Russia-UK Relations to Improve?: May and Putin ‘pledge to improve ties’

SOURCE: BBC

Theresa May has, according to the BBC, made contact with the Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate a better relationship between the UK and Russia. 

It’s reported that both leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with UK-Russian relations, and pledged to improve ties, the Kremlin state.

A Downing Street spokeswoman has said that they (May and Putin) have agreed that co-operation on aviation security was a ‘vital part of efforts to fight terrorism.’

The two leaders will meet to talk about building stronger ties at the G20 summit of world leaders in China next month.

The relations between the two countries have been strained overtime, particularly following the UK inquiry which blamed the 2006 poisoning death of former spy Alexander Litvinenko on Russian agents and said it was ‘probably’ approved by Mr Putin.

Other contentious topics have included Russia’s support for the Syrian regime, the annexation of Crimea and fighting in Ukraine, and western sanctions against Russia.

A Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed that the leaders discussed common security threats faced by both countries.

She said: “The prime minister noted the importance of the relationship between the UK and Russia and expressed the hope that, despite differences on certain issues, they could communicate in an open and honest way about the issues that mattered most to them.

The two leaders agreed to develop a “dialogue between their security agencies on issues relating to aviation security”, the Kremlin said.

The Russian government also said Mrs May confirmed the UK’s intention to participate in the 75th anniversary of the first arrival of wartime aid by British convoys to the Russian city of Arkhangelsk, later this month.

How positive are you towards the potential improvement of UK-Russia relations?

Will this be a vital step forward to secure european peace between two major european players? How will America react to this after the past feuds they’ve had with Russia? Will the two nations be able to find common ground and create strong ties between one another?

Comment your views below

The UK interest rates are cut to 0.25%

SOURCE: BBC

It was announced recently that the UK interest rates have now been cut from 0.5% to 0.25% by the Bank of England, which is a record low and the first cut since 2009.

Furthermore, the Bank of England has also signalled that rates could go lower if the economy worsens.

The BBC have stated that the Bank of England has also announced that ‘additional measures to stimulate the UK economy, including a £100bn scheme to force banks to pass on the low interest rate to households and businesses.’

It’s said that it will also buy £60bn of UK government bonds and £10bn of corporate bonds.

Governor Mark Carney said there was scope to cut the interest rate further.

He said that a majority of the nine-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) backed another cut if subsequent data showed the economy was deteriorating.

The governor additionally stated that banks have ‘no excuse’ not to pass on the lower borrowing costs to customers and will be charged a penalty if they fail to do so.

“The MPC is determined that the stimulus the economy needs does not get diluted as it passes through the financial system” – Governor Carney.

The Bank also announced the biggest cut to its growth forecasts since it started making them in 1993.

It has reduced its growth prediction for 2017 from the 2.3% it was expecting in May to 0.8%.

Mr Carney that the decision to leave the EU marked a ‘regime change’ in which the UK would “redefine its openness to the movements of goods, services, people and capital”.

How will the Interests rates effect you?

Here is a link  by the BBC that runs over a few things.

Here is a breakdown to what they think.

Mortgages

They claim that a mortgage is by “far the biggest debt taken on by the majority of households in the UK.”

It’s said that an estimated ‘11.1 million households have one.’ The typical amount still left to pay on each home loan in the UK is £116,000, according to the Council for Mortgage Lenders.

Some Banks have quickly announced that they would “pass the cut on in full from September, with others expected to follow suit.” The BBC have also said that a “separate scheme announced by the Bank – called the Term Funding Scheme – is designed to ensure that banks pass on the rate cut.”

There are those on fixed rate mortgages – equating to nearly half (46%) of all mortgage holders.

They will see no change. However, if their mortgage term is up soon, they may find they pay less if and when they sign up to a new one. Fixed mortgage rates on new deals have been falling – even when there was no change to the Bank rate.

An increasing number of people have signed up to longer term fixed rate deals – locking them in for up to 10 years. For them, this change is fairly irrelevant.

Savings

The BBC supposedly say that the theory of a Bank rate cut is that “consumers see a cut in their mortgage bill, and a worsening return on their savings, so they go out and spend.” Hence, there is a boost to the economy and the same goes for businesses who will be more minded to invest.

