And the Tories' new celebrity supporter is . . .

. . . Take That's Gary Barlow. He joins a stellar cast that includes Michael Caine, Jim Davidson and, um, the woman who presents all those property programmes on Channel 4.

We at Cultural Capital are left speechless by the news, so last words go to the music journalist Tim Chipping, who tweeted earlier today:

"All of Mark Owen's numerous sordid, drunken affairs don't add up to Gary Barlow's betrayal of the people".

NB: What we'd really like to know is: which Labour-supporting celebrities will threaten to leave the country if the Tories get in? Ross Kemp? David Tennant? Eddie Izzard?

Daniel Trilling is the Editor of New Humanist magazine. He was formerly an Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

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Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigns after referendum No vote

Europe's right-wing populists cheered the result. 

Italy's centrist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was forced to resign late on Sunday after he lost a referendum on constitutional change.

With most ballots counted, 60 per cent of Italians voted No to change, according to the BBC. The turn out was nearly 70 per cent. 

Voters were asked whether they backed a reform to Italy's complex political system, but right-wing populists have interpreted the referendum as a wider poll on the direction of the country.

Before the result, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage tweeted: "Hope the exit polls in Italy are right. This vote looks to me to be more about the Euro than constitutional change."

The leader of France's far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, tweeted "bravo" to her Eurosceptic "friend" Matteo Salvini, a politician who campaigned for the No vote. She described the referendum result as a "thirst for liberty". 

In his resignation speech, Renzi told reporters he took responsibility for the outcome and added "good luck to us all". 

Since gaining office in 2014, Renzi has been a reformist politician. He introduced same-sex civil unions, made employment laws more flexible and abolished small taxes, and was known by some as "Europe's last Blairite".

However, his proposed constitutional reforms divided opinion even among liberals, because of the way they removed certain checks and balances and handed increased power to the government.

 

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.