+44 is the dialing code for United Kingdom.
Celts, Romans, Angels and Saxons, Danish Vikings and Normans laid the foundation for what would become one of Europe and the world’s great powers. In the early 1900s, Britain was the center of an empire where it was said that the sun never set. Decolonization after World War II has made Britain a more common country, but its political, economic and, not least, cultural influence is still great. London has remained an important financial center. In recent years, politics has been dominated by the decision that the UK should leave the EU.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of United Kingdom, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
The UK, which is about half the size of Sweden, consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the island’s northeastern island. The Hebrides archipelago, west of Scotland, and the Orkney and Shetland islands, north of Scotland, also belong to the UK. The only land border is between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The Channel Islands off the French coast and the Isle of Man island in the Irish Sea are directly subordinate to the British Crown but are not represented in Parliament. The UK also has possessions in several other places around the world, including Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and several Caribbean islands. British Indian Ocean Territory includes the Chagos Archipelago, north of Mauritius, with the island of Diego Garcia, where the United States has a large air and naval base (see Mauritius: Foreign Policy and Defense).
|Cultivated land||71 %|
|Land area||243610 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||0.54 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||82.6 %|
|Death rate||9.35 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||82.83 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||78.37 years|
|Birth rate||12.17 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||4.38 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||335000 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per resident||2967.3 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||38520 million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||45 million tons|
|Internet users||89.9 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||123 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||519 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||5.4% of the workforce|
|GDP||41200 per resident|
|Primary occupations||1 %|
|Secondary profession||25 %|
|Tertiary professions||74 %|
The British Isles are on the continental shelf and the sea around them is shallow, providing good fishing waters. Scotland, Wales and the north-west and south-west of England are dominated by highland areas. To the southeast, a hilly plain landscape is spreading. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland there are plenty of lakes. England, on the other hand, has few lakes. An exception is the county of Cumberland in the northwest (Lake District).
The country’s highest mountain Ben Nevis lies in the Scottish highlands. The longest river Severn flows into the Bristol Canal in the southwest. The most famous river is the River Thames, which runs through London.
The British climate is mild due to the proximity to the warm Gulf Stream, and the weather is usually determined by southwesterly winds and low pressure passing from the Atlantic. The weather is thus varied. The temperature differences between winter and summer are relatively small. The fairly abundant rainfall falls mainly in the western parts of the country.
FACTS – GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
244 110 km2 (2018)
Swedish – 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Capital with number of residents
London 8.9 million
Other major cities
Birmingham 1.1 million, Leeds 789,000, Glasgow 626,000, Sheffield 582,000, Manchester 548,000, Bradford 537,000, Edinburgh 518,000, Liverpool 495,000 (official estimates 2018)
Ben Nevis (Scotland, 1344 m), Snowdon (Wales, 1085 m), Scafell Pike (England, 978 m above sea level)
Lough Neagh, Loch Lomond
Average Precipitation / month
London 64 mm (Nov), 37 mm (April)
Average / day
London 18 °C (July), 4 °C (Jan)
The minimum wage will be raised in April 2020
The government announces that the minimum wage in the UK should be raised by 6 percent in April, to £ 8.74 per hour for those over 25. Similar increases should be made for people under 25, but their wages are lower. Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised during the election campaign to raise the minimum wage to over £ 10 by 2024.
Church leaders appeal for willingness to compromise in Northern Ireland
Church leaders in Northern Ireland, both Catholic and Presbyterian, Anglican and Methodist communities, call on Northern Irish politicians to show a willingness to compromise to establish a new government in Northern Ireland. At the same time, representatives of the UK and Ireland governments believe that great progress has been made in the negotiations that took place the week before. However, they claim that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is the big brake block in the talks, something the DUP repudiate.
The lower house approves Brexit law
The British lower house votes with a clear majority to approve the government’s Brexit law and thus the exit agreement agreed by the UK and the EU. 358 members vote in favor and 234 against. The lower house also approves the timetable Johnson presented for the continuing process in parliament, with debates on the law on January 7, 8 and 9. According to the government, the Brexit Act will have passed the entire legislative process, including the upper house’s approval, until 31 January.
Stronger Brexit is announced in the Queen’s speech
When the House of Commons is assembled after the election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, via the Queen’s speech, the other two in two months, announces his plans for the upcoming term with about 30 legislative proposals. Regarding the Brexit Act, some important changes have been made, including a section on workers’ rights has been abolished. A supplement has also been made to prevent the Brexit transition period from being extended beyond December 2020. Parliament will also play a less important role in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU. Other points in the government’s program are increased public health grants, the NHS will receive almost £ 34 billion a year from 2023/2024, which corresponds to a 3.4 percent increase in funding. Another proposal is to introduce a points system for migrants to attract well-educated workers to the UK. A new system will also be created that allows foreign healthcare personnel to be employed quickly. A constitutional commission will also be set up to review the functioning of British democracy. And at the beginning of next year, Parliament is expected to vote on the abolition of the fixed term, which means that the prime minister himself can choose the time for the next election. In this case, it is a return to the system that prevailed before 2011.
