Ministers warned of one-off IRA attacks on mainland

The Government has been warned that several Irish nationalist terrorist groups, including the Real IRA (RIRA), have the means and intent to launch attacks on mainland Britain.

The Daily Telegraph reports that whilst Northern Ireland remains the main focus of dissident Republican activity, some groups still “aspire” to cause violence across the water.

It also claims that the current attack statistics could be dramatically understating the threat posed by Irish terrorism due to the Security Service thwarting two or three attacks for each that makes the news.

Labour MSPs get free vote on Brexit

Kezia Dugdale, the leader of Scottish Labour, has announced that members of her Holyrood group will be free to follow their consciences when it comes to campaigning on Britain’s place in the European Union.

Politics Home reports that Scottish Labour will officially back a ‘Remain’ vote. This is much the same stance as Dugdale has taken on the UK union, where her MSPs will likewise be free to campaign for separation should they choose to.

SNP plan to get taxi drivers to spy on children

The Scottish Daily Mail reported this week that the Nationalist administration in Scotland plan to get taxi drivers to report on what young people say in their cabs.

According to Alan Roden, the paper’s political editor, their reports will be passed on to each child’s “named person” – part of a controversial scheme to appoint a state official to watch over every child in Scotland.

The policy is already being held up by opponents as a prime example of the SNP’s authoritarian excess, and this East German-flavoured development will do nothing to allay those concerns.

Cardiff Labour in “chaos” after split, claims ex-leader

According to Wales Online, Labour have put their ruling group on Cardiff council into “special measures” following a split into two “finely balanced” rival factions.

Labour enjoy a comfortable majority on the council, but deep divisions mean that opposition councillors managed to influence last year’s budget.

The groups are apparently formed around two men: Phil Bale, the current leader, and Ralph Goodway, a long-time former holder of the office.

Nationalist MP branded ‘pathetic’ for comparing UK to Iran

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the SNP MP for Ochil and Perthshire South, has come under fierce criticism for comparing Westminster’s treatment of women to that of theocratic Iran.

According to The Herald she made the comments after accompanying Alex Salmond on a four-day visit to the Islamic Republic, which saw the former first minister accused of grandstanding.

Ahmed-Sheikh, a former Scottish Conservative candidate, said: “While clearly Iran has a distance to travel on gender equality, so too does Westminster.”

Alex Johnstone, a Conservative MSP, denounced the remark as the latest absurd inflation of the SNP’s anti-Westminster rhetoric.

Democratic Unionists criticised for squeezing UUP off cross-border bodies

A former leader of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has attacked the removal of Ulster Unionist representatives from several all-island organisations, according to the Irish News.

Margaret Ritchie, the MP for South Down, claims that the move – which follows the UUP’s decision to withdraw from the province’s all-party devolved executive – smacks of “DUP ebullience and bullying”.

The DUP is Northern Ireland’s largest party, but faces a challenge from a seemingly revitalised UUP in May’s Northern Irish election.

SNP retreat from key post-independence predictions on oil

The rosy portrait of a post-UK Scotland painted by the Scottish Government’s famous White Paper took a substantial dent this week.

The Press and Journal records that Callum McCaig, the MP for Aberdeen South and SNP energy spokesman, conceded that Scotland would never again receive a “huge income” from North Sea oil.

Nationalists had used a high per-barrel oil price in their calculations for independence, but prices have instead plunged since the referendum.

Despite this the SNP are, away from their core goal of breaking up Britain, stronger than ever.

This week it received a further million pound donation from a pair of long-standing backers and Stewart Hosie, the deputy leader, had to deny that Scotland had become a one-party state.

The nine seats which could swing the Welsh election

Following their ongoing Scottish rout, Wales is the last corner of the kingdom where Labour are in power.

Following Plaid Cymru’s decision to rule out cooperation with the Conservatives – and thus any viable alternative administration in Cardiff Bay – they look set to stay there.

Yet it isn’t clear whether the party will win an overall majority: Welsh Labour suffered an unexpected knocking back at the general election, where it suffered a net loss of seats to the Conservatives.

Wales Online have prepared profiles for nine of the Assembly seats which they feel could tip the balance in May.

NI21 lose their only councillor ahead of Ulster poll

The long, slow death of NI21, inched closer this week with the resignation of the party’s only councillor, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Johnny McCarthy was the only councillor elected under the party’s aegis at the 2014 local elections, and was serving as deputy leader.

Set up by ex-UUP MLAs Basil McCrea and John McCallister, NI21 was intended to radically shake up Ulster’s stagnant party politics and offer a non-sectarian, pro-UK alternative to the DUP and UUP.

Instead, it spectacularly collapsed just ahead of the local elections amidst claims of sexual misconduct.