Theresa May’s argument this morning for - reluctantly - calling a snap general election, was all about Brexit. She said that the opposition parties were getting in the way of her ability to deliver Brexit successfully for the UK; preventing her from getting Britain Brexit-ready; weakening her stance in her negotiations with fellow European leaders. She didn’t quite say they were thwarting the will of the people, but that was the implied message. And so she asked that we put it to the people – again.
The political landscape in Scotland is unlikely to shift significantly in June, with the SNP confident of another strong showing. The party continues to poll well ahead of any other at around 45%. With the first-past-the-post electoral system, the SNP will be confident of retaining most, although not all, of its seats at Westminster.
In a short, unscheduled statement outside Downing Street, Theresa May outlined a clear rationale for holding an early election: the country may be coming together over Brexit but Westminster politicians remain stubbornly divided, against the national interest. The only way to “secure the strong and stable leadership the UK needs” as it leaves the EU is to ensure opposition parties cannot disrupt the Brexit agenda, she argued.
The Lib Dems remain characteristically upbeat following Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election today. Despite being decimated by the Conservatives’ decapitation strategy in 2015, there are several reasons for Tim Farron and his party to be quietly confident in adding significantly to their rump of nine MPs.
There is no doubt that this morning's announcement of a summer general election could not have come at a worse time for Her Majesty's Opposition. Already on track to lose a considerable number of councillors in local elections in England and Scotland (Scottish Labour’s launch event was also at 11am this morning) and predicted to underperform in the Metro Mayor races, could this be the beginning of the end?
Whilst there has been huge progress made since 1990 with 2.6 billion more people now able to drink clean water and over 2.1 billion gaining access to a toilet, one in ten of the world’s population still don’t have access to safe water and one in three live without decent sanitation. This is just not acceptable and by 2030 universal access needs to be a reality.
Given talk of a £50 billion exit bill, anguish over three million EU nationals in Britain, and uncertainty over a financial services sector worth £125 billion to the UK economy, few expected a craggy, mountainous rock just nine miles from Africa to be the first battleground of the Brexit negotiations.
They will be steering the ship for Britain during the negotiations, but who are the EU’s key players and power-brokers?
Yesterday the Scottish Parliament voted for a motion supporting a second referendum on Scottish independence. This comes as no surprise given the nationalist majority in the Scottish Parliament – 63 SNP MSPs and 6 Green MSPs.
So it begins. After the political upheaval, court battles and parliamentary rows of the last nine months, Article 50 has finally been invoked and the UK is leaving the European Union. Just after midday, Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU, hand-delivered a letter from Theresa May to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.
Measurement and evaluation