Farage: Brexit party will use EU poll to oust ‘remain parliament’

Nigel Farage during a walkabout in Clacton

Nigel Farage has returned to the seaside town where Ukip had its first MP elected five years ago, promising at a rally in Clacton-on-Sea that his new Brexit party will use the momentum of European elections to oust a “remain parliament”.

Railing against a “political class” who he said had betrayed the people of Britain, Farage claimed to more than a thousand supporters on Clacton pier that what was at stake was not just Brexit, but whether or not Britain was a democratic country.

“Can you imagine in an African country if an election was overturned? There would be uproar and they would be calling for the UN to be sent in … and yet it’s happening in our own country,” said Farage, who was introduced as “the godfather, the ‘guvnor’ of Brexit”.

On his latest visit to the Essex town, which has neighbourhoods with some of the highest levels of deprivation in Britain, Farage described it as the most patriotic and Eurosceptic place in the country.

“So what would Brexit do for Clacton? It would make us proud of who we are again and you can’t put a price on that,” he said.

Back in 2014, Farage had tucked into a McDonald’s McFlurry as he and a beaming Douglas Carswell strolled through the streets of the town after the latter had become the first Tory MP to defect to Ukip, then a rising force in British politics.

It was a relationship that was to sour, however, as splits within the party came bubbling to the surface even before the men joined different leave campaigns during the Brexit referendum.

Shame, sadness in UK as Brexit reveals Parliament’s flaws

As a symbol of the woes of Britain’s Brexit-era democracy, it could hardly be bettered. Lawmakers had to be sent home in mid-debate last week when water from a burst pipe began gushing into the House of Commons chamber.

The image perfectly illustrates Parliament’s problem as it tries to solve the puzzle that is Brexit. On the outside, the U.K. institution is resplendent, a world-famous symbol of democracy sitting majestically on the River Thames. On the inside, it’s decrepit and increasingly unfit for use.

The hidden flaws in Britain’s political system have been laid bare — and televised worldwide — since voters chose, almost three years ago, to leave the European Union.

Decision-making has ground to a standstill, even as business leaders and residents alike cry out for certainty. Many Britons feel a mix of frustration, fascination and shame at the ongoing political chaos. So do politicians on both sides of the Brexit divide.

“I am ashamed to be a member of this Parliament,” said pro-EU Liberal Democrat lawmaker Norman Lamb after lawmakers once again failed to find a way forward on Brexit.

Bill Cash, a pro-Brexit Conservative, said this week that Britain had been “humiliated” by failing to leave the EU on time.

The last few months in Parliament, as lawmakers repeatedly tried and failed to agree on a roadmap for Britain’s departure, have produced close votes, late nights and high drama. It’s a political soap opera that has sent the viewership of Parliament’s live-streaming website soaring and made an international celebrity of House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, with his bellowing cries of “Orderrrrr” and “The ayes have it!”

But all the sound and fury signifies — not much. Britain is no further out the EU door or clearer about its post-Brexit direction than it was at the start of the year.

A divorce agreement struck between Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and EU late in 2018 lays out the terms of an orderly U.K. departure and promising close future ties. Since January, Parliament has rejected it three times. Pro-Brexit lawmakers won’t vote for it because they favor a more definitive break with the bloc. Pro-EU politicians reject it because they think it’s a poor substitute for EU membership.

Parliament has also voted on other options…

After A Chaotic Week In Brexit Politics, Here’s What You Need To Know

Brexit supporters and opponents shout at each other outside Parliament in London on Thursday, the day that British lawmakers voted to delay Brexit.

Brexit has convulsed the United Kingdom like no other political event in decades, but it can be hard to follow the day-to-day machinations. At the end of a chaotic week, here’s what to know.

How different are things now for the U.K. than they were on Monday?

Considerably. It is now clear that after two years of negotiating a Brexit withdrawal arrangement with the European Union, the United Kingdom is highly unlikely to leave on the planned exit date, March 29. Next week, Prime Minister Theresa May is almost certain to ask for an extension. How much time she requests will depend on whether she can get her deal through Parliament early next week.

How likely is it that the EU will approve an extension?

