Agenda

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 October 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May

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RICHARD PORRITT on the week's big talking points

The chlorinated chickens have come home to roost for the Brexiteers this week.

First lobby group TheCityUK says Britain stands to lose as much as £10bn in lost investments if a transitional deal is not worked out. Then the Resolution Foundation warned millions of families face shelling out hundreds more each year on household bills. And to top the misery off the OECD predicted the government was doing lasting damage to Britain with its botched negotiations.

And it seems the prime minister is starting to worry as well. Her dash to Brussels to plead with Michel Barnier to break the Brexit deadlock appears to be the desperate actions of a leader who knows the Brexit tide is shifting – and her premiership could be swept out to sea.

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The fall out from the general election continues for Theresa May.

It has long been the ambition of the Tories to reduce the number of MPs in the House of Commons, the main reason being it would be beneficial for the party at the ballot box.

And this week the Electoral Commission published its recommendations. Surprise, surprise... if the new boundaries had been in place in June 8 May would have secured a majority of 16.

Not surprisingly the government now want to press ahead with the plans but there is only one problem for the Tories with this rather cunning plan – coalition partners the DUP would have to surrender three seats. Expect the proposals to spend quite some time in the long grass.

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The de rigueur ‘gotcha’ interview question of the week to MPs has been: “Would you change your vote and back Brexit now?” And some fared better than others. The Maybot stumbled and stuttered towards no particular answer on LBC whereas Jeremy Corbyn stuck to his original U-turn of backing remaining in the EU. Tory MP George Freeman – he of Tory Glastonbury fame – cleverly dodged the curve ball but did little to hide his fears for the future: “My job is now to work hard to try and ensure Brexit doesn’t do what I feared – make us all poorer, deepen austerity and make Britain an insular Little UKIP England with its back to the world.” Good luck George – we are all going to need it.

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Introducing Sebastian Kurz, the world’s first millennial leader aged just 31.

Being of the generation that came of age at the turn of the century can we expect a forward-thinking, progressive leader? Nope.

Kurz shifted his party to the right in a bid to spike the guns of the even further right Freedom Party of Austria – a ploy that appears to have worked.

During the refugee crisis in 2015 when horrifying pictures of thousands of desperate people filled the news for day after day he called for hard-line border controls.

He has proposed slashing unemployment benefits for asylum seekers and workers from other EU countries and he is a firm advocate of the burka ban.

So, although some rather lazy foreign commentators have lumped him among a new brood of world leaders that includes France’s Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s Justin Trudeau, he is far from similar.

And if you thought the news coming out of Austria could get no more depressing it seems Kurz could well be about to jump in to bed with the zealots of the Freedom Party to form his coalition.

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The latest episode in Emmanuel Macron’s slide from grace was televised live this week.

Until the prime-time grilling, Macron – who is not a fan of the media – had refused to do any television interviews even though his popularity ratings have plummeted. Sadly for Macron the much-anticipated show did not go well.

The privately-educated, former investment banker took umbrage with the suggestion he was cut off from real life. This is a politician who recently said people should stop moaning about high rents and ask their landlords nicely to lower the cost. Why has no ever thought of that before?

He did look good though – flawless complexion and beautifully coiffured. That will be down to the make-up artist and hairdresser he employs at a cost of thousands every month. How could anyone suggest Macron was cut off from reality?

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Everyone loves a referendum yeah? And everyone loves the Olympics? Seems not.

Innsbruck is expected to drop plans to host the 2026 winter games after a majority rejected the idea in a vote.

The Alpine city has hosted the games twice in 1964 and 1976, but voted against another bid in 1993 and again in 1997.

Chancellor-elect Kurz has not yet given his view but with all those foreign athletes set to arrive in Austria it is fairly clear how he would have voted.

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