24.11.2022
Mick Lynch hails ‘positive’ discussions on rail strikes but still vows to ruin Christmas

Mick Lynch has hailed “positive” discussions with Transport Secretary Mark Harper, but has still vowed to press ahead with strikes over the festive period. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Secretary General of the Rail and Maritime Workers Union said his conversation with Mr Harper was a “positive meeting in the sense that we’ve got rid of the bellicose nonsense that we’ve had from Grant Shapps and his cohort in his era and were not starting to get a dialogue.”

But when asked whether he would consider calling off the strikes which have been scheduled over Christmas following the positive meeting, Mr Lynch said: “We called the strikes off two weeks ago.

“We gave a two-week period where we were told we would get a tangible outcome. We would get commitments and proposals. We got none of that.

“You know, once bitten twice shy in that sense.

“We’ve also not had any strikes since the beginning of October. So there has been ample time for this lot to get their act together.”

Earlier this week, the RMT announced a series of 48-hour strikes in December and January after negotiations with the industry failed to reach an improved settlement.

It announced today that more than 40,000 members across Network Rail and 14 train operating companies will take strike action on December 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th and on January 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th.

The union also announced a ban on overtime from December 18th until January 2nd, meaning its members will be taking industrial action for 4 weeks.

The RMT alleged that the government is “directly interfering with our attempts to reach a settlement”.

Mr Lynch claimed it had been impossible to reach an agreement with the “dead hand” of the government “presiding over these talks”.

Speaking today, Mr Lynch said the RMT is “no closer” to reaching an agreement over the dispute.

He added: “We won’t be any closer until we have a reasonable offer that we can put to our members.”

Mr Lynch claimed the union has “complete support” from the public.

He told reporters: “We have complete support from our membership. We have complete support from the public, even the travelling public who are using the trains.”

Announcing the strikes, the RMT chief said: “This latest round of strikes will show how important our members are to the running of this country and will send a clear message that we want a good deal on job security, pay and conditions for our people.

“We have been reasonable, but it is impossible to find a negotiated settlement when the dead hand of government is presiding over these talks.

“The employers are in disarray and saying different things to different people, sometimes at the same time.

“This whole process has become a farce that only the new Secretary of State can resolve. When I meet him later this week, I will deliver that message.”

He added: “In the meantime, our message to the public is we are sorry to inconvenience you, but we urge you to direct your anger and frustration at the government and railway employers during this latest phase of action.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper urged “all trade union leaders to get back around the table with employers” to avert a fresh round of rail strikes.

He told MPs he will “do everything I can to end these damaging and unnecessary strikes” ahead of planned meetings with trade union leaders.

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06.12.2022
Brits believe migrant numbers are ‘too high’ as Sunak issued dire warning
The majority of the British public believe that the number of migrants living in the UK is too high, according…
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06.12.2022
Starmer’s plan to hand foreign policy to Sturgeon ‘testing water’ for Labour/SNP pact
Senior Tories believe a Labour plan to hand Nicola Sturgeon foreign policy powers for Scotland is”testing the waters” for a…
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  • 30 минут назад 06.12.2022Politics
    Brits believe migrant numbers are ‘too high’ as Sunak issued dire warning

    The majority of the British public believe that the number of migrants living in the UK is too high, according to a new poll by BMG research. It may be a sign that voters don’t believe that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has a firm grip in the issue despite attempts to work with French President Emmanuel Macron to deter small boat crossings across the English Channel.

    Exclusive polling for i discovered that 63 percent of respondents believed that the number of migrants was “too high”.

    This view was reflected across the political spectrum with 84 percent of 2019 Conservative voters agreeing with the statement along with 52 of those who voted Labour and 50 percent of Liberal Democrat voters.

    Voters in Wales and the East of England tended to believe that immigration was too high compared to lower figures in London and Scotland.

    Older voters over 65 were also much more likely to believe that the number of migrants was too high compared to voters aged 18-24.

    Those who wanted to stay out of the EU rather than rejoin were also much more likely to believe that migration was too high.

    2019 Brexit Party voters also overwhelmingly backed the state, although SNP and Green Party voters were more pro-migration with 50 percent and 43 percent believing that the current level of migration was “about right”.

    Although the figures come less than two weeks after record numbers of migrants had entered the UK, the majority of the 1,571 believed that the level was too high regardless of whether they were told about this increase.

    BMG pollster Yiota Papouridou said the poll showed that the public had a “fairly entrenched view, with a large majority believing numbers to be too high.”

    She also added that many respondents didn’t feel that Brexit had helped reduce numbers of migrants.