Likely. All 27 remaining EU countries must agree, and there are genuine divisions, but the EU is expected to say yes. That’s because it’s not seen in anyone’s interest — except some hard-core “Brexiteers” in Britain’s Parliament — for the United Kingdom to crash out of what is effectively the world’s second-largest economy.

If the EU approves an extension now, will the U.K. call on it later to approve more extensions?

That’s a major EU concern. It is already exasperated with the chaos in Britain’s Parliament. Officials in Brussels have made it clear they want either a short delay — or a very long one. They don’t want rolling cliff-edges.

May has outlined a plan. She wants to bring back her zombie-like Brexit deal — which Parliament has already twice voted down by staggering margins — for another vote before a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday, March 21. If it passes, she will ask for an extension until June 30, which is just before a new European Parliament will be seated. If her deal fails, she will ask for a longer extension — which she has hinted could kill Brexit.

If the longer extension is granted, what will happen during that extension period?

The U.K. government and Parliament will have to figure out…

‘Political meltdown’ grips UK after Theresa May’s Brexit defeat

The United Kingdom continues to face political turmoil over Brexit, as Prime Minister Theresa May failed to find enough support in Parliament for her amended agreement with the European Union. Judy Woodruff talks to Sir Peter Westmacott, former British ambassador to the U.S., about the most likely courses of action now, May’s “extremely fragile” majority and why Brexit matters across the globe.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we continue our look at today’s vote and where the U.K. goes from here with Sir Peter Westmacott. He had a 40-year career in the British Diplomatic Service and he served as his country’s ambassador to the United States.

    Sir Peter Westmacott, welcome back to the “NewsHour.”

    So, what does today’s Parliament vote, rejecting this latest plan, what does it mean for the prospects of Britain leaving the E.U.? Is it now more likely or less likely?

  • Peter Westmacott:

    Well, we are now in a state of some political meltdown, as your correspondent was just explaining.

    I think at the moment it means that it is less likely that we leave on the 29th of March, as scheduled, because of today’s vote, which was resoundingly against Theresa May’s package, but also because, tomorrow, parliamentarians are very likely to vote heavily against the idea of leaving with no deal.

    So, if you haven’t got Theresa May’s deal, and you haven’t got no deal, then what have you got? Answer, on the third day, on Thursday, there will be a vote about whether to ask for an extension of the 29th of March deadline from the European Commission.

    And at the moment, that is what is most likely to happen in the near future. So I think leaving on the 29th of March is feeling a little less likely than it was before tonight’s vote.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, you’re saying parliamentarians tomorrow likely to say, OK, we need some kind of deal if we’re going the leave, the question is, what does it look like?

  • Peter Westmacott:

    Well, it’s not even as clear as that, I’m afraid, Judy.

    What the parliamentarians will like say is, we don’t like the idea of what is crashing out with no deal, because it would be chaotic in a whole lot of different ways. And neither the European Union nor the United Kingdom is ready for that.

    But what they’re not saying is what they would like, and that’s part of the prime minister’s frustration. She rushed off to Strasbourg over the weekend to try and put a few improvements to her package, but, unfortunately, without checking first with her own law officer, the attorney general, thought that the package would do the trick.

    And he then opined this morning, saying it doesn’t give the legal guarantees that she had hoped for. And so result was the Parliament said, this isn’t good enough. So we’re a bit stuck in that sense.

    The most likely thing, therefore, is extending the timetable, if the European side will agree. And a lot of the signs today — this evening — since the vote, are that the European Commission and the European member states are not giving this away for nothing, that they will have their own views as to how long the extension might be.

    And there may be some conditions that are not to the liking of the United Kingdom. So you could still end up crashing out, but it feels to me it is not so likely that it…

Fiona Onasanya could wear tag in parliament after release from jail

Fiona Onasanya

Fiona Onasanya is expected to become the first MP to vote while wearing an electronic tag after being released from prison.

The MP for Peterborough could return to parliament for a crucial Brexit vote on Wednesday after serving a month of her sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Onasanya, who was expelled by the Labour party, was driven out of HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, on Tuesday morning.

The former solicitor was jailed for three months at the Old Bailey on 29 January after repeatedly lying to avoid a speeding charge.

