Politics update: Theresa May struggles on, public sector pay debate continues

Theresa-May-LBC

Image: LBC

“There is no such things as an unsackable minister”.

Clearly LBC radio is the place to fire your political guns in the air in 2017. The prime minister, when quizzed about her plan of action to tackle leaks within the Conservative party, stated that continued leaks could indeed lead to sacking. This, a brazen statement indeed from a woman who is widely believed to be in the last weeks of her tenure. Or last days, or months, depending on who you believe. One thing is for sure: backing May is a self-inflicted turmoil only indulged by politicians who’s grass in greener on the other side.

The prime minister reportedly planned to sack some senior figures in her reshuffle, but without a majority, this would have only brought more pressure. A Conservative party in disarray whilst the prime minister is weakened would be as sure a death knell as any. Now, she must rely on the support of those who were surely for the chop, including Phillip Hammond, who has already started taking bitter swipes at those around him. The chancellor is said to have stated in a recent cabinet meeting that public workers are “overpaid” and “even a woman can drive a train”.

The prime minster’s stability is based on uncertainty. Her own position is tied to the uncertainty of Brexit; the fact that many voters would rather stick to the course whilst one of the biggest political discussions of the UK’s history takes place is understandable. But once the ship is out of the harbour, the Conservatives, and indeed all of Parliament will have to decide whether May has finally earned her seat, or if she should be de-throned at the earliest opportunity.

The public sector pay cap debate goes on

Yesterday,  Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Theresay May faced off in the last Prime Minister’s Questions session before the summer recess.  Public sector pay was at the focus of Corbyn’s questioning, citing the low pay of workers such as nurses and police officers as key issues. Theresa May pointed to overspending by the Labour government as reason for tight purse strings. Corbyn responded by saying “The prime minister doesn’t seem to have any problem finding money to pay for the DUP’s support.”

Member’s from the FDA, the senior civil servants’ union have spoken out against the cap, saying that government positions will likely be harder to fill with a 1% pay cap. “What should be abundantly clear is that this cannot be achieved within a 1 per cent straitjacket,” said Naomi Cooke, the FDA’s assistant general secretary. In order to tackle any recruitment problems, the Government will allow some money to be used to target harder to fill senior positions in the civil service.

Brexit negotiations

Today marked the fourth day of Brexit negotiations, with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier claiming the day’s talks were about two sides presenting their positions. Earlier Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox implied that the UK could ‘survive’ a failed negotiation. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said “Well, we don’t want to have no deal. It is much better that we have a deal than no deal. We can, of course, survive with no deal, and we have to go into a negotiation with those on the other side knowing that that is what we think. Meanwhile, today’s Press Association report of the day’s negotiations begins with a negative report on the day’s negotiations: “Brussels and the UK have “fundamental” disagreements over citizens’ rights and there must be “clarification” on Britain’s position on a number of issues, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said.” Barnier has said progress was possible “on which there was a clear British position”.


 

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