UK politics

British Prime Minister Theresa May announces snap general election
  • Theresa May calls for a general election for June 8
  • Pound rallies to 10-week high of $1.2671 vs the dollar
  • MPs will vote tomorrow on whether to sanction the election
  • Latest polls give Tory party a 21-point lead over Labour
  • PM says election needed to strengthen UK’s hand in Brexit talks
  • PM said decision made “recently and reluctantly”
  • Visit the FT’s UK General Election poll tracker page here


It was hailed by Theresa May as a business success story that showed how Brexit could be a piece of cake. A Somerset-based dessert-making company called Ministry of Cake had been sold to a French rival called Mademoiselle Desserts.

But the managing director of the firm has told the Financial Times that Britain leaving the EU will pose major challenges for its ability to recruit staff and – ultimately – to expand in the future. Read more

by Chloe Cornish

Theresa May should do more to help companies to employ staff who are recovering from addiction, an independent review has said.
While employers were generally supportive of existing staff who develop drug or alcohol problems, they were reluctant to hire people with addiction histories, a review led by Dame Carol Black has found.
“Additional government action is required as employers are clear that they need to ‘de-risk’ the decision to employ someone in recovery,” according to the 138-page report.
However Dame Carol did not back a suggestion made by David Cameron last year that people who reject help to get off drugs or lose weight should have their benefits cut. A Downing St spokesman said on Monday that Mr Cameron’s idea was “not under consideration”.
Dame Carol is a special adviser to the Department of Health and Public Health England and principal of Newnham College, Cambridge.
Her recommendations included an “Individual Placement and Support model” trial, which would involve expert support and discretionary funds to cover costs incurred for small companies taking on people with addictions.
The report suggested that a “try before you buy” probationary approach would help persuade employers to hire people with substance problems, after an opportunity to assess their suitability through a work trial.
And having JobCentre staff in treatment centres could help addicted people return to work faster, said the report.
Returning to or staying in employment was found to help people recover from addiction. “[D]uring the first six months after treatment for alcohol misuse 45 per cent of those who were unemployed relapsed, compared to 23 per cent of the employed,” according to one study quoted in the report.
Dame Carol said: “Our goal has been to find ways of overcoming the employment problems that people face when they are addicted to alcohol or drugs, or are obese. After a searching inquiry we are clear that a fresh approach is needed, one that brings together health, social, and employment agencies in new collaborative ways.”
Part of the report’s scope was to ascertain “whether the government should make benefit claimants with an addiction engage with treatment as a condition of their benefit entitlement”.
But it concluded that mandating people suffering from addictions or obesity to attend treatment as a precursor to receiving benefits, was unlikely to be successful or “cost-effective”.

© Reuters

Remain and Leave campaigners have finally found something they agree on: the vote for Brexit is like the vote for Donald Trump. Read more

Eleven years ago Geoffrey Wheatcroft buried the Conservative party.

His book “The Strange Death of Tory England” marked the party’s nadir – but it was out of date shortly after it came off the presses. Just months later the Conservatives elected David Cameron. The rest is history. Read more

I’ve spent some time looking into the business background of Britain’s new chancellor, Philip Hammond. It tells us a lot about his approach to politics. Here’s what I think the public, the City, and the rest of government can expect from the new broom at 11 Downing Street. Read more

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Makes Her First Statement As The Country's New Leader

Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister, has announced sweeping changes with her first cabinet.

Meanwhile the Bank of England has surprised markets by leaving interest rates on hold. Many had been expecting a cut.

Key appointments

  • Philip Hammond (treasury)
  • Boris Johnson (foreign office)
  • Amber Rudd (home office)
  • Justine Greening (education)
  • Liz Truss (justice)
  • David Davis (Brexit minister)
  • Liam Fox (international trade)
  • Jeremy Hunt (health)
  • Damian Green (work and pensions)
  • Michael Fallon (defence)
  • Chris Graylling (transport)
  • Andrea Leadsom (environment)

Key departures

  • George Osborne (treasury)
  • Michael Gove (justice)
  • Nicky Morgan (education)
  • Stephen Crabb (work and pensions)
  • John Whittingdale (culture)
  • Oliver Letwin (cabinet office)
  • Theresa Villers (Northern Ireland)


U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Makes Her First Statement As The Country's New Leader

Theresa May has taken over as prime minister after David Cameron ended his six-year tenure. She becomes the second female prime minister of the UK 26 years after the first, Margaret Thatcher, resigned.

Mrs May has started to form her cabinet with key appointments announced late on Wedneday.

Key cabinet appointments

  • Philip Hammond becomes chancellor

  • David Davis takes on new role as secretary of state for Brexit

  • Boris Johnson becomes foreign secretary

  • Amber Rudd takes over as home secretary

  • Michael Fallon remains defence secretary

  • Liam Fox is appointed in a new role as international trade secretary



Theresa May, the home secretary, and pro-Brexit campaigner Andrea Leadsom, are through to the final two in the race to be the next Conservative leader.

Michael Gove was eliminated in the final round of voting at Westminster.