That is the relatively simplistic explanation but it does make it clear that a Bank rate cut is bad for savers.

So overall as an example, “for anyone with £10,000 saved in such an account, they will receive £40 a year in gross interest, which is £25 less than before the cut.”

Pensions

The Bank of England also added further stimulus measures to the rate cut – namely, the purchase of government and corporate bonds. So as the BBC state, this will have no effect on the state pension.

It will, however, add extra pressure on the deficits facing defined benefit pension schemes, such as final-salary pensions, putting increased pressure on businesses to plug that gap or reduce the availability of such pensions.

Holiday money

The decision by the Bank of England has led to a fall in the value of the pound, meaning exchange rates will be more expensive.

What do you make of the BBC’s articles and the interest rate cuts?

Is this all due to the aftermath of Brexit? Will cutting interest rates help stabilise the economy? Do you think that interest rates will fall further?

Comment below your views on the interest rates cut and the BBC’s articles below

UKIP Leadership Race: Steven Woolfe Excluded From The Race After Late Application

SOURCE: BBC

By September, there will be leadership elections for Labour, The Greens and UKIP after the backlash of the EU Referendum sparked resignations and inner party conflicts (apart from the Greens who’s leader Natalie Bennett decided to step down before the EU Referendum).

The Conservatives also were expected to have a new leader in September, however one of the two in the Tory race Andrea Leadsom stood down from the race, meaning Theresa May became the new Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader.

The article specifically delves upon UKIP’s race, a growing story after being shadowed by the recent Labour Party feuds effecting Jeremy Corbyn as leader, with votes of no confidence given to him by his own MP’s after their public disapproval over his Referendum performance was clearly shown.

Ms Angela Eagle, the former Shadow Business Secretary prompted the backlash through announcing her bid to become Labour Leader. Owen Smith, the current and only person challenging Corbyn to become Labour Leader, then shortly stepped up to the chase in being the new Labour Leader.

However, Angela Eagle stood down from the race, leaving only Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader, to battle it out for Labour Leadership Status.

So now the Tory race it well and truly over, and the labour leadership race has quietened down slightly, UKIP have no become the news/public eye for leadership races.

Recently, the main UKIP leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe has been ruled ‘ineligible’ to stand in the contest to replace Nigel Farage – after he submitted his papers late. It was reported to be around 17 minutes late. 

This is big news, because according to the BBC, the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) said it had voted by a ‘clear majority’ to exclude Mr Woolfe – previously seen as the frontrunner.

The MEP said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the decision, and three NEC members have quit in protest.

So here are the list of people who are on the UKIP ballot:

  • Jonathan Arnott
  • Bill Etheridge
  • Diane James
  • Lisa Duffy
  • Phillip Broughton
  • Elizabeth Jones

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Woolfe said he believed the NEC had ‘their own reasons’ for excluding him from the ballot, but implied it could have been linked to the fact he was committed to abolishing the executive.

The winner of the leadership contest – which was sparked by Mr Farage’s decision to stand down after the UK voted to leave the EU – is scheduled to be announced on 15 September.

Finally, In a statement announcing the final line-up, the party said: “By a clear majority of NEC members Steven Woolfe MEP’s application was considered to be ineligible as a result of a late submission and as such he did not meet the eligibility criteria.”

What do you make of the recent UKIP leadership movements?

Should Steven Woolfe have been accepted as a candidate, despite handing his application in late? What do you make of the current nominations list? Who do you think will win the UKIP leadership race?

Comment below your views on the UKIP leadership race

Baroness Wheatcroft: “The House of Lords could delay Brexit”

SOURCE: BBC, Times

A Conservative peer named Baroness Wheatcroft, has come out and claimed that the House of Lords could ‘withhold’ the approval of Article 50, the vital mechanism that once triggered will start the process of the UK leaving the European Union.

However, there is still currently some disagreement over whether Article 50 would need to come before Parliament.

But former political journalist Baroness Wheatcroft said if it did, “the Lords might actually delay things”.

