Britain’s governing Conservative Party was all but wiped out in the European Parliament election as voters sick of the country’s stalled European Union exit flocked to uncompromisingly pro-Brexit or pro-EU parties. The main opposition Labour Party also faced a drubbing in a vote that upended the traditional order of British politics and plunged the country into even more Brexit uncertainty. The big winners were the newly founded Brexit Party led by veteran anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage and the strongly pro-European Liberal Democrats. With results announced early Monday for all of England and Wales, the Brexit Party had won 28 of the 73 British EU seats up for grabs and almost a third of the votes. The Liberal Democrats took about 20% of the vote and 15 seats — up from only one at the last EU election in 2014. Labour came third with 10 seats, followed by the Greens with seven. The ruling Conservatives were in fifth place with just three EU seats and under 10% of the vote. Scotland and Northern Ireland are due to announce their results later. Farage’s Brexit Party was one of several nationalist and populist parties making gains across the continent in an election that saw erosion of support for the traditionally dominant political parties. Conservative Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was a “painful result” and warned there was an “existential risk to our party unless we now come together and get Brexit done.” The results reflect an electorate deeply divided over Britain’s 2016
Jeremy Paddy Ashdown (Paddy Ashdown), the face of centrist politics in Britain for more than a decade and a one-time marine commando who sought to secure peace in the former Yugoslavia, died on Saturday after being treated for cancer. He was 77. Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats for 11 years up to 1999, steering it to become a campaigning force in British politics against the Conservatives and the Labour Party. The party said Ashdown died on Saturday evening after a short illness. He had recently been hospitalised with bladder cancer. It said he would be remembered as someone who made an immeasurable contribution to furthering the cause of liberalism. Tributes came in from across the political spectrum. Prime Minister Theresa May said Ashdown served his country with distinction. “He dedicated his life to public service and he will be sorely missed,” she said in a statement. Calling Ashdown a “true patriot”, former Conservative Prime Minister John Major said: “In Government, Paddy Ashdown was my opponent. In Life, he was a much valued friend.” Jeremy John Ashdown was born in India on Feb. 27, 1941, the eldest son of an Indian army colonel. When he was five, his father became a pig-farmer in Northern Ireland. He was educated at an English private school where he earned the nickname Paddy because of his strong Irish accent. He spent years in the Royal Marines, and was on active service as a commando in the jungles of Borneo. He entered parliament in 1983 and was
Attempting to change people’s views of Brexit solely with a more evidence-based description won’t land, because it misses a large part of the point: our allegiances affect our view of reality as much as the other way round. Our misperceptions are, in the end, an incredibly direct measure of how divided the country is: that groups of fellow citizens can see the same realities so differently shows the monumental task we face in finding any common ground.
Britain’s military capabilities easily dwarf those of any other EU member state apart from France. It also has diplomatic and intelligence services that are among Europe’s best resourced and most capable.
“We will further strengthen the European pillar in NATO, contribute to European security and improve Europe’s resilience to security threats,” Britain and Germany said in a document which did not mention Brexit.
Britain is significantly stepping up efforts to tackle the dirty money funnelled by Russians and other “corrupt elites” into or through the United Kingdom, a senior police officer said on Friday. “We have significantly scaled up the work that we are doing,” said Donald Toon, Director of Prosperity at Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA). “We are absolutely looking at Russians … but we are not exclusively looking at Russians and Russian assets.”