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John McDonnell - UK Politics Today

Britain’s parliament needs to be recalled immediately to discuss Brexit, the opposition Labour Party’s finance spokesman John McDonnell said on Monday, after leaked official documents forecast possible food, fuel, and medicine shortages. Britain has less than 74 days to resolve a three-year crisis that is pitting the country against the EU, its closest trade partner, and parliament against the executive. The outcome will mark its most significant geopolitical move since World War Two. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain will leave the European Union, with or without a transition deal, on Oct. 31. His calls for the EU to renegotiate the existing exit deal have so far been rejected in Brussels. That puts Britain on course for an unmanaged exit, which an official assessment published by the Sunday Times said would jam ports, increase the risk of public protests and severely disrupt the world’s fifth-largest economy. McDonnell, the Labour Party’s second most powerful man, said that the looming crisis demanded parliament’s summer break be brought to an early end. “There’s a need now to bring MPs (members of parliament) back together again because we need time now to really have a proper debate and discussion about this,” John McDonnell, a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, told BBC radio. His comments add weight to a demand made on Sunday, signed by more than 100 lawmakers, to recall parliament to discuss what they called a “national emergency”. Parliament is currently not due to sit until Sept. 3, when it willContinue reading

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Oliver Letwin UK NEWS

A Conservative lawmaker at the centre of efforts to block a no-deal Brexit said on Saturday he was pessimistic about his chances because he and other party colleagues could not support a caretaker government led by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowing to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by Oct. 31, anti-Brexit politicians from all sides have been trying, and so far failing, to agree on a plan to stop it from happening. Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, wants a caretaker government with himself as head, and then an election. But other opponents of a no-deal Brexit worry that Corbyn, a staunch leftist, would not win enough support, prompting leaders of smaller parties to put forward their own suggestions as to who could lead a government long enough to delay Brexit. Oliver Letwin, a lawmaker from Johnson’s ruling Conservatives, was asked to lend his support to Corbyn this week, but he told BBC Radio on Saturday: “I don’t think it’s at all likely that a majority would be formed for that and I wouldn’t be able to support that, no.” Asked to explain why, he said even an interim Corbyn-led government could do more damage than a disorderly exit from the world’s biggest trading bloc. Conservative opponents of a no-deal Brexit are deeply suspicious of Corbyn, whom they see as a dangerous Marxist intent on nationalising swathes of British industry and hiking state spending and taxes.Continue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Politics News Headlines

Danish politicians on Friday poured scorn on the notion of selling Greenland to the United States following reports that President Donald Trump had privately discussed the idea of buying the world’s biggest island with his advisers. Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. “It has to be an April Fool’s joke. Totally out of season,” former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter. The notion of purchasing the territory has been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but was taken more seriously by others in the White House, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday. Talk of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. “If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad,” foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, Soren Espersen, told broadcaster DR. “The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous,” he said. Greenland, a self-ruling part of Denmark located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependant on Danish economic support. “I am sure a majority in Greenland believes it is better to have a relation to Denmark than the United States, in the long term,” Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Danish MP from Greenland’s second-largest party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), told Reuters. “My immediate thought is ‘No, thank you’,” she said.Continue reading

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Iranian Oil Tanker Grace 1 Oil Tanker Iran News

Gibraltar on Thursday allowed a detained Iranian supertanker to leave the British overseas territory after a last-minute U.S. attempt to seize the vessel, potentially defusing tensions between London and Tehran as a British-flagged tanker remains held by the Islamic Republic. The release of the Grace 1 comes after the U.S. under President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago, setting in motion a growing confrontation between Tehran and the West over its atomic program. In past weeks, the Persian Gulf region has seen six attacks on oil tankers that the U.S. has blamed on Iran and the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone by Iranian forces. Iran has denied being behind the tanker attacks, though it has seized other tankers. The Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported there was no U.S. application before the court when a hearing on the Grace 1 resumed Thursday afternoon, quoting the court’s chief justice, Anthony Dudley. That allowed the ship to be freed. That’s a stark change from a morning hearing, which saw Gibraltar say the Justice Department sought to seize the vessel “on a number of allegations.” Dudley said that were it not for the U.S. move, “the ship would have sailed,” the Chronicle reported. The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment. Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement that the “investigations conducted around the Grace 1 are a matter for the government of Gibraltar” and that it couldn’t comment further. Prime Minister BorisContinue reading

