RB Leipzig despite being big underdogs.
Spurs are renowned for their ambition of winning with style but Mourinho insisted his philosophy delivers success even if there is no escape from the club’s vision.
Mirror Football’s Top Stories
“To dare is to do? I read it every day because it’s written everywhere at the training ground and of course it is,” said Mourinho.
You know more or less my principles, my philosophy, what I love and hate. Yes I feel connection with to dare is to do.
“And tomorrow is a time to give abs everything. We win or we leave everything we have on that pitch. But take more risks and win nothing? It’s good to take risks when you win.”
Critics of President Trump’s border wall are “absolutely incorrect” and a drop in illegal immigration and drug smuggling proves it, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said Saturday.
Judd, appearing on “Fox & Friends,” said the administration has developed a system that allows authorities to have better control of the border, preventing illegal crossings.
“Al of this new wall that we’re building is a huge deterrent and, frankly, it stops illegal drugs and criminal aliens from coming into the country,” he said.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION MARKS 100 MILES OF BORDER WALL, VOWS ‘MANY MORE’ TO COME
The administration Friday marked the 100th mile of wall construction along the southern border, describing it as a “milestone achievement.”
Building a border wall was a major Trump campaign promise in 2016. He is now pledging to build 450 miles of new wall by the end of this year.
Those efforts were boosted Wednesday by a decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows the administration to use $3.6 billion in military funds for border wall construction.
The court reversed a lower court order that had stopped Trump, who declared a national emergency along the southern border in February 2019, from diverting the Defense Department money. Opponents argued that pulling money that was approved by Congress to pay for the border wall is an abuse of power.
“Breaking News: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars,” the president tweeted Thursday. “Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”
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“It’s a great win.” Judd said Saturday. “But, what’s interesting is we knew this was going to happen. We know that the lower courts are full of judicial activism. We know that the lower courts are constantly trying to stymie President Trump and all of his directives.”
Judd said that since border wall construction began illegal immigration and drug smuggling has declined. He challenged critics to go down to the border and see the progress for themselves.
“President Trump refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer,” he said. “He continues to push forward with his agenda.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
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.”
Tags: Brexit, eu, featured, full-image, General Election, UK
Category: A Frontpage, Brexit, EU, EU, European Parliament, UK
(Bloomberg) — Champagne was flowing in London’s Mayfair as the news hit.
Boris Johnson’s Conservatives weren’t just winning, they were trouncing Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour across the U.K., including working-class Northern towns far removed from the West End.
Michael Spencer, founder of interdealer broker Icap and longtime Tory donor, threw a celebration at Scott’s, an upscale seafood restaurant in London, according to a person familiar with the matter. About 200 guests toasted Johnson’s triumph.
The result was a “crushing national repudiation of the dangerous and divisive neo-Marxist policies” embraced by Labour’s leadership, Spencer said in a statement.
Spencer and his peers had plenty to celebrate. Corbyn consistently attacked the ultra-wealthy during the campaign, as well as pushing for nationalization of utilities, higher taxes and another referendum on a deal to leave the European Union.
Peter Hargreaves, one of the biggest supporters of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, said he was relieved by Johnson’s victory. He blamed Labour’s dismal showing on Corbyn’s lack of appeal even in the northern heartlands.
“I was in contact with lots of friends in the North and they were quite surprised how many Labour voters weren’t going to vote for Corbyn. They were petrified of Corbyn.”
The Lancashire-born billionaire had another reason to be cheerful. He owns about a third of online investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown Plc, whose shares rose 2.4% on Friday, boosting the value of his fortune by $200 million to $4.5 billion.
His wealthy peers also had a bumper day. In total, the 16 Brits on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index — including Jim Ratcliffe and James Dyson — added about $2 billion to their combined net worth.
“I don’t need to celebrate — I’m just very, very happy with the result,” said John Caudwell, who founded Phones 4U, the mobile-phone retailer. “If Labour had got a majority or there was a hung parliament, which wasn’t impossible, I would have been devastated. Far from celebrating, I would probably have been in a corner somewhere sobbing.”
That’s exactly what some Corbyn fans were doing across town.
The mood was grim at the Three Compasses, a pub in Hackney where Labour supporters, mostly in their 20s and 30s, waited for the results with beer and burgers. There was a collective groan when it came and party veterans were ashen-faced.
