Politics latest: Police turn up at conference while Nigel Farage on stage after order from mayor (2024)

Key points
  • Mayor moves to shut down National Conservatism Conference - Farage had been due to address gathering
  • Darren McCaffrey reports from the scene in Brussels
  • Minister 'reasonably confident' Rwanda bill will pass this week - but won't confirm if airline lined up for flights
  • What happened with the legislation last night - and what happens now?
  • PM facing Tory rebellion over 'smoke-free generation' bill
  • Live reporting byFaith Ridler


Farage: Police would have to 'drag me off stage'

Over in Brussels, and both Nigel Farage and ex-home secretary Suella Braverman have given speeches to the National Conservatism Conference despite efforts to shut it down.

Police have arrived at the venue in the European Quarter, ordering that those in attendance leave the venue in a bid to "guarantee public safety".

Mr Farage told our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey that police would have to "drag me off the stage".

"I understand the police outside have a closure order, but there are only three police officers," he says. "So three police officers are not going to come into the venue with a lot of people like this.

"They'll gather more police and at some point it'll be closed down."

Mr Farage says: "If anything convinced me Brexit was the right thing to do, it's this behaviour."

He made the remark as he was leaving the conference room, having completed his planned speech.

Organisers have claimed the Public Order Notice claimed there were fears of a counter-protest of 200 people.

However, those who staged the event said: "It seems very directly political, not impartial."


What counts as voter ID? What you need to know before local elections

People voting in local elections in England on 2 May will need to provide photo ID.

It is the second year the requirement has been in place - but in 2023,14,000 people couldn't cast their ballot because they didn't take ID to the polling booth.

There are 22 different types of ID you can use - and if you don't have any of them, you can register for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Here's everything you need to know to avoid being caught out:


Third venue National Conservatism Conference has booked in Brussels as mayor tries to shut it down

Our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey is in Brussels, where the National Conservatism Conference is in the process of being shut down by the mayor.

"Quite extraordinary scenes here in Brussels today as you will be able to see. There is a policeman talking to the owner of the venue in which this National Conservatism Conference is taking place," he says.

"The police are actually trying to shut this thing down, they've had an order from the mayor of Brussels who has effectively said that the extreme right is not welcome in this city and trying to shut the venue down.

"They're using issues around public order and safety to do so.

"The police are saying effectively if you do not evacuate this building any time soon, then the police will start removing people from it."

Darren points out that Reform UK president Nigel Farage is giving a speech at the conference at the moment, with former home secretary Suella Braverman due on the stage shortly.

"This is the third venue that the National Conservatism Conference... has had to choose in Brussels over the last couple of days."

The others had cancelled ahead of the conference.

You can watch Darren's latest live report here:


Watch: Davey sorry he didn't meet Alan Bates sooner

In case you missed it, here's a recap of our in-depth conversation with Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey this morning.

He was asked about his role in the Post Office scandal, as Postal Affairs minister at the time it emerged, and apologised for not meeting Alan Bates sooner.

You can watch the interview below:


Mayor moves to shut down National Conservatism Conference in Brussels

The National Conservatism Conference will be shut down in Brussels "to guarantee public safety", local officials have confirmed.

Reform UK president Nigel Farage had been due to speak at the conference, alongside Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman was also due to speak.

However, it was reported that police officers arrived two hours into the event near the European Quarter to inform organisers it must close.

Emir Kir, mayor of the area where the conference was held, said: "I issued an order from the mayor to ban the 'National Conservatism Conference' event to guarantee public safety.

"In Etterbeek, Brussels City and Saint-Josse, the far-right is not welcome."

It is unclear exactly what this latter remark refers to.


Politics at Jack and Sam's: The Week... After Iran's attack on Israel

Two of Westminster's best-connected journalists, Sky News' Sam Coates and Politico's Jack Blanchard, guide you through their top predictions for the next seven days in British politics.

With parliament returning after the Easter break, this week Jack and Sam discuss the government's response to Iran's unprecedented drone and missile attack against Israel - and how it will get across its support for Israel’s right to self-defence, while wanting a de-escalation of tensions.

They also discuss where the claims about deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner's tax affairs go from here.

