LONDON: Three members of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet warned today that Brexit must be delayed if she cannot persuade the British parliament to back her EU divorce deal next week.
Business minister Greg Clark, work and pensions minister Amber Rudd and justice minister David Gauke wrote an article stating their opposition to leaving the European Union on March 29 with no deal. May is currently scrambling to secure changes to the divorce text she struck with the bloc in November, hoping to win the support of MPs who last month rejected the deal by a massive margin.
“If there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in parliament is clear – that it would be better to seek to… delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on March 29,” the ministers wrote in the Daily Mail newspaper. They added: “Beyond the next few days, there simply will not be time to agree on a deal and complete all the necessary legislation before March 29.” But they warned that leaving the EU with no deal would “severely” damage the economy, weaken national security and risk the break-up of the UK.
May was in Brussels this week for talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, and will meet European Council president Donald Tusk on Sunday at an EU-Arab League summit in Egypt. She has promised to update parliament on her efforts on Tuesday and either put the new deal to a fresh vote of MPs or allow them on Wednesday to debate their own ideas for the way forward.
One of these is expected to be a plan to delay Brexit to avoid a “no deal” scenario. The ministers warned their hardline Brexit-supporting colleagues who continue to oppose May’s Brexit deal that MPs will not allow Britain to leave the EU with no deal by default. “If that happens, they (the eurosceptics) will have no-one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit,” they said.
Dignity in Death: Imran Hussain MP Gets Non-Invasive Post-Mortem Facility in Bradford
BRADFORD: For a decade British Shadow Minister for Justice Barrister Imran Hussain had been working hard and lobbying at all levels for a non-invasive post-mortem facility here.
This morning the facility has been officially opened. It will be run free of charge by Bradford Council for everyone.
Commenting on this achievement Barrister Imran Hussain MP maintained: “Nobody wants to see their relatives go through the distressing and undignified procedure of a normal, post-mortem, but this new post-mortem facility will help restore their dignity in death.
“However, hard work is not yet over, and I will be pushing hard nationally to see this service rolled out across the whole country.”
Relevant pieces published earlier:
Britain’s UKIP turns to far-right in bid to stay relevant
EXETER: The UK Independence Party, which came first in the 2014 European elections in Britain, has taken a turn to the far-right as it struggles to recover from a long slump in popularity.
It is five years since Nigel Farage spearheaded the party’s first election victory, where it claimed more than a quarter of the vote and 24 MEP seats.
But UKIP is currently struggling while Farage’s new Brexit Party is topping the opinion polls.
“It’s now about time to ask the question of whether the UK Independence Party can actually survive,” Matthew Goodwin, a politics professor at the University of Kent, told AFP.
In the 2016 Brexit referendum, UKIP achieved its defining objective of persuading Britons to back leaving the EU. But it has been on a downward spiral ever since.
Farage resigned in the aftermath of that vote. And Gerard Batten is now the party’s fourth leader since then and has been widely criticized for pushing policies perceived as anti-Islamic.
Who will be the next EU president?
BRUSSELS: Next week’s European parliamentary election will set the scene for a summer-long political battle over Brussels’ most powerful posts, with Germany and France at loggerheads over who takes the top spot.
The apparent frontrunner to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission is German MEP Manfred Weber, the candidate of the EPP, the main center-right bloc in the assembly.
But Weber’s main sponsor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is at odds with French President Emmanuel Macron who opposes him, and EU capitals don’t want to cede the decision to parliament.
“If Germany doesn’t get the Commission because of France, then France won’t get it either,” predicted a well-placed Brussels insider, playing down the chances of EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier getting the nod.
This could open the door for someone else, possibly the outgoing EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the former Danish minister and breakout star of the Juncker administration.
If she does get the job she will become the first woman to hold the EU’s top post.
Vestager is not a member of the European Parliament, but she has been nominated by the liberal ALDE group, which is expected to swell in size and power with the arrival of members from Macron’s centrist movement.
This democratic fig-leaf could be enough to quiet supporters of the so-called “spitzenkandidat” process, under which the leader of the biggest group – probably Weber’s EPP – should get the prize.
“The chancellor would support Vestager’s candidacy because parliament will insist that the nominee come from one of the political groups,” the senior political source said.