Byline Times

Britain's opposition Labour Party is fighting "very hard" for every vote in the northern English town of Hartlepool, leader Keir Starmer said on Tuesday, taking aim at an election that will be a critical test for his leadership.
FILE PHOTO: British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer delivers a virtual speech on Britain's economic future in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at Labour Party's headquarters in central London, Britain February 18, 2021. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
LONDON (Bywire News) - The media, today, stands at a crossroads. New technology is opening things up to a new wave of publishers, ideas and opinions. The establishment is coming under threat. The rise of alternative media sites threatens their monopoly on the conversation and gives new voices a platform. Unsurprisingly, they are not happy about it and are fighting back.  While many people look at the arrival of these new players as something new, independent media has a long and very proud history that goes right the way back to the invention of the printing press.  Back in the 15th century, w...
By Bywire News
A referendum on Scottish independence would put Britain's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic at risk, British finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday, campaigning ahead of Scotland's parliamentary election.
British finance minister Rishi Sunak attends a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London, Britain March 3, 2021. Tolga Akmen/Pool via REUTERS
LONDON - On Saturday, Britain's opposition Labour Party demanded an investigation into Prime Minister Boris Johnson's recent refurbishment of his Downing Street flat and how it was funded. The move came after claims from his former adviser. Dominic Cummings revealed on Friday in a blog post, that he told Johnson he deemed his plans for donors to pay for his renovations, were "unethical, foolish, possibly illegal." Cummings suddenly left Johnson's side in December of 2020 after being his most prominent adviser on Brexit dealings and the 2019 election.  Cummings claims he was not the one at faul...
Dominic Cummings, special adviser for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arrives at Downing Street, in London, Britain, November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
LONDON (Bywire News) - On Wednesday a spokeswoman for the British government announced its cooperation with the European Union over the dealings in Northern Ireland. The UK will meet demands to respond to the legal action launched by the bloc over the new introduction of trading rules in Northern Ireland, by mid-May. Legal action by the EU against Britain was launched back in March over the unilateral changes made to the Northern Ireland trading agreement, which Brussels has claimed is a breach of the Brexit divorce deal, agreed last year in London. According to Britain, the move does not chal...
A sign is seen with a message against the Brexit border checks in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol at the harbour in Larne, Northern Ireland February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
- A group of lawmakers in the United Kingdom and a few business figures have formed an independent commission to improve Britain's trade deal with the European Union and the rest of the world, the Financial Times reported https://www.ft.com/content/2bf9d562-f7ac-46f0-b8eb-8ded2206bfcc. The new trade and business commission will involve members of parliament from all political parties and include Hilary Benn, Labour chair of the now defunct Commons committee on the future relationship with the EU, the report said. The commission will be formally launched this w...
Puzzle with printed EU and UK flags is seen in this illustration taken November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Round one: Army cuts WESTMINSTER (Labour Buzz) - Starmer opened by going all-in on armed forces. Why, he asked, did the Prime Minister promise to maintain armed forces at the current levels but then cut them. He referred to the admission from defence secretary Ben Wallace, who admits troops will be reduced to 72,000 by 2025. Johnson answered quickly saying he made the promise because he intended to keep that promise before sniping back that Starmer stood behind a man who wanted to come out of NATO.  Score. Johnson will have been delighted to see Starmer coming onto his own pitch. He and his su...
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during a virtual news conference inside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain, March 18, 2021. Tolga Akmen/Pool via REUTERS

