May offers resignation after Brexit deal

Many may see this gesture as far too late, but Theresa May has offered to resign if she gets her latest Brexit deal through the UK Parliament.

RNZ:  Theresa May says she’ll step down once Brexit delivered

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has told her Conservative Party MPs she will hand over the leadership once Brexit is delivered.

Mrs May said she would not stay in power for the next phase of Brexit talks on the future trading relationship.

But she did not set a firm departure date, according to Tory MPs who were at the meeting where Mrs May spoke.

Mrs May said she knew there was a desire in the Conservative Party for a new approach in the second phase of Brexit negotiations.

“I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.”

Speaking after the meeting, Tory MP James Cartlidge said: “My recollection is that she said she would not remain in post for the next phase of the negotiations, the implication being that once the withdrawal agreement has passed, she would make way for someone else.”

Tory MP Simon Hart told BBC’s journalist Nick Watt that Mrs May had said she would want to pass her Brexit withdrawal agreement and then set in motion process to replace her.

In the meantime MPs will be voting on eight different options ranging from leaving the European Union without a deal to cancelling Brexit altogether.

However the government has made it clear it won’t necessarily be bound by the results.

Replacing May now would probably make sorting out the Brexit mess even more difficult, but she deserves to go over her mishandling of it.

UK Ministers resign, confidence vote likely for Theresa May

Missy has summarised developments (overnight NZ time) in the UK political split over Brexit plans, with a number of Cabinet Ministers resigning (7 so far), and a confidence vote in Theresa May likely.

(Thanks for this Missy).


Her ‘deal’ has been compared to Chamberlain returning from Munich.

A quick review of this morning’s happenings (rather than re-posting everything I posted this morning).

Five Members of the cabinet have resigned, they are:

  1. Shailesh Vara – Junior Minister for Northern Ireland. He claims that the deal leaves Britain in a half way house.
  2. Dominic Raab – Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. He said the indefinite backstop threatens to break up the Union.
  3. Esther McVey – Secretary of State for Work & Pensions. She said the deal does not honour the result of the referendum.
  4. Suella Braverman – Junior Minister for the Department for Exiting the EU. She warned that the concessions do not respect the will of the people.
  5. Anne-Marie Trevelyan – Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Education Secretary. She said the deal is unacceptable to Brexit Voters.
  6. Ranil Jayawardena – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice. He said the deal does not deliver a fair Brexit.
  7. Rehman Chishti, the PM’s trade envoy to Pakistan and Vice chairman of the Conservative Party for communities has resigned, saying that the deal is contrary to their Manifesto commitment.

May gave a statement in Parliament after which she received no support. During the questions after Jacob Rees-Mogg asked May why he shouldn’t put in a letter to the 1922 Committee Chariman. This is quite a big thing, whatever you think of him JRM has always supported the PM, he hasn’t supported the deal, but he has always said he supports the PM of the day, and that he has indicated in Parliament that he is thinking of putting in a letter of no confidence is quite a big deal, and he has influence among other Brexiters.

When he spoke in Parliament JRM obviously already had his letter written, he has just submitted it to the 1922 Committee. The key part is this: ‘It is of considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place. Regrettably, this is not the situation, therefore, in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Conservative Party and the 1922 Committee this is a formal letter of No Confidence in the Leader of the Party, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May.’

JRM has said that the Brexit deal has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the PM.

It is expected that the required number of letters will be received by the Chair of the 1922 Committee by tomorrow, and if so then a vote of confidence in Theresa May as leader on Tuesday is expected.

There has been some speculation on who may run for leader, though I think we may get a better idea when the Chair of the 1922 Committee are closer to receiving the 48 letters needed and we see which Cabinet members resign then.

