web analytics

Politicker

PM statement in Downing Street: 13 December 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first statement upon returning to Downing Street on 13 December 2019.

This morning I went to Buckingham Palace. I am forming a new government and on Monday MPs will arrive at Westminster to form a new parliament. I am proud to say that members of our new one nation government – a people’s government – will set out from constituencies that have never returned a Conservative MP for 100 years and yes they will have an overwhelming mandate, from this election, to get Brexit done and we will honour that mandate by Jan 31.

So in this moment of national resolution I want to speak directly to those who made it possible and to all those who voted for us, for the first time, all those whose pencils may have wavered over the ballot and who heard the voices of their parents and their grandparents whispering anxiously in their ears, I say thank you for the trust you have placed in us and in me. We will work round the clock to repay your trust and to deliver on your priorities with a parliament that works for you.

Then I want to speak also to those who did not vote for us or for me and who wanted, and perhaps still want to, remain in the EU. I want you to know that we in this one nation conservative government will never ignore your good and positive feelings of warmth and sympathy towards the other nations of Europe.

Because now is the moment, precisely as we leave the EU, to let those natural feelings find renewed expression in building a new partnership, which is one of the great projects for next year, as we work together with the EU as friends and sovereign equals, in tackling climate change and terrorism, in building academic and scientific cooperation, redoubling our trading relationship.

I frankly urge everyone on either side of what after three and a half years after all an increasingly arid argument I urge everyone to find closure and to let the healing begin because I believe, in fact I know, because I have heard it loud and clear from every corner of the country, that the overwhelming priority of the British people now is that we should focus above all on the NHS. That simple and beautiful idea that represents the best of our country with the biggest ever cash boost 50,000 more nurses, 40 new hospitals as well as providing better schools, safer streets.

In the next few weeks and months we will be bringing forward proposals to transform this country with better infrastructure, better education, better technology and if you ask yourselves what is this new government going to do, what is he going to do with his extraordinary majority

I will tell you that is what we are going to do – we are going to unite and level up – unite and level up – bringing together the whole of this incredible United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland together taking us forward, unleashing the potential of the whole country delivering opportunity across the entire nation.

Since I know that after five weeks frankly of electioneering this country deserves a break from wrangling, a break from politics, and a permanent break from talking about Brexit.

I want everyone to go about their Christmas preparations happy and secure in the knowledge that here in this people’s government the work is now being stepped up to make 2020 a year of prosperity and growth and hope and to deliver a Parliament that works for the people.

Thank you all very much and happy Christmas.

from https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-in-downing-street-13-december-2019

General Election 2019 – Election Results

Results in the General Election held on 12 December 2019 are as follows: the Conservative Party have 365 MPs which gives them a majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons. Labour came 2nd with 203 MPs. The SNP have 48 seats, and the Liberal Democrats have 11 seats.

With 47,587,254 Registered voters, the turnout was 67.3% (32,026,222)

The results are:

General Election 2019 - Results
Party Seats Change (from 2017) Votes Vote Share Vote Share Change
Conservative 365 +47 13,966,451 43.6% +1.2%
Labour 203 -59 10,295,907 32.2% -7.8%
SNP 48 +13 1,242,380 3.9% +0.8%
LD 11 -1 3,696,423 11.5% +4.2%
DUP 8 -2 244,127 0.8% -0.1%
Sinn Féin 7 0 181,853 0.6% -0.2%
Plaid Cymru 4 0 153,265 0.5% 0.0%
SDLP 2 +2 118,737 0.4% +0.1%
Green 1 0 865,697 2.7% +1.1%
Alliance Party 1 +1 134,115 0.4% +0.2%
Brexit Party 0 0 642,323 2.0% +2.0%
Others 0 -1 470,843 1.8% 0.0%

Map of Election Results

Key

(Img: Brythones, recoloured by Ezzatam [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Useful Links

Comprehensive details about the election and find out more about your constituency at :

BBC Election News

General Election 2019 – Exit Poll

Having managed to ignore most of the rhetoric since the announcement of a General Election on 12 December 2019, the election finally came to pass and my first item to report on is the Exit Poll which was announced at 10:00 pm on Thursday 12 December.

