Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, as Theresa May tries to reach agreement on the UK-EU Brexit deal
Commenting on the announcement about the Electoral Commission investigation (see 9.48am), a Momentum spokesman said much of the investigation referred to “administrative errors that can be easily rectified.” He went on:
Momentum put a lot of effort and resources into detailed budgeting and financial procedures during the election to ensure full compliance. Our election campaign was delivered on a low budget because it tapped into the energy and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of volunteers across the country.
We have a good working relationship with the Electoral Commission, and will fully comply with the investigation going forward.
At least a thousand extra policemen and women would have to be recruited to secure any “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic post-Brexit, rank and file officers have warned.
The Police Federation of Northern Ireland has said that policing in the region would be dangerously under-staffed to cope with protecting a 300 mile plus frontier if the UK left the EU and had to control a newly fortified border.
Right now, the preparatory work for a “soft” or “hard” border should be well underway. However, I don’t believe the wider security implications have featured anywhere near as prominently as trade, free movement and the Customs Union. That’s a glaring deficiency and one that ought to be addressed with some urgency.
A hard border doesn’t simply affect Northern Ireland. It would have a costly and profound impact on policing in the Republic of Ireland. You can’t upscale on one side of the border without doing the same on the other. That would be a nonsense.
Month by month the PSNI is reducing in number. Eleven per cent of the workforce is eligible to retire next year – that’s 730 in real terms. A further 331 can retire in 2019 and 2020. Recruitment plans fall far short of keeping pace with that number of departures.