Belfast Telegraph

Any Brexit deal will still face the hurdle of a Commons vote

Q: So, when is a Brexit customs union not a customs union? A: When it is a customs arrangement ... 

Theresa May is performing verbal contortions that would make an Olympic gymnast proud to send different messages to her domestic and EU audiences. The Prime Minister can't win. If she placates Tory eurosceptics and the DUP, she can't strike a Brexit deal with the EU. But if she makes concessions to the EU to get a withdrawal agreement, she runs into trouble at home. That's the phase we are now in.

Alex Kane with son Indy and daughter Lilah-Liberty

Alex Kane: 'My adoptive parents took a traumatised, scared six-year-old and allowed him to start his life from scratch... they helped me become the dad I am today' 

There is, of course, no such thing as a perfect adoption - and that's because there is no such thing as perfect children or perfect parents. Also, every adopted child brings baggage with them. I've carried mine for the 57 years since I was adopted. I still have the nightmares when I wake up screaming and bathed in sweat. I still have mornings when I wake up and wonder where I am.

All smiles from Arlene Foster, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Theresa May and Tory chief whip Gavin Williamson after the DUP agreed to support the minority Government

Rick Wilford: Arlene Foster is engaged in high-stakes poker with the Conservative Government ... she should be careful not to overplay her hand 

In December 2015, shortly after she was anointed as Peter Robinson's successor, I wrote a piece for this newspaper speculating on Arlene Foster's potential leadership style. I didn't come to any firm conclusions, but rather sketched out the attributes of political leadership as a yardstick by which we might measure her future performance - and, impliedly, that of our other party leaders.

Bakery owners Amy and Daniel McArthur outside the Supreme Court.

Editor's Viewpoint: Ashers verdict upholds the right of free speech and free conscience 

What became known as the 'gay cake' court case was often simplistically portrayed as a stand-off between a set of Christian beliefs and the rights of the LGBT community. It was a very parochial view that may have suited some people's political agenda, but its ramifications went much further, embracing such fundamental rights as the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to freedom of expression.

Austin Currie MP (right) and two colleagues squatting at a house in Caledon in June 1968

Alban Maginness: Promise of civil rights was lost in violence of State response, which in turn begat 30 years of terror 

The Troubles did not begin on October 5, 1968 despite what is now commonly claimed. What began on October 5, 1968 was the bright but shortlived hope of a reformed Northern Ireland. For people at the time, despite the shocking police violence on the streets of Derry, there was a sense of liberation. A political dam had been breached and a surge of optimism had poured out. Maybe it reflected the optimism and spirit of renewal in France and throughout the world in 1968. However, this surge of optimism was not to last for very long.

The late Ray Galton

Gail Walker: The golden age of TV broke new ground ... what a shame we’re unlikely to see a repeat 

It seems we are reading the obituaries more frequently now of familiar entertainment stalwarts. Cilla Black, Ronnie Corbett, Ken Dodd, Bruce Forsyth, Liz Fraser, Denis Norden ... as the names reel off, they bring with them memories of what must be the golden age of TV. Maybe a 50-year period, when it was all new and all familiar at the same time, and a period which was long enough to have captured several generations in its shiny spell, before the internet came along.

The students dressed in mourning wear had come to bury Brexit

Conservative Party conference: Group of young people, dressed in mourning wear and carrying a full-sized teak coffin full of white lilies, had come to bury Brexit... one thing is for certain, with the amount of paper they hand out, the protesters are not environmentalists' 

It's madness, pure madness." That was the verdict of my taxi driver Jamal as he drove me from Birmingham Airport to the Tory party conference. He wasn't talking about Brexit, but about the amount of road closures in various parts of the city. Jamal came to Birmingham in 1989 from Pakistan. He volunteered that he voted Remain.

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