It’s said that the government has previously stated that Article 50 could be triggered through use of the royal prerogative.

Speaking to The Times, the former editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal Europe and the Sunday Telegraph said that she “hoped delays in the Lords of any potential Brexit legislation would lead to a second referendum.”

Furthermore, the BBC state that a legal challenge on whether the government can trigger Article 50 without the authorisation of Parliament will be heard in the High Court in the autumn.

Lady Wheatcroft has also said that she ‘did not want the Lords to stand in the way of the UK leaving the EU’ at the moment, but added: “However, if it comes to a bill, I think the Lords might actually delay things. I think there’s a majority in the Lords for remaining.”

Another question asked was whether she would support peers delaying Brexit legislation she said: “Yes I would”.

– “And I would hope, while we delayed things, that there would be sufficient movement in the EU to justify putting it to the electorate, either through a general election or a second referendum.”

What do you make of Baroness Wheatcroft’s claims?

Would the Lords delay or block the triggering of Article 50? Could a delay or block lead onto a 2nd Referendum? Would you like to see a 2nd referendum occur?

Comment below your views of Baroness Wheatcroft’s claims and Brexit so far

Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Ballot Challenge’ Rejected

SOURCE: BBC

A call for Jeremy Corbyn to be taken off the ballot papers for the upcoming labour leadership elections has been rejected by court judges. The challenge was towards Labour’s decision to allow Jeremy Corbyn to automatically stand for re-election as leader.

Labour donor and ex-parliamentary candidate Michael Foster was the man challenging Mr Corbyn’s inclusion without having to get MPs’ nominations.

Mr Corbyn called the court case a “waste of time and resources”.

Mr Foster said he would not be challenging the decision: “We wanted the courts to adjudicate… they have.”

The rejected notion means the leadership contest – between Mr Corbyn and challenger Owen Smith, a former work and pensions spokesman – will continue as planned, with the outcome due on 24 September.

Due to the party’s rules, Mr Smith had to win the support of 20% of its MPs and MEPs to trigger a contest. In the end, he secured 162 nominations after the other potential challenger Angela Eagle, who also initially passed the threshold for nominations, withdrew from the race.

According to the BBC, whilst in a recently ‘highly-charged’ meeting earlier in the month, Labour’s National Executive Committee decided that, as an incumbent, Mr Corbyn was entitled to a place on the ballot paper without having to go through the same process.

Furthermore, the BBC say that ”Mr Corbyn lost a motion of no confidence in his leadership last month. In the vote, which was not binding on him, 172 out of Labour’s 231 MPs opposed Mr Corbyn while 40 voted in his favour.”

What’s your views of this challenge towards Mr Corbyn?

Should this have happened? Was it a ‘waste of time’ as Jeremy Corbyn calls it? Who do you think will win the Labour leadership race?

Comment below your views on the labour leadership race and Mr Corbyn being challenged as a ballot vote

G20 announce that Global Economic Risks have ‘heightened’ due to Brexit

SOURCE: BBC

After the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, risks to the world economy have heightened, according to the global finance chiefs at the end of the G20 summit in China.

The outcome of last month’s EU referendum ‘adds to the uncertainty’ for the global economy, the group of the world’s 20 largest economies further said.

“In the future, we hope to see the UK as a close partner of the EU,” the G20 collectively said.

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond revealed the subject had come up ‘a great deal’ at the two-day talks.

“The reality is there will be a measure of uncertainty continuing right up to the conclusion of our negotiations with the EU,” Philip Hammond told reporters.

Following the meeting in the Chinese city of Chengdu, the G20 group said it was well placed to actively cope with the potential economic and financial impact from the Brexit vote.

However, despite the threats the G20 agreed that despite the Brexit vote, the global economy ‘would improve in 2016 and 2017’, Mr Weidmann (the president of Germany’s central bank) said.

Separately, G20 policymakers said they recognised that excess steel supply was a global issue.

The excess capacity of steel has had a negative impact on trade and workers and requires a collective response, they said.

It was also announced that Britain’s decision to leave the EU has led to a ‘dramatic deterioration’ in economic activity, not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Data from IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, shows a fall to 47.7 in July, the lowest level since April in 2009. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

What do you make of these announcements by the G20? 