“I’m devastated,” said Penny Wrout, a Labour member of Hackney Council. “I’m very fearful because this is the most right-wing Conservative Party that I’ve known in my lifetime and I lived through Thatcher. It’s a catastrophe.”
That sentiment is rare within financial circles. Many had come to believe a Corbyn victory would do even more damage to the British economy than a hard Brexit with no transition deal.
“Business in general will really appreciate the clarity,” said Jeremy Isaacs, financier and founding partner of private equity firm JRJ Group. “Markets should react positively that the Corbyn risk is gone and we should see foreign direct investment flowing into the country.”
While Hargreaves had said he would stay in the U.K. no matter the result, many wealthy families based in Britain had made plans to relocate to more tax-friendly regimes such as Monaco or Switzerland if Corbyn came to power. Now those plans are instantly gone, says John Elder, a founding partner of Family Office Advisors LLP, a London-based firm that provides advice to wealthy families. Instead, he expects family offices will look for bargains in myriad asset classes in the U.K., from property to stakes in companies.
“There is political stability and clarity,” Elder said. “The U.K. is now an undervalued country to invest in for at least the next five years.”
Read more: U.K. Plc Cheers Johnson Election Win, But Brexit Still Looms
The London property market in particular could see a boost, according to Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank.
“It will release a lot of pent up demand in the market,” he said. “One group that may want to move on with things quite quickly are overseas buyers. With the pound rising they’ll experience an erosion of their buying power, which may well encourage transactions,” although he cautioned that Brexit would still hover above the market.
It isn’t just foreign capital that might flow back into the British property market. Mark Stephen, the founder and managing director of Reditum Capital, a London-based real estate investment firm, said a major domestic pension fund is poised to place 50 million pounds to 100 million pounds ($134 million) to work in his fund now that Johnson and the Tories have won control of Parliament.
Reditum plans to invest the fund in land earmarked for new housing developments north of London and in Newcastle. “They premised the investment on the result going the way it did, so hopefully we can wrap that up in the next year,” Stephen said.
Boris and Brexit
Others money managers were more circumspect.
Ever since the Brexit referendum was passed in June 2016, Seven Investment Management LLP, an investment firm in London with 13 billion pounds in assets, had been weaning its portfolios of U.K. stocks and looking abroad to fill the gap. Now its portfolio managers will take a serious look at ramping up British equities, said Ben Kumar, an investment strategist with the firm.
But he’s telling clients he remains cautious because after Brexit no one knows whether Johnson will succeed in negotiating new free trade agreements with Brussels by December, and another with Washington.
“The problem with Boris is that he doesn’t care what he’s promised before, deadlines just go flying by, so will he get it done by December?” Kumar said. “The point is, uncertainty hasn’t gone away.”
As well as Brexit, Johnson has to deliver on his promises to “unleash the potential” of the economy.
The government will have to commit significant resources to bolster the National Health Service, schools and other infrastructure, said Amanda Staveley, founder of PCP Capital Partners. These are issues more commonly associated with Labour but that shouldn’t stop Johnson from embracing them, she said.
“The country has entrusted him with this astonishing vote, and you’ve got to make sure the whole system works,” Staveley said.
Hargreaves is focusing on how the next stage of Brexit negotiations proceed now that Johnson has the biggest Tory majority since 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.
“It’s like a game of poker,” he said. “You have a hand that you’ve got to play well.”
Still, the prevailing expectation was that the new government’s mandate would restore some zip to an economy that’s largely been in a holding pattern since the U.K. voted to leave the EU in 2016.
Mobile-phone billionaire Caudwell said now is the moment to make some big bets on the economy as a whole.
“There has definitely been a reluctance on my part to press buttons to further investments,” he said. “Now I can go full steam ahead.”
(Updates with Amanda Staveley comment in 27th paragraph)
–With assistance from Ambereen Choudhury, Nishant Kumar and Thomas Buckley.
LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a resounding election victory on Friday that will allow him to take Britain out of the European Union in matter of weeks.
For Johnson, whose 20-week tenure in power has been marked by chaotic scenes in parliament and stark division on the streets over Britain’s tortuous departure from the European Union, victory in Thursday’s contest was vindication.