Leading contenders at the moment are:

  • Dominic Raab (odds about 11-2)
  • Boris Johnson (odds about 5-1)
  • Sajid Javid (odds about 5-1) he is the most credible leading contender, despite having voted remain he is against a soft Brexit and for delivering Brexit. He has gone against Theresa May on several occasions, and he was reportedly behind a tougher stance on EU Migrants post Brexit than was originally positioned by TM. Has the advantage of being an ethnic minority (Pakistani parents) and a (non practicing) Muslim, despite having been brought up in a Muslim household he doesn’t practice now, and has stated on a number of occasions the only religion in his house is Christianity (his wife is apparently a practicing Christian). So looks good for the moderate Muslim vote, but isn’t a problem for the extreme anti-Muslim vote.
  • Jeremy Hunt (odds about 8-1) he won’t be a popular choice, he is universally disliked by the public.
  • David Davis (odds about 11-1) he is a popular choice among many party members to bring in as an interim PM until Brexit is done.
  • Amber Rudd (odds about 50-1)

Sources are reporting that Michael Gove was offered the Brexit Secretary job, but he has turned it down unless he can go back to Brussels and renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement.

 

Aussie cricket coach Lehmann resigning after all

A couple of days ago there were reports that Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann would resign in the wake of the ball tampering scandal while in South Africa.

Yesterday, after the scandal escalated with confirmation that sand paper rather than sticky tape was used, and the tamperer, the captain and the vice captain were all given lengthy bans, Lehmann was cleared of being involved and said he would stay as coach.

SMH: ‘I need to change’: Tearful Lehmann looks to New Zealand as model

Tears welling in his eyes, head cricket coach Darren Lehmann has pledged that the Australian team will change and so will he.

The Australian head coach has overseen a team with a hard and uncomprising edge that has been pilloried around the cricket world and at home, even before their crash last Saturday to an all-time low.

On Wednesday, there was softness as Lehmann stressed that the “human side” of the ball-tampering controversy needed to be understood, pleading for the culprits to be given a second chance.

The crying shame of it all is that it has taken such a terrible episode, tarnishing careers and changing lives, for Lehmann and what is left of the side to look themselves in the mirror.

The coach has endorsed an attitude of stretching the limits of what is considered acceptable, content to win ugly if that is what it takes. Headbutting “the line”, as they liked to say. It was an approach that was the poisonous foundation for what took place at Newlands.

That is all over. Winning, suddenly, isn’t all that matters. They are putting a line through the line.

“I need to change,” Lehmann said.

“We need to change how we play and within the boundaries we play. Obviously previously we’ve butted heads on the line but that’s not the way to go about us playing cricket moving forward.

“We have to try and win the public back now and play the type of cricket that they expect us to play. We have to look at how we go about that, as a coach and support staff and playing group, and make the game better for everyone to play and enjoy watching us play.”

But a day later Lehmann has announced he will stand down after the fourth and last test against South Africa (that starts tonight).

SMH:  Darren Lehmann quits as coach of the Australian cricket team

An emotional Lehmann announced on Thursday that the fourth Test against South Africa would be his last in charge.

He said he had made the decision to resign after watching Steve Smith’s gut-wrenching press conference in Sydney as well as Cameron Bancroft fronting the media in Perth.

“The feeling is that Australian cricket needs to move forward and this is the right thing to do,” Lehmann said.

“My family and I have copped a lot of abuse over the last week and it’s taken its toll. Life on the road means a long time away from our loved ones and after speaking with them at length over the last few days, this is the right time to step away.

“I’m ultimately responsible for the culture of the team and I’ve been thinking about my position for a while. Despite telling media yesterday that I’m not resigning, after viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting, it’s only fair that I make this decision.

“This will allow Cricket Australia to undertake a full review into the culture of the team to begin to implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public. This is the right thing for cricket.”

I think this was inevitable. Lehmann is ultimately responsible for the ugly win by any means culture that had re-established itself under his guidance.

It will be a tough test for the Baggy Greens, without their captain and vice captain, without both their opening batsmen, without their two best batsmen. And with a coach rocked by the scandal and how it played out this week, and a team in upheaval.

There were awful scenes from the airport as Steve Smith left South Africa. He has disgraced himself but didn’t deserve to be treated so poorly.

It will be interesting to see the attitude the South African team takes on to the pitch, and how the crowd will treat the Australians in the outfield. They may wish they were in the outback.

US Senator Franken resigning

A prominent casualty of the wave of allegations of sexual mosconduct and harassment is US Senator Al Franken. Esrlier:

That sounds like a resignation is probably imminent.

Just now:

The push for Franken’s resignation started after a woman came forward last month to say he had badgered her into an unwanted kiss before he was a senator and groped her while she slept.

‘Their patience had worn incredibly thin’: How the dam broke on Al Franken

That allegation set forth weeks of open deliberation about the political future of the unlikely comedian turned progressive darling.

