PETER OBORNE: RIP the Tory Party? How rebel Tories risk destruction

PETER OBORNE: RIP the Tory Party? How rebel Conservative MPs risk destroying the most successful political organisation in history

RIP the Tory party? ‘The only beneficiary, of course, would be Jeremy Corbyn’

When David Cameron announced the Brexit referendum almost six years ago, his main objective was to end, once and for all, Conservative Party divisions over Europe.

I’m afraid we never needed hindsight to tell us that it was a catastrophic misjudgement. For Tory divisions over Europe seem insoluble. It has now fallen to the embattled Theresa May to stop the Tories falling apart.

Even if — and against all odds — the Commons votes in favour of her EU withdrawal deal on Tuesday, Tory wounds will continue to fester.

But, much worse, if the PM is defeated, the Conservative Party faces imminent civil war.

An organisation which has been the most successful political party in the world since its foundation in 1834, may formally split — into a hardline anti-EU group and a more pro-EU side.

Of course, history tells us that there have been occasional schisms in the past, most notoriously when Prime Minister Robert Peel attempted to abolish the Corn Laws, which protected British farmers from overseas competition.

Peter Oborne: ‘It has now fallen to the embattled Theresa May to stop the Tories falling apart’

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That debacle meant the Tories were out of power for a generation — with the great Victorian Liberal, William Gladstone, the beneficiary.

It is no exaggeration to say the current crisis is so grave we could soon be witnessing the death of the Conservative Party.

Let me explain the sequence of events that could lead to this.

Although I wrote in Wednesday’s Mail that Mrs May and her deal mustn’t be written off, it is important to consider the dire consequences of a defeat on Tuesday.

Inevitably, the first challenge to her authority would come from Jeremy Corbyn, who as leader of the Opposition would be entitled to put down an instant vote of no confidence in Mrs May’s Government.

If she lost that vote, she would be out of Downing Street within hours, and Britain would face a third General Election in as many years.

After the shambolic way the Tory Government failed to deliver Brexit, as demanded by the British people, the most likely result would be a Labour victory, as voters punished the Tories.

However, my guess is that Mrs May would win a vote of confidence in the Commons. Her backbenchers would finally come to their senses and support her — mostly out of fear of losing their jobs in a general election rout.

Having seen off Corbyn, the next move for Houdini May would be to go to Brussels to explain to the leaders of the other 27 countries that they must offer concessions in order to get her deal approved in Westminster.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the annual meeting of the Party of European Socialists in Lisbon, Portugal on Friday

But Brussels feels it has done its bit. Many European leaders believe they have made too many concessions to the UK already.

And they have their own problems — such as the riots in Paris — to deal with.

However, any concessions would most likely concern the so-called Northern Ireland backstop, which guarantees friction-less trade between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Of course, Mrs May would hope she could winkle out enough agreements to allow her to win the Commons vote on her exit deal a second time around.

In which case, her leadership would survive and Britain would break relatively smoothly from the EU in March.

But let’s suppose her deal gets struck down for a second time by MPs. Mrs May’s authority would be shattered. Her flagship policy would be sunk and Britain would be rudderless.

It would be at this point that a Conservative Party split would be most likely.

‘Even if a Brussels-baiter such as Boris Johnson (pictured) or Jacob Rees-Mogg were reluctantly made second choice by Tory MPs, either man would be the darling among Conservative Party members’

With her deal rejected by politicians (never forget, over the heads of the British public), Mrs May could try to appeal directly to voters in defiance of MPs and call a General Election.

In effect, this would be a single-issue vote of confidence in her own personal leadership and her EU withdrawal deal.

I have no doubt that millions of Britons who admire Mrs May for her fighting qualities would back her.

But such a course would cause utter havoc in the Conservative Party. The fact is that more than 100 Tory MPs have already indicated they regard Mrs May’s deal as a sell-out to Brussels.

Some of those might quit the party and fight the election as independents.

Probably some Tory Remainers would resign, too, feeling that the PM’s deal betrays their Europhile values. Others, showing shameless personal vanity, would abandon a weakened Mrs May and exploit the opportunity to promote their own leadership ambitions.

In sum, the Tory Party would be split asunder.

The only beneficiary, of course, would be Jeremy Corbyn.

Fully aware herself of this scenario, I am convinced that Mrs May would eschew calling a General Election.

Michael Gove and Amber Rudd leave crucial Brexit talks at 10 Downing Street on Thursday

Another option, facing this mess, would be a second referendum. Pressure is mounting, and I can understand why. But if Mrs May agreed to hold one, there would definitely be a Tory mutiny.

