Monday, 13 May 2019: Gavin Williamson criticises May’s talks with Labour, Brexit Party polling better than Labour and Tories combined, UAE claims four vessels were sabotaged, Lithuania’s presidential election heads to runoff vote


Gavin Williamson criticises May’s talks with Labour: Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit talks with the Labour Party are a grave mistake, according to former defence secretary Gavin Williamson. May is hoping to reach a cross-party consensus on her withdrawal agreement after failing to get it through Parliament three times. But Williamson – who was sacked over the Huawei leak – told the “Mail on Sunday” that the talks were destined to fail. He added Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s only real interest was a general election. Williamson said the prime minister seemed oblivious to the fact many Tories believe she was negotiating with the enemy. The former cabinet minister said there was a simple calculation that a deal could pass with the combined votes of Labour and Conservative MPs, but tough realities must be faced if the deal was far removed from expectations.,

European elections seen as protest vote, says Hinds: The European Parliament elections will be seen as an opportunity for the ultimate protest vote, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has said. He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme the elections would be difficult for the Conservatives and that for some people this was the second referendum. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told the show there had been a breakdown in trust between people and politicians. Meanwhile, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has told the “Guardian” that he doubts a cross-party deal lacking a confirmatory referendum could pass parliament, warning up to 150 Labour MPs would reject an agreement that did not include one. He said he feared the party risked losing its remain voters after worse than expected losses in the local elections, but he warned Labour remainers tempted to vote for the Liberal Democrats or Change UK that only Jeremy Corbyn’s party could deliver a fresh referendum.,

Gardiner warns Brexit party is capitalising on anger of frustrated voters: The shadow international trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, has said parliament’s refusal to deliver Brexit has led directly to the surge in support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, and is allowing him to dictate what the departure terms should be. Gardiner, who is among those on the Labour frontbench most sceptical about the idea of a second referendum, criticised the former prime minister Tony Blair for recommending in an Observer opinion piece that voters could opt for anti-Brexit parties in the European elections on 23 May.

Divisions in the country: Reconciliation in UK could take a generation, says Gordon Brown
After lost bid: Rail giant Arriva sues government over East Midlands franchise
Retirement: Number of public sector pensioners on £100k trebles in seven years
Brian Walden: Broadcaster and former Labour MP dies aged 86


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Brexit Party polling better than Labour and Tories combined: Nigel Farage’s Brexit party in the UK is on course to secure more support at the European elections than the Tories and Labour combined, according to the latest Opinium poll for the “Observer”. The poll suggested more than a third of British voters will back Farage on 23 May. It put his party on 34% of the vote, with less than a fortnight before the election takes place. The poll put Labour in second place on 21% while the prime minister’s Conservatives were back in fourth on 11%. The pro-EU Liberal Democrats, the most popular party to explicitly call for a second referendum to reverse Brexit, were on 12%. Britain’s two biggest parties endured a drubbing at the polls this month when voters expressed their frustration with the Brexit deadlock at local elections.,

UAE claims four vessels were sabotaged: Four commercial vessels were targeted by sabotage operations near the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates without causing casualties, the foreign ministry said on Sunday, without giving details of the nature of the sabotage. The alleged sabotage comes amid rising tensions between neighbouring Iran and the US, which this week deployed warships to counter what the White House called clear indications of threats from Iran to its US forces in the region. Earlier this week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would begin to withdraw from key aspects of the 2015 international nuclear deal unless major powers swiftly grant promised sanctions relief. Many nations have expressed concern about Iran withdrawing from the deal, including Germany. Opposition politicians in Germany have urged Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to travel to Iran to salvage the deal, stressing that diplomacy from afar would not do in this case.,,

Customs dispute: EU Trade Commissioner Malmström does not expect US car tariffs this week
Social media: Russia appears to be getting more involved in the European election campaign


Israel is still being denounced, treated in a biased manner and marginalised inappropriately in UN bodies to this day.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has complained about the United Nations’ treatment of Israel.


Lithuania’s presidential election heads to runoff vote: Ingrida Simonyte and Gitanas Nauseda will face off in the second round in Lithuania’s presidential election after Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis conceded defeat in Sunday’s vote and said he would resign his post in July. Simonyte, a former finance minister, and Nauseda, a former senior economist at a top bank, were favourites ahead of the election. Nauseda lead the nine-candidate field with 31.2% of the votes. Simonyte was in second with 27.2%. In third was Skvernelis at 22.2%, who had already told reporters during the vote count that he would resign if he failed to advance to a runoff.,

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Macron’s party hosts gathering ahead of European election: French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche hosted a meeting in Strasbourg on Saturday with other European political parties that will form a group in the EU Parliament after the election. The centrist movement will likely play a central role after the election as the traditional two biggest parties — the European People’s Party and the Socialists — will almost certainly not win enough seats to form a coalition. An ardent Europhile, Macron wants to redraw the European political landscape, much as he did in France in 2017, building a new political group by tapping into growing disaffection among the mainstream alliances on the left and right.,

Italy: Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s criticises government in Rome
Hungary: US President Trump to host Hungarian Prime Minister Orban
France: French MPs pass law to rebuild Notre Dame

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Israel to name Golan settlement after Trump: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a location has been identified for the new Golan Heights community to be named after US President Donald Trump. Netanyahu announced that he will ask the cabinet to approve it once his next government is formed. Israel is paying this tribute to Trump after he officially recognised Israeli sovereignty over the strategic plateau in March. Israel captured the southern section of the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981, a move not recognised by most countries.


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