Petition by Shankill bomb victims’ daughter to block terrorist pensions nears target

Hammond to quit over no-deal Brexit if Johnson becomes PM

British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday he would resign if Boris Johnson became Prime Minister because he felt unable to support a leader happy to take the country out of the European Union without a deal. REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS LONDON

Hammond’s decision underlines the strength of feeling in parliament against a no-deal Brexit, which some lawmakers and many businesses say would be catastrophic for the economy.

A loyal Conservative who has served in a number of ministerial roles, Hammond is an unlikely rebel. He said his fears over a no deal forced him to vote against the government for the first time in his 22-year political career last week.

Britain’s new prime minister is tipped to be former London mayor Johnson, who has promised to leave the EU “do or die” by an Oct. 31 deadline. That leaves him facing a tricky Brexit challenge from the moment he would take office on Wednesday.

Johnson has said he would ramp up preparations for a no deal to try to force the EU’s negotiators to make changes to the agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May sealed with Brussels and UK lawmakers voted down three times.

But parliamentary opposition to a no deal is growing and the EU is refusing to budge over that withdrawal agreement.

“I am sure I am not going to be sacked because I am going to resign before we get to that point,” Hammond told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, adding he would resign to May before she tendered her own resignation to the Queen on Wednesday.

“Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no-deal (EU) exit on the 31st of October. That is not something I could ever sign up to.”


Johnson has said his most senior ministers “would have to be reconciled” with the possibility of a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31, a departure he does not want to see happen, but one he says must be planned for to try to increase pressure on the EU.

That stance means several more ministers who want to leave with a deal may seek to quit before facing the prospect of being sacked by Johnson.

Justice minister David Gauke has indicated he will also step down on Wednesday, and some lawmakers say they expect more pro-EU Conservatives to leave their positions to hold talks in parliament to find a way to prevent a no deal.

Keir Starmer, Brexit policy chief in the main opposition Labour Party, said on Twitter he respected Hammond’s decision.

“I want to work with all those MPs (members of parliament) who, like me, want to ensure parliament can stop a disastrous no-deal exit,” Starmer said.

Hammond’s intention to resign led Ian Blackford, the Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party, to predict that Johnson could become “the shortest serving prime minister in history”.

Hammond, who according to sources close to Johnson often infuriated the former mayor who felt the finance minister was “talking Britain down”, said he did not believe his former colleague could win a deal with the EU by the deadline.

He instead advised the new prime minister to ask the EU for a little longer if there were signs that the two sides could agree on a compromise position – something Johnson’s rival for the premiership, Jeremy Hunt, has said he is open to.

But the EU has so far been steadfast in its view that it cannot open the withdrawal agreement, and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said both sides would be “in trouble” if the new prime minister was intent on tearing up the deal.

He suggested the new leader could secure changes to the political declaration on future ties to get rid of the Northern Irish backstop – an insurance policy to avoid the return of a hard border between the British province and Ireland.

“We hope that the backstop that many in the UK don’t seem to like can be avoided,” Coveney told the BBC. “(But) we are simply not going to move away from that withdrawal agreement.”

Johnson and his supporters say the hardline stance is little more than a negotiating ploy. But if the standoff failed to be broken and a no deal Brexit was in the offing, Hammond would become a high-profile backer of attempts in parliament to stop a no deal.

“Yes, (I will campaign) to stop no deal happening on Oct. 31 without the consent of parliament,” Hammond said.

“I want to be a loyal supporter of the next Conservative government and if (it).. can deliver a negotiated Brexit deal that protects our economy then I will strongly support that government. And I hope I will be able to.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by John Stonestreet)

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

With many thanks to: Reuters and Elizabeth Piper for the original story

PSNI’s G4S security guards being ‘hung out to dry’ says councillor – Belfast News Letter

The Resurgam Trusts Chief Executive, Adrian Bird is…

The Resurgam Trust’s chief executive, Adrian Bird, was the former Ulster Defence Association (UDA) leader in the Maze prison and former UDA Lisburn commander. Other senior members of the organisation include Colin Halliday, an ex-UDA prisoner.