She was released after a month after agreeing to wear an electronic tag and stick to a curfew, sources said. She is appealing against her conviction at a hearing scheduled for 5 March.

Associates believe that Onasanya, who voted remain in the EU referendum, may return to parliament this week. She insisted, before she was jailed, that she would continue to represent her constituents while maintaining her innocence.

Following her conviction on 19 December, she has voted 12 times in the…

EU Parliament election could upend politics across Europe

BRUSSELS (AP) — EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was so stupefied after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attacked his migration policies that he publicly muttered “I cannot believe what I read.” When Orban’s party later targeted him in a virulent election poster campaign, Juncker was again dumbfounded, saying “You can’t really act against lies.”

Enemies from opposing camps? No, they belong to the same EPP Christian Democrat group, the dominant force in the European Parliament, and should in theory be close allies in May’s European Union election.

Instead, this political fratricide is front and center in this massive exercise of democracy, which spans 27 nations and involves close to half a billion people. The May 23-26 European Parliament vote could prove to be a tipping point in post-war European politics.

Some traditional political powerhouses might start to crumble, allowing extremist, populist parties to gain more clout and throw a new wrench into the EU’s political machinery.

“We’ve never seen something like this in EU elections,” said European politics Professor Hendrik Vos of Ghent University about the abrasive election climate.

The EU parliamentary election is run as national ballots in 27 member states. National political parties with common ideology then unite in EU-wide groups like the center-right EPP, the center-left S&D Socialists and the liberal, pro-business ALDE.

Over the years, the major political groups started looking at adding unattached national parties to expand their bases. Even if these newcomers might not be as close to their core values, they still could boost their seat totals in Parliament.

Some factions, however, have developed sharply contrasting agendas within their groups and can vary as widely as the geographic spread from Finland to Hungary to Portugal. Some could now splinter off — like Orban’s staunchly anti-migrant, right-wing Fidesz party — weaken the center and reinforce the fringes.

The EPP, for example, welcomed a populist Italian, Silvio Berlusconi, two decades ago. Orban’s Fidesz party followed soon after. Other groups also face similar internal trouble — the ALDE with populist Czech leader Andrej Babis, who has been accused of misusing EU farm subsidies, and the S&D with Romania’s Social Democrats, who critics say are…

Julie Bishop, former foreign minister, announces resignation from Parliament

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Former foreign minister Julie Bishop has announced she will retire from federal politics, in a surprise statement after Question Time.

Ms Bishop has been on the backbench since the leadership spill last year.

She has held the Perth electorate of Curtin since 1998 and was Australia’s first female foreign minister.

The Liberal luminary had said she would contest the 2019 election, but told the House of Representatives she had recently reconsidered her future in the Parliament and wanted to pursue a life outside of politics.

“It has been an immense honour to be the longest-serving Member for Curtin and also to be the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the first female to hold the role, [and] for 11 years, over half my entire political career,” she told the Parliament.

“I am also proud of the fact that I am the first woman to contest a leadership ballot of the Liberal Party in its 75-year history.”

Ms Bishop’s departure is a significant loss for the Coalition as it heads towards an election this year, considering her popularity with the public and her strong fundraising skills for the party.

Ms Bishop served as a minister in John Howard’s government before becoming deputy leader following the 2007 election.

She served in that role in opposition under Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.

After the party won the 2013 election, she became foreign minister and remained…

May defends Brexit after surviving no-confidence vote

May defends Brexit after surviving no-confidence vote

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement after a victory confidence vote in parliament. The Brexit movement faced a devastating setback after May’s deal failed to pass parliament by a historic 230 vote margin.

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British PM Theresa May survives no-confidence vote

British PM Theresa May survives no-confidence vote

House of Commons expressed confidence in the government by 325 votes to 306; reaction and analysis from Dan Henninger, deputy editorial page editor for the Wall Street Journal, and Peter McMahon, CEO of Greensleeve Surgical. #TheDailyBriefing #DanaPerino #FoxNews

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Live: Theresa May faces no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejected

Live: Theresa May faces no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejected

Watch Live: The British Parliament debates no-confidence motion. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan was rejected. May faces a no-confidence expected at 2 pm ET. Watch more here: https://youtu.be/6-dEBM0c9u8

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