Last month, Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on the AM radio station KABC in Los Angeles, posted her story on the station’s website, saying Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her in 2006 during a USO tour.

Franken apologized in an email statement:.

“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry”.

But in the coming days and weeks, more accusers have come forward.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called for a Senate Ethics Committee probe into Franken

New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for Franken to resign, and other Democratic senators posted statements in swift succession. In the span of a few hours Wednesday afternoon, dozens of senators said Franken should go — including Schumer.

Franken seems to have had no viable option but to resign.

Politico: Inside the demise of Al Franken

Female Democratic senators had been talking privately for weeks about how they were losing their patience as harassment claims piled up.

“It’s painful to do it,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said Wednesday after urging Franken to step down. “But here are these courageous women who have come [forward]. It’s a fact pattern that is pretty obvious.”

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sounded a similar note. “I hope that members of both political parties will be guided by sound principles and even when it’s painful,” Durbin said. “And this is painful. Al Franken is my friend.”

Painful particularly for the women who had to come out in public to get some action on this and other cases of alleged abuse.

Confirmed:

 

Auditor General resigns

I think it was the only option for Martin Matthews to resign.

RNZ: Auditor-General resigns over fraud investigation

Auditor-General Martin Matthews has resigned due to a critical report into his handling of a major fraud case when he led the Transport Ministry.

But the MPs who ordered that report are now refusing to release it to the public.

Mr Matthews was head of the Transport Ministry while a manager, Joanne Harrison, stole nearly three quarters of a million dollars over several years, despite staff repeatedly raising concerns.

He stepped aside temporarily from his subsequent role as Auditor-General while an inquiry was carried out into whether he was suitable to remain the country’s top public watchdog.

That investigation, by senior public servant Sir Maarten Wevers, began in May and was due to take two weeks, but was delayed.

Read the full official briefing on the report, released this afternoon,here.

Mr Matthews confirmed his resignation this afternoon, saying the “issues and speculation” about how he handled the fraud investigation made it “untenable” for him to continue on as Auditor-General.

“I deeply regret and apologise for the fraud that was committed,” he said in a written statement.

“I wished it had never happened but I accept I am accountable for everything done in and by the Ministry when I was CEO and I am ultimately responsible.

“I feel as angry and aggrieved as anyone about [Harrison’s] stealing and breaches of trust.”

Joanne Harrison was sentenced in February to three years seven months in prison for defrauding the Crown of $723,000.

separate inquiry by the State Services Commission last month found Harrison helped force whistleblowers out of their jobs too early after they raised concerns about her.

Background to the appalling fraud,  Matthews’ inaction and impact on whistleblowers:

The Spinoff:  Is fraudster Joanne Harrison’s old boss really fit to lead NZ’s top public watchdog?

Pete Kane has supplied these updates (audio):

Findings to stay ‘secret’. Don’t get it’
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201853471/auditor-gen-falls-on-sword-over-transport-ministry-fraudster

Update.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201853483/report-that-prompted-auditor-gen-to-resign-won-t-be-made-public

More background from RNZ:

Peters versus English on Barclay

Winston Peters smells political blood and tries a few more cuts against Bill English in this press release:  Playing Dumb Won’t Save English Over Barclay Debacle

Failure to answer questions will not save the Prime Minister.

“The facts are there: When asked about the Barclay Debacle in Parliament yesterday Mr English said:  ‘I was absolutely no party to that, and I do not know what the dispute was or how it was settled’.

“However, in a text message to former National Party Clutha-Southland electorate chair, Stuart Davie, Mr English wrote: ‘Glenys settlement large to avoid potential legal action. Had to be part paid by prime minister’s budget. Everyone unhappy’.

“Mr English confirmed in the text he knew all about the special top-up settlement from the National Party Leader’s Office.

“He has not explained why cash was paid from the National Party Leader’s Office funds despite the employer, Parliamentary Services, paying a dispute settlement.

“Why was the extra money necessary?

“Mr English refuses to say, but it was paid to cover up a criminal act, which Mr English knew about.

“Questions continue to hover around the Prime Minister over his lack of honesty and complicity in the cover up over the secret recordings in the Clutha-Southland electorate office.

