MIL-OSI UK: Pressing need for backstop to be banked – Remain party leaders

Source: Sinn Féin

10 December, 2018 – by Michelle O’Neill

A statement from the leaders of the four Pro-Remain parties
“The four Remain parties, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party continue to believe that there is no such thing as a good Brexit and our preference is for no Brexit at all. We recognise that the majority of people, businesses and civic society do not want Brexit either.
“We have a shared responsibility to protect jobs, economic stability, the environment and people’s livelihoods.
“At the very least, this means avoiding a hard border, protecting the Good Friday Agreement and hard won peace of the past twenty years, and staying within the Single Market and a Customs Union.
“Therefore as a basis for this, we maintain that there is a pressing need for the backstop as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement to be banked.
“By contrast, we believe that a no deal situation would be catastrophic for our economy and society.” ENDS/CRÍOCH
Signed by:
Michelle O’Neill
Colum Eastwood
Naomi Long
Clare Bailey

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Royal Air Force Typhoons launch with new missileRAF Typhoons launched from RAF Lossiemouth this morning for the first time with the Meteor Air-to-Air missile in defence of UK airspace during a Quick Reaction Alert mission.10 Dec 2018

Source: United Kingdom – Royal Air Force

RAF Typhoons launched from RAF Lossiemouth this morning for the first time with the Meteor Air-to-Air missile in defence of UK airspace during a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission.

This event represents the culmination of many years of research, development and testing to bring this advanced weapon into service on front-line aircraft.

RAF Typhoons maintain a constant state of readiness to defend the sovereignty of British skies. The introduction of Meteor brings a new and innovative long-range capability and further enhances Typhoon’s already potent arsenal. This year they have been scrambled for a variety of incidents including intercepting Russian bombers approaching UK airspace.

“This latest missile system demonstrates the next chapter of the Typhoon which will see the jet evolve its ability to target and destroy any airborne threat at great distances. The Meteor missile will provide an unrelenting deterrence to those who wish harm upon the UK and our Armed Forces.

“The RAF’s prized Typhoon Force is unquestionably now the cornerstone of British and NATO military power. It has proved itself in combat roles over Libya, Iraq and Syria, protecting UK skies and overseas territories, and providing critical support to our NATO Allies in Eastern Europe.”

Gavin Williamson
Defence Secretary

“RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters are now armed with the most advanced Air to Air missile in the world, the MBDA developed ramjet powered Meteor. Another huge leap forward in capability for the Typhoon Force, which is proud to continue defending the UK and our allies, 24/7.”

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier
Chief of the Air Staff

The missile system is a worthy investment as it can fly in any weather condition, perform against all current and known future threats; including combat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles/missiles and will eventually operate from the F-35 Lightning aircraft. Crucially, the Meteor and launch aircraft will be networked by a datalink ensuring highly accurate and intelligent air strikes.

The pilot flying the first Meteor equipped Typhoon said:

“The responsibility of flying such a capable platform, armed with this formidable weapon is immense, but the options this gives us in responding to an emergency situation cannot be understated.”

RAF Pilot flying first Meteor equipped Typhoon

Meteor is a state of the art complex weapon developed by a six nation European partnership led by the UK. It is built and manufactured by MBDA in Stevenage and has created 430 jobs across the country.

The RAF will continue to develop the missile through life, in-step with our International Defence and Industrial partners, supporting the UK Aerospace Industry, while maintaining the UK’s sovereign ‘capability edge’. 

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Press release: £40 million personalised support package for long-term unemployed disabled people launched

Source: UK Government

The support comes from a new £40 million fund and is expected to benefit 10,000 people.
The Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme will provide highly personalised packages of employment support for people who are at least a year away from moving into work.
People will get coaching to help build their independence, confidence and motivation, as well as work experience to help boost their career prospects.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd said:

Everyone, no matter what their background is, should have the opportunity to thrive in the workplace, and having the right support in place for disabled people is one of my greatest priorities.
To truly help people transform their lives, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach.
That’s why this new programme is designed to offer people, who may think they will never move into work, tailored support to help them overcome any personal barriers they may have in the first instance, and then to focus on boosting their skills.
There are also huge economic benefits to improving disability employment rates. More than half of disabled people are in work, but in order to realise the full potential of disabled people in Britain we want to go further and see one million more disabled people in work by 2027.

People on the scheme will get a dedicated key worker who will work with them to overcome complex barriers which may be preventing them from entering work, ensuring they have a personal support network in place.
The voluntary scheme will be rolled out across England and Wales in 2019, and applicants will receive support for up to 21 months, including 6 months of in-work support for those who get a job.
Neil Heslop, Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire, said:

Many disabled people with complex needs face significant barriers in accessing the workplace. It’s crucial that specialised employment support is available and the government responds to the challenges people often encounter.
A more tailored approach can help reach those who are not currently receiving any employment support or skills development. The experiences of disabled people must be central for this support to meaningfully build confidence in an ongoing way, reflecting their individual circumstances and aspirations.

The Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme will support people living with a disability who are unlikely to move into work within the next year or longer and may need additional support.
Other government support to help disabled people get into and thrive in work includes the Disability Confident scheme, the Work and Health programme, the Access to Work grant and Jobcentre Plus services.
The Secretary of State also announced measures to reduce the most severely disabled benefit claimants having their awards unnecessarily reviewed.
Personal Independence Payment covers some of the extra costs caused by long term disability or ill-health.
New guidance will ensure that people who are awarded the highest level of support under Personal Independence Payment will receive an ongoing award, with a ‘light touch’ review every 10 years so they no longer have to have their conditions re-examined.
Previously this was going to only be applicable for new claims, but the Secretary of State has now taken steps to ensure this also applies to existing claims.
This is to ensure that for disabled people who need extra support, the system is designed to be as seamless as possible while minimising any unnecessary stress or bureaucracy.

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MIL-OSI UK: Jeremy Corbyn responds to reports that Theresa May has pulled the meaningful vote – The Labour Party

Source: Labour Party UK

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, responding to reports that Theresa May has pulled the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal, said:

“The Government has decided Theresa May’s Brexit deal is so disastrous that it has taken the desperate step of delaying its own vote at the eleventh hour.

“We have known for at least two weeks that Theresa May’s worst of all worlds deal was going to be rejected by Parliament because it is damaging for Britain. Instead, she ploughed ahead when she should have gone back to Brussels to renegotiate or called an election so the public could elect a new government that could do so.

“We don’t have a functioning government. While Theresa May continues to botch Brexit, our public services are at breaking point and our communities suffer from dire under-investment.

“Labour’s alternative plan for a jobs first deal must take centre stage in any future talks with Brussels.”

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: What does a delayed meaningful vote mean for Labour?

Source: Labour List UK

Faced with a huge historic defeat in the Commons, it would seem Theresa May has opted to pull the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal. It was due to take place tomorrow, but reportedly the Prime Minister told cabinet in an emergency conference call that the vote is off. It is now confirmed that she will be making a statement in the chamber called ‘Exiting the European Union’, followed by a business statement from Andrea Leadsom. These constitute a sure sign that it will be announced the vote is delayed.

What does this mean for her deal and for Labour? First, it’s important to note that she has irritated both MPs and journalists with the way in which this decision was made. In the days and weeks preceding the vote, the PM, her spokespeople and multiple cabinet members had insisted the vote would go ahead despite an anticipated heavy loss for the government. At 11.15am today, Downing Street confirmed this to lobby reporters. Only minutes later, it became clear this was not the case. At a time when the government cannot afford to undermine its credibility and trustworthiness with either politicians or news publications, mishandling this move is particularly unwise.

The consequences of the decision to attempt pulling the vote depend on whether the EU agrees to renegotiate the deal or only make ‘cosmetic’ changes to the political declaration document. You would think May would only pull the vote if she had secured promises that substantial changes to the agreement could be made. Without a significant u-turn on the backstop, which is hugely improbable, it seems unlikely that the government will be able to win a programme motion that would alter the timetable for the meaningful vote.

If May does manage to drastically alter to the timetable and avoid holding the vote on Tuesday, Labour could opt to table a motion of no confidence in the government. More and more Labour MPs are calling on the leadership to do just that. But senior party figures privately admit that it is highly implausible such a motion would be passed by MPs, as it would require the support of the DUP. Although the confidence-and-supply partner hasn’t been supplying much confidence recently, Arlene Foster has said it would only consider bringing down the government by officially ripping up their agreement if the deal passed. Instead, Labour could table a censure motion against the PM, which is more likely to get cross-party approval, just as its efforts led to the government being found in contempt of parliament last week. This wouldn’t lead to resignations by default, but apply further pressure.

Jeremy Corbyn has responded to reports the vote has been pulled, commenting: “The government has decided Theresa May’s Brexit deal is so disastrous that it has taken the desperate step of delaying its own vote at the eleventh hour.

“We have known for at least two weeks that Theresa May’s worst of all worlds deal was going to be rejected by parliament because it is damaging for Britain. Instead, she ploughed ahead when she should have gone back to Brussels to renegotiate or called an election so the public could elect a new government that could do so.

“We don’t have a functioning government. While Theresa May continues to botch Brexit, our public services are at breaking point and our communities suffer from dire under-investment. Labour’s alternative plan for a jobs first deal must take centre stage in any future talks with Brussels.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Human Rights Day: Demand better for freedom and dignity

Source: Liberal Democrats UK

On 10th December 1948, history was made. The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the shadow of the Second World War, the nations of the world came together to declare that everyone – no matter who they are and where they live – has the same fundamental rights.

