Theresa May approach to Brexit has been meted with opposition from key policy makers that seek soft-Brexit landing as the United Kingdom moves to officially relinquish its membership of the European Union in March 2017.
The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is increasingly isolated as her demands to control all areas of policy alienate key colleagues, according to more than a dozen officials who worry tensions will undermine planning for Brexit.
Speaking anonymously because the subject is delicate, many of the government figures said an early period of goodwill toward May had given way to division and resentment, leading to policy mistakes that had to be hastily corrected. Much of that stems from the influence wielded by her joint chiefs-of-staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, the people said.
“This sounds like echoes of the end of the Thatcher era with ministers feeling it would be wrong to risk her wrath and stifling rational concerns,’’ said Richard Hayton, who teaches politics at the University of Leeds, England. It’s the feeling that the prime minister’s office “is too much in the bunker.”
May’s office said in a statement they didn’t “recognize this version of events,” and said the premier governs in an “inclusive manner.”
May is said to have been centralizing power more than her predecessor David Cameron while grappling with the most difficult task facing a British leader since the end of World War II. Not only must she extricate the country from the European Union, she needs to orchestrate a set of new trade deals at a time of economic danger, and rally the expertise and talent to pull it off.
May has little time to play with. The government must agree on its Brexit strategy within the next 14 weeks given that May has promised to initiate formal negotiations by the end of March.
In a speech to the country’s top business group last month, May promised the U.K. would have the lowest corporate levies in the Group of 20 biggest industrialized and emerging economies. However, her comment was made without consulting the Treasury, which sets tax policy, even as it effectively committed the government to slashing corporate tax from 20 percent now to below the 15 percent President-elect Donald Trump has proposed.
Another example: Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was criticized for failing to free up more money for seniors in his budget statement, but it was May’s two top aides who had opposed his proposal to release extra resources, people familiar with the situation said.
Back in October, May’s office had to apologize to Bank of England governor Mark Carney after she publicly criticized monetary policy, saying quantitative easing and low interest rates had “bad side effects.” Again, the Treasury was not consulted before the remarks.
Similar complaints about May’s office intervening were reported by officials across government policy areas, including those working on Brexit plans, health and social affairs.
Hill and Timothy are said to deny top officials access to May, with even senior ministers and security chiefs finding it difficult to get past them to schedule a meeting with the premier, according to people familiar with the situation. Some are said to be so demoralized that they have given up trying to tell May the truth about what they think of her policies.
The officials fear the breakdown in trust between the premier’s office and other government ministries risks undermining the government’s ability to function when Brexit negotiations begin next year.
Still, however much May’s critics within the government dislike the combative style of her administration, many Conservatives are pleased that the party under her leadership has been 14 points ahead of the Labour opposition in recent polls. The exclusivity of May’s office “either indicates someone who is in trouble or someone who is obviously the only person for the job,’’ said Professor Tim Bale, from Queen Mary University of London. “I suspect it’s the latter.’’
Fear of Defeat
In private, ministers complain that the duo refused to allow even uncontroversial measures to be put to lawmakers because they are so afraid that the government could be defeated in a parliamentary vote. May has a small working majority in the lower house of parliament, which even a minor rebellion would wipe out.
The pair run the premier’s office in 10 Downing Street, holding sway over the operations of the entire government, and also worked with May at the Home Office between 2010 and 2015. They had both left the government by the time of the Brexit referendum in June but returned immediately to front-line politics to run May’s leadership campaign.
They are paid more than any other political advisers in the government, with salaries of 140,000 each per year ($172,000), compared to May’s 149,440 pounds, according to an official pay disclosure.
May’s official spokeswoman, Helen Bower, resigned this month after tensions with Hill, according to people familiar with the situation. In 2014, Hill was forced to step down as May’s aide in the Home Office after a row with the then-education secretary over how to tackle Islamist extremism in schools.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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