British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing widespread pressure to quit but can her lawmakers actually force her from office? May has already promised she will resign to let someone else negotiate Britain’s future relationship with the EU and has agreed to set out the timetable for her departure after putting her exit deal to another vote in parliament early next month. But an attempt to relaunch her European Union divorce deal with sweeteners aimed at winning over sceptics in her own party and opponents has been loudly criticised. Some Conservative lawmakers now say there is no point delaying Theresa May exit, but can the party force her to go sooner than she wants to? FORMAL LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE Conservative Members of Parliament cannot use the party’s formal process to challenge Theresa May until December because they tried and failed to oust her in December 2018. The rules of the process state that May is immune to further challenge for 12 months from the date of any failed leadership challenge. It is possible for the committee which represents Conservative lawmakers – known as the 1922 Committee – to change the rules of the process, but they have so far chosen not to do so. Nigel Evans, one member of the committee’s executive, said May should make way and he would be pushing for a vote on the issue at a meeting on Wednesday. VOTE OF CONFIDENCE Parliament can vote on whether it has confidence in May’s government. If a majority of
Prime Minister Theresa May’s final Brexit gambit was in tatters on Wednesday just hours after her offer of a vote on a second referendum and closer trading arrangements failed to win over either opposition lawmakers or many in her own party. Nearly three years since Britain voted 52% to 48% to leave the European Union, May is trying one last time to get her divorce deal approved by the British parliament before her crisis-riven premiership ends. May on Tuesday appealed to lawmakers to get behind her deal, offering the prospect of a possible second referendum on the agreement and closer trading arrangements with the EU as incentives. Conservative and Labour lawmakers lined up to criticise May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill, or WAB, legislation which implements the terms of Britain’s departure. Some upped efforts to oust her. “We are being asked to vote for a customs union and a second referendum. The Bill is directly against our manifesto – and I will not vote for it. We can and must do better – and deliver what the people voted for,” Boris Johnson, the bookies favourite to be Britain’s next prime minister, said. The deadlock in London means it is unclear how, when or even if Britain will leave the European club it joined in 1973. The current deadline to leave is Oct. 31. Britain’s labyrinthine crisis over Brexit has stunned allies and foes alike, and with deadlock in London, the world’s fifth largest economy faces an array of options including an exit
Britain’s tumultuous divorce from the European Union was again in disarray on Friday as last-ditch cross-party talks teetered on the brink of failure in the twilight of Prime Minister Theresa May’s premiership. Nearly three years after the United Kingdom unexpectedly voted in a referendum to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, when or if it will ever indeed quit the European club it joined in 1973. Brexit talks between May’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party are about to close without an agreement, the BBC said, hours after May agreed on Thursday to set out a timetable for her departure in early June. “If the talks are not going anywhere, from my point of view that leads to only one conclusion,” Hilary Benn, the chairman of parliament’s Brexit committee, told BBC radio. “There are only two ways out of the Brexit crisis that we’ve got: either parliament agrees a deal or we go back to the British people and ask them to make the choice.” After the Brexit deal that May struck with Brussels was defeated a third time by parliament, she announced on April 2 that she would open talks with Labour. But the two parties have failed to agree on major issues such as the opposition party’s demand for a post-Brexit customs union. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who voted against membership of the EU in 1975, has said that May refused to budge on key demands. May’s hands have been tied, knowing that
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will step down before the next phase of Brexit negotiations and, although she has not put a date on her departure, senior members of her Conservative Party are jostling to replace her. Below are Conservatives who have either said they plan to put themselves forward or are widely expected to run: Planning to run: BORIS JOHNSON, 54 The former foreign minister is May’s most outspoken critic on Brexit. He resigned from the cabinet in July in protest at her handling of the exit negotiations. Johnson, regarded by many eurosceptics as the face of the 2016 Brexit campaign, set out his pitch to the membership in a speech at the party’s annual conference in October – some members queued for hours to get a seat. He called on the party to return to its traditional values of low tax and strong policing. On Thursday the BBC reported he had told The British Insurance Brokers’ Association, “Of course I’m going to go for it.” He is the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed May. ESTHER MCVEY, 51 The pro-Brexit former television presenter, who resigned as work and pensions minister in November in protest at May’s exit deal with the European Union, has said she plans to run in the leadership contest. McVey told Talkradio: “I have always said quite clearly that if I got enough support from my colleagues, yes I would (run). Now people have come forward and I have got that support, so I will
The British Council has confirmed one of its employees has been convicted and jailed in Iran for espionage charges. Head of the British cultural organization Ciarán Devane said in a statement on Tuesday that Aras Amiri, a 32-year-old employee of the London-based Council, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran more than a year after she was arrested in the country for espionage. The statement came a day after a senior Iranian judiciary official said an Iranian woman had been convicted after she was found guilty of spying for Britain. Gholamhossein Esmaili, who serves as the spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary, said the unidentified woman had been “cooperating with Britain’s foreign intelligence service,” while working for the Iran Desk at the British Council. Esmaili said the woman had made “clear confessions” about her recruitment and “the instructions that the English security agency had given her.” “The person was involved in contacting theater and art groups to implement cultural infiltration projects,” said the official, adding that the woman had repeatedly traveled to Iran under aliases. The British council, however, denied espionage charges against Amiri. The agency said it will remain in contact with Britain’s foreign ministry to pursue the issue. “We firmly refute the accusation levied against her,” Devane said, adding, “The British Council does not do any work in Iran and Aras did not travel to Iran for work.” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also reacted to the news of the jail sentences for Amiri, saying late
“While 63 percent of leavers say they will vote for the Brexit Party in the European elections, the most popular party among remainers (Labour) only has 31 percent, versus 22 percent for the Lib Dems and 14 percent for the Greens,” Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium said.
Britain will eventually leave the European Union and agree a free-trade deal with the bloc, according to the vast majority of economists polled by Reuters who were, however, split on whether the two sides would divorce on Oct. 31.
Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her Withdrawal Agreement ratified by the British parliament on three attempts so the EU allowed a Brexit delay until the end of October, giving May time to try to convince lawmakers to reach agreement.
When asked if the latest deadline - delayed from March 29 - would be extended, 17 of 33 economists who answered an extra question in the May 3-10 Reuters poll said it would not.
“Failure to come to an agreement runs the risk that the EU will simply lose patience in October and not grant any extension,” said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank.
“We are by no means out of the woods.”
The UK has been designing a space defense mechanism to protect its satellites from possible attacks by Russia and China, leaked documents show.
According to a leaked Ministry of Defense document seen by The Times, London’s frist ever space defense strategy London names missile launches by Russian and Chinese military forces among the top ten risks to British satellites.
“Both China and Russia have admitted testing ground-based interceptor missiles that have the potential to target satellites,” the leaked memo noted.
“Such systems will create significant amounts of orbital debris, putting many hundreds of other satellites at risk,” it added.