Educated at the country’s most elite school and recognizable by his bombastic style, the 55-year-old must not only deliver Brexit but also convince Britons that the contentious divorce, which would lead to lengthy trade talks, is worth it.
A landslide Conservative win marks the ultimate failure of opponents of Britain’s departure from the European Union who plotted to thwart a 2016 referendum vote through legislative combat in parliament and prompted some of the biggest protests in recent British history.
Johnson won an outright majority in the 650-seat parliament after an exit poll showed the Conservatives on course to win a landslide 368 seats, the biggest Conservative national election win since Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 triumph.
“I think this will turn out to be a historic election that gives us now, in this new government, the chance to respect the democratic will of the British people,” Johnson said after winning his seat of Uxbridge.
He said the Conservatives appeared to have won “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.”
U.S President Donald Trump said it was “looking like a big win for Boris.”
Labour were forecast to win 203 seats, the worst result for the party since 1935, after offering voters a second referendum and the most radical socialist government in generations. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would step down.
With results from across Britain indicating the exit poll was accurate, Johnson’s bet on a snap election has paid off, meaning he will swiftly ratify the Brexit deal he struck with the EU so that the United Kingdom can leave on Jan. 31 – 10 months later than initially planned.
But nearly half a century after joining what has become the world’s largest trading bloc, Johnson faces the daunting challenge of striking new international trade deals, preserving London’s position as a top global financial capital and keeping the United Kingdom together.
Sterling soared and was on course for one of its biggest one-day gains in the past two decades. The pound hit a 19-month high of $1.3516 versus the dollar and its strongest levels against the euro since shortly after the 2016 Brexit referendum.
As of 0510 GMT, Johnson’s Conservatives had made a net gain of 41 seats.
After nearly four years of Brexit debate that has riven the United Kingdom, deadlocked parliament and shocked allies, a majority will allow Johnson to lead the United Kingdom out of the club it first joined in 1973.
But Brexit is far from over.
He faces the daunting task of negotiating a trade agreement with the EU, possibly in just 11 months, while also negotiating another trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The outcome of the negotiations will shape the future of Britain’s economy. After Jan. 31, Britain will enter a transition period during which it will negotiate a new relationship with the remaining 27 EU states.
This can run until the end of December 2022 under the current rules, but the Conservatives made an election promise not to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020.
A big majority may give him the political security to extend the trade talks beyond 2020 because he could overrule the Brexit hardliner European Research Group (ERG) faction in the party.
“The bigger the Tory majority of course the less influence over this the ERG and Eurosceptics will have,” said Brexit party leader Nigel Farage. “It will be called Brexit but it won’t really be.”
Johnson called the first Christmas election since 1923 to break what he said was the paralysis of Britain’s political system after more than three years of crisis over Brexit.
I think this will turn out to be a historic election
The face of the victorious “Leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum, Johnson fought the election under the slogan of “Get Brexit Done,” promising to end the deadlock and spend more on health, education and the police.
He was helped early in the election by Farage’s Brexit Party which stood down hundreds of candidates to prevent the pro-Brexit vote from being split. Early results showed the Brexit Party had poached a significant number of voters from Labour.
While Brexit framed the election, the slow-motion exit from the EU has variously fatigued, enthused and enraged voters while eroding loyalties to the two major parties.
Results showed Johnson’s strategy had successfully breached Labour’s so-called “Red Wall” of seats across the Brexit-supporting areas of the Midlands and northern England where he cast his political foes as the out-of-touch enemies of Brexit.
The Conservatives took Sedgefield, once held by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour’s most successful leader.
A defeated Labour now faces a civil war between the socialists who control it and more moderate factions which will demand power.
“This is obviously a very disappointing night for the Labour Party with the result that we’ve got,” Corbyn said after being re-elected in his own north London electoral seat. He said he would not lead the party in any future elections.
Weary Labour candidates said his leadership had played a major role in the defeat.
Ruth Smeeth, who said she also expected to lose her seat in Stoke-on-Trent, laid the blame firmly at Corbyn’s door.
“He should have gone many, many, many months ago,” she said.
The Liberal Democrats were forecast to win 13 seats, the exit poll said. Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat party leader, lost her seat to the Scottish National Party.
The Brexit Party were not predicted to win any.