    She said: “Despite one of the key planks of Brexit being to take back control of immigration, almost half of the public believe leaving the EU has actually had a negative impact on migration levels.

    “Strikingly, a majority also believe Labour is best suited to tackle immigration over the Conservatives.”

    It comes as Mr Sunak is set to unveil a raft of measures in an attempt to bring migration numbers down.

    Over the weekend, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said that migration would be an issue for “many years to come”, warning that the number of people coming was “unsustainable.”

    Mr Jenrick argued that those arriving in the UK from Albania should be banned from claiming asylum as they were coming from a “demonstrably safe” country.

    He also pinpointed student visas as an area “ripe for reform” as figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that the rise in migration was fuelled by from international students and their dependents.

    “We’ve got very liberal rules on students bringing their family members with them and that is something that we are interested in reviewing,” Mr Jenrick told GB News.

    He added that student visas were being used by some as a “backdoor” to bring families into the country.

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  • 3 часа, 42 минуты назад 06.12.2022Politics
    News The Buckshee

    Former national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday he was considering a run for president “to stop some of the things Trump has done to the party,” following the suggestion by his former boss on Saturday to allow “termination” of the Constitution.

    “I’d like to see Shermanesque statements from all the potential candidates,” Bolton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press NOW,” calling for a clear repudiation from other Republicans. “If I don’t see that, then I’m going to seriously consider getting in.”

    Over the weekend, former President Donald Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen — as he’s regularly done over the past two years — and said that so-called fraud “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.”

    Bolton called that statement “disqualifying.”

    He didn’t give an exact timeline on when he might officially announce a campaign, but said “it might be earlier than some would think.” So far, Trump is the only major Republican candidate to have declared his candidacy for 2024.

    Bolton served in Trump’s administration, but he was ousted in 2019 after clashing with the president. In his 2020 book, Bolton asserted that Trump posed a danger to the country, leading to further conflict with the administration.

    “When you challenge the Constitution itself the way Trump has done, that is un-American,” Bolton told NBC News’ Kristen Welker.

    Bolton said he believed that “nearly 95 percent” of Republican voters agreed that the Constitution was more important than Trump, and he questioned why other potential candidates hadn’t more forcefully denounced Trump’s statement, which he made on his Truth Social platform.

    “What does a candidate have to lose by appealing to 95 percent of the base of the Republican Party?” Bolton said.

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  • 4 часа, 30 минут назад 06.12.2022Politics
    Starmer’s plan to hand foreign policy to Sturgeon ‘testing water’ for Labour/SNP pact

    Senior Tories believe a Labour plan to hand Nicola Sturgeon foreign policy powers for Scotland is”testing the waters” for a Labour/ SNP pact after the next election. The proposal in a document authored by former PM Gordon Brown and backed by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has drawn warnings from Foreign Secretary James Cleverly about a new political pact.

    The policy document was launched today in Leeds and includes plans to replace the House of Lords with an elected Chamber.

    But it also proposes new powers for devolved governments, including one which appears to be aimed at unpicking the Brexit settlement.

    Recommendation 16 includes removing the reservation on foreign policy to allow the Scottish government to enter into international agreements and join international bodies in its own right.

    It reads: “We therefore propose that the Scottish Government should, with the approval of the Scottish Parliament (and where appropriate the assistance of the UK government) be able to enter into agreements with international bodies, in so far as they relate to devolved matters only. Examples would include UNESCO, the Nordic Council or (if the EU were willing to agree) even the Erasmus scheme for student exchange.”

    While the document refers specifically to Scotland it could also be expanded to Wales and Northern Ireland allowing different parts of the UK to have separate foreign policies.

    The document does not mention the EU single market but with Northern Ireland staying under Brussels rule with the controversial protocol Sturgeon has been demanding a similar deal for Scotland.

    The proposal appears to be a sop to the demands by nationalists led by Ms Sturgeon for her government to be given separate foreign powers.

    She has been hankering after an opportunity for Scotland to rejoin the single market as part of the attempts to remove it from the UK.

    While Labour currently opposes single market entry, the party’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made similar demands to negotiate separate foreign deals with the EU in the wake of Brexit.

    Labour’s coalition partners in Wales Plaid Cymru have also suggested the Principality should be in the single market.

    But Foreign Secretary James Cleverly fears the proposal is a serious one to prepare the way for a Labour/ SNP election pact after 2023.

    While Labour currently has a large lead in the polls most observers as well as Downing Street believe the lead is “soft” and in reality Starmer will win a small majority or need SNP support to prop up a Labour government.

