Tag Archives: Labour

UK parliament will have to look at other options if May pursues her Brexit deal: Labour

UK parliament will have to look at other options if May pursues her Brexit deal: LabourIf Prime Minister Theresa May presses on with her Brexit deal after lawmakers vote to delay Britain’s exit, parliament will have to look at other options, the opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said on Wednesday. Lawmakers are expected to be given a vote on Thursday on whether they want to seek an extension to the Article 50 negotiation period. “She will have to make decision of whether that is the point at which she drops her red lines and her blinkers and opens up the debate to other options,” Starmer told parliament.



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As many as 70 UK opposition Labour lawmakers oppose second Brexit referendum: lawmaker

As many as 70 UK opposition Labour lawmakers oppose second Brexit referendum: lawmakerAs many as 70 of Britain’s opposition Labour lawmakers oppose holding a second Brexit referendum, Labour lawmaker Caroline Flint said on Sunday. Earlier this week Labour said it would back a second referendum in order to try to prevent either a ‘no deal’ or Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal. “I think there are something like 60-70 Labour members of Parliament who feel as strongly as I do against a second referendum,” said Flint, who represents an area of Britain which voted to leave the EU at the 2016 referendum.



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UK's Labour calls on May to try a Brexit compromise to get deal passed

UK's Labour calls on May to try a Brexit compromise to get deal passedMay’s Brexit deal suffered a crushing defeat in parliament on Tuesday, triggering political chaos that could lead to a disorderly exit from the EU, a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave or a compromise deal of some sort. The Labour Party’s finance policy chief, John McDonnell, said Labour would support May if she agreed to stay in a permanent customs union with the EU, a close relationship with its single market and greater protections for workers and consumers. “We will support a deal that brings the country back together, protects jobs and supports the economy,” McDonnell said.



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Labour Vows Confidence Vote as May Faces Defeat: Brexit Update

Labour Vows Confidence Vote as May Faces Defeat: Brexit UpdateLawmakers are set this week to reject the Brexit deal Theresa May agreed with the European Union, plunging Britain deeper into crisis with less than 11 weeks remaining before Britain is due to leave the bloc.



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UK Labour leader Corbyn: second Brexit referendum is for future, not today

UK Labour leader Corbyn: second Brexit referendum is for future, not todayBritain’s opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday that a second Brexit referendum was an option for the future rather than today. Labour has said it will not support Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement in an upcoming vote in parliament, and some in the party have backed calls for a referendum on the deal. What’s the question going to be?” Corbyn told Sky News.



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Jeremy Corbyn's response to suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria labelled 'unsurprisingly and depressingly weak' by Labour MPs

Jeremy Corbyn's response to suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria labelled 'unsurprisingly and depressingly weak' by Labour MPsJeremy Corbyn’s response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria was labelled “unsurprisingly and depressingly weak” by his own MPs as he failed to single out the Assad regime for criticism. The Labour leader said he condemned “all violence” and “all killings” as he appeared to put the Syrian government on an equal footing with other actors in the country’s civil war. President Bashar al-Assad is suspected of being responsible for a chemical attack on Saturday which killed 70 people and while Downing Street yesterday stopped short of directly blaming the dictator it stressed there have been “issues in the past with the Assad regime”. But Mr Corbyn refused to single out the Syrian government for criticism, prompting accusations that he was “too close” to Russia – a key backer of the Syrian government. He told LBC Radio: “I have condemned absolutely what he (Assad) has done, and what every other force has done in Syria. Douma chemical attack “I made that clear in a statement I put out last night. What happened is abominable and appalling. The UN must be allowed to investigate and all sides must undertake a ceasefire immediately and there be a political solution in Syria. The killing has to stop.” He continued: “I condemn all violence from wherever it’s come. I condemn all killings from wherever they’ve come. “I condemn the Syrian forces as well as other forces for what they have done in that civil war. My point is there has to be a ceasefire, there has to be a political solution.” Labour MPs were left exasperated by the way in which the party leadership responded to the attack in Douma, a besieged suburb of Damascus. One senior Labour MP told the Daily Telegraph: “This response is not only out of step with the general public but it is out of step with Labour voters who will be wondering why the leadership of the Labour Party yet again equivocates in condemning the brutality of the Syrian regime, backed up by Russia and Iran.” Syria chemical weapons Another said: “Labour should be supporting further action. The Labour leadership, or those close to the Labour leadership, are far too close to the Russians in my view.” Another Labour MP added: “It's unsurprisingly and depressingly weak and disappointing. To be honest I just despair.” A statement issued by Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, struck a markedly different tone to Mr Corbyn’s comments. "What has happened in Douma looks to be just the latest abhorrent attack in Syria using chemical weapons, a war crime for which the Assad regime has been found responsible in the past and which we utterly condemn,” she said.