Health crisis in Northern Ireland triggers strikes
Over 15,000 nurses in Northern Ireland go on strike to demand higher wages and to make their patients feel safe and secure. It is the first time in more than 100 years that nurses strike in the British province. Earlier in the month, other health care workers had strikes with similar demands. There are around 2,800 unpaid nursing services in Northern Ireland. The health crisis has been exacerbated by the fact that Northern Ireland has not had a government for almost three years, and a number of important decisions have not been made. In September alone, 3,482 patients had to wait more than twelve hours in the emergency room, and 306,000 patients were waiting for their first doctor’s visit, of whom over 100,000 had waited for more than a year. During the election movement, problems were noticed in the healthcare sector in England, but those in Northern Ireland are significantly larger than there.
Hoyle is re-elected as President
Labor politician Sir Lindsay Hoyle is re-elected as Speaker of the House of Commons.
Additions to the Brexit Act will stop negotiations with the EU after 2020
New negotiations are now waiting between the UK and the EU to discuss the conditions that will exist for relations between them in the future. Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to make a new addition to the Brexit Act, which excludes that the deliberations can continue after December 2020. As it is now, it stands to reason that the parties, if they agree, can continue to negotiate for another two years. At the same time, assessors point out that the Prime Minister still has the power to decide on his own request for an extension without consulting Parliament. The lower house is expected to vote on the Brexit law later this week. The message leads to the pound’s value falling against both the dollar and the euro, after rising after the Conservative Party’s electoral victory on December 12.
No major changes in the government
Boris Johnson does a minor refurbishment of his government. Simon Hart becomes new minister responsible for Wales. Nicky Morgan may remain as Minister of Culture, even though she is no longer in the lower house. It becomes possible since she was bred and thus can take up space in the upper house. Many analysts believe Johnson will make major changes after the UK left the EU in January next year.
Talks about the Northern Ireland government are initiated
Northern Ireland has soon been without government for three years, at the same time as the British government has not chosen to take over the government of the province. As a result, many important decisions have not been made. Today, Northern Ireland’s Julian Smith resumes talks with the five largest Northern Ireland parties, initially with one party at a time. From the mainly Protestant Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), for the first time, there are long signals that the party may be prepared for compromise. After the 2017 election, the DUP received a wave role in the British Parliament, which gave the party the opportunity to influence the Brexit process. That position the party lost during the fall. In the British elections, the DUP and Sinn Féin, who shared power until January 2017, were punished by the voters for their inability to agree. DUP lost just over 5 percent of the vote compared to the 2017 election. Sinn Féin backed even more, almost 7 percent. At the same time, with the moderate party, such as the Alliance Party, which increased by almost 9 percent, and the Social Democrats and Labor (SDLP), strengthened their position. This probably means that DUP and Sinn Féin do not want to push a new election, where they risk losing further influence. Read more about Northern Ireland policyhere (text in English). Both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish colleague Leo Varadkar signal that they intend to get involved in the process.
Worst choice in 35 years for Labor
13th of December
For Labor, the December 12 parliamentary election became the worst for the party since 1935. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn expresses disappointment over the outcome and at the same time announces that he will not lead Labor in the next election. He says he will remain as party leader while Labor analyzes the election results. Corbyn receives criticism from his own ranks again, for lack of leadership, among other things, his unwillingness to openly declare where he stands in the Brexit issue may have contributed to the election loss. He has also been unpopular among many Labor voters, not least the electoral districts where a majority voted for Brexit in 2016.
Jo Swinson is leaving
13th of December
Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson resigns as party leader after losing his seat in the House of Commons. She took up the post as late as last summer.
Johnson’s balance sheet act will be required
13th of December
After the big election victory, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will work hard to repay the confidence the voters have given him. He portrays himself as part of the tradition of the Conservative Party called One Nation, a pragmatic and relatively moderate phalanx. Johnson again promises that the UK will leave the EU at the beginning of next year. He has already made promises that a new trade agreement with the EU should be ready within a year, a goal that many analysts will find difficult to achieve. They also point out that it is difficult at present to know what kind of Brexit Johnson actually wants. He can choose to push through a softer Brexit than the one he has previously spoken of, because he is no longer as dependent on support from the right wing within the party, the so-called European Research Group (ERG). But there is also the possibility that he will push through the hard Brexit that ERG wants, despite serious consequences for the UK economy. At the same time, Johnson must make several new voter groups happy. The election victory is largely due to the fact that many traditional Labor voters in Northern England and Wales have voted conservatively. In addition to requiring Britain to leave the EU, they are expected to have different expectations of the government than those of traditional conservative voters.
