In local elections on Thursday, both of Britain’s major parties did just well enough to keep criticism about their leaders at bay without doing well enough to silence it altogether. Read more
British home secretary Amber Rudd has resigned for misleading lawmakers about her migration policy.
She told Parliament there was no Home Office target for deportations, but then The Guardian revealed she had written to Prime Minister Theresa May about her aim to increase “enforced removals” by 10 percent.
Politico reports that Rudd’s departure — the fourth by a cabinet minister in six months — risks destabilizing May’s government at a time when it is negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union. Rudd was one of the leading pro-EU Conservatives and seen as a potential future party leader.
The scandal also shines a spotlight on May’s failure to develop a new immigration policy almost two years after the Brexit referendum in which it played such a major role. Read more
Just when Britain’s Conservatives were getting their act together — twenty months after the country voted for Brexit — Labour has thrown a wrench in the works.
Sebastian Payne writes in the Financial Times that by supporting a continued customs union with the EU, Labour is testing the loyalty of those Conservatives for whom a Canadian-style trade agreement falls short.
Labour has consistently stood back and allowed the Conservatives to set out a position and then nudged or fudged its own policy to somewhere slightly softer, but without alienating its own “leavers”. Mr Corbyn is still an unreformed left-wing, quiet supporter of Brexit, but this is about beating the government.
Conservatives who opposed Brexit will also be disappointed by the reality of a “Canada plus” deal. The EU has consistently warned that there can be no cherry-picking. The United Kingdom must be either in or out. Read more
Americans continue to worry that closer defense cooperation in Europe might compromise NATO.
Echoing Madeleine Albright’s “three Ds” — no duplication, no decoupling, no discrimination against non-EU NATO states — Kay Bailey Hutchison, the United States ambassador to NATO, warned on Wednesday that European efforts shouldn’t be “protectionist, duplicative of NATO work or distracting from their alliance responsibilities.”
“In Texas we say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,'” the former senator added.
But transatlantic solidarity goes two ways. On the same day Hutchison cautioned European allies against weakening NATO, Defense Secretary James Mattis hectored them for failing to meet their defense spending targets.
Their boss, Donald Trump, has in the past declared NATO “obsolete”. Little wonder Europe is making its own plans.
Many of which complement NATO, from improving mobility by creating a “military Schengen” to developing a European infantry fighting vehicle.
Divisions over Britain’s exit from the European Union are once again dividing Conservatives, leaving Prime Minister Theresa May with no good options. Read more
Euroskeptics in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party are finally coming to terms with the realities of Brexit.
- They once rejected working out the terms of Britain’s exit before negotiating a trade deal. They have since accept Europe’s timetable.
- They once suggested Britain could leave without a deal. Now they are willing to make the concessions necessary to avoid a “hard” Brexit.
- They once ruled out paying an exit bill. Now they are prepared to cough up £50 billion for an amicable divorce.
- They never during the 2016 referendum campaign mentioned a transition period, during which EU rules and regulations would continue to apply. That now looks inevitable. Read more