“He is refusing to answer, hiding behind parliamentary rules. He’s claiming he is not responsible as a Minister, because he was wearing another hat, of an ordinary MP – that’s a new one. He’s condemned by his own words.”

That’s mild compared to what he has said directly to media.

NZ Herald:  ‘He’s got to go’: Winston Peters calls for Prime Minister to resign

“He’s got to go, Mr English. He’s got to stand down, just like Barclay. He misled the media, he misled the House in every respect he is in serious breach of his responsibilities and duties,” Peters said to media before entering question time that saw further questions about English’s actions.

Asked if English had lied, Peters said there was no other possible conclusion. Despite calling for English’s resignation, Peters did not rule out going into Coalition with National after the September 23 election.

He said he had laid two privileges complaints against English, claiming he misled Parliament about whether he knew about the allegations against Barclay. In question time, Peters challenged English to release his phone records to prove he hadn’t been involved in the dispute than already disclosed.

Winston is no stranger to over-egging so it’s difficult to know whether there is any significant merit to his privileges complaints.

And if he had a percent of vote for every time he has called on someone to resign he would be a virtual dictator.

 

 

MP should resign for misinterpreted comment

A Minister apparently tweeted something on Thursday that got picked up in social media today. A furore seems to have resulted.

Newshub covered this on their news tonight, quoting \a number of offended people including MPs and a party leader who said the Minister should resign.

Any MP deemed to have tweeted (or emailed or commented anywhere online) inappropriately by any MP from another party or any political activist should resign. That should ensure MPs take care about any possible misinterpretation of any communications.

All parties should have teams scouring the Internet for any comment that could be ridiculed or if any offence could be taken from any interpretation.

That might result in Parliamentary funkstille but most of what MPs say that’s not raked over in social media is boring anyway.

Then the social media warriors and MPs with too little positive to do would have to interpret things that weren’t said but that wouldn’t make much difference to a lot of what happens now.

Tory turmoil post-election

Two of Theresa May’s top advisers have resigned after (reportedly) she was told it was them or her who had to go. One Tory MP responded “Rasputin had gone! There is a God. :)”

And there is growing opposition to the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) enabling May’s Conservatives to form a new government after an embarrassing loss of a majority in the snap election.

BBC: Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill quit No 10 after election criticism

The BBC understands the PM was warned she faced a leadership challenge unless she sacked Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

Labour said the pair had “taken the fall” for the prime minister.

Mr Timothy said he took responsibility for his role in the “disappointing” result and the widely-criticised manifesto package on social care.

The BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith said the pair’s departure bought the PM some “breathing space” following 24 hours of recriminations after the Conservatives lost their overall majority.

He said the two were so close to the PM that critical MPs believed that, unless they made way, she would not be able to change her leadership style to adopt a more “outgoing, inclusive, responsive, empathetic approach”.

Mrs May has said she intends to stay as prime minister and is seeking support for the Democratic Unionists to form a government.

But the pressure is still on May.

The Telegraph: Almost two thirds of Conservative Party members want Theresa May to resign as Prime Minister

Theresa May was facing a Conservative grassroots mutiny after leading her party to a disastrous set of election results which saw the Tories throw away their House of Commons majority and forced to form a minority Government.

A snap survey of 1,500 Tory party members undertaken in the immediate aftermath of the election revealed that 60 per cent believed Mrs May should resign and trigger a Conservative leadership contest.

The Telegraph: Backlash against Tory-DUP deal grows as petition hits 500,000 signatures

Over 500,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Tories not to do a deal with Northern Ireland’s DUP.

The poll hosted by Change.org also calls on Theresa May to resign as Prime Minisiter following the General Election which resulted in a hung parliament.

“Theresa May should resign. This is a disgusting, desperate attempt to stay in power,” the petition reads.

It’s hard to know how much of this is anti-DUP and how much is anti-election result. Snap petitions are a common form of political posturing.