The Tories win their own majority in the House of Commons
The Conservative Tory Party and Prime Minister Boris Johnson win a landslide victory in the parliamentary election and receive just under 44 percent of the vote and at least 364 seats, which is 47 seats more than in the 2017 election. mandate, a loss of 59 seats. In Scotland, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) has great success, winning 48 seats, 13 more than in the election before, with just under 4 percent of the vote (but 45 percent of the vote in Scotland). The Liberal Democrats’ vote increases from 7 percent to just over 11 percent, yet the party loses a mandate and ends with 11 seats. The one who is voted out is party leader Jo Swinson. The Green Party increases its voting share by 1 percent, but receives no new mandate but retains its sole vote. In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) loses 2 seats, Among other things, Deputy Party leader Nigel Dodds loses his mandate in northern Belfast, which goes to Sinn Féin’s John Finucane. Sinn Féin still remains on 7 terms, as the party loses in Foyle in western Northern Ireland to the Socialist and Nationalist SDLP, which also wins a mandate in southern Belfast. The Alliance Party also wins a mandate in Northern Ireland. In Wales, the Conservative Party wins 6 new seats at Labor’s expense, while Plaid Cymru retains its 4 seats.
Difficult to implement Brexit in one year, according to leaked documents
During the election campaign, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promises the UK to leave the EU by January 31, 2020, and that a new trade agreement with the EU should be ready by the end of the same year, which means the transitional rules agreed by the British and the EU in the last exit agreement then shall cease to apply. Then the new arrangements for Northern Ireland will also be ready. Government documents that have leaked to the press indicate that that timetable is too tight and that London will not be able to establish the infrastructure and employ the staff needed for the new Northern Ireland tariff arrangements (see October 2019) and that extensive checks will be required. Johnson has denied during the election campaign that any checks will be made between the British mainland and Northern Ireland. Many of Northern Ireland’s Protestant unionists are unhappy with the new exit agreement as they feel the weakening ties between the province and the rest of the UK.
Plans for renaming the Brexit Party
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage says his party will change its name to the Reform Party after the UK leaves the EU. He then plans to push questions about changing the British electoral system and abolishing the upper house. Farage says he has already registered the new name.
The Brexit party is affected by the dropout
Four MEPs from the Brexit Party jump off to the Conservative Party. One of the most renowned is Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of Jacob Rees-Mogg, a member of the British Cabinet. All four urge voters to support Boris Johnson’s settlement with the EU. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage criticizes the four, stressing that he believes Johnson’s exit agreement should not be approved unless significant changes are made.
Excited 70th anniversary celebration for NATO
The natives meet in London for a summit and to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the military alliance. However, the relationships are frosty. US President Donald Trump criticizes several of the other NATO countries for not spending enough money on defense (they have committed to investing 2 percent of GDP). French President Emmanuel Macron also criticizes the way the collaboration works. There are also tensions between Turkey and the other countries, due to the Turks’ intervention against the Kurds in northern Syria. For Boris Johnson, it’s also about keeping the distance against Trump, for fear of losing votes otherwise, since the US president is unpopular in the UK. Trump, however, praises Johnson who he says will do a good job, but emphasizes that he does not intend to join the British election campaign.
Different views on Brexit in the DUP and Sinn Fein election programs
Now even the largest Northern Irish parties have presented their election manifesto. The Democratic Unonist Party (DUP), which today has ten seats in the British Parliament, promises at the end of November to push for amendments to the exit agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson with the EU. The party that has been a support party for the Conservative government for much of the term is particularly critical of the part of the Northern Ireland agreement, as it does not treat the province in the same way as the rest of the UK (see 17 October 2019). The DUP warns that it could have serious consequences both for the Northern Ireland economy and on a constitutional level. The party also emphasizes that it does not intend to support a government led by Labor’s Jeremy Corbyn. In its electoral program, the nationalist Sinn Fein also attaches great importance to issues surrounding Brexit and the question of a united Ireland. The party assumes part of the honor of Northern Ireland being given a special status and the Brexit agreement stipulating that there should be no hard border between the province and Ireland. An important promise in the program is to keep watch over the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement in the ongoing negotiations with the EU. However, Sinn Fein, who currently holds seven seats in the British Parliament, refuses to participate in the work there, as the party does not want its members to swear allegiance to the British queen.