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Labour MP, Councillor Target Prince George In A Rant

Labour MP, Councillor Target Prince George In A RantLabour MP Emma Dent Coad and councillor Ken Ritchie targeted Prince George in their rant about the royal family.



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'France isn't liberal England', hardliners tell Emmanuel Macron, as tens of thousands protest labour reforms

'France isn't liberal England', hardliners tell Emmanuel Macron, as tens of thousands protest labour reformsFrance will not be turned into "liberal England', Emmanuel Macron has been warned, as clashes broke out in protests against loosening labour regulations seen as a key public test of the president's reformist resolve. Stone-throwing protesters in Paris clashed with police who responded with tear gas as some 4,000 strikes were called around France by the country's biggest public sector trade union, the hardline CGT. Rail workers, students and civil servants were urged to protest in cities from Paris to Toulouse. By mid-afternoon, the CGT had already deemed the protests a "success", with at least 100,000 in force in provincial France and 60,000 in Paris. Police said there were 24,000 protesters in Paris. The numbers were, however, well below protests against another labour reform last year. Hundreds of masked protesters dressed in black clashed with police in Paris, who responded with tear gas and water cannons.  Clashes between police and protesters at demonstration against the French government's labor reforms in Paris Credit: IAN LANGSDON/EPA The reference to Britain came not from the unions but from far-Left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who pledged to force Mr Macron to "backtrack" on business-friendly changes to France's labour code, which he recently called a "social coup d'état". "What is going to be a surprise is when he (Macron) ends up giving way," the leader of opposition party France Unbowed told reporters as he joined a protest in the southern port of Marseille.  "This country doesn't want the liberal world… France isn't England," he added. French leader of La France Insoumise far-left coalition Jean-Luc Melenchon (C) speaks with a CGT union's demonstrator during a protest called by several French unions against the labour law reform in Marseille,  southern France, on September 12, 201 Credit:  ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP Mr Mélenchon, who came fourth in this year's presidential elections, taking 19.6 per cent of around seven million votes sees Mr Macron, an ex-investment banker, as an Anglo-Saxon ultra-liberal whose aim is to unpick the French social model. Polls suggest he is currently seen as Mr Macron's most credible opponent, given the parlous state of the mainstream Right and Left. Unions are wary of the charismatic orator stealing their limelight as protest figurehead. They are not best pleased his party is organising a separate march on September 23. Mr Macron, meanwhile was thousands of miles away from the marches visiting hurricane-struck compatriots in the French Caribbean. France's President Emmanuel Macron waits on the tarmac of Pointe-a-Pitre airport, Guadeloupe island, before boarding an helicopter en route to French Caribbean islands of St. Martin and St. Barthelemy Credit: CHRISTOPHE ENA / POOL/ AP POOL He made no mention of the strike protests as he visited the devastated islands of Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy, where residents are angry at the speed of the rescue effort.  But he will have kept a close eye on the scale of protests today against his business-friendly changes to the labour code. If the reform passes smoothly, it will bode well for a slew of other upcoming reforms on unemployment insurance, professional training and – most controversially – pensions. Protest leaders had hoped that ill-advised comments by Mr Macron apparently likening striking workers to "slackers" would swell the ranks of demonstrations around France. CGT leader Philippe Martinez said he was "scandalised" by the comment. "The president should listen to the people, understand them, rather than cause divisions," Mr Martinez told France 2. This was just "phase one" of protests, he insisted. Another is planned for September 21. Although the reform concerns the private sector, his union called for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses. A CGT union's demonstrator walks amid smoke of flares during a protest called by several French unions against the labour law reform in Rennes on September 12, 2017 Credit: DAMIEN MEYER/AFP CGT workers from the rail, oil and power sectors also heeded his call. Roads into several major cities were blocked and some trains cancelled.  