    A source close to the Foreign Secretary said: “Britain’s Foreign Policy is there to represent all the nations of the of the U.K.

    This idea seems the first tentative ‘’test the water” offer to try and build an SNP/Labour coalition. If that’s not enough to tempt the SNP, where might that end up? The offer of a second Independence referendum ?”

    Already, Ms Sturgeon has been trying to run a separate foreign policy and held Brexit talks with Michelle Barnier as well as taking trips to meet other countries’ foreign ministers.

    In August she went to Denmark on an official visit.

    A Whitehall source said: “I think a Labour Foreign Office would find this a massive headache if they actually did it. The Scottish Government already tries to talk to Foreign Ministers as if they are Independent country ask Scotland Office SpAds for examples if you want them.”

    For the Tories the proposals confirm fears of a “Rejoiner Alliance” which could also include the Lib Dems.

    The proposals were unveiled in Leeds by Labour but there was a focus on Scotland because the party needs to win back seats north of the Border.

    Currently the only Scottish Labour MP is Edinburgh South’s Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish Secretary. But until 2015, Labour had 41 of the 59 seats in Scotland.

    At the launch, Sir Keir promised root and branch reform.

    He said: “Anyone can see what is happening in the UK today. We have an unbalanced economy.

    “One which makes too little use of the talents of too few people in too few places. And which the Tories have dragged into a vicious cycle of low growth and high taxes.

    “Faced with this narrow path of stagnation, is it any surprise that people up and down the country are crying out for a new approach?”

    Sir Keir claimed that Labour will “reignite our economy”, adding: “If Labour wins the next election – Britain will see a change not just in who governs, but how we are governed.”

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  • 7 часов, 42 минуты назад 05.12.2022Politics
    News The Buckshee

    Former President Donald Trump on Monday denied he wanted to “‘terminate’ the Constitution,” two days after suggesting “the termination of all rules … even those found in the Constitution.”

    The post seemed to be a complete denial of his post from Saturday, which remained online as of Monday afternoon: “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump wrote over the weekend, once again falsely asserting that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

    Several of Trump’s fellow Republicans were critical of the post, but few condemned Trump himself or said it would be disqualifying for him to earn their vote — a lack of repudiation that has drawn criticism from Democrats. The post came less than a month after Trump officially declared his plans to run for president again in 2024, and he remains the only major Republican candidate to announce a campaign.

    Trump, who was impeached twice and regularly denies his loss in the last presidential election, perpetuated the untrue claim in both Truth Social posts that 2020 election was stolen.

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  • 8 часов, 30 минут назад 05.12.2022Politics
    Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to break up UK would put Britain at risk from ‘belligerent’ Putin

    Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to break up the UK would put Britain at risk from Putin, as the Government has warned that military based in Scotland plays an “important role” in defending against Putin in the Arctic. The Scottish Affairs Committee has opened up an inquiry into Scotland’s role in UK defence of the North Atlantic and the Arctic. Pete Wishart, chair of the committee, said Scotland is “the heart of the UK’s military capabilities”, raising questions for what would happen if the devolved nation were to break away from the UK.

    He said that the security of the North Atlantic and the surrounding countries “has never been so important in modern times”.

    The “mini-inquiry” will identify what the UK Government can do to further bolster North Atlantic and Arctic defence capabilities in Scotland, while the Scottish Affairs Committee will examine Scotland’s role in the UK Government’s Arctic Strategy, which was published in March 2022.

    Mr Wishart said: “From the navy to the RAF, Scotland is the heart of the UK’s military capabilities.

    “As the world is exposed to increased geopolitical tensions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the security of the North Atlantic and the surrounding countries has never been so important in modern times.

    “The UK Government’s Arctic Strategy, published earlier this year, recognises this and outlines how the UK is operating in new ways to adapt to any threats.

    “Our Committee will be examining the role that Scottish-based defence capabilities will play in this changing landscape, and how the Arctic Strategy is being delivered in Scotland.”

    Professor Azeem Ibrahim, a Scottish foreign policy expert, told Express.co.uk Scotland plays “an absolutely integral part of the security apparatus of the UK”.

    But he questioned whether it would be able to “maintain the same level of defence as it currently enjoys” if it were to become independent.

    Professor Ibrahim, Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, explained: “The security environment has changed dramatically.

    “Russia has now reemerged as a major threat in continental Europe. So when independence first emerged, nobody had anticipated that this wouldn’t be the case.

    “But now a belligerent Russia and a rising China is interfering with nations all across Europe and exporting their values and making sure that those nations don’t step out of line.

    “Scotland is an absolutely integral part of the security apparatus of the UK.

