Jo Swinson has pledged to axe business rates and replace them with a tax on landowners as she looked to burnish her pro-enterprise credentials ahead of next month's crunch election. In a speech at the CBI conference in London this afternoon, the Liberal Democrat leader urged company bosses to ditch the two 'tired' old parties and swing behind her unashamedly Remain position. Parking her tanks firmly on the Conservatives' lawn, she sought to win the backing of executives by insisting the Lib Dems are the 'natural party of business'. Ms Swinson told delegates: 'The Liberal Democrats are committed to supporting small businesses who are the engine of our economy. 'That's why the Liberal Democrats would scrap business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner levy. Jo Swinson address business leaders at the CBI conference in London, where she pledged to scrap business rates if she wins the December 12 election In a speech at the CBI in London today, the Liberal Democrat … [Read more...] about Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson tells CBI conference ‘we are the only ones standing up for you’ as she vows to scrap business rates and replace them with a levy on landowners
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LONDON (AP) — Britain’s dominant political parties took a hammering in local elections as Brexit-weary voters expressed frustration over the country’s stalled departure from the European Union, according to updated results Friday. Almost three years after U.K. voters narrowly decided in a referendum to leave the EU, the date and terms of Brexit remain uncertain following months of gridlock in Parliament. The results from Thursday’s local elections in England and Northern Ireland suggested voters blamed the governing Conservative Party and to a lesser extent, the opposition Labour Party for the impasse. Tallies reported Friday from almost all of the 259 local authorities that had positions up for grabs showed the Conservatives shedding more than 1,200 local council seats, more than one-quarter of the ones it had held. The left-of-center Labour Party fared less badly than the Tories, but lost around 70 positions after hoping to increase the number of members … [Read more...] about UK governing party takes Brexit battering in local elections
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Setting aside their usual bickering, South Korean liberal and conservative parties on Thursday vowed to cooperate to help the Seoul government prevail in an escalating trade row with Japan. After a meeting between the parties’ leaders and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Seoul’s presidential office, they announced plans to create a “pan-national” emergency body to respond to tighter Japanese trade controls on certain technology exports to South Korea. The meeting came amid growing concerns in South Korea that Japan’s trade curbs, which could possibly be expanded to hundreds of trade items in coming weeks, would rattle its export-dependent economy. South Korean political leaders urged Japan to immediately withdraw the measures they described as “unjust economic retaliation” that would seriously harm bilateral relations and cooperation. The leaders of conservative parties also called for Moon to take more … [Read more...] about South Korean political parties back Moon in Japan trade row
Angela Merkel has for the first time endorsed her party’s call for a partial ban on the burqa and the niqab in Germany, telling delegates at the Christian Democratic Union’s conference in Essen “the full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever it is legally possible”. The German chancellor’s CDU party is expected this week to pass a motion proposing a ban on the full-face veil in some areas of public life such as courts, schools and universities, as well as in road traffic and during police checks. A full ban, as introduced in France in 2011, is seen as incompatible with Germany’s basic laws. Merkel’s comments follow the Netherlands’ move at the end of November to introduce a partial ban on the full veil in hospitals, municipal institutions, schools and on transport, a measure that also covers other pieces of clothing such as motorbike helmets or balaclavas. Similar bans are already in place in Belgium, Bulgaria and the … [Read more...] about Angela Merkel endorses party’s call for partial ban on burqa and niqab
The Liberal Democrats and the SNP have lost an appeal to be included in a leaders' debate on ITV tomorrow.Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will now go head-to-head without Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon, as planned.The judges concluded: "No arguable breach of the broadcast code is shown."The parties took ITV to the High Court, saying their exclusion deprived voters of the chance to make their own decisions.Speaking ahead of the case, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said people in Scotland voted Remain in 2016 and "overwhelmingly backed the SNP as their party of choice in the European elections". Advertisement He claimed polls show about half of voters support Scottish independence and if the SNP was not represented in TV debates "these key positions won't be heard".Ahead of the High Court hearing the Lib Dems sent a legal letter to the BBC about Jo Swinson being left out of a debate on the channel. More from Politics General election: Boris Johnson delays corporation … [Read more...] about General election TV leaders’ debate: Lib Dems and SNP lose battle to join ITV programme
This is a weird election in many respects, but none more so than the economic battleground on which it is being fought.For the past few decades there has been a clear economic identity associated with each of the political parties.On the one extreme you've had the Tories, pledging to bear down on the public finances with fiscal rules that pledged to cut the national debt and ensure that by the middle of the next decade tax receipts would fully fund the public sector.On the other extreme you've had the Labour party pledging to spend and invest billions more.The Liberal Democrats were always somewhere in the middle. Advertisement But ever since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and Sajid Javid Chancellor, that landscape has been thrown into confusion.The new Chancellor has ditched those old, ambitious (some would say too ambitious) fiscal rules and replaced them with ones which allow him to borrow far more. More from Politics General election: John Bercow to join Sky … [Read more...] about Are the Lib Dems the only party of sound finance?