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Jeremy Corbyn vs Boris Johnson - UK News

Britain’s opposition Labour Party began its bid to bring down Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a vote of no confidence, urging lawmakers to unite behind a caretaker government led by Jeremy Corbyn to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Johnson has promised to take Britain out of the European Union by Oct. 31, with or without a deal, setting the scene for a showdown in parliament where lawmakers are opposed to a divorce without a transition agreement. In a letter to opposition party leaders and several senior Conservatives opposed to a disorderly exit, Corbyn said his “strictly time-limited temporary government” would delay Brexit and hold a general election. He said Labour would campaign in the election to hold a second referendum on the Brexit terms, including an option as to whether the country should remain in the bloc three years after it voted to leave. “This government has no mandate for No Deal, and the 2016 EU referendum provided no mandate for No Deal,” Jeremy Corbyn said. “I therefore intend to table a vote of no confidence at the earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success.” A spokeswoman for Johnson’s Downing Street office said the choice was clear: “This government believes the people are the masters and votes should be respected, Jeremy Corbyn believes that the people are the servants and politicians can cancel public votes they don’t like.” Lawmakers return from their summer break on Sept. 3, reconvening for a battle over Brexit that will determine the fortunes ofContinue reading

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Matteo Salvini - Italy Politics News Today

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League party, announced last Thursday that he would file a motion of no-confidence in the government and wanted early elections. Fast forward a week and the coalition government is still in office, with no clear picture emerging of what will happen next, or even when. Here are some of the scenarios and possible moves. WHY HASN’T THE GOVERNMENT ALREADY COLLAPSED? The far-right League won only 17 percent of the vote in a 2018 national election and does not have enough lawmakers to impose a timetable for its no-confidence motion. Playing for time, and making clear they will not be pushed around by Salvini, the ruling 5-Star Movement, the opposition centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the leftist LEU party voted together on Tuesday to push the debate on the government into next week. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is due to address the Senate on Aug. 20 about the turmoil. At the end of his speech he could do what other prime ministers have done in similar situations and go straight to President Sergio Mattarella and resign, opening a formal crisis. But the picture has been clouded by Salvini’s unexpected pledge on Tuesday to pass a reform cutting the number of lawmakers. This parliamentary vote is scheduled for Aug. 22 and will almost certainly not be able to take place if the government falls beforehand. SO AUG. 22 BECOMES THE KEY DATE? Not necessarily. Cutting the number of lawmakersContinue reading

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Boris Johnson UK Political Story Today

A legal bid to prevent British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspending parliament to stop lawmakers blocking a no-deal Brexit will be heard at a Scottish court next month. A group of about 70 lawmakers from opposition parties are backing a bid to have Scotland’s highest civil court rule that Johnson cannot ask Queen Elizabeth to prorogue, or suspend, parliament before Britain leaves the European Union on Oct. 31. The case had its first court outing on Tuesday at which the Court of Session decided that a substantive hearing would take place on Sept. 6, said lawyer Jo Maugham from the Good Law Project which is supporting the challenge. English courts do not sit in August. Johnson has said Britain will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc on Halloween whether it has a divorce agreement or not and that also remains the legal default position. However, a majority of lawmakers in parliament have previously indicated they would not allow a no-deal Brexit. They have been investigating what parliamentary procedures can be used to prevent such an outcome, and in July backed proposals to make it harder for Johnson to force through any departure without a deal. In June, House Speaker John Bercow said it was “blindingly obvious” that the prime minister could not sideline parliament. “That is simply not going to happen,” he said. “STOP NO DEAL” However, Johnson, who replaced Theresa May on July 24 after she failed three times to get her withdrawal agreement through parliament, has refused toContinue reading

