Britain

Blair Sees Chance Brexit Will Be Reversed

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Bloomberg he thinks there is a 30% chance that Britain’s decision to quit the European Union will be reversed.

Said Blair: “I still have some difficulty seeing how, after the general election which produced a hung parliament in the U.K., this government is going to get its form of Brexit through.”

Trump Asked to ‘Dummy Visit’ to the U.K.

“Donald Trump has been asked to make a ‘dummy’ State visit to Britain this year to show he can avoid embarrassing the Queen,” the Daily Mail reports.

“He has been invited to come for brief talks with Theresa May – but with none of the Royal pomp and circumstance he wanted.”

“The decision will be hailed as a victory by nearly two million people who signed a petition calling for the trip to be downgraded to spare the Queen’s blushes because of Trump’s ‘misogyny and vulgarity’… As a face-saving measure, the US President will be offered a State visit next year – but it won’t take place unless the low-profile trip is a success.”

Trump Wants Better Coverage In Britain Before Visit

President Trump urged British prime minister Theresa May to “fix it” for him to get a warm welcome in Britain, The Sun reports.

“The US President made his shameless plea in a private conversation with Theresa May to plan his state visit — now postponed until next year. Two million people signed a petition calling for Mr Trump’s proposed trip to be axed.”

A transcript of the chat, seen by senior diplomats, reveals his touchiness. Mr Trump says: “I haven’t had great coverage out there lately, Theresa.”

Trump Says He Still Plans to Visit London

New York Times: “Amid speculation about whether Mr. Trump would visit London, since Mayor Sadiq Khan has asked him to stay away and there has been concern about huge protests should he appear, the president confirmed he still planned to visit.”

Said Trump: “I will be going to London.”

“Further details on the timing and circumstances of the visit were not immediately available. The White House and Downing Street had earlier dismissed news reports that Mr. Trump was considering a quick visit to Britain on his way back to the United States from the G-20 meeting.”

Trump May Make Surprise Visit to Britain

Sunday Times: “Ministers are on the alert for a flying visit to Britain by Donald Trump this month. Senior government officials say they expect the American president to make an unscheduled stop at his Aberdeenshire golf course as part of his trip to Europe to attend France’s Bastille Day celebrations on July 14.”

“Theresa May’s team are on standby for Trump to visit Downing Street as well. It is understood that any visit would be confirmed only 24 hours in advance so anti-Trump protesters did not have time to disrupt his visit.”

U.K. Parliament Investigates Cyberattack

British officials were investigating a cyberattack on the country’s Parliament after discovering “unauthorized attempts to access parliamentary user accounts,” the AP reports.

An email sent all those affected described a “sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords. These attempts specifically were trying to gain access to our emails.”

How Theresa May Lost It

Politico: “Halfway through Britain’s seven-week snap election campaign, some in Theresa May’s team came to the conclusion that they had a problem — the candidate. At a gathering of senior staff in Conservative campaign headquarters in central London, one of May’s top operatives told the sitting prime minister that she risked crashing and burning like Sarah Palin did in 2008… To the operative, May was overly controlling and her inexperience would tell during a short, intense campaign. May listened with good grace but changed nothing.”

Trump Puts State Visit to Britain on Hold

President Trump has told British Prime Minister Theresa May in a phone call “he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming,” The Guardian reports.

“The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time. The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.”

British Election Campaign Resumes

Reuters: “After the third militant attack in Britain in less than three months, Theresa May said Thursday’s election would go ahead but said Britain had been far too tolerant of extremism.”

“While British pollsters all predict May will win the most seats in Thursday’s election, they have given an array of different numbers for how big her win will be, ranging from a landslide victory to a much more slender win without a majority. Some polls indicate the election could be close, possibly throwing Britain into political deadlock just days before formal Brexit talks with the European Union are due to begin on June 19.”

Trump Unleashes Tweet Storm After London Attack

“President Trump assailed political correctness, gun control supporters and the mayor of London on Sunday, arguing that the world needed to be more serious about fighting terrorism a day after seven people were killed and dozens more wounded in the latest attack in Britain,” the New York Times reports.

Tweeted Trump: “We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse.”

Trump also targeted London Mayor Sadiq Khan, scorning him for trying to reassure his people: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'”

Conservative Party Collapses in Britain

A new YouGov poll in Britain finds that Labour is closing the gap with Tories and now stands just three points behind Theresa May’s Conservative party, 42% to 39%.

“The poll points to a remarkable change in fortunes for the Tories, which had a 24-point lead over Labour when the snap general election was called in April.”

A new ICM Unlimited/The Guardian poll also shows the Tories just three points ahead, 33% to 30%.

Said one Tory candidate to HuffPost UK: “It’s a completely different experience to what it was four weeks ago. It’s made my job a hell of a lot harder. It’s a completely different experience. I’m pretty fucked off.”

Theresa May Calls for Early Election in Britain

British Prime Minister Theresa May stunned Britain “by announcing that she would call an early election, placing a bet that voters will give her Conservative Party a strong mandate as her government negotiates the country’s withdrawal from the European Union,” the New York Times reports.

“She had repeatedly ruled out a snap election — the next one was scheduled to occur in 2020 — so her decision on Tuesday represents an abrupt U-turn.”

Wall Street Journal: “Mrs. May, who took office in July after the U.K. voted to leave the EU, has a parliamentary majority of 17. Opinion polls suggest she would increase that majority significantly in an election. That would give her more freedom of maneuver in EU negotiations and less dependent on the support of the euroskeptics of her Conservative Party who favor a clean break with EU.”

British Spies Were First to Notice Trump Ties to Russia

“Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives,” the Guardian reports

“GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information… Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians.”

Britain Said to Be ‘Livid’ Over Trump’s Bogus Claim

President Trump “refused to back down on Friday after his White House aired an unverified claim that Britain’s spy agency secretly monitored him during last year’s campaign at the behest of President Barack Obama,” the New York Times reports.

“Although his aides in private conversations since Thursday night had tried to calm British officials who were livid over the claim, Mr. Trump made clear that he felt the White House had nothing to retract or apologize for. He said his spokesman was simply repeating an assertion made by a Fox News commentator.”