It's been a tough old month for Change UK. First came the European elections: nul points. Then came the split: bye-bye Chuka, bye-bye Heidi, bye-bye Sarah Wollaston, bye-bye three others whose names we've already forgotten and who definitely exist.
Surely, your Soubrys and your Gapeses and your Coffeys and your Ryans and your Leslies must have thought, it can't get any worse. Sure, we outnumbered journalists at our first press briefing at continuity Change UK. But, as the Master himself once said, things can only get better.
Reader, it could. And it did.
CHUK, it turns out, have been carrying a dark secret with them for months. Darker than Mike Gapes' take on the Iraq War. Even more depraved than Joan Ryan's views on proportional representation.
In a confession this afternoon — dropped in the aftermath of the first Conservative leadership ballot in an attempt to guarantee the tiny amount of coverage they attract as a matter of course — the party who cannot be named for legal reasons said:
Ahead of the European elections, lawyers for the organisation Change.org disputed our right to register as 'Change UK' with the Electoral Commission.
Under threat of legal action by Change.org, which would have involved each MP being sued personally, and with no time left to register a new party name to contest the elections, our leadership at the time felt we had no option but to sign a legal agreement preventing the permanent use of the name Change UK once the campaign was over.
We are now legally obliged to make a formal application to the Electoral Commission, to amend our name by 15th June, so today we are applying to register ourselves as 'The Independent Group for Change' and will await the Electoral Commission's decision.
We remain determined as a party to tackle the big issues facing the country. Preventing a disastrous no deal Brexit and fixing Britain's broken politics remain our absolute focus as we begin to build our new policy platform.
So there you have it. The Independent Group is dead. Long live Change UK! Change UK is dead. Long live the Independent Group for Change!
Hang on. I think it's alrRead More – Source
Hong Kong suspends China extradition bill debate after massive protests
Chief executive Carrie Lam denied her reversal was because of protests (Picture: Getty/EPA)
Organisers behind a mass rally in Hong Kong say their protests will still go ahead tomorrow, despite the countrys chief executive suspending plans to pass a controversial new extradition law.
Chief executive Carrie Lam said the Hong Kong government will suspend its highly controversial plan to allow extraditions to mainland China, following mass protests from Hong Kong residents.
Ms Lam told a press conference that the proposed bill had caused a lot of division in society, saying she had heard calls for her government to pause and think.
I have to admit in terms of explanation and communication, there were inadequacies, she said.
We have to bear in mind the greatest interests of Hong Kong.
Ms Lam had previously refused to withdraw the bill, with protesters calling for her resignation.
Local pickpocket arrested over raping British girl, 15, in sauna in Majorca
The incident happened in a sauna at the Best Delta Hotel in Majorca (Picture: Solarpix)
A British g..
A British girl, 15, has been raped while on holiday with her family in Majorca, according to local reports.
A Romanian pickpocket has been arrested over the alleged sexual assault that is said to have taken place when the schoolgirl entered a sauna at the Best Delta Hotel by herself on May 27.
She was staying at the four-star venue in Llucmajor with her relatives at the time.
The man allegedly went to the hotel with his wife to target holidaymakers they intended to rob, according to newspaper Ultima Hora, which described him as a well-known pickpocket.
A spokesman for the Best Delta Hotel said: We have assisted one of our clients after she informed us she had suffered a sexual attack in our establishment.
We deeply regret what has happened and from the very outset, and have focused all our attention and human and technical resources into helping the person affected and her family.
As soon as we were made aware of what happened, we requested the appropriate medical response team and notified the police who arrived on scene very quickly. (more…)
Its not Rory Stewart who threatens Boris Johnson in the debates. Its Dominic Raab
Boris Johnson will swerve the Channel 4 debate on Sunday, as his campaign continues to minimise its ..
Boris Johnson will swerve the Channel 4 debate on Sunday, as his campaign continues to minimise its exposure to scrutiny and to risk. The former foreign secretary will, however, attend the BBCs debate on Tuesday evening, when the field will have further narrowed.
There are a variety of reasons why the former mayors interests are well-served by avoiding the debate: the biggest one of course is that he is currently the frontrunner and it is in the interests of the frontrunner to avoid moments that could change the contest.
There are also a number of specific threats. The biggest in the eyes of the press at this debate is Rory Stewart, who has been the most outspoken critic of Johnson personally. But bluntly, there is very little that Stewart can say about Johnson that will damage him. Johnsons parliamentary supporters arent backing him because they believe he has the purest character, or the best record in office, but because they think one or all of the following: that he is the politician who can get Brexit resolved, put Nigel Farage back in his box, win the next election, or that he is going to be the next Conservative Prime Minister anyway so better to live on your knees than to die on your feet.
His coalition among the Conservative membership likewise rests on members who think he can win elections, and members who think he can be trusted on Brexit. Johnsons biggest political assets are his victories in the mayoral elections of 2008 and 2012 and the referendum of 2016, rather than anything else.
In Parliament, he has a coalition of people who are ideologically attuned to him and people who want jobs under him. This coalition has radically different ideas about how to resolve Brexit – some are ardent supporters of no deal, others fear that a no deal Brexit would bury the party. Some want to avoid an election, others believe that it is inevitable.
So the two big threats to Johnson are a) that another candidate will be able to successfully prosecute the argument that they, not he, are the partys best bet electorally speaking; and b) that his parliamentary coalition will break up between now and the final ballot.
By swerving this first debate, Johnson is increasing the risk of that one of Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab or Rory Stewart might sufficiently wow the nationally-representative studio audience to up-end the contest. But the price of increasing risk a) is that he is decreasing the chances of risk b).
Why? Because the candidate who Johnson will be most well served by the absence of now and that BBC debate isnt Rory Stewart – its Dominic Raab, the only other impeccable No Deal advocate left in the contest. If Raab is eliminated between now and then, Johnsons parliamentary balancing act gets a lot easier. He will be the most extreme pole of the Conservatives Brexit debate and that will make it easier for him to avoid being pinned down by anyone.
The difficulty for Johnson is that it is not guaranteed that Raab will be eliminated. While some of Raabs supporters are privately considering throwing in the towel, supporters of the already-eliminated Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey are both contemplating that they are better served by backing Raab than Johnson, for multiple reasons. Some ambitious MPs think it is too late to secure preferment under Johnson, but that an empowered Raab might be a useful advocate for “his” people later down the line. Other, more suspicious parliamentarians, dont want advocates of no deal to be confined to a menu that consists solelyRead More – Source
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