Has the Brexit warnings by the Stronger In campaigners become a fact? Will the economy suffer heavily from a brexit? If so, will it be able to grow again by 2017?

Comment below your views on Brexit’s outcomes and a potential global economy suffering the G20 have announced as a result of brexit

Angela Eagle has dropped out of the Labour Leadership Race

SOURCE: BBC

It has just been announced that one of the two Labour contenders to become the parties new leader, Angela Eagle, has just stepped down from the race to become the next Labour leader.

She was up against the other hopeful Owen Smith, who is now the sole challenger towards the current leader Jeremy Corbyn to be called ‘Labour leader’.

The ex-shadow business secretary said she was dropping out ‘in the interests of the party’ and would back Mr Smith ‘with all her might and enthusiasm’, according to the BBC.

The critics of Mr Corbyn want a single challenger to take him on during the process.

The news came as details of how many nominations the two challengers had received from MPs was to be published.

Mr Smith will now go head-to-head with the current Leader Jeremy Corbyn, in which will be a tough challenge for him, due to a reported rise in support from labour members towards Mr Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn has come under much scrutiny from the majority of his Labour MP’s, but stood firm to not resign as labour leader, and also won a fight to be named as a nominee on the ballot papers for the labour parties leadership election.

Ms Eagle resigned after it was reported, both Ms Eagle and Mr Smith were to step down from the race, whichever of the two them had the less support from other labour MPs.

What do you make of Angela Eagles decision to step down from the Labour leadership race?

Was it the right decision on her behalf? Should she have fought on further? Who do you think will become the new Labour leader, and who would be a better choice in your view?

Comment below your views on Angela Eagles decision to step down form the race and your view on who would make a better Labour leader out of Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith. 

The Trident Weapons System has been renewed after MP’s vote 472-117 for it’s renewal

SOURCE: BBC

Tonight, MPs have heavily backed the renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system, voting 472 to 117 in favour for it in Parliament.

The vote has now approved the manufacture of four replacement submarines at an estimated cost of £31bn.

The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon spoke to MPs in the house, saying nuclear threats were growing around the world and Trident ‘puts doubts in the minds of our adversaries’.

The Labour party was split over the issue with many of its MPs defying leader Jeremy Corbyn and backing the government.

Although Labour MPs were given a free vote, many used the occasion to attack Mr Corbyn, who is a longstanding opponent of nuclear weapons. The BBC has quoted that ‘60% of Labour’s MPs voted in favour of Trident renewal.’

Furthermore, the BBC have said that the SNP ‘opposed the move’, saying nuclear weapons were ‘immoral’ and the continued stationing of submarines on the Clyde could accelerate moves towards independence.

The vote saw a majority of 355 for trident renewal and was announced at the end of a five-hour debate, in which Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at the despatch box for the first time as prime minister.

Mrs May said it would be an ‘act of gross irresponsibility’ for the UK to abandon the continuous-at-sea weapons system.

Although preparatory work on renewal is already under way, Monday’s vote will give the final green light to a new fleet of submarines which are due to come into service by the early 2030s.

Mr Fallon has also spoken to say Trident had ‘helped protect the UK for more than 50 years’ and to disown it now would be to ‘gamble the long-term security of our citizens’.

The UK has faced growing threats from rogue nations, such as North Korea, as well as a more assertive Russia, he said.

“Nuclear weapons are here, they are not going to disappear,” Mr Fallon furthered. “It is the role of government to make sure we can defend ourselves against them.”

What’s your view of the Trident renewal?

Was it the best choice for the future of the UK’s defence matters? Is it to expensive to fund? Will it serve to be a ‘good’ decision for the UK overtime? What do you make of the overwhelming majority for it’s renewal?

Comment below your views on the trident renewals 

A Second Scottish independence referendum ‘could be next year’ – Nicola Sturgeon

SOURCE: BBC

Nicola Sturgeon has announced on a BBC interview with Andrew Marr that she would consider a second referendum on Scottish independence as ‘early as next year’ if necessary.

The first minister told the BBC that could happen if the UK government started the formal process of leaving the EU without Scotland’s position being safeguarded.

