The Conservatives and Labour have been plunged into turmoil after their Brexit policies were rejected by voters during the EU elections.
As the race to find Theresa May’s successor heats up, fresh infighting has broken out in the Tories – with candidates openly disagreeing on the best strategy to end the deadlock stymying the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn is being challenged over his Brexit policies, with the Labour leader urged to focus on securing a second referendum rather than another general election.
On Monday, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News: “Of course we want a general election.
“[It’s] highly unlikely Tories are going to vote for that now after the results last week; turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
“So our only option now is go back to the people in a referendum, and I think that’s the position we’re in now.”
Tory leadership hopefuls have been setting out competing visions on Brexit – with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt using an article in The Daily Telegraph to warn that the Conservatives will be committing “political suicide” if they pursue leaving the EU without a deal.
Kit Malthouse became the tenth MP to throw their hat into the ring on Monday night, telling The Sun: “This leadership campaign cannot be about the same old faces, scarred by the wars that have split the Tory Party over the last three years. I believe I’m the new face, with fresh new ideas, from a new and talented generation.”
Sajid Javid also launched his leadership bid – declaring himself as the person who can “restore trust” in politics.
Although the home secretary backed Remain in the 2016 referendum, he has since positioned himself as a Leaver, and said: “First and foremost, we must deliver Brexit.”
Meanwhile, Michael Gove’s aides have confirmed to Sky News that, if he becomes prime minister, he would give European nationals living in the UK the chance to become British citizens at no cost.
Later today, Theresa May will make her final trip to an EU summit in Brussels as the UK’s 73 newly elected MEPs head to the European Parliament to begin negotiations on forming political groups.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which gained 29 seats and more than 30% of the vote, will sit in the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy political group of right-wing eurosceptic parties.
At a news conference in central London, he confirmed his party has started preparations for a general election campaign with the ambition of winning seats in Westminster if Brexit is not delivered by the latest deadline of Halloween.
Mr Farage said: “The Conservative Party are bitterly divided and I consider it to be extremely unlikely that they will pick a leader who is able to take us out on 31 October come what may.”
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have been celebrating following their best-ever performance in European elections, with 16 MEPs winning seats compared with just one in 2014.
The Tories had secured just four MEPs and 9.1% of the vote, their worst-ever share in a national election.
Labour secured 14.1% of the vote – with their MEPs halving in number from 20 to 10.
Seven Green Party MEPs were elected, and they will be travelling by train to meet their pan-European sister party, the Greens-European Free Alliance, on Wednesday.
Once political groupings for the new session of the European Parliament have been finalised, MEPs will meet in Strasbourg for the opening session on 2 July, which is when various officials including the president and 14 vice presidents will be elected.
Source : Sky News :
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