New terrorist act in London
At least three people, including the assailant, are killed in a terrorist attack in central London. Several people are intervening to stop the assailant, who previously served sentences for crimes related to Islamist terrorism, among other things for having had plans to organize a terrorist camp in Pakistan and to travel to Kashmir to carry out the assassination. The man wearing a suicide vest, which later turns out to be a dummy, is shot dead by police. Islamic State(IS) claims to have performed the deed. The assailant was conditionally released and carried an electronic footcuff. The election campaign is temporarily suspended after the deed, but is quickly converted into an election issue. Prime Minister Boris Johnson blames Labor for a law passed in 2008, whereby some prisoners can be released unconditionally without special scrutiny. He also promises stricter penalties and more money to the prisons, and that 74 people convicted of terrorism offenses and prematurely released should have their cases reviewed. The opposition criticizes the conservatives for the tough savings policy, which among other things has led to fewer police officers and fewer social efforts.
New referendum on independence in SNP’s election manifesto
Stop Brexit and hold a new referendum on Scottish independence next year. These are two of the main points of the Scottish Nationalist Party’s (SNP) election manifesto. Other key points are more money for health care, canceling austerity policies, scraping British nuclear weapons and spending money that would go towards improving social services, protecting the National Health Service (NHS), measures to address the drug crisis in Scotland (2018 passed away) nearly 1,200 people in Scotland because of their drug addiction), eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, and shift responsibility for migration policy in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament.
New talks on Northern Ireland in December
New calls to try to establish a new provincial government will be held on December 16, and no matter how it goes in the British parliamentary elections on December 12. This is announced by Northern Ireland Minister Julian Smith. If there is no new government in place in Belfast on January 13, the British government plans to announce new Northern Ireland elections.
Brexit and care initiative in a conservative election manifesto
The UK will leave the EU in January and negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU next year. It is one of the main promises of the Conservative Party’s election manifesto. It is also emphasized that the Conservative government is not prepared to extend the transitional period included in the last exit agreement when it expires in December next year. Party leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson also promises at launch that he will work to unite the country after the election. The more notable promises include: 50,000 new nurses, no increases in VAT, income taxes or social security contributions, an increase of pensions by at least 2.5 percent per year, free social care (only for England), having eliminated all emissions of greenhouse gases until 2050.
Gives left in Labour’s election manifesto
As expected, Labor takes a left turn in its election manifesto under the slogan “It’s Time for Real Change.” These are some of the main points: more money for healthcare, renegotiate the exit agreement with the EU and then hold a referendum where one of the alternatives is to approve the agreement another to stay in the EU, raise the minimum wage, leave the retirement age at 66, create a new social care system (applies only to England, Scotland already has such a system), reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to zero until the 2030s, nationalize the post, railways and major energy companies (and introduce free broadband for all), and scrap the controversial welfare system of Universal Credit.Later, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn says he intends to remain neutral in a possible referendum on the EU.
The Liberal Democrats want to go to school
20th of November
20,000 new teachers are one of the main points of the Liberal Democrats’ election manifesto. The party promises a commitment of almost five billion pounds in schools, a figure they plan to more than double by 2024/2025. In addition to a promise to try to stop Brexit, the election manifesto also includes measures to counteract climate change (including that 80 percent of all energy consumption will come from renewable sources from 2020), an increase in income tax to enable investment in school and care. The Conservative Party and Labor have not yet presented their electoral programs. The day before, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn met in a first election debate watched by nearly seven million viewers, where they ended up on a confrontation course on Brexit, health care policy and the royal house (read more about the debate here).
Britain is accused of darkening war crimes
The British government and the military are accused of attempting to darken the war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the BBC program Panorama and the Sunday Times, investigators have found what they believe to be credible evidence of British soldiers killing a child and participating in torture of civilians. Ihat and Operation Northmoor that investigated possible war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan were terminated by Theresa May’s government in 2017. Representatives of the Department of Defense deny that any darkening occurred. Defense Minister Dominic Raab tells the BBC that all charges for which there was evidence have been investigated.
“Provincial government in January, otherwise Northern Ireland awaits election”
Northern Ireland’s Julian Smith says he intends to announce elections in Northern Ireland if the province does not have a new government by January 13, 2020. The statement is made when the UK-Ireland Council, which came into being as part of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement 1998, meets in Dublin. Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says talks at best of setting up a new provincial government may, at best, start after the December 12 British election. Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon also attends the meeting. Northern Ireland has now lacked government since the beginning of 2017. During the weekend, Sinn Féin also meets for its annual party conference. Michelle O’Neill is then re-elected as the party’s vice-chair. Prior to the conference, John O’Dowd has challenged O’Neill for the post, but he does not win enough support to take over.
No new British EU Commissioner
The British government now states that it will not appoint a new European Commissioner, despite Brexit delay. It will create problems for the EU as a new Commission cannot take office on 1 December 2019 unless all Member States are represented by a Commissioner. The process has already been delayed as France, Hungary and Romania’s candidates have not been approved by the European Parliament.
Politician visit in flood hit England
Lincolnshire and the southern parts of Yorkshire in northern England have been hit hard by floods. Hundreds of homes have been submerged and many people have been forced to abandon their homes. Many affected are upset that they have not received more help from the authorities. When Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the area, he is accused by some of those affected of late. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson also visit the area.