    “So the challenge is for an independent Scotland – would it actually be able to maintain the same level of defence as it currently enjoys with the UK security umbrella?

    “The UK has the leading armed forces in Europe. With submarine and naval forces, we are able to secure our borders and there have been multiple occasions in which those areas have been breached by Russian submarines and planes. All of this is clearly anchored by an intelligence operation.

    “How will Scotland manage with all of this in a post-independence environment?”

    Last year, defence expert John Gower claimed that Trident may be forced overseas or halted if Scotland gains independence because key Trident assets – such as the Faslane submarine base, the warhead loading site at Coulport, and nearby testing ranges – are all located in Scotland or Scottish waters.

    Mr Gower, a rear admiral at the time of the 2014 independence referendum, concluded in a European Leadership Network paper: “A Scottish secession would therefore generate fundamental operational and fiscal issues for the UK’s nuclear deterrent.”

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  • 10 часов, 30 минут назад 05.12.2022Politics
    ‘Remainer at heart’: Starmer skewered over ‘desperate’ Brexit claim about not rejoining EU

    Sir Keir Starmer has been accused of trying to outflank the Tories on Brexit. The Labour leader today insisted there is “no case” for Britain rejoining the EU or the single market as he set out a tough stance on the issue.

    Sir Keir’s comments, which are likely to infuriate the Remainer wing of his party, are widely being seen as an attempt to win back voters in the northern Red Wall who deserted Labour in the 2019 general election.

    But Conservative Brexiteers have questioned the change of heart by the Labour leader, who was shadow Brexit secretary under Jeremy Corbyn and previously backed a second referendum.

    European Research Group chair Mark Francois told Express.co.uk: “I welcome Sir Keir Starmer’s clear commitment that Britain should not rejoin the EU single market – but as someone who watched him doing everything he could do in the previous Parliament to keep Britain in the EU, I still believe that he remains a Remainer at heart.”

    Dudley North MP Marco Longhi said: “Keir Starmer is blatantly trying to out-Tory the Tories in the Red Wall. But he’s fake and everybody can see through him.

    “Nobody will ever forget that he was Labour’s chief Remain architect who even persuaded Corbyn to go Remain.

    “He’d have us Rejoin tomorrow, he’d give in to Sturgeon’s separatist agenda and he’s an anti-monarchist – while pretending to be the opposite of all of these – and everybody can see him for what he is.”

    Ashfield MP Lee Anderson added: “Sir Keir is coming across as a desperate politician these days in his pathetic attempt to win over Brexit-supporting Red Wall areas.”

    Brexiteer Tory Andrew Bridgen added: “He’s been promoted from Captain Hindsight to Major Reversal.”

    It comes after Sir Keir today dismissed the prospect of Britain rejoining the single market if he takes the keys to No 10 at the next general election, insisting the move would not uplift the UK’s economy.

    The Labour leader claimed trade has “gone down” because “the deal that we’ve got is not a very good deal”, arguing there is a case for a “better Brexit”.

    Sir Keir’s latest comments come just weeks after he ruled out a Swiss-style deal with the EU following reports Rishi Sunak’s Government was considering the arrangement in order to access the single market.

    Asked this morning if being part of the single market would boost economic growth, the Labour leader told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No, at this stage, I don’t think it would.

    “And there’s no case for going back to the EU or going back into the single market.”

    He added: “Do I think, just to take your question head on, that going back into years of wrangling, years of uncertainty, is going to help our economy? No, I don’t.”

    Pressed on whether such a move could boost growth in future, he said: “No, I don’t think having left … I argued for remain, as everybody knows.

    “We left, and having left, there is no case now for saying go back.

    “And going into the single market and customs union, we’ve had this debate endlessly over the years, 2016-19, is effectively going back in.

    “I do think that we can have a deal that operates better than the deal that we have got, and that’s what I would seek to do. And that’s what I mean by making Brexit work.

    “But I do also fundamentally believe that if we don’t address the other underlying issues that have bedevilled growth in this country … then we will not actually be able to fix the problems that we’ve got.”

    Sir Keir also said he sympathised with the sentiments of those who voted to leave the EU as he unveiled Labour’s blueprint for political and economic devolution today.

    Speaking this morning at the launch of the report of Labour’s commission on the UK’s future, headed by ex-premier Gordon Brown, Sir Keir said: “They wanted more control over their lives, more control over their country.

    “They wanted to create opportunities for the next generation – build communities they felt proud of, have public services they could rely on.”

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Politics Mick Lynch hails 'positive' discussions on rail strikes but still vows to ruin Christmas