Dec 29, 2019

More than 5,000 members of anti-Islam group join U.K.'s Conservative Party

Supporters of Britain First take part in the March Against Terrorism on April 01, 2017 in London. Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

More than 5,000 of the 7,500 members of the openly anti-Islam extremist group Britain First have joined the U.K.'s Conservative Party in the wake of Boris Johnson's landslide election victory this month, The Guardian reports.

The big picture: Johnson has faced criticism for his past writings comparing veiled Muslim women to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers," and was pressured during a leadership debate in June to agree to an independent investigation into widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

  • Johnson has apologized for the "hurt and offense" caused by Islamophobia within his party, but said the independent inquiry would be focused on "every manner of prejudice and discrimination" rather than anti-Muslim bigotry in particular.
  • A spokesperson for Britain First, whose leaders were convicted last year for hate crimes against Muslims, said its members felt motivated to join the Conservatives due to the party's apparent willingness to take a "firm stance" against radical Islam."

Go deeper: Britain's chief rabbi warns of anti-Semitism within Labour Party

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Brexit is happening: U.K. Parliament gives final approval

Boris Johnson. Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.K.'s House of Commons voted 330-231 in favor of the European Union withdrawal agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Why it matters: The bill must still be passed by the House of Lords, but the Commons' approval essentially ensures that Brexit will happen on Jan. 31. The passage of the bill after three years of deadlock is a result of the landslide victory Johnson's Conservative Party won in last month's snap election.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020

Boris Johnson: U.K. has crossed the Brexit finish line now bill is ratified

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on Wednesday. Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Britain's Brexit bill now only needs royal assent after lawmakers in the U.K.'s parliament ratified the legislation on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The ratification of the bill effectively ensures the U.K. will leave the European Union on Jan. 31.

Go deeperArrowJan 23, 2020

Bloomberg on anti-Semitism: "Presidential leadership matters"

Photo: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group.

Michael Bloomberg gave a speech in Florida Sunday on how his Jewish faith has shaped his 2020 bid.

What they're saying: Speaking at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center and Tauber Academy, Bloomberg harshly criticized President Trump over his leadership on the issue, stating: "Anti-Semitism is hardly the exclusive domain of one political party. It can be found on both the right and the left — on town squares and campus quads. But there is one fact that we cannot ignore: Presidential leadership matters."

Go deeperArrowJan 26, 2020