Brexit and care main issues in the electoral movement
The Brexit issue appears to play a major role in the British electoral movement. The Conservative Party’s main slogan is about getting Brexit overblown, while Labor is promising to negotiate a new agreement with the EU and to allow British voters to vote on it. At the same time, the Liberal Democrats are trying to win votes for Britain to remain in the EU if the party wins the election. But the two major parties are also vying to pledge new money to social welfare, not least to the public health service, the NHS. In its election manifesto, Labor promises that the NHS in England will be raised to £ 155 billion by the financial year 2022/2023, which is £ 6 billion more than the Conservative Party has previously promised. Labor plans to fund the venture by raising high taxes for businesses and high-income earners. The Liberal Democrats criticize Labour’s promises, saying the party does not say anything about the threat that Brexit poses to the NHS. There are fears that private interests will be prepared for more public health care when the UK leaves the EU. At the same time, reports are coming that more and more people will have to wait more than four hours to receive emergency care in England, but the situation is even worse in Northern Ireland and Wales. It has also become increasingly difficult to find staff, the NHS in England has 100,000 vacancies, among which about 40,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors are missing. At the same time, reports are coming that more and more people will have to wait more than four hours to receive emergency care in England, but the situation is even worse in Northern Ireland and Wales. It has also become increasingly difficult to find staff, the NHS in England has 100,000 vacancies, among which about 40,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors are missing. At the same time, reports are coming that more and more people will have to wait more than four hours to receive emergency care in England, but the situation is even worse in Northern Ireland and Wales. It has also become increasingly difficult to find staff, the NHS in England has 100,000 vacancies, among which about 40,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors are missing.
The Brexit party favors the Tories in the election
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage announces that his party will not run in the 317 constituencies won by the Conservative Party (Tories) in the 2017 election. Instead, the party will aim to take office from the Labor Party. This will benefit the ruling party which otherwise would have risked losing votes to the Brexit party. Earlier, Farage has pledged that the Brexit Party would participate in more than 600 constituencies. Later, Farage claims to have rejected proposals from Conservative Party representatives that the Brexit Party should also refrain from running in constituencies where Labor won by a marginal margin (he claims via Twitter that the Brexit Party candidates were offered jobs and noble titles for them to withdraw, something that is rejected by the Conservative Party).
New pacts for the December elections
The British election campaign has officially started now, and there are many indications that it will be a dirty campaign. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already compared Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn with Soviet leader Josef Stalin, while Labor in his campaign has listed ten lies that Boris Johnson has made. Labour’s campaign is otherwise about ways to improve care and social welfare, while the Conservative Party talks most about getting Brexit overstated. The ruling party’s big take on the opinion pollshas at the same time shrunk somewhat as the election approaches. At the same time, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Welsh party Plaid Cymru have made a pact not to stand against each other in 60 to 70 constituencies, thus increasing the chances of winning new seats. Similar cooperation has already been announced in Northern Ireland (see below).
Ready for damages to vulnerable children in Northern Ireland
The lower house adopts a law to compensate people for the abuses they have suffered after being taken care of by the authorities and placed at various institutions in Northern Ireland – from the time the province was founded until 1995. Victims are expected to receive compensation of between £ 7,500 and £ 100,000. The decision follows an investigation, Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA), which presented its results in 2017. The issue was initially handled by the provincial government, but since the collapse, the issue has been handled by the British government. On the same day, Parliament is dissolved and a five-week election campaign begins.
Publication of report on Russian involvement in British policy is delayed
The British government chooses to postpone the publication of a report by the Intelligence and Security Committee on Russian involvement in British policy, not least before the vote on EU membership in 2016, until after the December 12 parliamentary elections. Ministers say that in this they only follow “normal procedures”, but the decision faces sharp criticism from the political opposition and from the committee chairman Dominic Grieve. The British Times Sunday Times publishes later data indicating that nine named Russians should have donated large sums to the Conservative Party. Some of them will have personal contact with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. One of those named in the newspaper article is Alexander Temerko, who has worked for the Russian Ministry of Defense and is reported to have donated 1,
Northern Ireland parties are positioning themselves ahead of the British elections
In Northern Ireland, the positioning for the elections has begun. All unionist parties agree that only the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) will stand in northern Belfast, to try to secure the victory for Nigel Dodds who is set to face tough opposition from John Finucane of Sinn Féin, who recently took office as Belfast mayor. Since then, the Social Democratic SDLP has said that there will also be no candidate in the constituency. At the same time, SDLP and Sinn Fein have announced that they will have no candidate in three constituencies to enable them to be represented by a member who wants the UK to remain in the EU.