She has also however, suggested that Scotland could stay in the UK and the EU, if UK talks with the EU have Scotland in the best interests of both sides.

The UK minister responsible for Brexit David Davis, said he did not think this would work.

But earlier, the prime minister Theresa May said she would listen to any options brought forward by the Scottish government.

Mrs May also said she would not trigger article 50 – the formal process of the UK leaving the EU – until there was a “UK approach and objectives”.

Further in Andrew Mars interview, Ms Sturgeon said “Do I think Theresa May will never ever trigger article 50 unless I am happy with direction the UK is taking? I don’t know that is the case. But she indicated she wants, as I want, to find options to respect how Scotland voted.”

When asked if she would be happy to have an independence referendum in the first half of next year, she said: “I will have an indyref 2, if I come to conclusion that is in the best interests of Scotland.

“I’ve always said that. It would be up to Scottish people ultimately to decide if that is right way to go.”

She added that if a referendum was going to be held it would make sense for that to happen before the UK left the EU.

Speaking on the show about Scotland’s position regarding the EU, the first minister said there was effectively a “blank sheet of paper”, creating an opportunity to explore previously “unthinkable” options.

Ms Sturgeon also said she thought Scotland was in a “very strong” position in the UK’s Brexit talks after Mrs May said she would not begin the formal process of leaving the EU without a UK-wide consensus.

Brexit Minister David Davis has spoken to Sky News, and is the UK government minister responsible for Brexit. He has said that he did not think Scotland could have such an arrangement when it comes to vetoing the democratic decision.

He added that no-one could have a veto over Brexit, saying the government would not ignore the referendum result.

“One of our really challenging issues to deal with will be the internal border we have with southern Ireland, and we’re not going to go about creating other internal borders inside the United Kingdom.”

What’s your view of a possible 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum next year?

Will Scotland have the powers to veto brexit? Will Scotland having a referendum be in the best interests of the whole UK? Will it be possible for Scotland to have a special status by still being in the EU, despite the vote to leave?

Comment below your views on Brexit, a 2nd Scottish Independent Referendum and Nicola Sturgeon 

Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith: “Only one MP should challenge Corbyn”

SOURCE: BBC

It was announced recently that Labour MP Owen Smith is to join the race for Labour leadership. Just day’s after he announced he was going to run for the lead-opposition party role as head of Labour, he now wants just two MP’s in the running for the lead seat.

Owen Smith has further said there was a ‘widespread view’ among MPs that there should only be one challenger, but that he was not sure how they should be chosen.

He suggested the party’s deputy leader, MPs or executive committee could choose between him and Angela Eagle to challenge Mr Corbyn.

Angela Eagle, who has already secured 51 nominations from MPs, announced she was running for the Labour leadership last week. 

The leadership contest is under way due too most Labour MPs signing a vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn, after his questioned EU Referendum campaigning. Mr Corbyn has rejected their calls to stand down and won a battle to be automatically included on the ballot to be put to members.

His candidacy has sparked fears among Mr Corbyn’s critics that he could split the vote from members opposed to the leader.

Mr Smith told Sunday Politics: “I think there’s a widespread view in the parliamentary Labour Party, and indeed amongst many of the members, that probably there should only be one challenger.”

When asked how that challenger should be determined, he said: “I’m not sure yet. I think it’s not really for me to determine how we get there as one of the challengers, but I am prepared to submit to whatever mechanism – whether it’s the deputy leader of the party, or the parliamentary leadership of the party, or the NEC (National Executive Committee) come up with, or the PLP itself.”

Mr Smith also repeated his call for a second EU referendum, claiming voters had been ‘sold a pup’ by the Leave campaign. He said the poll should be held once the terms of the UK’s Brexit negotiations are clear.

What’s your views on Owen Smiths offering to become the new Labour leader?

Will he do a good job? Is he a stronger candidate than Angela Eagle? Will Corbyn prevail and win against the ‘rebels’ to retain his seat? Will this hit labour hard, considering all of the inner-party conflict?

Comment below YOUR views on Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Eagle, Owen Smith and the Labour leadership race