Gary Gibbon on Politics

Channel 4 News's political editor gives his take on the latest news and gossip from the corridors of power in Westminster and beyond.

June 29, 2016 No Comments

Brexit re-think? No one is Brussels is giving it the time of day

EU and British flags are adjusted before the EU summit.

The most striking thing about the last 24 hours in Brussels is how virtually no one is talking about a UK re-think. Meet Remain enthusiasts in the UK, read some of the pro-Remain media and you might think there was a crack of light on this one.

There was, “very predictably,” one EU diplomat said, an immediate ‘keep all options open’ approach signalled from Chancellor Merkel’s court. That is in her nature. But last night the German Chancellor said: ” I see no possibility to reverse this. We would do well to accept this reality.”

As Patrick Wintour writes in The Guardian today – UK voted for Brexit – but is there a way back? This is being talked about in Westminster. But it could be EU partners have studied the numbers more closely than we have.

As one EU diplomat put it to me: “57% of the English voted no when you discount London. What do you tell them?  It is irreversible. And that we have noted everywhere.” The Remain MPs who talk of schemes to reverse things have constituencies that defiantly went against their views.

As I head back to London, Nicola Sturgeon heads to Brussels on what her team describe as the first of several exploratory discussions about how to stay in. The mirror image of the English result, they hope, will stir the EU to offer  the Scots continuing membership. SNP sources say while English politicians are utterly distracted by their own party politics they will make headway preparing the way for Scotland’s breakaway.

There was huge applause yesterday and a standing ovation for the SNP MEP Alyn Smith when he called on the EU not to desert Scotland. Applause there though does not always translate into a decision at the European Council.

Spain was the most outspoken critic of Scotland splintering from the UK back in 2014 and on the eve of that vote Spain’s Prime Minister Rajoy gave his most defiant cry of resistance to the idea. He has, of course, just been re-elected.

Spain worries about the existential threat to its state if Catalonia in particular were to think it could split off and get separate EU membership. It doesn’t want that kind of contagion.

Some EU observers say Madrid is nothing like the force it was in EU affairs though, weakened by the contagion of Eurozone crises and their aftermath and eminently biddable if the right compensation could be offered.

We shall see.

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June 28, 2016 No Comments

Nigel Farage booed and heckled by MEPs

Nigel Farage insulted MEPs as strangers to the real world, ideologues in denial and people who’d never held down a proper job.

June 27, 2016 No Comments

David Cameron in the Commons: damage limitation for career and country

The great swaggerer came to the Commons not humbled but humiliated. David Cameron though was a man on a rearguard mission today.

David Cameron could be gone by August

If MPs can whittle down the candidates to the 2 names that go to Party members quickly enough then his successor could be in office by mid August.

There will be no second referendum, cabinet agrees

The Cabinet agreed this morning there would be no second referendum. David Cameron will spell that out in his Commons statement this afternoon.

Labour leadership battle: It’s a busy morning at Corbyn’s office

Tom Watson told the Labour leader he faced a challenge but, aides to the leader say, stopped short of telling him to go. His next set of visitors will be less conciliatory. Queuing up with a plan

June 25, 2016 4 Comments

Where is the power right now?

While Brussels and Berlin teemed with reaction, Edinburgh too… London seemed strangely silent.

June 24, 2016 7 Comments

Who voted for Remain and Leave?

In England, Leave voters (39 per cent) were more than twice as likely as Remain voters (18 per cent) to describe themselves either as “English not British” or “more English than

‘Massive vacuum’ in British politics after EU referendum

It was sombre, almost funereal in tone. One Vote Leave staffer said there was plenty of time for the UK to start exploratory work.

Boris Johnson booed as he leaves London home

That’s not unusual if organised protestors have got together but some of these people were well-to-do Londoners on their way to work.

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