And they look forward to the final stages of the Conservatives' Rwanda Bill, the fallout from the Westminster honeytrap scandal and a vote on anti-smoking laws.

Email with your thoughts and rate how their predictions play out: jackandsam@sky.uk or jackandsam@politico.co.uk


What to keep an eye on in Westminster today

Today is the second day since parliament returned from the three-week Easter recess, and there's plenty happening as peers and MPs catch up on business.

Here's a quick look at what you can expect:

  • 12.30pm - the second reading debate on theTobacco and Vapes Bill will take place in the Commons, with a vote expected around 7pm;
  • This is notable as it is widely expected Rishi Sunak will face a significant backbench rebellion, with a number of Tory MPs planning to vote down the legislation;
  • 4pm - the Safety of Rwanda Bill will return to the House of Lords for a third round of debate;
  • Seven amendments put forward by peers were rejected in the Commons yesterday, in a fierce example of so-called parliamentary "ping-pong".

We'll have updates on any significant developments here in the Politics Hub.


'Bad faith actors' made 'vexatious' complaints under hate crime act, says Yousaf

"Bad faith actors" lodged "vexatious" complaints with police in the first days of the country's new hate crime laws taking effect," Scotland's first minister has said.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act came into force on 1 April, sparking a deluge of complaints, with almost 3,500 on the first day, prompting concerns about police being overwhelmed.

By the end of the first week, more than 7,000 complaints had been made online - most of them anonymously - but just 240 hate crimes had been recorded along with 30 non-crime hate incidents.

Speaking to the BBC today, Humza Yousaf said the legislation had been weaponised.

"What we have seen with the introduction of the Hate Crime Act, in the first few days in particular, was a series, I think, of bad faith actors who decided to put in vexatious complaints in order to try to waste police time - which is a pretty serious matter," he said.

Mr Yousaf added there were almost 7,000 reports of hate crime in the 2021-22 financial year and the new legislation is designed to "safeguard" minorities.

The Act consolidates existing hate crime legislation and creates a new stirring-up offence for some protected characteristics - but opponents have suggested it could have a chilling effect on free speech.


ICYMI: PM facing further calls to proscribe Iran's IRGC in wake of attack on Israel

By Tim Baker, political reporter

Rishi Sunak is facing further calls from parliament to take action against Iran in the wake of the nation's direct attack against Israel over the weekend.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and a number of Tory former cabinet ministers called for various steps to be taken, including the proscription of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) - Tehran's primary fighting force.

The prime minister on Monday delivered a statement to the House of Commons in the wake of events in the Middle East over the weekend.

Mr Sunak said "all sides must show restraint" - and that he would be speaking with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortly, although this call is not expected to take place on Monday.

You can read more from Sky News below:


Spike in voter registrations as deadline arrives for 2 May elections

Anyone not registered to vote in the local, mayoral and police commissioner elections on 2 May has only a few hours left to apply - and there are signs of a late surge in interest.

A range of contests are taking place across England and Wales on polling day, with every voter able to take part in at least one type of election.

Nearly 2,700 council seats in England are up for grabs across 107 local authorities, while 37 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales will also be chosen.

Polls are also taking place to elect some of the most high-profile mayors in the country, including Greater Manchester, London and the West Midlands.

People who have not yet registered to vote, or are not sure if they are eligible, have until 11.59pm on Tuesday to submit an application.

This can be done online at gov.uk/registertovote.

Some 43,037 applications were made on Monday, the highest for a single day so far this year and some way above the previous peak of 31,496 on 2 April, figures show.

An average of 26,968 applications to vote were made per day in the week to 15 April, up from 25,552 the previous week and 20,220 a fortnight ago.

Politics latest: Police turn up at conference while Nigel Farage on stage after order from mayor (2024)


What is Nigel Farage doing now? ›

Farage is currently the Honorary President of Reform UK and a presenter for GB News. He served as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England from 1999 until the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union in 2020.

Is Reform UK a right-wing party? ›

Reform UK is a right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom.

How many years was Boris Johnson prime minister? ›

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2019 to 2022. He was previously Foreign Secretary from 2016 to 2018 and Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016.

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