Lindsay Hoyle is elected new President
Labor politician Sir Lindsay Hoyle is appointed new president after John Bercow.
Farage does not stand for election
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage says he will not run for office in the December 12 parliamentary elections. In a TV interview, he says that he will instead travel around the country to raise public opinion about the exit deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiated with the EU, but that his party will participate with about 600 candidates. Farage has previously made seven unsuccessful attempts to enter the British lower house. However, he has sat in the European Parliament for his former party Ukip.
Trump criticizes Johnson’s Brexit agreement
US President Donald Trump, via a radio program led by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, posts in the British election debate and criticizes the exit deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed with the EU. Trump claims that Johnson is the right person in the right place right now, and is targeting a fierce attack on Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.
American company buys Bombardier’s Northern Ireland branch
Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier’s Northern Ireland is sold for nearly a billion pounds to US company Spirit AeroSystems. Bombardier is one of the largest private employers in Northern Ireland. In addition to the approximately 3,600 people directly employed by the company, Bombardier employs several thousand more via subcontractors.
The Tories are leading the way before the election
Opinion polls indicate that the Conservative Party (Tories) has a large takeover ahead of the upcoming parliamentary election, with about 36 percent of the vote, while Labor stands at 21 percent, the Liberal Democrats at 18 percent, the Brexit party 13 percent and the Green party 6 percent. Several observers point out that it is far from certain that the election will be decided, and that the decision to hold re-election may strike back against Johnson in the same way it did against Theresa May 2017. At least 50 MPs choose not to stand for re-election. Among the more prominent in the Conservative camp are Minister of Culture Nicky Morgan and former Interior Minister Amber Rudd. Also Sir Nicholas Soames and Kenneth Clarke, both of whom were excluded from the Conservative Party last autumn, leave the House after 37 years and 49 years in the House respectively. Labor is also affected by several dropouts, including Ann Clwyd, who leaves the House after 35 years, Owen Smith, who lost the party leader election to Jeremy Corbyn in 2016, and later Deputy Leader Tom Watson. Today, President John Bercow leaves his post. In Northern Ireland, the widely respected lady Sylvia Hermon decides not to stand for re-election. She is the only member who has spoken for the Northern Ireland House of Commons, alongside the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Ready for re-election December 12
Ready for re-election on December 12. Boris Johnson’s attempt to persuade the House to vote in new elections did not succeed in getting enough support in the House of Commons on October 28, but now the Labor Party is changing and agreeing to hold elections in December. Since then, both the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) have supported the idea of an election. The lower house votes to hold elections on December 12, 438 members support this, while 20 vote against. The SNP and the Liberal Democrats and the SNP cast their votes as Election Day will not be the one they want (December 9).
The EU extends the deadline for Brexit to 31 January 2020
European Council President Donald Tusk announces via Twitter that the EU will leave Britain until 31 January 2020 to leave the Union. But the timetable is flexible and if the UK Parliament approves the exit agreement before then the UK can leave the cooperation at an earlier date.
The EU gives the UK more time
The EU agrees to give the British a new deadline, but will not say how long it will be until next week, after the House of Commons voted whether it will be a new election in December or not. Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Sajid Javid admitted that Britain will not be able to leave the EU on October 31, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised. On October 28, Johnson will present a proposal to hold elections on December 12, at least if the EU extends the deadline as long as January 31, as he requested in an unsigned letter to the European Commission earlier this month; something he had to do under a law passed in September (see September 4, 2019)). Because he needs support from two-thirds of the lower house to be able to announce new elections (according to the law on fixed terms of office). To get there, Labor needs to agree to hold elections. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he will only give his approval if Johnson can provide guarantees that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal, but has not yet made a definitive message.
39 people are found dead in the truck
39 people are found dead in the cargo hold of a truck outside an industrial plant in Essex. The long-hauler came to Britain from the Belgian port city of Zeebrygge. The driver of the car, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, is arrested on suspicion of, among other things, killings, attempted smuggling and money laundering. However, it does not appear as if the man drove the cargo from Belgium. Initially, the victims are said to be Chinese, but eventually it turns out that most of them are Vietnamese between the ages of 15 and 44. None of the victims have been identified yet. The long-hauler is registered in Bulgaria, but belongs to a company owned by an Irish woman (however, she says she sold it just over a year ago). Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is appalled by the tragic event. The following day, the National Police (NCA) searched three properties in Northern Ireland. Later, four more people are arrested.
A victory and a loss for Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins an important vote in the House of Commons, with a majority of House members voting for the legislative package presented by the Government to prepare for EU exit. 329 members voted in favor, 299 against. The government wins the vote with the support of 25 independent members and 19 Labor members. On the same day, however, it suffers a new stinging defeat as the lower house votes against the timetable presented by the government. 322 members voted against the proposal, while 308 voted in favor. Worth noting is that the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which since 2017 has served as the Conservative government’s backing party, votes against both proposals. Many members emphasize that three days is too short a time to decide on such a large and revolving bill, In the first stage, much of the media reporting has been about the new solution of the problems around the Northern Ireland-Ireland border. Attention is now also paid to the other amendments made to the exit agreement negotiated under Prime Minister Theresa May. This concerns, among other things, labor law and environmental regulations. Read more about the agreementhere.