The Guardian: May ‘alone and friendless’ as key advisers resign over election result – as it happened

The election result might be sinking in, but the ramifications are a long way from being played out. Here’s a summary of today’s key developments:

  • After reports that Theresa May would face a leadership challenge as early as Monday unless she got rid of her unpopular chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, the pair resigned. Timothy said that he “took responsibility for the content of the whole manifesto”. One Tory MP reacted to the news of his departure by sending a message saying: “Rasputin had gone! There is a God. :)”
  • Notwithstanding those changes, May has faced a swathe of criticism over her campaign and speculation about her future. Stewart Jackson, who lost his seat, said that the party’s manifesto was “shockingly bad” and “electoral poison”. Former minister Ed Vaizey said that Tory MPs were actively discussing May’s position using the WhatsApp messaging system.
  • Angela Merkel said that Brexit negotiations should go ahead as planned in nine days time despite the political turmoil in the UK. “We are ready for the negotiations. We want to do it quickly, respecting the calendar,” she said.
  • After the confirmation that five senior cabinet members would stay in their posts on Friday, there was no reshuffle on Saturday – though changes could be announced tomorrow.
  • The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson denied reports that she wanted a breakway for the party in Scotland, tweeting: “B****cks”. The report had credibility in part because of Davidson’s success in securing 13 Tory MPs in Scotland. She had already sought assurances from Theresa May that an alliance with the DUP would not mean any compromise on LGBTI rights.
  • The Conservative chief whip Gavin Williamson went to Belfast to begin talks with the DUP “on how best they can provide support” to the government. The former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson suggested that abortion time limits could be up for debate in the new parliament.

 

Sack them all?

It’s not uncommon so see calls to sack politicians. Andrew Little was at it again today:

SackSmithTweets

Duncan Garner picked up on this: Little calls for fifth minister to be sacked

Andrew Little has called for Nick Smith to be sacked as Housing Minister.

Shock. Horror. You’re bloody joking me?

If Andrew Little had his way there may be no Cabinet Ministers left.

Maybe that’s the grand plan?

In the last year or so Little has called for the sackings of:

  • Murray McCully for the Saudi sheep deal.
  • Todd McClay for his position on China trade sanctions.
  • Simon Bridges for his Northland one-way bridges policy.
  • And Gerry Brownlee for his management of the Christchurch rebuild.

And now Nick Smith. Are there any more?

So; does Little have a point?

Has Nick Smith been so bad on housing that he deserves to be sacked by the Prime Minister?

Or does Andrew Little need to get a bit more original and find some better lines and more creative material.

There’s a real cry world type problem here. How would anyone know when it was really justified for a Minister to be sacked? Not by listening to Little. Or others.

I don’t think Little has called on John Key to resign yet but both Russel Norman and Winston Peters have in the past.

It’s hard enough getting capable people standing for Parliament as it is without sacking all and sundry at the whim of a political opponent.

Wouldn’t it be good if more leaders actually led by example instead of trying to trash everyone else?

Political chaos following referendum

British Prime Minister has resigned following the failure the country chose via referendum to leave the European Union. David Cameron says he’ll be gone by October.

The British economy may be gone by then too as the politicians have raised the risks substantially. There are reports that Jeremy Corbyn’s position as Labour leader is at risk too.

David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU

Prime Minister David Cameron is to step down by October after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Mr Cameron made the announcement in a statement outside Downing Street after the final result was announced.

He said he would attempt to “steady the ship” over the coming weeks and months but that “fresh leadership” was needed.

Also: Jeremy Corbyn to face Shadow Cabinet calls to quit

Jeremy Corbyn will face calls to stand down as Labour leader at an emergency meeting of the Shadow Cabinet this morning, PoliticsHome has learned.

The party’s frontbench is set to gather at 10am in the wake of Britain’s decision to quit the European Union.

But the meeting is likely to be dominated by discussions about Mr Corbyn’s own future – with senior sources saying Labour is in a “blind fury” with his performance during the campaign.

PoliticsHome has also learned that least 55 Labour MPs will put their name to a letter calling for Mr Corbyn to quit next week.

The pound has already taken a pounding, along with the FTSE.

BBC: Shares and pound plunge on Leave vote

The London stock market has plunged more than 8% in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

In the opening minutes of trade, the FTSE 100 index fell more than 500 points before regaining some ground.

Banks were especially hard hit, with Barclays and RBS falling about 30%.

Earlier, the value of the pound fell dramatically as the referendum outcome emerged. At one stage, it hit $1.3236, a fall of more than 10% and a low not seen since 1985.

They still have most of Friday to go in Britain.

An interesting breakdown of pre-referendum polling