Category Archives: Boris Johnson

Pressure grows on PM over Brexit Cambridge Analytica scandal

Campaigners demand Theresa May investigates what Michael Gove and Boris Johnson knew

The Cambridge Analytica scandal engulfing the official Brexit campaign reached No 10 on Sunday, as campaigners wrote to Theresa May demanding an investigation into what members of her cabinet and her own staff knew.

The letter from the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain came after a whistleblower told the Observer that Vote Leave channelled money through another campaign to a firm linked to the controversial data company Cambridge Analytica in a potential breach of electoral law.

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Source: gad

Allies back UK to condemn Russia over Salisbury nerve agent attack

Statement by UK, US, Germany and France ramps up rhetoric against Moscow, with Russia expected to retaliate over expulsion of diplomats

International pressure on Russia following the Salisbury nerve agent attack has been strongly ratcheted up, with Britain, the US, France and Germany jointly condemning an “assault on UK sovereignty”, as Washington boosted its own sanctions on Moscow.

With Russia still promising retaliation to the expulsion of 23 of its diplomats from the UK, Theresa May’s frantic telephone diplomacy in the wake of the attack seemed to have coalesced the UK’s allies into a united response.

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Source: gad

My May-Thatcher deepfake won't fool you but its tech may change the world

Yes, my AI face-swap attempts might show how hard it is to make a deepfake – but it’s getting easier every day

MPs from the House of Commons inquiry into fake news were warned last week of a new AI technology that is about to change the world, and not for the better.

“We’re rapidly moving into an era where the Russians, or any other adversary, can create our public figures saying or doing things that are disgraceful or highly corrosive to public trust,” Edward Lucas, the senior vice president of the Centre for European Policy Analysis told MPs. “And we’re not remotely ready for this.”

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Source: gadt

Counter-terrorism police take over Sergei Skripal 'poison' case

Inquiry stepped up as Boris Johnson warns Russia of ‘robust’ response in spy mystery

The investigation into the possible poisoning of the Russian spy Sergei Skripal gained new momentum on Tuesday, as Scotland Yard announced its counter-terrorism police would take charge, and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, promised a “robust” response if the Kremlin’s role in the case was proved.

Skripal was found slumped unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon. The woman discovered next to him has been identified as Skripal’s 33-year-old daughter, Yulia. Both remain critically ill and in intensive care after exposure to an “unknown substance”.

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Source: gad

The Brexit culture wars are driving me bananas | Stewart Lee

Jeremy Corbyn’s EU Fudge may make a hard exit far less likely, but how do I pitch my Brexit gags now?

On 10 May 2016, in the closing days of the Brexit campaign, at an impromptu speech in Cornwall, lying Boris Johnson again invoked the Brexiters’ foundation myth that the EU sought to ban bendy bananas. But voters who backed leaving the EU in order to get back the bendy bananas, which had not been taken off them anyway, must surely now be wondering, privately, if it was all worth it.

Last Monday, Jeremy Corbyn reluctantly declared his own “bespoke customs union” Brexit fudge with all the enthusiasm and conviction of a man held at gunpoint saying how well he is being treated. “The option of a new UK customs union with the EU would need to ensure the UK has a say in future trade deals,” he mumbled. “Also, I am allowed to coddle an egg on alternate Tuesdays.”

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Source: gad

Six former foreign secretaries on Brexit, Britain… and Boris

Those who once led the Foreign Office have unique insight into the UK’s place in the world. So how do they see our past and future, and what do they think of Boris Johnson?

Amid the prosaic setting of British politics, with its fusty civil servants and turgid party meetings, the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs stands out as the most glamorous of cabinet appointments. There’s the exotic travel, the hobnobbing with dignitaries, the adrenalin rush of serious global events – who cares about the campaign to stop the local post office closing down when you’ve got a vote at the UN security council to deal with. And there’s the sense, bolstered by your Foreign Office staff and the never less than precarious condition of international relations, that what you say and do actually matters.

Still, behind all the photocalls, the joint accords and bland diplomatic statements, what does a foreign secretary really do? After all, when it comes to the most critical foreign policy – military intervention – it’s the prime minister who’s in the hot seat. Although foreign secretary is one of the three great offices of state beneath that of the PM, it doesn’t enjoy the autonomy of chancellor or the isolation of home secretary – a ministry from which prime ministers are often all too keen to distance themselves. At the key moments, foreign policy is the preserve of No 10.

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Source: gad

Major says MPs should get free vote on final Brexit deal, with 2nd referendum or halting Brexit both options – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs and reaction as the EU publishes its draft text of the Brexit withdrawal treaty

4.20pm GMT

At the afternoon lobby briefing Theresa May’s spokesman refused several invitations to give any thoughts on John Major’s speech. May herself had not watched it, he said, as she was hosting a modern slavery taskforce event at No 10.

Asked if the timing of the speech – two days before May’s own set piece Brexit speech – was helpful, the spokesman said: “He is perfectly entitled to make his views known at his time of choosing.”

3.52pm GMT

As my colleague Alan Travis reports, the government has sneaked out (“sneaked out”, because it coincides with a particularly busy Brexit news day) an announcement showing that the government has backed down on the issue of the rights of EU nationals coming to the UK during the transition.

As Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said in his press conference yesterday, and again today (see 11.43am), this was one of the areas of dispute between the UK and the EU holding up an agreement on the transition.

Related: Theresa May concedes on EU migrants’ residency rights during Brexit transition

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Source: gad

The UK’s Brexit negotiating tactic is to drive our fellow Europeans mad | Jonathan Freedland

The contortions of the Brexiteers can’t mask a fundamental truth: that London is asking for the impossible

Perhaps it’s all part of a cunning plan. Maybe there’s a secret strategy document stashed in a Downing Street vault, codenamed Operation Wind-up. The classified text will reveal that the UK government’s negotiating tactic is to drive our fellow Europeans mad, to infuriate them through so many contradictions, contortions of logic and outright violations of previous agreements that they’ll end up reduced to a sobbing, gibbering mess, ready to concede to Theresa May whatever she wants, just to make the madness stop.

Related: Theresa May ‘will refuse Brexit deal that threatens UK integrity’

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Source: gad

Boris Johnson: Irish border issue being used to frustrate Brexit

Foreign secretary says those who do not want to leave EU are exploiting border conundrum

Boris Johnson has blamed the growing political row over the Irish border on those who wish to frustrate Britain’s departure from the EU.

In remarks that highlighted the division between the British government and EU negotiators, who will publish a document on Wednesday expected to spell out that their default solution to the Irish border issue is for Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union, Johnson insisted that other solutions to the problem could be found.

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Source: gad

Downing Street plays down Boris Johnson comments on Ireland

Foreign secretary had compared post-Brexit Irish border checks to London congestion charge

Downing Street has insisted that Boris Johnson was not offering a “technical solution” to the thorny question of the Irish border when he compared it to the London congestion charge, after the comments caused outrage.

Theresa May’s spokesman said Brexit officials were developing technological solutions but sought to play down the foreign secretary’s comments by insisting that he was not aware of any conversations between the government and Transport for London.

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Source: gad