Brexit is back on the agenda this week in politics as the Prime Minister has been facing calls to resign amid a backlash against her current Brexit plan from Conservative MPs. Her Commons leader Andrea Leadsome resigned on Wednesday night, becoming (unbelievably) the 36th minister to resign under Mrs May’s premiership.
Several cabinet ministers have strongly suggested that she just cannot stay, with one saying it is “the end of the line”. Theresa May has pledged to set a timetable for a new leader to take over after MPs vote on the plan in the week beginning 3 June. However, some Tory MPs are again seeking to change party rules, so they can vote to oust her sooner. Some in the Perceptive office think she will be gone as soon as next week. Watch this space…
The polls opened yesterday for the five-yearly European Elections, in what one senior politician termed ‘the strangest election ever’.
The UK results will not be known until early on Monday as all EU countries vote around but not exactly at the same time, so no country’s early results can be revealed. France doesn’t vote until Sunday, for example. The feeling in the UK is that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will win most seats with Labour and the Conservatives (especially) being punished by the electorate. The Lib Dems are expecting to win 9/10 seats (up from just the one they retained in 2014).
Closer to home and six Scotland-wide MEPs will be elected, with only three incumbents standing for re-election. The Lib Dems are optimistic about getting feisty Aberdeen lawyer Sheila Ritchie elected. The Conservatives are nervous about losing their one Scottish seat to the Brexit Party. Ex MSP and French citizen Christian Allard is likely to be elected for the SNP. And the Greens, as always, are hopeful of getting former Co-convener Maggie Chapman elected but will probably fall short again.
In Holyrood and the Scottish Government has published the New Housing and Future Construction Skills Short Life Working Group’s report. The group made 40 recommendations to the Scottish Government to address housing construction skills gaps, including investment in apprenticeships, upskilling current workers and encouraging more people to work in the sector.
A report on stakeholder views on challenges for housing up to 2040 has also been published. It calls for improvements to existing housing stock, more recognition of the challenges facing rural areas and greater community involvement in planning decisions.
Speaking at last week’s Homes for Scotland Awards event, Aileen Campbell MSP affirmed the Scottish Government was “working collaboratively” with skills bodies and local authorities to improve the workforce. She added that this would lead to a “dynamic” skills base which would be equipped for future challenges.
Female council workers affected by the equal pay dispute at Glasgow City Council are to receive equal pay offer letters in the coming days. The long-running dispute centred on women who were paid up to £3 an hour less than male colleagues, despite being in the same pay grade. The women affected will receive an average of £35,000 each under a settlement scheme announced in January. The council said “individual offers” would be made to “thousands” of women.
And finally… A radical feminist invited to speak to MSPs at Holyrood has defended her controversial views on transgender rights. Meghan Murphy was invited to the Scottish Parliament by SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, both women have voiced concerns that new gender identity laws in Scotland could infringe women’s rights. Her trip to Scotland comes as the Scottish government plans reforms to the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to “self-declare” their legally recognised gender.
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