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Brexit Headline Today

British voters’ decision three years ago to split from the European Union was fueled by a sense that the U.K. is fundamentally separate from its continental neighbors — a sceptered isle, rather than a European power. Brexit-backing Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg has compared Brexit to historic British military victories on the continent, saying “it’s Waterloo, it’s Agincourt, it’s Crecy.” Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage fires up crowds with air-raid sirens and the theme from World War II thriller “The Great Escape.” Such patriotic messages strike a strong chord in an era of surging nationalism. But anti-Brexit politicians and historians say that view is too simplistic — and could end up making the U.K. weaker rather than stronger. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown argued Sunday in The Observer newspaper that “a destructive, populist, nationalist ideology” was leaving the United Kingdom “sleepwalking into oblivion.” Brown, who was Labour Party leader and British prime minister between 2007 and 2010, accused current Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “conjuring up the absurd and mendacious image of the patriotic British valiantly defying an intransigent Europe determined to turn us into a vassal state.” Richard J. Evans, professor emeritus of history at Cambridge University, lamented an increasing tendency to “talk about Europe as if it’s somewhere separate, as if Britain is not part of Europe.” “I went to Gatwick Airport recently and there’s a huge advertisement there for an airline that says ‘Europe is closer than you think,’” he said. “And I thought, well, it’s closerContinue reading

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Matteo Salvini - Italy News Now in Europe

Italy’s coalition government was in crisis Friday after far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini pulled his support and called for snap elections. The heightened political tensions in the heavily-indebted country — the eurozone’s third largest economy — rattled financial markets, where yields rose on Italian government bonds. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who has held several rounds of talks to try to ease the crisis in the 14-month-old government, angrily called on Salvini to justify his move. Salvini has clashed frequently in recent weeks with his fellow Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) over a range of policies. He upped the pressure Thursday, saying there was no longer a majority to support a government and calling for new elections. “Let’s go straight to parliament to say there is no longer a majority… and quickly go back to the voters,” Matteo Salvini said. The move sparked a crisis described by the left-wing newspaper La Repubblica as “a farce that makes no-one laugh”. Shifting political sands Conte, who has held separate talks with Salvini and President Sergio Mattarella, went on the offensive, saying it was not for the firebrand interior minister to summon parliament. He called on Salvini “to explain to the country and justify to the electorate, who believed in the possibility of change, the reasons that brought him to abruptly interrupt” the activities of government. Both houses of parliament are currently on recess for the holidays and are not due back until September. Long-rumbling tensionsContinue reading

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Boris Johnson - UK Politics News Headline

Will he, won’t he — and can he be stopped? Westminster is abuzz with talk of whether Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use an election to force through his Brexit plan. Many MPs are deeply opposed to his threat to take Britain out of the European Union without a deal on October 31. There is speculation that Johnson could call an early election to strengthen his mandate for a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson has dramatically boosted public spending since taking office, fueling speculation he is preparing not only for Brexit, but a general election as well. The two are likely to be linked. On Monday, Johnson traveled to Lincolnshire, eastern England, to lay out details of his £1.8 billion ($2.2 billion) boost for the National Health Service, delivering on his 2016 Brexit campaign vow while maintaining a focus on domestic policies. It follows recent pledges to hire more policy officers and increase infrastructure spending, including on railways. It’s part of what the government calls economic “boosterism” as it prepares for Brexit on Halloween; it includes a cash injection of £2.1 billion to prepare the economy for a no-deal split from the EU. But despite Johnson’s public words to the contrary, politicians are increasingly taking the rapid domestic policy roll-out as proof he’s gearing up for a snap poll. On Aug. 4, even Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly didn’t rule it out. MPs might themselves try to force an election to oust Boris Johnson and further delay Brexit afterContinue reading

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Turkish Army - Turkey Flag - Syria Flag