Abortion and same-sex marriage are allowed in Northern Ireland
The stringent abortion legislation in Northern Ireland from 1861 will cease since legislative changes from this summer come into force. It is also allowed with same-sex marriage. The British lower house voted in July (see July 9) to introduce same-sex marriage and liberalize abortion legislation in Northern Ireland. It then decided that the laws would come into force unless a new provincial government had been created before October 21. DUP politicians make an effort to rally Stormont provincial parliament, to decide on a new bill “for the protection of the unborn child” but fail to do so. Alongside the DUP, representatives of the other major unionist party Ulster’s Unionist Party (UUP), the leader of Ulster’s traditional vote (TUV) and an independent unionist, as well as the nationalist and social democratic SDLP, participate. Both Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party participate in the session, which may be canceled after a short hour, as the Assembly is not authorized to elect presidents. The DUP is criticized for waiting at the last minute to act, when the deadline was set several months ago. The first same-sex marriage is expected to take place in February 2020 and from March a functioning abortion system will be in place.
The President does not allow a vote on Brexit agreements
President John Bercow puts the spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to push through the new exit agreement with the EU. He does not allow the House of Commons to vote on it, as no significant changes have been made since this was presented to Members two days earlier. This is despite the fact that the lower house did not vote for it then, as a majority of the members voted for the amendments proposed by Conservative member Oliver Letwin (see October 19, 2019).
Orange Order: Abstain from violent protests
The leader of the Protestant Orange Order in Northern Ireland calls on its members not to launch any violent protests against the new draft exit agreement agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU. According to it, Northern Ireland will be outside the EU Customs Union, but tariffs will have to be levied on goods transported from the UK mainland to the province if they do not remain there. No customs checks will be done at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland; they will instead be done before the goods reach Northern Ireland. Also, no EU tariffs will be levied by people who bring goods the limit for private use. Every four years, the Northern Ireland Parliament will have the right to vote on whether the regulations should remain or not. In order for it to be removed it is necessary that the House vote by a simple majority.
The lower house is trying to get Brexit postponed
Prime Minister Boris Johnson fails to get the new exit agreement with the EU approved in Saturday’s vote in the lower house. Instead of a vote on the agreement itself, the parliamentarians vote in favor of a proposal not to approve the legislation until the legislation needed to implement the agreement is in place. The procedure makes a special law (see September 4) is triggered under which the lower house must approve either a Brexit contract or an agreed Brexit before 19 October 2019. As MPs do neither, Johnson needs to ask the EU to postpone Britain’s exit further. Johnson ensures that such a letter is sent to Brussels but fails to sign it. At the same time, he is sending another letter, which he himself has signed, in which he writes that it would be a mistake to postpone the date for when the UK should last leave the EU. On Saturday, up to one million people will gather in London to demand a referendum on a possible new agreement.
The EU and the UK agree on Brexit agreements
After intensive negotiations, the British Government and the EU reach an agreement on an orderly exit from the Union for the United Kingdom. The news is announced at a joint press conference between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Boris Johnson. Thereafter, the agreement is also approved at the European Council meeting. The agreement means that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October and this is largely the same as the agreement reached with Theresa May last year. However, the new agreement means that Northern Ireland, while being part of the UK customs territory, will apply some of the EU customs rules. In this way, a border, with physical barriers and customs controls, can be avoided between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Controls, on the other hand, must be made when goods are shipped from the British mainland to Northern Ireland, if they won’t stay there. In order for the agreement to be implemented, it must be adopted by the British Parliament. The Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) expresses its dissatisfaction that Northern Ireland will be treated differently from the rest of the UK, and that the agreement effectively means setting a border at sea between the British province and the British mainland. Unionists fear that this will loosen ties with the British Union. In addition, in practice, the DUP has lost its opportunity to veto an extension of the regulations, which the party had received in a previous proposal. Now it is enough for the Northern Ireland Parliament to vote for this with a simple majority for it to pass.
Brexit, care and law and order in the Queen’s speech
Brexit is at the top of the points included in the so-called Queen’s Speech (Queens Speech) where the government presents important parts of its new program. One of the more important points concerns law and order which is traditionally a heart issue for the Conservative Party. It includes, among other things, a bill that allows the police to arrest persons suspected of crimes in other “reliable countries”. Other important points are railway traffic, better mental health and patient safety, better elderly care, measures to improve the environment, but also to give people in England more influence over the policy at regional level (but without giving much detail). The government also promises tough building standards to prevent tragedies such as the Grenfell fire in London in June 2017, when some 70 people died (seeJune 2017). Another point concerns compensation for those who suffered badly in the wake of the Windrush scandal, where people who came to the UK from Commonwealth countries between 1948 and 1971 were in some cases forced to leave the UK even though they were allowed to live there (see April 2018).
