Why we need an election on June 8th

The Prime Minister has just announced that a General Election will be held on 8 June – and that we will shortly take the necessary steps in Parliament to ensure that this can happen.

  • We need this election now to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.
  • Every vote cast for Theresa May and the Conservatives will strengthen Britain’s hand in the Brexit negotiations.
  • We will stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.
  • The choice is between strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives – or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
We need an election because:
It will strengthen the Prime Minister’s negotiating hand in Europe. Division in Westminster, and the Government’s small majority, risks weakening your Government’s hand in its negotiations with Europe.
It is the only way to ensure we have strong leadership, certainty and stability. An election now will give the country stability and certainty for a full five years, not just up to the point at which we leave the European Union but beyond it too.
And we do need an election now:
We have a one-off chance to hold an election while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin. This decision cannot be delayed and needs to happen now. That is the only way to end the uncertainty the other parties are causing.
If we don’t have an election, we will have uncertainty and instability. The negotiations will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled General Election. Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and cause uncertainty and instability.
We have the right plan for negotiating with Europe. The Government will negotiate a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world. That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws, and our own borders – and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world. The result will be a more secure future for our country and a better deal for you.
But our plan is opposed by the other parties. The country is coming together, but Westminster is still divided. In recent weeks, Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to “grind” the business of government “to a standstill”. The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union. And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way. All the other parties are doing is playing political games and causing uncertainty about the future.
We will stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain. Only Theresa May has the plan and the proven leadership to deliver the right deal for Britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary, working people here at home.

We will stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain and:

Establish Britain as the strongest country in Europe, in economic growth and national security. We will negotiate a deep and special partnership with our European neighbours. We will strike export deals for British goods and services. And we will lead the world in preventing terrorism and fighting modern slavery.
Build a stronger economy that rewards people who work hard and creates secure and well-paid jobs. We will make sure there is growth and prosperity around the whole country.
Provide real opportunity for all. We will give everyone a chance to get on in life, by building enough affordable housing and making sure there is a good school place for every child.
Build a more secure and united nation by taking action against the extremists who try to divide our society and standing up to the separatists who want to break up our country.
But we will also take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future. We will build on the good work we have done and stick to our Plan for a Stronger Britain. But, from the productivity of our economy to the need for a world-class system of social care, we will tackle head-on the long-term challenges we face as a country.
Theresa May is a strong leader who puts the national interest first and gets things done. When she became Prime Minister after the referendum, the priority was to provide economic certainty, a clear vision and strong leadership – and that’s what she delivered. She has also delivered on the mandate from the referendum, and begun the process through which Britain will leave the EU. Now she needs your support to lead Britain through the next five years and give the country the certainty and stability we all need.

You can only get the strong leadership the country needs by voting for Theresa May and your local Conservative candidate.
A vote for any other party risks Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, propped up in coalition by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, and the Liberal Democrats who just want to re-open the divisions of the referendum.
The choice facing the country at this election is all about leadership. The choice in this election is strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives – or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Patrick

Patrick McLoughlin 
Chairman of the Conservative Party

LGA responds to latest delayed discharges figures

“No one’s elderly parent, grandparents or friends should be left unnecessarily in a hospital bed, when they could be treated in the comfort and dignity of their own home.”

Responding to delayed discharges figures for February 2017 published today by NHS England, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Linda Thomas, said:

“No one’s elderly parent, grandparents or friends should be left unnecessarily in a hospital bed, when they could be treated in the comfort and dignity of their own home.

“Councils are absolutely committed to reducing the level of delayed transfers of care from the NHS and are working with providers and hospitals to help reduce pressures on health services.

“Across the country nearly six out of 10 people delayed in hospital are unable to leave because they require further NHS services, with around a third awaiting support from council social care.

“The scale of underfunding councils have faced in recent years is placing the care provider market under huge pressure, making it more difficult to discharge people from hospital back to their homes and communities.

“But while reducing delayed transfers of care is a significant challenge for both councils and the NHS, this is by no means the only issue facing health and social care, and it’s important it does not become the basis for which overall performance is judged.

“The LGA has worked hard to highlight the significant pressures facing adult social care and secure desperately-needed new government funding for the system. It also works to support member councils tackle these challenges, for example working with local care providers to ensure there are out of hospital beds to meet needs, and using telecare to better support people to recover in their own homes.

“The new funding for social care and the £2 billion announced over the next three years in the Budget is a significant step towards helping councils plug some of the social care funding gaps they face in the coming years.

“However, short-term pressures remain and they further emphasise the need to reform and fully fund the current social care system and find a long-term solution to the social care funding crisis.

“The Government’s Green Paper provides the opportunity to begin a much-needed meaningful national conversation about how, as a society, we should best support people of all ages with care and support needs in our communities.”

