UK politics

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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His book “The Strange Death of Tory England” marked the party’s nadir – but it was out of date shortly after it came off the presses.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

 

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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

Campaign website 38 Degrees has become the bane of many MPs’ lives for the vast tide of correspondence its 3m members generate. But its founder David Babbs hopes it will come to be seen as a benefit to British democracy. Here he discusses with FT political correspondent Kate Allen how the site came about, its greatest victories to date – and how he’s now turning his members’ fire on the corporate world …

  Read more

More than 26,000 British farmers have not yet received annual European subsidy payments and many are facing financial difficulties as a result, a committee of MPs has been told.

Britain is facing £180m fines a year over the failure by the Rural Payments Agency to distribute the cash because of overruns on a big IT project. Read more

Junior doctors on the picket line outside the Royal London Hospital in east London, as a doctors go on strike for 24 hours in a dispute with the government over new contracts. PRESS ASSOCIATION

Today’s junior doctor’s strike differs from other industrial disputes for a simple reason: people like doctors. In recent times, the government has managed to paint Tube drivers as dinosaurs who are standing in the way of technological progress. But it’s much harder to do that with doctors, so the public is firmly behind the strikers. Read more