Turkey’s combative president is threatening to launch a military operation in northeastern Syria that is designed to push back U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish forces — an invasion that carries major risks for a highly combustible region in war-devastated Syria. An operation would mark the third Turkish incursion into Syria in the past four years — all seeking to limit the growing influence of Syrian Kurdish fighters, which Turkey views as terrorist along its border. Turkish and American military officials were meeting Monday and Tuesday in Ankara for last-ditch negotiations amid warnings from Turkish officials about a military buildup. Here’s a look at what Turkey wants and what could happen if it invades northern Syria: WHAT DOES TURKEY WANT? Turkey wants to establish a safe zone 19 to 25 miles (30 to 40 kilometers) deep east of the Euphrates River in Syria, all the way to the Iraqi border. That effectively amounts to almost all the territory in northeastern Syria that is currently controlled by Syrian Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. The YPG forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, America’s only partners on the ground in Syria. This has deeply infuriated Turkey and been a major source of tensions between Washington and Ankara in the past few years. With U.S. backing, the SDF has spearheaded the fight against the Islamic State group on the ground, announcing the territorial defeat of the extremist group in March. Turkey considers the YPG an existential threat and asContinue reading

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Damaged oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman

Britain on Monday joined the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel. British officials stressed that there was no change to London’s policy on Iran but joining the United States is the most significant non-Brexit foreign policy move to date of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 12-day-old government. Just two weeks ago, Britain was calling for a European-led naval mission. Now, it has joined what it said was a U.S.-led “international maritime security mission”. No other nations are yet involved. “It is vital to secure the freedom for all international shipping to navigate the Strait of Hormuz without delay, given the increased threat,” said British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. “The deployment of Royal Navy assets is a sign of our commitment to our UK flagged vessels and we look forward to working alongside the US and others to find an international solution to the problems in the Strait of Hormuz.” Tanker traffic through the Strait – through which a fifth of the world’s oil passes – has become the focus for a standoff between Iran and the United States, which has beefed up its military presence in the Gulf since May. Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a British tanker, Stena Impero, near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations. That came two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria. BritainContinue reading

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Jane Dodds - UK News

Britain’s pro-European Union Liberal Democrats won a parliamentary seat from the governing Conservative Party, taking new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s working majority to just one as he tries to steer the country through Brexit. Johnson is expected to face a showdown with lawmakers in the autumn over his vow to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a divorce deal. His government already relies on the support of a small Northern Irish party to pass legislation, with only a few rebels in his own Conservative Party needed to lose key votes. The Liberal Democrats, who are calling for a second referendum on EU membership, won the Welsh seat of Brecon and Radnorshire with a majority of 1,425 votes. “Boris Johnson’s shrinking majority makes it clear that he has no mandate to crash us out of the EU,” said Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, whose party now have 13 seats in parliament. A narrow majority of voters in the area had supported leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum and Swinson said the result showed her party could win in Brexit-supporting areas. Wales, and the Brecon area, is a region where sheep outnumber people and where the prospect of steep EU tariffs being slapped on Welsh lamb exports in a no-deal Brexit have prompted widespread concern among farmers. The Brecon vote was called after Conservative lawmaker Chris Davies was ousted by a petition of constituents after being convicted of falsifying expenses. Liberal Democrat candidate JaneContinue reading

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Sajid Javid - UK NEWS TODAY

Britain said it is ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit by spending an extra 2.1 billion pounds to stockpile medicines, hire more border officials and fund one of the biggest peacetime advertising campaigns. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who took power last week, has pledged to leave the trading bloc without an agreement in three months unless the EU agrees to renegotiate the deal agreed by his predecessor Theresa May. In his first major policy announcement, new finance minister Sajid Javid said the outlay will allow the government to increase training for customs officials, hire more staff to deal with an expected increase in passport applications, and improve infrastructure around ports. “With 92 days until the UK leaves the European Union it’s vital that we intensify our planning to ensure we are ready,” Javid said. “We want to get a good deal that abolishes the anti-democratic backstop. But if we can’t get a good deal, we’ll have to leave without one.” Wrenching the United Kingdom out of the EU without a deal means there would be no formal transition arrangement to cover everything from post-Brexit pet passports to customs arrangements on the Northern Irish border. Many investors say a no-deal Brexit would send shock waves through the world economy, tip Britain into a recession, roil financial markets and weaken London’s position as the pre-eminent international financial centre. Supporters of Brexit say that while there would be some short-term difficulties, the disruption of a no-deal Brexit has been overplayed and thatContinue reading