The Scottish National Party, which strongly opposes Brexit, would win 55 of the 59 seats in Scotland, the poll said, setting the scene for it to demand a second independence vote, after secession was rejected by 55% to 45% in 2014.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said Johnson did not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the EU.
“We don’t want Brexit,” Sturgeon said. “Boris Johnson may have a mandate to take England out of the European Union, he emphatically does not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union.”
Here is what to expect from a majority Conservative government:
BREXIT BY JAN. 31
Johnson has promised to bring back to parliament before Christmas the legislation required to ratify his exit deal with Brussels and ensure it is passed by the end of January.
All Conservative candidates have signed up to the deal, so it is expected to have a relatively smooth journey through parliament as opposition parties will not have the numbers to defeat it or make changes to it.
NO EXTENSION OF TRANSITION
After Jan. 31 Britain will enter a transition period during which it will negotiate a new relationship with the EU27.
This can run until the end of December 2022 under the current rules, but the Conservatives made an election promise not to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020.
If they fail to hammer out a new trade deal by the end of 2020, a deadline trade experts say is unrealistic, Britain could effectively be facing a disorderly no-deal Brexit again.
BUDGET IN FEBRUARY
The party has promised to hold a post-Brexit budget in February, boosting spending on domestic issues such as the health service, education and police.
The Conservatives plan to introduce an “Australian-style” points-based immigration system. They have promised to reduce overall immigration numbers. In particular there will be fewer low-skilled migrants.
Under the new system, which will treat EU and non-EU citizens the same, most immigrants will need a job offer to come to Britain. There will be special visa schemes for migrants who will fill shortages in public services, or who are leaders in fields such as science and technology.
Finance minister Sajid Javid has said he will rewrite the country’s fiscal rules so he can spend an extra 20 billion pounds per year over the next five years, raising borrowing for infrastructure to 3% of economic output from its current 1.8%.
Johnson’s party has said it wants to have 80 percent of UK trade covered by free trade agreements within three years. It plans to prioritize agreeing deals with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a convincing election victory Friday, easily passing the threshold to form a stable government and set the course for the country’s exit from the European Union.
An exit poll had predicted a clear majority for Johnson’s Conservative Party and just after 5 a.m. it secured the necessary 326 seats to win a majority in the House of Commons, with the BBC predicting an overall majority of 78 when all the results are confirmed.
As of 7 a.m. the party had won 362 seats, an increase of 47 on the last election in 2017, higher than recent opinion polls had predicted.
The win means the United Kingdom is all but certain to leave the European Union on Jan. 31. A divided Parliament has refused to back Johnson’s withdrawal bill several times — but he now has enough lawmakers to push it through the House three-and-a-half years after the Brexit referendum.
Speaking to party activists in London, Johnson said the election result meant that “getting Brexit done is now the irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable decision of the British people.”
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He addressed the millions of voters who are not traditional Conservative supporters but chose the party this time, promising that Parliament had to change.
“I say to you that in this election your voice has been heard and about time too. We politicians have squandered the last three and half years. We’ve even been arguing about arguing and the tone of our arguments.
Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!
“I will put an end to all that nonsense. We will get Brexit done by the 31st of January, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.”
President Donald Trump was among the world leaders to congratulate Johnson on his win, adding his support for a post-Brexit transatlantic trade deal.
The election, the third in four years, had been described as the most important in a generation as it represented the last realistic opportunity to block Brexit.
It’s an historic win for Johnson, the biggest Parliamentary majority since Margaret Thatcher won a decisive victory for the Conservatives in 1987.
But it’s been a disastrous election for the socialist Labour Party, which saw its vote share drop eight percent overall and the loss of key seats across the country in its worst general election performance in three decades. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he would stand down before the next election, without setting a date, after a period of “reflection.”
Former industrial heartlands which have been staunchly Labour for decades swung to the Conservatives. Dennis Skinner, the 87-year-old veteran socialist who has held the seat of Bolsover in Derbyshire since 1970, lost by 5,000 votes. Sedgefield in the north-east of England, the former seat for three-time election winner Prime Minister Tony Blair, also voted Conservative.
It wasn’t much better for the centrist Liberal Democrat Party — who promised to cancel Brexit if elected — which saw its leader Jo Swinson lose her seat in East Dunbartonshire in Scotland and the party fail to make many gains elsewhere.