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Michael Howard is right, Gibraltar is ours and PM should do anything to defend it!

Maggie Thatcher went to war with Argentina when British sovereign land was under threat, so why shouldn’t Theresa May be prepared to do anything to defend Gibraltar? Former Tory leader Michael Howard said at the weekend that the PM would show the same resolve that Thatcher showed 35 years ago over the Falklands, and I say good on her! I have been to Gibraltar many times, and the people are more patriotic about the UK than most people in Britain! I got the views of locals on the diplomatic row that’s erupted between us and Spain. I spoke to Chris Peach, a listener who lives in the territory, and Andy Hunter, owner of The Lord Nelson pub as well as several other businesses in Gibraltar.

What is it that gives the Spanish the right to think that they can bully us over Gibraltar? I’m guessing they’re not planning on giving up the Canary Islands any time soon! Maybe it’s because we don’t have enough politicians who are prepared to talk tough about this. Politicians like William Dartmouth MEP, UKIP MEP for South-West England, which includes Gibraltar. He’s been in Gibraltar over the weekend, so I spoke to him live from Spain to get his thoughts. William was clear: no matter what Madrid thinks, Gibraltar is, and must remain, British!

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Reunifying Ireland: An EU law perspective

On 23 June 2016, Northern Ireland was one of the two UK constituent nations that voted to remain in the EU. Following that, Sinn Féin has called for a referendum for the unification of Ireland and thus for Northern Ireland to remain in the EU. This discussion has intensified after the most recent Northern Ireland Assembly election where the Unionist vote was significantly reduced.

Independently of whether such development is politically prudent and/or feasible, one has to note that, legally speaking, ‘Westminster has formally conceded that Northern Ireland can secede from the United Kingdom to join a united Ireland, if its people, and the people of the Irish Republic, voting separately, agree to this.’ Section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 is a rare example of a provision of a constitutional statute that explicitly recognises the right of secession of a region (see also the Good Friday Agreement). According to Schedule 1 of the Northern Ireland Act, however, such a referendum can only be organised if ‘it appears likely to [the UK Secretary of State] that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.’ Theresa Villiers, the former Northern Ireland Secretary has made clear that, according to her, ‘there is nothing to indicate that there is majority support for a poll.’

Still, if in the future, the majority of the people in Northern Ireland democratically decide to secede from the UK and join the Republic of Ireland, the EU legal order is able to accommodate such political development. The secession of Northern Ireland will not mean the creation of a new (Member-)State. Instead, it will trigger the territorial expansion of an EU Member State to which EU law already applies in accordance with Article 52 TEU. In a way, the reunification of Ireland could follow the precedent of the German reunification where the application of the acquis was extended to East Germany without an amendment of the primary legislation. The difference is that, in the case of Germany, the EU acquis did not apply at all in the East before the reunification, something that is very different with the situation in Northern Ireland.

However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has asked recently for a special provision in any Brexit deal to allow Northern Ireland to rejoin the EU should it be united with the Republic. He did so, notwithstanding the fact that a special deal for Northern Ireland is the declared goal of the UK government.

So, the question is how could such a provision look like?

Obviously, there are not many EU law provisions that regulate the (re)unification of (Member-)States. The closest example is Article 4 of Protocol No 10 on Cyprus of the Act of Accession 2003. Protocol No 10 provides the terms for the application of EU law in Cyprus given that the island had not been unified at the moment it joined the EU. In particular, it provides for the suspension of the application of the acquis in northern Cyprus, a suspension which shall be lifted in the event of a solution.

If such solution occurs in the future, Article 4 provides for a simplified procedure that enables the Union to accommodate the terms of the reunification plan. In particular, Article 4 allows the EU, by a unanimous Council Decision at a future date and in the event of reunification, to alter the terms of Cyprus’ EU accession that are contained in the Act of Accession 2003. In other words, it allows the Council to amend primary law (ie Act of Accession 2003) with a unanimous decision.

This might sound like a heresy. However, the Treaties foresee special procedures for their amendment in some cases. The best example, for the purposes of this post, is the Council decision on the basis of Article 2(2) of the 1994 Accession Treaty which adjusted the instruments of accession after Norway’s failure to ratify. Several Articles of this Accession Treaty and of the Act of Accession were amended by a Council decision while other provisions were declared to have lapsed. Thus, in that case, the Council, itself, amended primary law in a simplified procedure without any ratification of the Member States.

To the extent that the ‘Brexit’ Agreement will be considered as part of primary law, a similar provision regulating the reunification of Ireland could be included and could assist the smooth transitioning of Northern Ireland back to the EU. Of course, the question of the reunification of Ireland –as many other questions related to Brexit- is first and foremost political. It is important to point out, however, that EU law is flexible enough to accommodate such political developments.

Barnard & Peers: chapter 27

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