Whatever happens in the coming days and weeks, Britain is about to plunge into the most scary week in its post-war history.

Unless Mrs May wins on Tuesday, we are faced with stark choices: a lame duck prime minister; months of political paralysis; a challenger to Mrs May as Tory leader; or a Corbyn government.

Let’s consider that there is a move to oust Mrs May before Christmas.

Certainly, Tory infighting would escalate into civil war.

When Mrs May became PM in the summer of 2016, she was appointed unopposed.

All mooted rival candidates — such as Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove — dropped out.

This time, I predict there would be plenty of challengers — representing all shades of opinion — and the Tory Party would quickly self-destruct.

Jacob Rees-Mogg sips from a cup of tea at a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group last month

Crucially, hardline Brexiteers know the party’s leadership election rules work in their favour.

A series of hustings between rival candidates would see Tory MPs reducing the number to two, and then a winner would be chosen based on a vote of all members.

The fact is that any hardline Brexiteer would be the favourite, simply because the Tory grassroots are overwhelmingly Eurosceptic.

Even if a Brussels-baiter such as Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg were reluctantly made second choice by Tory MPs, either man would be the darling among Conservative Party members.

But a hardline Brexiteer Tory Party led by Johnson or Rees-Mogg would see dozens of MPs quitting.

There would be mass defections, too, if, on the other hand, a Remainer won the contest.

The brutal truth is that there is no common ground any more between Europhile and Eurosceptic Tory MPs.

And so the moment looms when the two factions will find themselves incapable of living alongside each other in the same political party.

Thus the choice faced by Conservative MPs on Tuesday is not simply whether to accept Mrs May’s deal.

It is about the survival or destruction of the Conservative Party. 

A symbol of how far some areas of modern politics have degraded can be seen in the behaviour of the government whips.

Instead of working overtime to help Mrs May win Tuesday’s Commons vote, they have been revelling in their starring role in this week’s fly-on-the wall ITV programme about their work. Whips ought to maintain a discreet dignity rather than parade themselves in front of TV cameras.

 This isn’t pretty, Priti!

Hardline Brexiteer Priti Patel MP wants the Cabinet to blackmail the Irish Government into backing down over its intransigence towards Mrs May, using the threat of food shortages.

For Ireland is heavily dependent on trade with the UK, with Britain accounting for 29 per cent of its imports. Ms Patel’s suggestion is not just stupid politics but most inappropriate. Using food shortages as a bargaining chip is morally obscene considering that one million Irish died in the Great Famine between 1845 and 1849.

Three cheers for Lib Dem MP Stephen Lloyd for showing admirable integrity by quitting his party’s parliamentary group in order to support Mrs May’s Brexit proposals.

Unlike his Lib Dem colleagues, he’s honouring the promise they made during the 2017 election campaign.

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Peter Is Sparking Dating Rumors With Another Fan-Favorite From ‘Bachelor’ Nation

For all you naysayers out there, Bachelor Nation does help its contestants find love matches. And there may be one particular, and unexpected, match between two Bachelor faves. As Marie Claire noted, Peter Kraus and Bibiana Julian from Bachelor Nation might be dating. Could this be the power couple fans have been waiting for? (Bustle reached out to Peter and Bibiana’s teams for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.)

These dating rumors sparked from a rather surprising source (as far as Bachelor Nation is concerned): basketball coverage. Yes, really. Marie Claire detailed that Bleacher Report, a website focused on sports culture, posted a video on Twitter that could reveal the latest and greatest reality TV couple. In the video, the main focus is on Miami Heat player Hassan Whiteside, who’s leaving the stadium. But the most interesting part of the clip was that it revealed Peter and Bibiana on what looks to be a date. To add even more fuel to the dating rumors, Peter’s hand appears to be resting on Bibiana’s knee in the video, a seemingly romantic sign they may indeed be an item.

The possible reveal appears to have been first pointed out by Rodger Sherman, a journalist for The Ringer, on Dec. 5. He retweeted Bleacher Report’s clip and wrote, "Watch this video in full for a huge ex-Bachelor/Bachelorette contestant couple reveal." "Huge" is an understatement. If everyone’s favorite from Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor and the man who should have been the Bachelor are actually a couple, that would be the most exciting news to come out of Bachelor Nation in a long time.

Judging by some of the reactions to this news, fans are definitely on board with this possible couple. One fan wrote, in a reaction to a Cosmopolitan article detailing the news, that they are "1000% HERE FOR THIS." Another fan said, "I could ship theeee f*ck out of Peter and Bibiana!!!!!" And, honestly, same.