#Labour Buzz

PMQs Verdict

LONDON (Labour Buzz) - It was a rather stodgy PMQs with neither man managing to make any meaningful blows. We watched it so you didn’t have to. Here is what, for the want of a better word, we’ll call the highlights.  Q1 Extend business rates  Starmer came out of his corner like the most cautious of boxers probing away with a jab. His question was short and somewhat bland: could the Prime Minister confirm that the government would extend the business rate relief beyond March 31st.  Johnson’s reply was equally short. He urged Starmer to wait until the budget in March.  Round 2 furlough scheme St...
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a session on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the House of Commons in London, Britain January 27, 2021. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS
LONDON (Bywire News) - The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, on Tuesday said that Britain had endured "one or two teething issues" with regard to exporting fish to the EU post-Brexit. The remark was made amongst a series of remarks likely to insult British fisherman, who are unable to trade. Following Brexit, many small fishing companies have been struggling to trade their fish to Europe. This is as a result of new Brexit-related laws, including, customs declarations, catch and health certificates and increased transport fees, which have drastically increased the cost of trade. Environmen...
FILE PHOTO: A man rides his bicycle past a row of docked fishing ships in the village of Thyboron in Jutland, Denmark, March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
LONDON (Within The Law) - German prosecutors have dramatically reduced the scale of a GDPR fine raising questions about how severe data protection restrictions will prove to be.  Since the introduction of the new European data protection regulations, one of the biggest questions has been whether authorities would flex their muscles and impose the full level of fines permitted under the rules.  So far, Germany has been one of the most enthusiastic enforcers of the rules and have issued a number of landmark penalties. However, one of them has now been revised by the Regional Court of Bonn with a...
LONDON (Within The Law) - The Serious Fraud Office and Financial Services Compensation Scheme have signed a memorandum of understanding to stamp out serious or complex fraud, according to FT Adviser.  The FSCS says it has collected a huge amount of data in its work compensating customers who have fallen victim to various pension and investment scams. They will be sharing this data to help the SFO do its work.  The two bodies will use the data to facilitate cooperation and coordination and to improve the investigation and prosecution of fraud.  James Darbyshire, FSCS chief counsel and fraud off...
LONDON (Bywire News) - Under the move, all eligible PayPal uses in the US will be to buy hold and sell cryptocurrency through the PayPal app with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin being the first to be accepted.  This is just the start as the company plans to expand its range of crypto services in the near future. In an update, during the company’s Q3 2020 call at the start of November Dan Shulman confirmed that services would be rolled out onto its Venmo app and that it would bring crypto functionality to international customers in the first half of 2021.   The news comes at a time...
FILE PHOTO: The PayPal logo is seen during an event at Terra Gallery in San Francisco, California May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
LONDON (Within The Law) - The courts will be exempt from new lockdown restrictions coming into force throughout November as the government attempts to reduce the mounting backlog of cases.  In guidance published on Saturday evening, after the prime minister had addressed the nation confirmed that the courts will be among the public services kept open. Anyone required to attend court will be permitted to leave home for the purpose.  The work of the courts and tribunals will also be exempt from the measures.  The first nationwide lockdown had a drastic impact on the legal system in the UK with a...
Photo by Benigno Hoyuela on Unsplash
LONDON (Within The Law) - Leading firms in the legal sector have paused their back to work plans in response to the Government’s latest change of direction on COVID 19. As Johnson switched the drive back to the office, the likes of Fieldfisher and BCLP have told their staff to go back to remote working for the time being.  At Ince, a complex four-stage reopening plan had been running since July which included an enhanced cleaning rota and temperature checks. However, for the time being, that plan has been put on hold with a senior partner at the firm Julian Clark stating: “The management team’...
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
When Boris Johnson entered Downing Street by the backdoor and without a general election win, he brought with him swathes of right-wing lobbyists who made their way by stealth from the fringes of Westminster to the heart of government. We know this because we’ve been watching this slow erosion of democracy for years. In the time since the EU Referendum, investigative outfit DeSmog and others have sought to uncover the connections of those now in the cabinet – the money and friendly relationships behind the big changes taking place in Britain. A cursory glance at how their multitudinous ties ov...
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks outside 10 Downing Street after recovering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, April 27, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley
Former diplomat and Oxford University lecturer Dr Jennifer Cassidy on why Kim Darroch’s resignation after leaked criticisms of Donald Trump’s administration are such a blow for the rule of law. Communication is to diplomacy as blood is to the human body. Whenever communication ceases, the body of international politics, the process of diplomacy, is dead, and the result is violent conflict or atrophy. (Tran Van Dinh, 1987) In his seminal work, Communication and Diplomacy in a Changing World, diplomatic scholar Tran Van Dinh penned the now famed words: communication is to diplomacy as blood is t...
BERLIN (AP / ByWire News) — European and American investigators have broken up one of the world's largest online criminal marketplaces for drugs, hacking tools and financial-theft wares a series of raids in the United States and Germany, authorities said Friday. Three German men, ages 31, 22 and 29, were arrested after the raids in three southern states on allegations they operated the so-called "Wall Street Market" darknet platform, which hosted some 5,400 sellers and more than 1 million customer accounts, Frankfurt prosecutor Georg Ungefuk told reporters in Wiesbaden. A Brazilian man, the si...
CHICAGO - Normally U.S. airlines compete to sell tickets and fill seats during the peak summer travel season. But operators of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX are facing a different problem: scarce planes and booming demand. The grounding of Boeing Co's fuel-efficient, single-aisle workhorse after two fatal crashes is biting into U.S. airlines' Northern Hemisphere spring and summer schedules, threatening to disarm them in their seasonal war for profits. "The revenue is right in front of them. They can see it, but they can't meet it," said Mike Trevino, spokesman for Southwest Airlines Pilots Assoc...
By Rowan Martin   Brexit roundup   PM Theresa May has secured ‘legally binding’ changes to her Brexit deal, following last-minute talks with the EU in Strasbourg. MPs will now vote again on the deal again this evening (Tuesday) with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker issuing a stark warning that if the deal is voted down, as it was in January, there will be no third chance.   He stated:   ‘Let us speak crystal clear about the choice – it is this deal or Brexit might not happen at all.’   May said that a ‘joint legally binding agreement’ has been secured, to ensure that the I...