An Exit Poll asks voters as they leave a polling station who they actually voted for. The Ipsos Mori Exit Poll was held in 144 constituencies in England Scotland and Wales and are chosen as being representative of the country. As voters leave the polling station they are selected at regular intervals to fill in a replica ballot paper which is placed into a box to be opened and counted later – in this way they do not have to identify who they voted for. These votes are used to determine voting patterns which can be extended across the country as a whole to determine the potential result of the election. The first 2019 exit poll will not cover the last half hour or so of voting in order to be available to be released at 10:00 pm – it may, however, be updated to reflect actual results from the election as they are announced.

The prediction is:

Exit Poll
Party Seats
Conservative 368
Labour 191
SNP 55
LD 13
Others 23

UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group

by Politicker 0 Comments

Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Labour Party) recently presented a number of documents which cover six rounds of talks between U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) officials and UK officials from the Department of International Trade. These documents detail meetings which were held between July 2017 and July 2019. With all the rhetoric flying around, it’s useful to explore what’s actually been happening with regards to discussions about a future trading relationship with the USA.

The meetings were preparatory meetings ahead of formal trade talks.

The UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group was established in July 2017 by UK Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox MP and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.

Since its inception, the Working Group has been laying the groundwork for an ambitious and wide-ranging potential future free trade agreement once the UK has left the EU, as well as ensuring commercial continuity for UK and US businesses, workers, and consumers.

The Working Group delegations were led by officials from the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and USTR. It also included representatives from a wide range of UK and U.S. Government departments and agencies.

Total trade between the two countries is already worth about £190 billion a year. We are each other’s largest source of foreign direct investment and, according to U.S. statistics, the UK and U.S. have around $1 trillion invested in each other’s economies. Every day around one million Americans go to work for UK firms, while around one million Britons go to work for American firms.

The documents presented by Jeremy Corbyn were posted on reddit around mid-october – it is unclear where the poster obtained them.

These meetings were held during Prime Minister Theresa May’s tenure and while Dr Liam Fox (MP) was Secretary of State for International Trade, running the Department for International Trade (DiT).

The meetings were mentioned in statements released by DiT, but other details do not appear to have been released to the public. The documents made available by Jeremy Corbyn, contain reports on the discussion and outcome of the meetings.

USTR Signs Mutual Recognition Agreements with the United Kingdom

https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2019/february/ustr-signs-mutual-recognition

On February 14, 2019, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney and Ambassador Kim Darroch, United Kingdom (UK) Ambassador to the United States, signed two mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) covering telecom equipment, electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) for information and communications technology products, pharmaceutical good manufacturing practice (GMP) inspections, and marine equipment.

These MRAs with the UK replicate substantive provisions of existing MRAs between the United States and the European Union for these sectors and will ensure that U.S.-UK trade in these product sectors is not disrupted when the UK leaves the European Union. U.S. exports to the UK of products covered by these agreements exceeded $5 billion in 2018.

Agreement on Mutual Recognition Between the U.S.-UK

Agreement Between the U.S.-UK on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Conformity for Marine Equipment

U.S.-UK Agreement on Trade in Wine

USTR Signs Wine and Distilled Spirits Continuity Agreements with the UK

On January 31, 2019, Ambassador Gregg Doud, USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and Ambassador Kim Darroch, United Kingdom (UK) Ambassador to the United States, signed two agreements covering wine and distilled spirits today to ensure there is no disruption in trade of these products between the United States and the UK when the UK leaves the European Union (EU). Currently the United States has agreements on wine and distilled spirits with the European Union which cover trade with the UK by virtue of its membership in the EU.

