Good morning. Here’s your daily politics update.
May meets with her cabinet after Irish premier creates new roadblocks
Theresa May will meet with her cabinet today for further Brexit talks, a day after Irish premier Leo Varadkar told her it was unacceptable for the UK to dictate terms of any backstop arrangements with the EU.
May had a phone call with Varadkar on monday morning, where she pitched the idea of a ‘review mechanism’ which would allow the backstop to be brought to and end. Varadkar said that whilst he was open to the idea, “the outcome of any such review could not involve a unilateral decision to end the backstop”.
As the deadline for the withdrawal agreement grows closer, May will seek to get the backing of her cabinet over the backstop issue, which many believe is the final roadblock to securing a final Brexit deal.
Universal credit waiting times cut for millions of claimants
Waiting times for millions of claimants of Universal Credit, the government’s flagship welfare reform, have been slashed to three weeks, in order to ease the rollout of the new scheme.
The rollout of Universal Credit has seen claimants waiting for up to five weeks to get their first payment, with the most vulnerable households believed to be up to £200 a month worse off under the new system.
The news comes after Philip Hammond bowed to pressure from MPs, announcing £1bn in the latest budget, aimed at easing pressure on claimants of Universal Credit. Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey said the funding was “targeted support to help work pay and support the vulnerable.” Earlier this month, McVey broke from the party line to admit that “some people will be worse off” under Universal Credit.
A word from the US
US citizens head for the polls today to vote in the Midterm elections, which result in an unmistakable picture of politics in the country as it stands today. It is the first chance voters have had to either support or reject Donald Trump’s presidency since it began in January.
Many predict that the Democrats will win control of the House of Representatives, whilst Republicans are likely to keep control of the higher Senate. Winning the House will be a small victory for the Democrats, whilst winning the Senate will give them the ability to shackle the White House.
If the Republicans keep control of the Senate and the House of representatives, this will likely see Donald Trump reinvigorated, and bolstered enough to continue to roll out his trade war, and hardline policies on immigration.
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