Budget airline Ryanair accused unions of “holding Europe to ransom” after being forced to cancel 110 flights. Furious, its marketing director Kenny Jacobs slammed the French government and European Commission saying: “They cannot stand idly by as more disruption and travel misery is inflicted upon Europe’s consumers and airlines.” Travellers were advised to check its website. Demonstrators, holding CGT labour union flags, attend a national strike and protest against the government's labour reforms in Marseille Credit: JEAN-PAUL PELISSIER/Reuters Some students' unions also called on members to take action. In the early hours of Tuesday, lorries were already blocking Paris' iconic Champs-Elysées and Place de l'Etoile, while staff at the Eiffel Tower were also due to go on strike in the afternoon. In one unexpected development, fairground workers – including the boss who runs the big wheel at Paris' Place de la Concorde – led blockages in Paris and elsewhere, furious at a totally unrelated administrative decree passed in April. A less radical reform of France's labour code sparked huge blockages and sometimes violent protests last year, but the Socialist government stood firm – a sign that the unions no longer have the clout to strong-arm Gallic governments to backtrack. This time, Mr Macron took comfort from the fact that two other unions, Force Ouvrière and the CFDT, the largest in the private-sector, declined to join the protests. However dozens of local units of the normally pugnacious FO ignored their leader's call to stay away and marched regardless.  After weeks of negotiations, the government last month set out measures including a cap on payouts for dismissals judged unfair, and greater freedom for companies to hire and fire. Secretary-General of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) French worker's union, Philippe Martinez Credit:  JOEL SAGET/AFP The reform hands firms more flexibility to set pay and working conditions. The government plans to adopt the new measures, being implemented by decree, on Sept. 22. During a trip to Athens on Friday, Macron told French business leaders: "I am fully determined and I won't give any ground, not to slackers, nor cynics, nor hardliners." Bruno Cautres of the Cevipof political research institute said Mr Macron had "thrown oil on the fire" with his choice of words."With the 'slackers' comment, there are all the ingredients for this to heat up," he said. Mr Macron insisted that the term "slackers" referred to those who had failed to push through reforms in the past "in France and Europe", but many viewed it as an attack on the unemployed or on workers on highly-protected staff contracts. In Bordeaux, protesters chanted: "Macron you're screwed, the slackers are in the streets" while in Paris others carried placards reading: "Slacker on strike". Asked on Monday if he regretted his comment, he replied: "We cannot move forward if we don't tell it like it is." "It's Macron's style," said Jerome Fourquet of pollster IFOP. "He's not going to back down, make apologies. That carries a risk." The president's stated aim is cut unemployment from 9.5 per cent to 7. 5 per cent by 2022. The reforms are seen in Germany as a test of the French president's resolve to "re-found" the eurozone's second-biggest economy, key if he is to win Berlin's backing for broader reforms to the currency union. An opinion poll published on September 1 indicated that voters have mixed views on the reform. Nearly six in 10 said they opposed Macron's labour decrees overall. But when respondents looked at individual measures, most received majority support. Emmanuel Macron – Satisfaction with French presidents in first 100 days Mr Macron's attempts to push through the changes come as France's economic growth is accelerating, unemployment appears to be falling, and the unions are divided. Finance minister Bruno Le Maire told the newspaper Les Echos that voters had chosen Mr Macron "to carry out the reforms that France has shrunk away from for 30 years".



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May ministers hold 'secret talks' with Labour to force soft Brexit: media

May ministers hold 'secret talks' with Labour to force soft Brexit: mediaSenior ministers in Britain’s Conservative government and members of the main opposition Labour Party have held secret talks to ensure a soft Brexit, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday. According to the newspaper, the talks — which are said to involve some of the most senior members of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet — aim to force her to make concessions on immigration, the European customs union and the single market. A cross-party Brexit Commission was also reportedly discussed to ensure an orderly withdrawal from the European Union.



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May ministers hold 'secret talks' with Labour to force soft Brexit: media

May ministers hold 'secret talks' with Labour to force soft Brexit: mediaSenior ministers in Britain’s Conservative government and members of the main opposition Labour Party have held secret talks to ensure a soft Brexit, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday. According to the newspaper, the talks — which are said to involve some of the most senior members of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet — aim to force her to make concessions on immigration, the European customs union and the single market. A cross-party Brexit Commission was also reportedly discussed to ensure an orderly withdrawal from the European Union.



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