U.S.-UK Agreement on Trade in Wine

US-UK Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Certain Distilled Spirits/Spirits Drinks

==========================================================================================

Other useful links

The UK is preparing for an independent trade policy to implement after EU Exit. This means the UK will have the opportunity to negotiate and enter into trade agreements with other countries.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/trade-with-the-us

These agreements can:

  • enable increased trade and investment
  • secure access for UK exporters to the key markets of today and the future
  • give consumers access to a greater range of products at lower prices
  • make the UK more innovative, competitive and prosperous

The Department for International Trade is preparing for possible negotiations with the US after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. The UK government is consulting with members of the public, businesses, trade experts, and any other interested organisations to help inform this work.

This agreed consultation will help to inform our overall approach to our future trade relationship and trade negotiations with the US.

An information pack for the Consultation relating to a bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States

Information Pack UK-US FTA consultation( pdf)

Jeremy Corbyn – Documents about US-UK trade talks

by Politicker 0 Comments

In a press conference on 27 November 2019, Jeremy Corbyn has revealed unredacted documents about secret US-UK trade talks.

from the Labour Party website

https://labour.org.uk/press/jeremy-corbyn-reveals-unredacted-documents-about-secret-us-uk-trade-talks/

Speaking at the press conference, he said:

If you watched the first TV debate between me and Boris Johnson, you’ll have seen me hold up these censored, blacked-out reports of secret US-UK talks about breaking open our NHS to US corporations and driving up the cost of medicines. You’ll have seen Boris Johnson lose his cool, very angrily react saying it was “an absolute invention” and “completely untrue.” He told the country there were “no circumstances whatsoever in which his government or any Conservative government” would put the NHS on the table in any trade negotiations.

What I have here is something I can reveal to you 451 pages of unredacted documents and information. All of it here. His government released this [holds up redacted version]. We have since obtained this [holds up unredacted version]. Which is a very different version of events.

Perhaps he’d like to explain why these documents confirm the US is demanding the NHS is on the table in the trade talks?

These uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson’s denials in absolute tatters. Voters need to ask themselves some very serious questions: is the NHS safe in Boris Johnson’s hands? We’ve now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda but today it’s been exposed. Now we know the truth, when Johnson says, ‘get Brexit done’, it’s a fraud on the British people. This is the reality. Years of bogged down negotiations and our NHS is up for sale.

This election is now a fight for the survival of our National Health Service. As a public service free for all at the point of need.

So for the want of any doubt, let me give this reassurance: Labour will never ever treat our NHS as a bargaining chip in trade talks with anybody. We will never let Donald Trump get his hands on our NHS. Because our NHS is not for sale.

These reports cover six rounds of talks running from July 2017 until just a few months ago. The meetings took place in both Washington DC and London. The six rounds should be taken as one ongoing negotiation. We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit. A deal that will shape our country’s future.

These reports pull back the curtain on the secrecy that’s being plotted for us all, behind closed doors, by the Conservative government. This is what they didn’t want you to know. So let me take you through some key points.

Let me begin with medicine pricing. Remember, Labour and experts said big US corporations want to force up the price our NHS pays for drugs as part of the toxic deal being negotiated with Trump. The Conservatives said this was nonsense. The documents show that we were right. In fact, negotiations have advanced even further than we feared they had. The US and UK have already finished initial discussion on lengthening patents for medicines.

Longer patents mean only one thing – more expensive drugs. Lives will be put at risk as a result of this. Many out-of-patent medicines available cheaply here are vastly more expensive under patent law in the US. The drug Humira for Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis costs our NHS £1,409 a packet. In the US, the same packet costs £8,115. Get the difference – £1,409 in our NHS, £8,115 in the USA. One of the reasons for US drug prices being on average 250% of those here is a patent regime rigged for the big pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Andrew Hill has warned the NHS could have to hand over £500 million a week more for medicines following a toxic Trump deal.