With one voice, we pledged to “strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.”

That was a mission statement for the world. But it equally serves as a mission statement for the Liberal Democrats today.

We are committed to promoting and protecting human rights, here in the UK and around the world.

And, as we celebrate the momentous step that was taken 70 years ago today, we must also rededicate ourselves to that mission.

Because too often and in too many places, human rights and freedoms are not effectively recognised and observed.

Almost a thousand people were executed last year, and more than 20,000 are languishing on death row. Women are tortured, imprisoned and even murdered simply for demanding that rights are respected.

We are committed to promoting and protecting human rights, here in the UK and around the world.

65 million people have been forcibly displaced or left stateless, including the 1 million Rohingya Muslims who are the victims of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

Here in the UK, more than 2,000 people are being held indefinitely in immigration detention centres, including 240 who’ve been there for more than six months.

State intelligence agencies routinely invade our privacy by intercepting electronic communications, and the Government is pushing through a new Counter-Terrorism Bill that unnecessarily erodes individual freedoms.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand a freer society where rights and liberties are protected.

That’s why we will continue to #StandUp4HumanRights – on Human Rights Day and every day. Stand with us.

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Ireland being one of the worst in the world on climate change ‘comes as no surprise’ – Brian Stanley TD

Source: Sinn Féin

10 December, 2018 – by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action Brian Stanley TD said that it sadly is not coming as a surprise, as government clearly do not see climate change as a priority, following the report today from the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) which ranked Ireland last in addressing climate change in the EU and among the worst in the World.Brian Stanley TD said:“The report today from the CCPI sees Ireland as one of the worst in the world when it comes to addressing climate change.”This is not only going to cost the state in terms of the environment around us, but we must also remember that with our EU emissions and renewable energy targets being missed for 2020 this state is facing huge fines.“Although we are a small state in global terms, we as an island can lead by example. It is frustrating that we are importing billions worth of fossil fuels each year but have a wide variety of renewable energy sources available to use which are virtually completely underdeveloped.”Sources such as offshore wind, hydro, biogas and solar need to be developed and will form an important part of our energy mix. Pilot schemes on these sources simply will not cut it at this stage.“To address climate change, action must be on a cross departmental bases and the aim for government must be to develop broad sources of renewable energy technologies.”We need to specify our energy sources going forward. Alongside this we need to see the opportunities we have available to us on this island in the move to greater renewable energy.”This is in terms of job creation, security of energy supply and improving the national and global environment around us. But government simple shows little vision and a lack of ambition.”

MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Backstop not up for renegotiation – David Cullinane TD

Source: Sinn Féin

Backstop not up for renegotiation – David Cullinane TD | Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin – On Your Side

10 December, 2018 – by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin Brexit spokesperson David Cullinane has said today that the backstop is not up for negotiation and that British politicians need to accept that.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“The backstop is the insurance policy in case of a hard Brexit. It is not a bargaining chip. It is non-negotiable.
“The withdrawal agreement is the least worst option out there.
“There are British politicians who think they can negotiate back or negotiate down from this agreement. They are wrong of course.
“The protections for Ireland must and will be defended at every turn.
“The problem that Theresa May faces  is one of internal Tory strife.
“Ireland will not be collateral damage to her own lack of leadership and authority.”

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MIL-OSI UK News

MIL-OSI UK: Article 50 Ruling Points Clear Way Out Of Brexit Mess

Source: Scottish Greens

Mon 10 Dec, 2018

This is a massive moment at the start of a vital week, pointing to a clear way out of the Brexit mess. Ross Greer MSP

The two Scottish Green MSPs who, together with SNP and Labour politicians, brought the case on whether the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 have welcomed today’s ‘momentous’ ruling of the European Court of Justice, saying it ‘points to a clear way out of the Brexit mess.’

Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman said:

“This is a momentous ruling. It is now clear that the UK can, if it chooses, change its mind and revert to our current EU membership arrangements. MPs now know that stopping Brexit altogether is an option open to them before the end of the Article 50 period. 

“Parliament can now back a People’s Vote in the knowledge that a remain outcome could be acted on unilaterally, should that be what people decide.

“The judgement vindicates the cross-party effort to establish the legal position and shames the UK Government, which has spent a small fortune trying to keep Parliament in the dark.”

Ross Greer MSP, added:

“This is a massive moment at the start of a vital week, pointing to a clear way out of the Brexit mess. 

“MPs should now follow the lead of the Scottish Parliament and kill off the false choice between the Prime Minister’s bad deal and the disaster of a No-Deal Brexit. After two years which have put the UK at the mercy of the Tories’ incompetence and in-fighting and exposed the lies and criminality of the Leave campaign, we should now let the people take back control of Brexit with a referendum between the disaster negotiated by the Tories and the now clearly available option of staying in, with all the significant and unique advantages the UK has with our EU membership.”

MIL-OSI UK News