Theresa May's government is defeated by 4 votes in a crucial Brexit amendment. This is a good example of a BACKBENCH REVOLT as Tory MP's voted against their party in a sign of the major splits and divisions being caused by Brexit. It is an embarrassment for the May government after a glimmer of light caused by her seeming agreement on Irish border issues on Friday. It is a sign of a tempestuous journey ahead for the Brexit debate. Read the story below to see how the whips tried and failed to stave off defeat for the government.
DEMOCRATS WIN CRUCIAL SENATE SEAT IN DEEPEST ALABAMA CLOSING THE VERY NARROW GAP IN THE SENATE TO 1!
For the first time in 25 years the Democrats have won a Senate seat in the most unlikely of places - Alabama - This is deeply conservative and republican territory. However, the republican candidate - who was wholeheartedly backed by President Trump, has a string of allegations made against him.
Winning this seat has been a blow for Trump and another chip away at the very slim Republican majority in the Senate. This is now reduced to only 1 and makes control of Congress and the legislative agenda much harder for the Republicans.
It also makes Trumps decisions questionable as he backed Moore against the advice of his party leadership.
Gerry Adams announced that he will be standing down as leader of Sinn Fein next year. This news is not wholly unexpected. Adams has put his political heart and soul into the party and is instantly recognisable across Ireland and across the world for his leadership of Sinn Fein from a party of dubious connections to one of peacemakers and government. What is clearly apparent though is that his past may play well with the party but it certainly does not play well with mainstream Irish politics. Sinn Fein have grown electorally to one of the strongest electoral forces on the island - yet they are still excluded from government in the Republic of Ireland by both main parties. This is to do with their past and with Gerry Adams role in that past.
By moving beyond Adams the party can stretch into a post Troubles world potentially and really make itself a mainstream all Ireland party with all that may entail. Certainly Mary Lou Macdonald must stand as the obvious choice for leader. She is from a southern background, is a warmer and charismatic figure and plays well with the electorate in the south. It would make for an all female double North and South of the border too. What's more she is certainly not as tainted with the past as Mr Adams may have been.
This article is a little out of date now coming right after the trouncing of the March 2017 election in which the DUP sacrificed so much of their previous lead due to RHI primarily. It does a great job however in assessing the problems of Unionism and both the DUP and UUP - Some great nuggets of party information in here (again be aware that things have changed since this position- with DUP gains in Westminster election) CLICK BELOW FOR BELFAST TELEGRAPH LINK
Mr John Wishart -