The election raises questions, however, about the future of the United Kingdom. The Scottish National Party, which campaigns for Scotland to be an independent nation, won 48 seats, an increase of 13.
Scotland narrowly voted to remain part of the United Kingdom in a 2014 referendum but the SNP’s success makes a second referendum more likely, although it is up to the prime minister to decide whether to hold one.
Patrick Smith is a London-based editor and reporter from NBC News Digital.
Harry Maguire has the top four in his sights after Manchester United’s thrilling derby triumph at Manchester City .
A week that started with scrutiny and mounting pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the wake of an alarming home draw with promoted Aston Villa ended with a second memorable victory in a matter of days.
Fresh from deservedly seeing off Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday evening, Man Utd won by the same scoreline across town at the Etihad Stadium thanks to a roaring start and impressive game plan.
Few connected to City could have complained had Solskjaer’s side added to goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in a fine first half that laid the foundation for a victory that secured more than just bragging rights.
The 2-1 win in the 179th Manchester derby moved United up to fifth and within five points of the Champions League spots after fourth-placed Chelsea fell to a surprise loss at embattled Everton.
“I think you need to look after your own results, don’t look elsewhere, keep winning games,” Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender, said.
“We’ve won back-to-back games against Spurs and City. We’ve got another big game next week now.
“The top four is in sight but we just keep looking after our own results, keep trying to get the three points and keep improving.”
United return to action on Thursday as they close their Europa League group campaign at home to AZ Alkmaar, when Solskjaer will want to keep his in-form attackers fresh ahead of next weekend’s league clash with Everton.
The Reds had been hampered by their lack of cutting edge during the early months of the season, but the front three of Rashford, Martial and fleet-footed Daniel James showed they can scare any side on Saturday.
“Over the last month or so, I feel like as a defender I look at the forwards and think they’re going to score goals,” Maguire told MUTV.
“At the start of the season we didn’t really score more than one goal in a game but now I think it’s a few games on the spin where we’re back to scoring goals.
“They’re a big threat, they’re top players, great talent and I think it’s all coming together now.
“But, no, we’re not getting carried away.
“It’s a big three points, it’s a special win, one for the fans, I’m really happy for them.
“We just keep moving up that table and keep chipping away.”
United are unbeaten in five Premier League matches and secured their first back-to-back league wins since things spectacularly unravelled in March.
There is a growing confidence within Solskjaer’s squad and Maguire is targeting more improvements after captaining the side to victory in the blue half of Manchester.
“Proud,” the England international said. “Really proud to the lead the boys out at the Etihad and to get the three points. It was an important game for us.
“We feel like this year we haven’t got results in some games where we feel we deserved the three points.
“I think the last two games, I don’t think no-one can question that we’ve deserved both victories.
“Great start from the lads. The front four in the first half was frightening and when they’re on their game like that, they can cause any defence problems.
“The disappointing thing probably at half-time was that it was only 2-0!
“We knew they were going to come strong, they were going to throw everything at us.
“I think we held out really well. I don’t think they created too much in the second half.
“We knew we were going to have a lot of bouncing passes and David made a good a save late on and to concede from a set play is really disappointing. Something that we’ve got to tighten up on.
“Like I said, to come to the Etihad and them not to score from open play but to concede from a set play as a defender, and I am sure for David as well, it’s disappointing.
“The victory is for the fans. They deserve it this season.”
Solskjaer was proud of United’s performance at the Etihad Stadium, where they displayed the “quick, attacking football” he always knew his side were capable of in the right shape.
The Norwegian also praised their “great character and attitude” on an afternoon when missiles were aimed at Fred, who produced his best performance in a red shirt.
The Brazil midfielder was also subjected to alleged racist abuse along with Jesse Lingard, who again showed he is getting back to his best at the end of a tough year.”
He’s Man United through and through,” Solskjaer said of Lingard. “He’s a red, he’s got a great attitude and a great workrate.
“Every one of us have things to deal with on and off the pitch and what he has had to deal with, that will be between us. It’s great to see him back.”
Put to Solskjaer that fans do not see off-field issues, he said: “Exactly. That’s the privilege some people think they have.
“You can criticise anyone about anything but, for me as a manager, I have to look after these boys in the good and the bad times.
“It’s great to work with him. I had him in the reserves, I gave him his debut in the reserves against Burnley. It’s good to see him back to his old self.”