Neither Peter nor Bibiana have commented publicly on these latest relationship rumors. Similarly, neither of the reality contestants have posted anything on social media that hints at this new coupling.

But if this news is indeed true, it would make a lot of sense, especially considering they have a lot in common being from same reality TV franchise and all. So, they both know what it’s like to date a fellow reality TV star. Peter rose to fame during his time on Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette in 2017, where he made it all the way to the final two.

Bibiana first appeared on the latest season of The Bachelor with Arie, which aired in early 2018 (she’s since also made appearances on The Bachelor: Winter Games and Bachelor in Paradise). Coincidentally, it was rumored that Peter would be the lead during that season. So, the pair could have made a love connection way back then.

Considering that they just missed out on making a match during The Bachelor, maybe it’s fate that they’ve made a possible love connection now.

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Peter Boizot dead – Pizza Express founder dies aged 89 at his home in Peterborough

The businessman passed away at his home in Peterborough yesterday, his sister Clementine Allen said.

The former Peterborough United owner had founded the pizza chain in 1965 after noticing a gap for authentic pizza in London.

The business quickly became popular, and today is the UK's largest casual dining operator with 460 restaurants worldwide.

Pizza Express managing director Zoe Bowley paid tribute to the pizza legend, saying: "In his 89 years, this remarkable entrepreneur achieved an astonishing amount, not just within the dining industry, but across music, sport, and charity as well.

"He launched a culinary revolution with the first PizzaExpress in 1965, introducing delicious pizza and casual dining to the UK, inspired by his travels in Italy."

She added: "His philanthropic work was renowned, raising £2million for the Venice in Peril fund and he inspired the company to continue this charitable mission.

"Peter's spirit and vision to bring great pizza to the UK and beyond, and his passion for good food and good times, will live on.

"We will miss him dearly. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time."

Mr Boizot received Restaurant magazine's R200 Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

He had previously shared photographs to celebrate his 86th birthday, including memories of meeting the Queen.

Writing on Twitter, he said: "On the occasion of my 86th birthday, it is great to look back at a life well lived."

He had previously released an autobiography, Mr Pizza and All That Jazz, that discussed his life and his decision to become vegetarian at the age of six.

And describing his love for pizza, he said: "Many have said that my love for pizza is infectious – perhaps that is the secret to my success. My family and friends rightly note that I can barely find my way around a kitchen, so I’m no culinary expert.

"But I know what I like, and I have ample bravado to think others will like it as well."

Mr Boizot was born in Peterborough in November 1929, attending St Mark's School before going to King's School and becoming head boy.

He then studied at St Catharine's College at Cambridge University, going on to spend ten years abroad.

Peterborough United club said: "The PizzaExpress founder was a major part of the success in the late 1990s/early 2000s when Posh secured promotion at Wembley in 2000.

"Everybody at the football club would like to express our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family at this very sad time."


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Coronation Street star Peter Armitage, 78, dies

Coronation Street star Peter Armitage, 78, dies after revealing four years ago that he had beaten bowel cancer

  • Armitage played Bill Webster on the ITV soap from 1984, making his final appearance in 2011
  • The Sheffield-born actor revealed four years ago that he had beaten bowel cancer, with his cause of death currently unknown
  • His Coronation Street co-star Charlie Lawson announced the news on Twitter 
  • The actor’s other TV credits include The Befrienders, Couples, Jack the Ripper and Hearts and Minds
  • He made his final on screen appearance in an episode of Doctors in 2013 

Coronation Street actor Peter Armitage, who played Bill Webster on the ITV soap, has died at the age of 78. 

The Sheffield-born actor revealed four years ago that he had beaten bowel cancer, with his cause of death currently unknown.   

His friend and co-star Charlie Lawson, who plays Jim McDonald, announced the sad news on Twitter on Tuesday. 

Soap star: Coronation Street actor Peter Armitage, who played Bill Webster on the ITV soap (pictured right with onscreen son Kevin, has died at the age of 78

‘It’s with great sadness, that I’ve to tell you my great old friend Pete Armitage has died. RIP mate,’ Charlie wrote of his friend who played the retired builder and Kevin Webster’s dad Bill in the soap from 1984.

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Simon Gregson, who stars as Steve McDonald, paid tribute too, writing online: ‘I loved Pete what a lovely man very sad RIP lovely man.’

Jane Danson, who plays Leanne Battersby, added: ‘So sorry to hear this, lovely man . Thoughts to family and friends.’ 

