Commentary on and analysis of recent political events
Today’s politics news …
Hinkley Point Nuclear Deal With EDF Faces Probe
An inquiry has been launched into whether a £16bn government deal with French energy giant EDF to build a nuclear plant in the UK meets EU rules.
Britain has agreed to subsidise the project to build two reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, promising guaranteed power prices from the plant for 35 years.
The European Commission said it wanted the views of third parties because of the unprecedented nature and scale of the Hinkley deal.
It said it had “doubts that the project suffers from a genuine market failure” and it would assess whether the nuclear plant could in fact be built without government support.
Theresa May, citizenship and the power to make people stateless
Theresa May has already used her power to revoke citizenship to brutal effect. Now it is believed she wants to re-write the law so that she can make people stateless. The implications are worrying.
Now May is believed to be planning a dramatic expansion of her powers to revoke citizenship by rewriting the law so that she can issue orders even where it will make people stateless, which is currently illegal under the British Nationality Act, and even though Britain is a signatory to international treaties aimed at reducing statelessness.
This would put Britain in uncomfortable company, alongside nations such as Bahrain, which has been criticised by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights for making dissidents stateless. In the US, the government is banned from removing the nationality of its citizens since a Supreme Court ruling in 1967, when judges ruled the US constitution did not allow for ‘fleeting citizenship, good at the moment it is acquired but subject to destruction by the Government at any time.’
HMRC ‘loses nerve’ chasing big firms, says MP
The UK tax authority “seems to lose its nerve” when chasing multinational companies for owed tax, the head of a committee of MPs has said.
Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, said that the approach was firmer when HMRC was pursuing small businesses.
A report by the committee said HMRC failed to demonstrate it was on the side of people who paid tax in full.
The committee said that HMRC failed to use the full range of sanctions at its disposal to vigorously pursue all unpaid tax.
It said it should pursue prosecutions to test the boundaries of the law, the committee said, and had yet to test how existing tax law impacted on global internet-based companies.
“The lack of prosecutions against multinational corporations seems at odds with HMRC’s stance on pursuing tax debt from small and medium-sized businesses in the UK,” the committee said.
MI5/MI6 torture collusion report published: Politics live blog
Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including the publication of the Gibson inquiry report into allegations that MI5 and MI6 colluded in torture, and Kenneth Clarke’s statement about it to parliament