The two leading candidates will now be presented to 125,000 party members to make the final choice for their new party leader who will replace David Cameron as prime minister

Key points

  • May won the votes of 199 out of 330 Tory MPs in the second round of voting

  • Leadsom came second with 84

  • Gove was eliminated after coming third with 46

  • The result of the members’ ballot is due by September 9


Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May attends a press conference in London

Boris Johnson will not be running to replace David Cameron, but Michael Gove will. He’ll face new favourite home secretary Theresa May – and a handful of others.

Key points

  • Boris Johnson pulls out of the race for Tory party leadership

  • Michael Gove launched surprise run

  • May, Leadsom, Fox and Crabb launch candidacy

  • Bank of England governor hints at more monetary easing, warning of a “materially slower” growth

  • FTSE 100 closes at highest since Aug 2015; Gilt yields fall negative for first time ever


Political journalists have become exceedingly wary of pollsters since they called last year’s general election wrongly. Are they right to be? The performance of major polling companies in this referendum could make or break their reputations – get it wrong again and the fury of Fleet Street will be unconstrained.

But there’s good reason to feel that hacks should have learned some lessons too – the first being, properly understand what it is that you are reporting. Here are a handful of key points to bear in mind when in the coming days we consider the pollsters’ performance in this referendum. Read more

Hundreds of trade unionists from across Europe will descend upon Paris on May 28 for a rally in support of Brexit: by doing so, many are defying the wishes of their own leaders. The question is: why? The Remain camp has the support of all but a handful of Labour MPs and the biggest unions such as Unite, Unison and the GMB. They argue that membership of the EU has brought an array of protections for the environment and for workers’ rights. But millions of Labour voters – perhaps a third of the total – are still expected to vote for Britain to leave the EU. They consist of two camps, divided mainly by their outlook on immigration. Many blue collar traditional Labour voters will vote for Brexit in a bid to slow the flow of incomers entering Britain, as I wrote about here last week. Frank Field, a Eurosceptic Labour MP, has warned that the referendum could drive a “swathe” of Labour voters towards Ukip.

“Our open door policy, which began under Tony Blair, has pushed down wages at the bottom of the labour market,” he says. “It has increased the queues for health services and even more so for homes.”

 Read more

In the dying moments of the Scottish referendum campaign two years ago Gordon Brown electrified the unionist side with a heartfelt plea to Scots to stay in the United Kingdom.

Today saw the former Labour prime minister try to repeat the magic ahead of the referendum on EU membership. Read more

Are you worried about the woes of “generation rent”? Perplexed by measures to dampen the buy-to-let market? Eager to buy a Starter Home? Seeking answers on the housing bill, Right to Buy or Help to Buy?

On Wednesday April 20 2016 between 11am and midday (GMT), Brandon Lewis, housing minister, will answer readers' questions on housing and home ownership in a live webchat.

Moderated by Judith Evans, property correspondent


The housing crisis has reached the top of the political agenda, with even the prime minister, David Cameron, saying he worries about his children being able to afford their own homes.

Brandon Lewis, housing minister, will appear here on the Westminster blog at 11am on Wednesday April 20 to answer your questions on housing and home ownership in a live webchat. Read more

Pollsters should be more transparent about their methodology and more quizzical about people’s intention to vote, a wide-ranging review of last year’s election polling disaster has recommended – as well as suggesting that Britain needs fewer, but better, political polls.

Polling companies were left embarrassed last year by the surprise Conservative election win, which none of them had accurately predicted. Polls showed Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck in the run-up to the vote last May, but on the night the Tories won an outright majority with a lead of 7 percentage points in the popular vote. Read more

Experts pinpoint why online polls and those made by phone show wide discrepancy Read more

George Osborne’s eighth Budget comes at a time of slowing growth and with the government split over Europe. The chancellor needs to show he still has a grip on the public finances, while keeping Conservative backbenchers happy.

Key developments:

  • Economic outlook – growth forecast cut this year from 2.4 per cent to 2 per cent.

  • Public finances – debt to GDP forecast revised up from 81.7 per cent to 82.3 per cent for 2016-17.

  • Government spending – new annual cuts of £3.5bn by 2020.

  • Corporation tax – to fall from 20 per cent at the start of this parliament to 17 per cent by 2020.

  • Sugar tax – new levy on sugary drinks to tackle childhood obesity.

  • Capital gains tax – cut from 28 per cent to 20 per cent.

  • ISAs – limit to rise from £15,000 to £20,000.

  • Tax-free persons tax allowance – raised to £11,500, effecting 31m people

  • Higher rate tax threshold – raised to £45,000


Why is one measure of EU immigration to Britain nearly three times as high as the other?

That is the question Westminster’s Brexiteers are asking this week. The answer could shape the arguments both for and against Britain leaving the EU. Read more

In the next four months Britain will be inundated with opinion polls. As the Leave and Remain camps gear up for Britain’s first referendum on its relationship with Europe for four decades, the stakes are high.

But this time last year the nation also pored over an array of polls during the general election campaign, and yet those polls proved unreliableRead more