Passing: The actor (pictured on the Corrie set in 2009) revealed four years ago that he had beaten bowel cancer, with his cause of death currently unknown

Well known character: Armitage played retired builder and Kevin Webster’s dad Bill in the soap from 1984, returning for two further stints before his final appearance in 2011 (pictured with Audrey Roberts [Sue Nicholls] in 2008)

Samia Longchambon, who stars as Maria Connor, wrote: ‘So sorry to hear this Charlie. Pete was such a lovely man.. he’ll be sadly missed.’

The actor had three stints playing Bill on the soap, first appearing for six months in 1984, then from 1995-1997 and finally from 2006-2011. 

In 2014 Armitage said he hoped to return again after beating bowel cancer, telling The Mirror: ‘It’s 30 years since I first started on the cobbles and I’ve always come in and out. I’d like to go back again, too, if there’s a storyline for me.’

Friend: The actor’s friend and co-star Charlie Lawson, who plays Jim McDonald announced the sad news on Twitter on Tuesday

Tributes: Samia Longchambon, Simon Gregson and Jane Danson all sent condolences 

The soap favourite, who had been working on screen since 1970, also made an appearance as a painter and decorator in Corrie for two episodes in 1977. 

The actor’s other TV credits include The Befrienders, Couples, Jack the Ripper and Hearts and Minds, as well as Lucky Feller, a short-lived sitcom starring David Jason.

He made his final onscreen appearance in an episode of BBC soap Doctors in 2013. 

In the early 1980s Armitage appeared in a well known Yellow Pages commercial which brought him to the attention of Granada Television and an audition as Webster.

Long career: After working as an engineering apprentice and serving in the Merrchant Navy, he first began acting in 1970, making his final screen appearance in Doctors in 2013 (pictured)

Noted actor: Armitage’s other TV credits include Lucky Feller, a short-lived sitcom starring David Jason

Before acting, Armitage worked as an engineering apprentice, served in the Merchant Navy and from 1964 onwards worked on digging the London Underground Victoria Line.

It was during this last job that his interest in acting kick-started after he befriended an amateur plays producer, leading him to enroll in a Loughton, Essex drama school. 

The Yorkshire-born star was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2013. The following year he opened up about his battle with the disease as well as his hopes of returning to Corrie.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror in 2014, the actor opened up on his bowel cancer battle, revealing: ‘I first noticed a problem last May when I was down in Perpignan in France for my cousin’s 80th birthday party. I noticed a little bleeding in a bowel movement, so when I got home about ten days later I went to my doctor.’

‘They say smoking and bad diet could have links to bowel cancer, but I’m normally a fit and healthy sort of bloke.’ 

Armitage leave behind his two adult children Danny and Sally.  

Family: Peter played the dad of Kevin (played by Michael Le Vell, pictured), Debbie and Carl in Coronation Street

Onscreen love: Armitage’s character also had a relationship with soap legend Audrey

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Peter Gouldstone – Sun Reward: Terms & Conditions – The Sun

The Sun’s offer of a total reward of £30,000 (thirty thousand pounds) is for information provided to police which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Peter Gouldstone's death, and is subject to the following terms and conditions and will only be payable in accordance with them.

1. To be eligible to claim the reward, you must have provided information to police which directly leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Peter Gouldstone's death. You must be over 18, a UK resident, and you must be the person who provided the information to the police.

2. If more than one person provides information that fully meets these criteria, the reward will be divided equally between the claimants.

3. The following people are not eligible to claim the reward or any part of it: (i) anyone who in the reasonable belief of The Sun has any foreknowledge of or involvement in the killing (ii) any accomplice, relative, or friend of any suspect and (iii) serving police officers, or civilians working with or for the police, or any emergency services (iv) staff of The Sun.

4. If any suspect voluntarily surrenders to anyone for any reason the reward will not be payable.

5. The offer of reward will, unless renewed by The Sun, automatically terminate on 8 February 2019 unless an arrest and charge has been made over the death prior to this date.

6. The conditions set out here under are subject to variation only by The Sun who will, at all times, will have the final decision over the terms and conditions, and payment of the reward. The Sun may vary these terms and conditions if it is reasonable or necessary to do so.

7. No payment(s) will be made until the Editor of The Sun has received confirmation from police (or other competent authority) as to the legitimacy of the claim(s) to the reward, and, in the event of any arrest or charge in relation to the police investigation into the death, payment will only be made following completion of the legal process in each and every such arrest or charge, including trial and any appeals procedure. Finally, payment of the reward will be at the sole discretion of the Editor of The Sun.

8. In the event of a conviction, the recipient(s) of the reward will provide an interview for publication in The Sun, at no extra cost, if so required by the Editor of The Sun.

9. The conditions are subject to English law and the jurisdiction of the English courts.

10. The Sun is News Group Newspapers Limited, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF.

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