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Watch: Ken Clarke’s blistering anti-Brexit speech in the Article 50 debate

The Tory MP and former Chancellor condemns Theresa May’s “Alice in Wonderland” plan, and calls his party “anti-immigrant”.

During the Commons debate on triggering Article 50, everyone’s favourite furious europhile Ken Clarke laid into the government and his own party.

Video: The Mirror

He compared his party’s leadership to the politics of Enoch Powell, a former Tory politician known for his anti-immigrant “Rivers of Blood” speech:

“If he was here he would probably find it amazing to believe that his party had become eurosceptic and rather mildly anti-immigrant in a very strange way in 2016. I’m afraid on that I haven’t followed them. And I don’t intend to do so.”

He also condemned the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan by suggesting to the House that Theresa May is living in some kind of “Alice in Wonderland” type impossible scenario:

“Apparently you follow the rabbit down the hole and emerge in a Wonderland where suddenly countries throughout the world are queuing up to give us trading advantages and access to their markets that previously we’ve never been able to achieve. Nice men like President Trump and President Erdogan are just impatient to abandon their normal protectionism and give us access . . . No doubt somewhere there’s a hatter holding a tea party with a dormouse!”

I'm a mole, innit.

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​The US and the EU are shaky allies in Theresa May’s stand-off with Russia

Both Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker undermined the PM by congratulating President Putin on his re-election.

With friends like these, who needs Vladimir Putin? Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Trump have both undermined Theresa May's attempt at a united front against the Kremlin, as both men congratulated the president on his successful re-election.

The Washington Post has the remarkable details of the Trump-Putin phone call, in which the American President ignored a note saying “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” and neglected a briefing note instructing him to condemn the nerve agent attack on the Skripals. You can read the full letter from Juncker to Putin here. In both cases, what's in the message is fairly ordinary: the offence is one of omission.

How much does it matter as far May's stand-off with the Russian government goes? The difference is that Trump's position matters because he has hard power: it is a result of his Russia position that American sanctions and rhetoric about the attack on the Skripals is not tougher. Juncker's position matters because – while he has been condemned by Donald Tusk, Guy Verhofstadt and large numbers of MEPs – he is representative of a significant strain of public opinion across Europe.

We were given a measure of the size of that caucus in Germany, with polls showing that in excess of 80 per cent of Germans have an unfavourable opinion of Donald Trump, but just over half say the same of Vladimir Putin. In the United Kingdom, one of the EU's more hawkish nations outside the Russian-EU frontier, voters, also have a more unfavourable opinion of Trump (80 per cent) than of Putin (74 per cent). 

Bluntly, the problem May has is that the present incumbent of the White House is a shaky ally and most European politicians, including herself, have electorates who are potentially flaky too. Should Sergey Lavrov's threat that further sanctions will invite further reprisals be made good on, it's not a good starting point for the prime minister.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.