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Boris Johnson UK Political Story Today

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Wednesday meet leaders in Northern Ireland, the key battleground in Britain’s fight to leave the European Union and the focus of increasingly tense rhetoric on both sides of the Irish Sea. He arrived in Belfast on Tuesday night amid warnings from Irish leaders that his vow to leave the EU, with or without a deal, risks breaking up the United Kingdom. Johnson will hold talks with Northern Ireland’s main political parties to discuss the restoration of the British province’s power-sharing government, which collapsed in January 2017. But Brexit will be the issue hanging over the visit. Ireland has a land border with the province that both sides want to keep free-flowing after Brexit, both for economic reasons and, more importantly, to maintain the delicate peace deal that brought an end to decades of violence between Irish nationalists and British loyalists. The removal of checks on the border with Ireland was considered a key factor in reducing tensions. But after Brexit, that border will become part of the EU’s external frontier and would legally require policing. The agreement struck by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May proposed the so-called “backstop” solution, a mechanism designed to preserve the EU’s single market and prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. But many eurosceptic MPs believe it gives the EU too much control over Britain and rejected the deal three times. Johnson told Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, on Tuesday that the “backstop” plan was unacceptable, puttingContinue reading

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Boris Johnson UK Political News Now

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised on Tuesday to lead Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 “no matter what” as sterling tumbled and Ireland warned that the bloc would not be renegotiating the thrice defeated divorce deal. The British pound fell on Tuesday as investors bet Johnson’s Brexit brinkmanship could trigger a messy divorce that would sow chaos through the world economy and financial markets. Sterling crashed through trading barriers, falling to an intraday low of $1.2120 in shallower overnight Asian trade, the lowest since March 2017. The pound has lost 3.6 cents since Johnson was named Britain’s new prime minister a week ago. “The prime minister made clear that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, no matter what,” Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office said in a statement about a phone call with Irish PM Leo Varadkar. Johnson demanded again that one of the most hotly contested elements of the Brexit divorce agreement – the Irish border backstop – would have to be struck out if there was to be a deal. “The prime minister made clear that the government will approach any negotiations which take place with determination and energy and in a spirit of friendship, and that his clear preference is to leave the EU with a deal, but it must be one that abolishes the backstop,” Downing Street said. The backstop is a provision in the deal that would require Britain to obey some EU rules if no other way canContinue reading

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Leo Varadkar vs Boris Johnson - Ireland - UK News

With the prospect of a no-deal Brexit becoming ever more likely under British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the remaining EU member state with most to lose — Ireland — is hardening its rhetoric. Ireland has a land border with Britain that it wants to keep free-flowing after Brexit and it fears massive economic disruption if Britain crashes out of the EU. Since Johnson took over last Wednesday, Irish leaders have warned his plans are unrealistic and could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom and a united Ireland. “The Irish government are responding to facts on the ground’ as they emerge, and the fact is that Boris Johnson’s current approach is leading to no deal,” said Jonathan Evershed, a politics researcher of University College Cork. “I think everything the Irish government has said is a) true and b) an attempt to confront Johnson’s government — which has wilfully lost its grip on reality.” Duncan Morrow, a politics professor at Ulster University, said: “Standing up to a ‘bullying’ approach by Britain is part of the DNA of Irish politics, so no Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) can be seen to fold simply because a U.K. premier raises his voice.” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was the first to react to Johnson’s victory speech Wednesday, saying his stated goal of renegotiating the Brexit deal entirely by a deadline of Oct. 31 was “totally not in the real world.” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on Friday then warned that Johnson was putting BritainContinue reading

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