This Week in British Politics: 2nd – 9th September 2018

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Another blow up over Brexit? Further accusations of anti-Semitism? Assassinations in sleepy Salisbury? It can only be another week in British politics.

Resolution to the anti-Semitism Row?

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Last week, the Labour Party finally accepted all the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) examples of anti-Semitism. It has been a long hot summer of simmering tensions for Labour, with resignations, rebellions, and revolts over the leadership and Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude towards anti-semitism. With this eventual acceptance, Labour leaders would have hoped to draw a line under the whole debacle, but it seems the issue is far from over. Alongside this belated approval of the IHRA’s definition and examples of anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn issued an accompanying statement purporting to prevent undermining ‘freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestine’. Whilst the party welcomed Corbyn’s supplementary statement, others have criticised this as a ‘get-out-of-jail’ card, played by the leader to imply unity’s been achieved. Furthermore, it was reported that Corbyn originally wanted to clarify that it isn’t anti-Semitic to describe ‘Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundations as racist because of their discriminatory impact’. Whilst this was excluded from the party statement, it’s evidence to some Labour MPs like Margaret Hodge that the party’s progress is minimal at best, and a complete sham at worst.

Boris Blasts Brexit Brief

Another week, another article by Boris Johnson. This week’s edition once again criticises the Conservative Brexit plan as ‘a disaster for Britain’ and a ‘victory for the EU’. This relentless rejection of the Chequers plan is nothing new for Boris, something Theresa May’s spokesman was clear to highlight when dismissing Johnson’s article as having ‘no new ideas’. The Prime Minister’s supporters back her ‘serious plan’, but with Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg denouncing her proposal for a common rulebook as ‘rubbish’ and EU Chief negotiator Michael Barnier reportedly diagnosing her ideas as dead, it appears there’s no end to the turmoil of our transition out of the EU.

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 Clearly, the internal commotion within the Conservatives is continuing and the battle over the blueprint for Brexit shows no signs of stopping.

MP Mitigates Misogyny

The approval of the Voyeurism Bill by MPs was a positive step towards challenging chauvinistic behaviour. It aims to make upskirting (taking a picture under someone’s clothes without consent) a criminal offence. However, MP Stella Creasy wants the government to go further by advocating severer sentences for those whose actions are clearly motivated by misogyny. Creasy is determined to send a message to every young woman in this country that we are on their side’ and by making misogyny a hate crime, the gravity of the offence will be made clear to all would-be perpetrators. As a result of her campaign, the government has agreed to carry out a full review of all hate crime laws, including misogyny.

Salisbury Poisoning Update

The UK government has named two Russian individuals from the Russian Military Intelligence Services as responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Theresa May told the House of Commons that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov’s actions were almost certainly approved at a senior level of the Russian state.
A European arrest warrant has been issued, but prosecution is unlikely to occur as Russia does not extradite its own citizens. Whilst the summoning of the UN Security Council on Thursday ensured Britain’s assessment was supported by key allies like France and Germany, the Russian government continues to deny any involvement.

Who are the Lib Dems and the Green Party?

With division within both of Britain’s leading parties dominating the headlines for all the wrong reasons, you’d be forgiven for not knowing the state of some of Britain’s other political parties.

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The leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable (pictured above) has announced this week that he will be stepping down once the Brexit issue is resolved – considering his party is still campaigning for a second referendum, the date of his resignation is likely to be the twelfth of never. However, the Twickenham MP appears keen to open the leadership contest to voters outside the party. Fearing that the place for moderates has been lost within politics, Cable wants the Lib Dems to become the middle ground for those disenchanted with the direction of the current political movement. This sentiment was similarly expressed by former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair this week, who expressed concern that there will be no ‘acceptable choice’ for the British people in future elections as there’s no leader for moderates to align with.

Finally, Sian Berry and Jonathon Bartley have been elected as joint leaders of the Green Party, winning 6,239 of a total 8,379 votes cast. The pair have ambitions to make the Greens Britain’s third largest political party and have stated they’re ready to tackle the biggest issues of the day ‘from Brexit to climate breakdown and the housing crisis’.

More articles in This Week in British Politics
  1. This Week In British Politics: 8th-15th July
  2. This Week in British Politics: 5 March – 11 March 2018
  3. This Week in British Politics 19-25 February 2018
  4. This Week in British Politics: 1-7 January 2018
  5. This Week in British Politics: 15-21 January 2018
  6. The Week in British Politics: 12 March – 18 March 2018
  7. This Week in British Politics: 2nd – 9th September 2018
  8. This Week in British Politics: 10th – 16th September
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Second year History student with a passion for journalism. I have a particular interest in minority rights, historical comparisons and current affairs. Unapologetic feminist.

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