If you look at the readout of the second meeting, on page 51, UK officials report that “patent issues” around “NHS access to generic drugs will be a key consideration” in talks. US officials have “pushed hard,” the reports says, for longer patents for US drug companies. You can also see on page 132 of the report of the fourth meeting, where drug patents are being discussed, that officials are ready to “exchange text” which is trade-negotiator-speak for it being at a very advanced stage. And they say they are ready to, I quote, “really take significant further steps.”

Let’s be frank, the US is not going to negotiate to sell its own medicines for less. President Trump himself never tires of complaining about what he calls the “unreasonably low prices” other countries pay for medicines. The White House even has a webpage attacking so-called “foreign freeloading” – that’s what they’re accusing our NHS of. Big pharma has ripped off and imperilled the health of the American people for years. Now these secret reports show they’re looking to do the same to us – if the Conservatives are elected on December 12th.

Labour has been warning that NHS services will also be on the table in trade talks for a sell-out deal with Trump. After all, that’s exactly what Trump said when he visited this country in June. He said and I quote: “When you’re dealing in trade, everything is on the table NHS or anything else.” The Tories have denied it, but the documents show that on this occasion, Trump was right and so were we. The new breed of trade deals are not only – or even mainly – about tariffs on goods at the border. They are also about services – including our health service. And these documents make clear that for the US, to quote page 41 of the third meeting report, “everything is included unless something is specifically excluded.”

They want, I quote: “Total market access” as the “baseline assumption of the trade negotiations.”

“Total market access.”

But surely you can’t believe that British officials would demand the NHS be excluded? Apparently not. In fact, on behalf of the Conservative government, officials reassured their counterparts that “the US should expect the UK to be a liberalising influence” and that together they could “fly the good flag for services liberalisation.” That’s a green light for breaking open Britain’s public services so corporations can profit from. So now we know, direct from the secret reports that they never wanted you to see.

The US is demanding that our NHS is on the table in negotiations for a toxic deal – it’s already being talked about in secret. That could lead to runaway privatisation of our health service. Mega-corporations see Johnson’s alliance with Trump as a chance to make billions from the illness and sickness of people in this country. And if the Conservatives have their way and this deal goes forward, the changes I’ve revealed will be almost irreversible.

Officials have discussed a system to give corporations the power to sue our country. This is not only a plot against our NHS. It is a plot against the whole country. These sell-out negotiations with Trump cover everything from food safety, to gender discrimination rules, to workers’ rights. I’ll leave it to you journalists as experts to comb through these secret reports and expose the biggest threats. But let me give you a few pointers.

How about chlorine-washed chicken on our dinner tables?

Have a look at the second meeting, on page 42 and 43, where the US even agrees to share its “public lines” to help our government with its “media narratives.”

You might want to look at how Trump’s America absolutely refuses, absolutely refuses, to even mention climate change in the deal – see the second meeting, page 17.

On page one of meeting six for the US advocating a No Deal Brexit saying that would mean there’d be “all to play for” in a deal with Trump.

What’s at stake in a deal with Trump could not be more important for our country. In this election the Conservatives want you to vote blind, keeping millions of us in the dark about their plans. But these reports, first obtained in censored form by campaigners in this room, shine a light on this plot.

So it seems to me that it’s now on Boris Johnson to explain how all of this is an “absolute invention.” you heard his words on the video we just showed. To explain why he denied the very things we can now read in black and white. He must now come clean about the Conservatives’ sell-out plans are for our NHS. Labour will not let this rest because, unlike the Conservatives, we’re not on the side of the billionaires and the bankers. We’re on the side of the nurse, the doctor, the patient and the people and we will never sell out our National Health Service. I’ll now ask our colleagues, friends from the National Health Service are here today to help us and they will pass around some copies of these documents and then Barry and I will take questions from you.

This topic was first mentioned in a documentary on TV by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme, which asserted that the price the NHS pays for US medicines could rise steeply in any future trade deal with the United States

css.php