Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Barnier: UK can have “ambitious” Brexit trade deal — at a price

Source: euronews [EU]

“The European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that the union is ready to offer the UK an ‘ambitious’ free trade deal after Brexit. However, the sweetener comes with several significant strings attached. The Commission’s negotiator set out the main condition for the UK: it must respect European regulatory standards. There must be an orderly withdrawal from the EU, he said, respecting the integrity of the single market and establishing a ‘level playing field.’ … There was also a warning from the Commission’s negotiator that EU parliaments might block a Brexit trade deal if the UK decided to diverge too far from the European model, adding that the UK had to decide what it wanted.” (11/20/17)


UK: Desperate to remain PM, May plays “blame the Russians for everything” card

Source: Sky News [UK]

“Theresa May has launched a powerful attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policies during a speech in the City of London. The Prime Minister pledged the UK will continue to play a leading diplomatic role after Brexit, suggesting a post EU divorce trade deal would support Europe’s commitment to open economies and free societies in the face of Russian threats to the international order. … Mrs May accused Russia of ‘seeking to weaponise information’ as she criticised Moscow’s meddling in elections and hacking of Denmark’s defence ministry and the German parliament.” (11/14/17)


UK: Davis’s Brexit vote offer fails to win over Tory rebels

Source: The Guardian [UK]

“A key parliamentary battle over crucial Brexit legislation will recommence in parliament, as Conservative MPs suggested a concession by David Davis to give MPs a ‘take it or leave it’ vote on any exit deal would not be enough to stave off rebellion. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, before eight days of debate over the EU withdrawal bill, the Brexit secretary pledged to introduce legislation to parliament that will allow MPs to vote on the final Brexit deal, either to accept or reject it and crash out with no deal in place. Conservative rebels who met the chief whip, Julian Lewis, overnight are understood to have made clear they have no intention of backing down over the bill’s most contentious points, including enshrining a meaningful vote in law.” (11/14/17)


UK: 40 Conservative MPs sign letter of no confidence in May

Source: Yomiuri Shumbun [Japan]

“Forty British members of Parliament from Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party have agreed to sign a letter of no-confidence in her, The Sunday Times newspaper reported. That is eight short of the number needed to trigger a party leadership contest, the mechanism through which May could be forced from office and replaced by another Conservative. May has been struggling to maintain her authority over her party since a snap election on June 8, which she called thinking she would win by a wide margin but instead resulted in her losing her parliamentary majority. … In the event of a leadership contest, if a challenger defeated May he or she would take over as Conservative leader and as prime minister.” (11/13/17)


UK: Prosecutors admit destroying key emails in Julian Assange case

Source: The Guardian [UK]

“The Crown Prosecution Service is facing embarrassment after admitting it destroyed key emails relating to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy fighting extradition. Email exchanges between the CPS and its Swedish counterparts over the high-profile case were deleted after the lawyer at the UK end retired in 2014. The destruction of potentially sensitive and revealing information comes ahead of a tribunal hearing in London next week. Adding to the intrigue, it emerged the CPS lawyer involved had, unaccountably, advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.” (11/10/17)


EU planning for collapse of Brexit talks, says Michel Barnier

Source: The Guardian [UK]

“The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said the bloc is drawing up contingency plans for the possible collapse of Britain’s departure talks. Barnier, who last week gave the UK a two-week deadline to provide greater clarity on the financial settlement it was prepared to offer as part of the divorce deal, told France’s Journal du Dimanche newspaper the failure of the talks was not his preferred option. ‘But it’s a possibility,’ he said.” (11/12/17)


A man is dead. Are the witch-hunters happy now?

Source: spiked
by Brendan O’Neill

“We still do not know for certain why Carl Sargeant, the Welsh Labour politician, took his life this week. Suicide is a deeply complex affair, and often springs from a deep-seated, hard-to-understand turmoil. But we do know this: Sargeant had been plunged into despair by accusations made against him as part of the increasingly febrile, nasty ‘Pestminster’ witch-hunt. … To read about the treatment of Sargeant is to get a glimpse into how unhinged and even Stalinist the sex-pest panic has become. Most strikingly, Sargeant was kept in the dark about the accusations made against him and about the identity of his accusers. He was not afforded the most basic information about why he was under investigation and as a consequence had to lose, temporarily at least, his entire purpose in political life: his job as Welsh government minister and his membership of the Labour Party. This echoes the showtrials of earlier, darker eras, when ‘political deviants’ were likewise kept in the dark about the reasons for their public destruction.” (11/08/17)


UK: Patel resigns from cabinet over unofficial meetings with Israelis

Source: The Guardian [UK]

“Theresa May’s government was rocked on Wednesday by a second cabinet resignation in a week after Priti Patel was forced to step down as international development secretary. The minister quit after being summoned back from a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia by Downing Street after it emerged she failed to be candid with May about 14 unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers, businesspeople and a senior lobbyist. The prime minister will now need to carry out another reshuffle that will create disruption and add to the sense of instability across Whitehall and Westminster as her minority government battles to retain control of the political agenda.” (11/08/17)


UK: Carl Sargeant, sacked Welsh cabinet minister, found dead

Source: The Guardian [UK]

“The former Welsh government minister Carl Sargeant has been found dead days after it emerged that a number of women had made allegations of improper personal conduct against him. Sargeant was sacked on Friday from his post as Wales’s cabinet secretary for communities and children, after the allegations came to light, which the Welsh first minister later confirmed were in relation to a number of incidents with women. It is understood that Sargeant killed himself. North Wales police said on Tuesday that the death is not being treated as suspicious.” (11/07/17)


EU court to hear landmark UK surveillance case

Source: Amnesty International

“The European Court of Human Rights will hear a landmark case on surveillance tomorrow (7 November) as part of a challenge to the lawfulness of the UK’s surveillance laws and its intelligence agencies’ mass surveillance practices. … The case is the latest stage in a protracted effort from the organisations to challenge the UK’s extremely wide-ranging surveillance powers following startling revelations by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden. In 2013, Snowden revealed how the UK’s GCHQ intelligence agency was secretly intercepting and processing millions of private communications of ordinary people on a daily basis (the ‘Tempora’ programme), and — without a clear legal foundation or proper safeguards — sharing data with the USA’s National Security Agency, as well as other countries’ intelligence agencies.” (11/06/17)