UK POLITICS: Most Popular Political News in Britain

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By Politicoscope August 7, 2017 16:32

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British Prime Minister Theresa May’s botched gamble on a snap election has shaken public confidence in the government with nearly two thirds of voters now negative about her government’s approach to Brexit talks, an ORB opinion poll indicated. “This months Brexit tracker suggests the damage from a poor election result is continuing to cast doubt over Brexit,” Johnny Heald, managing director of ORB, said.

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UK POLITICS: Most Popular Political News in Britain

Election failure shakes confidence in May’s Brexit strategy – ORB poll

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s botched gamble on a snap election has shaken public confidence in the government with nearly two thirds of voters now negative about her government’s approach to Brexit talks, an ORB opinion poll indicated. Britain has less than two years to negotiate the terms of the divorce and the outlines of the future relationship before it is due to leave in late March 2019.

May is reeling from a crisis of her own making – the loss of her parliamentary majority in a June 8 snap election which she had called to strengthen her hand. The EU’s top negotiator has warned that formal talks could be delayed. An Aug 2-3 opinion poll for ORB International showed 61 percent of British voters disapproved of the government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations, up from 56 percent last month and 46 percent in June. The data showed most voters approved of May’s handling of Brexit negotiations this year until the start of June when May lost of her majority.

“This months Brexit tracker suggests the damage from a poor election result is continuing to cast doubt over Brexit,” Johnny Heald, managing director of ORB, said.

“Confidence that the prime minister will be able to negotiate the right deal remains brittle,” he said.

When asked if whether they were confident May would get the right deal, 44 percent of people said they were not confident. Just 35 percent were confident May would get the right Brexit deal while 21 percent said they did not know.

ORB asked 2,000 voters across the United Kingdom. The margin of error is around 2.2 percent.

Brexit negotiations have not begun well for UK, says former top diplomat

Britain’s negotiations over leaving the European Union have not begun well due to disagreements among Prime Minister Theresa May’s team of ministers about the kind of deal they should be seeking, a former top British diplomat said.

Simon Fraser, until 2015 the most senior civil servant at Britain’s Foreign Office and the head of the UK Diplomatic Service, said the government needed to put forward a clearer position.

Since May lost her parliamentary majority in a failed election gamble in June, infighting between members of her cabinet has broken into the open, with disagreements on issues including whether freedom of movement of EU nationals should continue after Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.

“The negotiations have only just begun, I don’t think they have begun particularly promisingly, frankly, on the British side,” said Fraser, who also formerly served as chief of staff to the European Trade Commissioner in Brussels.

“We haven’t put forward a lot because, as we know, there are differences within the cabinet about the sort of Brexit that we are heading for and until those differences are further resolved I think it’s very difficult for us to have a clear position,” he told BBC Radio.

May’s spokesman said the government would “disagree strongly” with Fraser’s comments.

“The last two months we’ve had a constructive start to the negotiations, we’ve covered a significant amount of important ground,” he told reporters.

In the first full round of Brexit talks last month there was little compromise between British and EU chief negotiators on key disputes including how to protect the rights of expatriate citizens and on settling London’s EU “divorce bill”.

“So far we haven’t put much on the table apart from something on the status of nationals, so we are a bit absent from the formal negotiation,” said Fraser, who now advises businesses on Brexit.

“We need to demonstrate that we are ready to engage on the substance so that people can understand what is really at stake here and what the options are, so let’s move forward with that.”

Media reports say the government is due to publish a series of “position papers” later this week, including its proposals on future customs arrangements with the EU and how to deal with the Northern Irish border.

PM May’s spokesman – We do not recognise reported 40 billion euro Brexit bill

Britain does not recognise media reports that the government is willing to pay 40 billion euros ($36.18 billion) to exit the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday.

The so-called “exit bill” is one of the first issues on the Brexit negotiating agenda, and also one of the most contentious. The EU has floated a figure of 60 billion euros, while Britain has not indicated how much it would be prepared to pay.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Britain would be willing to pay up to 40 billion euros, citing three unnamed sources familiar with Britain’s negotiating strategy.

“In terms of this figure, I don’t recognise it,” May’s spokesman told reporters.

“The prime minister made clear in the letter triggering Article 50 (the EU exit process) that the UK and the EU need to discuss a fair settlement of both our rights and obligations as an EU member state.”

Britain has less than two years to negotiate the terms of its exit from the EU – an unprecedented untangling of more than 40 years of legal, economic and political ties. Early rounds of talks have made little progress, with the EU’s negotiating team demanding more clarity from Britain on what it wants.

When asked whether Britain and the EU were expecting to come up with a firm figure for the exit bill at this stage in the talks, or a less precise agreement covering the rules which would be used to calculate it, the spokesman said:

“I’m not getting into a running commentary on the negotiations or the precise structure of them.”

He repeated that answer when asked whether the 40 billion euro figure was lower than the government was willing to accept, or whether the government had actually calculated an amount it was prepared to pay.

The bill is expected to be made up of money Britain has already committed to the multi-year EU budget, ongoing financial risks it agreed during its membership to help cover, and a contribution to the pension scheme for EU officials.

The size of the bill will also heavily depend on the shape of Britain’s transitional agreement – a staggered exit process which could see the government paying into EU regulatory schemes while new domestic ones are established.

Britain has yet to set out what kind of transitional deal it is seeking, making estimates of the final bill difficult to calculate.

As well as finding a deal that satisfies both an EU establishment keen to deter other members from trying leave, and the strained purse-strings of the British budget, May must also reach an amount her own political party is prepared to swallow.

Some eurosceptics within her own party argue Britain should not have to pay anything at all, and any settlement perceived to be generous to Brussels could prompt revolt within the Conservative ranks.

After May lost her majority in a national election earlier this year, a rebellion of more than a dozen or so Conservatives would endanger her chances of getting the Brexit deal, and all the necessary supporting legislation, approved by parliament.

British opposition leader Corbyn says dialogue needed in Venezuela

The British Labour Party’s socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Monday there needed to be dialogue to stop growing violence in Venezuela but declined to condemn its President Nicolas Maduro. Corbyn has been under pressure at home to speak out about the situation in the South American nation amid international criticism of Maduro who once described the British politician as “a great friend of Venezuela”.

Some 120 people have been killed during four months of sustained anti-government protests and Maduro has faced global pressure to dismantle a newly created pro-government constituent assembly which has been condemned as a power grab.

“There has to be a dialogue and a process that respects the independence of the judiciary and respects the human rights of all,” Corbyn told broadcasters.

Asked if he condemned Maduro’s actions, he said: “What I condemn is the violence that’s been done by any side. Violence is not going to solve the issues.”

– Reuters

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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope August 7, 2017 16:32

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