With many thanks to @grumpyfactcheck for this thread and Twitter for the original story

Follow this link to find out more:


Video – Speciale di Channel4 a Creggan, Derry. “Northern Ireland’s peace problem” – Les Enfants Terribles

Fodor’s Travel removes so-called ‘offensive’ Belfast murals guide

The comment on murals forms part of a wider guide to Belfast

A world-renowned travel guide is to remove content about Belfast murals after it was described as “highly inaccurate and offensive”.

The content on Fodor’s Travel website and in their books on Ireland, said nationalist murals “often aspire to the heights of Sistine Chapel-lite”.

It said loyalist murals “sometimes resemble war comics without the humour”.

The content was also used by Singapore Airlines in their travel guide.

Paramilitary to pop culture- The changing face of Belfast’s murals
The artists claiming Belfast’s streets
Prof Peter Shirlow, head of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, criticised the city guide.

“I found some of the commentary to be offensive, if not sectarian,” he said.

“It plays upon sectarian myths of identity and culture in Northern Ireland and has failed in any way to deal with the murals in ways that is either balanced, appropriate or ultimately fair.”

The guide makes comparisons between murals in loyalist and nationalist areas

In a statement to BBC News NI, Fodor’s Travel said the content has been removed from their website and would be removed from the ebook version of its guide to Ireland within the week.

“We will also ensure that the content is removed and updated for the next print edition of Fodor’s Essential Ireland, which will be released on September 8.

“Fodor’s Travel is always listening to the feedback we receive about our content, and we take action when we’re notified of content that is outdated, inaccurate, or insensitive by updating and/or removing that content.”

Murals on Belfast’s Falls Road. On loyalist murals, the guide said: “Recently, Protestant murals have taken on a grimmer air and typical subjects include wall-eyed paramilitaties perpetually standing firm against increasing liberalism, nationalism and all the other-isms Protestants see eroding their stern, Bible-driven way of life.” Image copyright © PAUL FAITH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The guide described murals in nationalist areas as featuring “themes of freedom from oppression, and a rising nationalist confidence that romantically and surreally mix and match images from the Book Of Kells, the Celtic mist mock-heroic posters of the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, assorted phoenixes rising from the ashes and revolutionaries clad in splendidly idiosyncratic sombreros and bandanas from ideological battlegrounds in Mexico and South America.”

Murals on the Newtownards Road in East Belfast Image copyright © CHARLES MAQUILLAN/GETTY IMAGES

Author and commentator Fionnuala O Connor said the guide had a “republican triumphalist ring to it”, and is “patronising and sneering at loyalists”.

“The idea that loyalists are protesting in defence of a ‘stern, Bible-driven way of life’ has the ring of someone with one eye on an old social history and little to no sense of life now in loyalist districts,” she said.

“It is far from Bible-driven. This is slanted in a way which leaves a sour taste in modern Belfast.

“There’s a nasty edge. Singapore Airlines should ask the writer for their money back.”

This Belfast City centre mural depicts themes of homelessness, Suicide and drug addiction

Referring to the “grimmer air” the airline’s guide stated loyalist murals had taken on, Prof Shirlow said the “reimagining” of Protestant murals had led to fewer paramilitary themes and instead a greater focus on community celebration, gender issues, peace building and “non-sectarian identity tropes”.

“The text is, based upon the evidence that I hold, unacceptable and could potentially facilitate a sectarianised narrative,” Prof Shirlow added.

Fionnuala O Connor said Singapore Airlines should look for its money back

In a statement Singapore Airlines said: “We understand from our in-flight entertainment system providers that the content for the in-flight guide was provided by Fodor’s travel guides for use on board by airlines.

“However, we note your feedback and have gotten in touch with the agencies involved and are taking steps to review the content in the in-flight guide.”

With many thanks to: BBCNI News and Chris Lindsay for the original story

Looks like the government gave Rockall to Scotland in a secret deal in 2013

A deal signed by Eamon Gilmore when he was tánaiste in 2013 formally recognised the Rockall area as part of an exclusive UK economic zone. Simon Coveney was Minister for Fisheries at that time. The Scottish cabinet says they will be excluding Irish fishing vessels from Rockall waters. However it is about much more than fish. It would also give Scotland ownership over the large oil resources around Rockall that haven’t been exploited yet.