Johnson opens for Northern Ireland special solution
For the first time in a long time, there seems to be a small opening in the talks between the UK and the EU. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish colleague Leo Varadkar met for talks. The EU now agrees to start intensive talks with the UK. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, tells the Financial Times that Johnson should have agreed that no border between Northern Ireland and Ireland should be established, thus backing away from the proposal to establish a customs border to be maintained through modern technology. The EU, for its part, must have agreed that Northern Ireland will not have to be part of the EU Customs Union, and that the province should be able to benefit from the new trade agreements that the UK will conclude following an EU exit. When Johnson’s representative Theresa May proposed a similar solution for the whole of the United Kingdom, it was rejected by Johnson and several other leading Brexiters within the Conservative Party. The previous proposal where Parliament in Northern Ireland, Stormont, would be given its approval must also have been abandoned (seeOctober 2, 2019). The Northern Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) now marks that such a solution is not acceptable to them.
The SNP is prepared to support any Labor government under certain conditions
The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) will only support a possible Labor government if the Labor Party promises that Scotland will hold a new referendum on independence. This is stated by party leader Nicola Sturgeon in connection with the SNP party conference in Aberdeen. Ian Blackford, who is the SNP’s group leader in the British Parliament, calls at the Congress both Labor and the Liberal Democrats to support a declaration of confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson. At the same time, it is clear that the dissatisfaction that so little progress is being made in the issue of independence is growing among the SNP’s grass roots. An opinion poll indicates that 54 percent of Scots now support Scottish independence, at least if the alternative is to remain in a UK that has left the EU without an agreement.
Scotland bans child labor
Scotland is now the first in the UK to introduce a ban on child sex. The Scottish Parliament adopts the new legislation with a clear majority, 84 members voting for, 29 against. Until now, parents have had the right to use “a reasonable” measure of violence when raising their children. To enter into force, the law must be formally approved by Queen Elizabeth.
Court: Northern Ireland’s abortion law violates human rights
The Northern Ireland High Court ruled that Northern Ireland abortion legislation violates human rights, which the UK is committed to following. The case was taken to court by Sarah Ewart, who in 2013 was denied abortion even though doctors ruled that the fetus she was carrying would not survive outside the womb. She was thus forced to travel to England to end the pregnancy. Unless Northern Ireland gets a new government by October 21, the province will have a new and more liberal abortion law, following a decision in the British Parliament.
The DUP supports Johnson’s Brexit proposal
The Northern Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) supports Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposal to resolve the disputed question of what will happen to the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in a Brexit. Several of the other Northern Ireland parties, most of whom want the UK to remain within the EU, criticize DUP leader Arlene Foster for this, saying she does not represent the majority of the people in Northern Ireland who voted against the Brexit. Some unionist politicians criticize her at the same time for backing away from the “red line” she set up to be prepared to support an exit agreement.
Johnson sends new Brexit proposal to the EU
The British Government sends a new proposal for a Brexit settlement to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Prime Minister Boris Johnson points out that if the EU does not accept this, the UK will leave the Union without an agreement. Several political analysts believe that the proposal is not seriously meant, but merely a way for the British Prime Minister to show that he has tried to reach an agreement. The British proposal guarantees: 1) that the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement of 1998 is respected; 2) that the rights that now form part of the so-called Common Travel Area(CTA) must be respected (this means, among other things, that freedom of passport prevails and that Britons and Irish people without special permission can work, study, access different grants and seek care in the other country). (3) the creation of a common zone on the Irish island from January 2021 in respect of agricultural products, foodstuffs and manufactured goods which can be shipped between Ireland and Northern Ireland without any customs controls, provided the goods originate in Northern Ireland, while controls to be done in ports and airports at goods coming to Northern Ireland from other parts of the world (including the rest of the UK). 4) a condition for the zone to get rid of is that it be approved by the Northern Ireland Parliament, Stormont, by December 2020. This should then be renewed every four years; but if Stormont opposes this, the agreement will expire after four years. 5) Northern Ireland will leave the EU Customs Union at the same time as the rest of the UK. The new customs checks that must be done in connection with it will not take place on or near the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The proposal is received with considerable EU skepticism, but it is not completely rejected.
HD: Johnson’s decision to close Parliament illegally
The Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to temporarily leave Parliament for five weeks (the British term is prorogue) was in violation of the law, as it prevented Parliament from carrying out its duties at an exceptional time without sufficient reason. According to the court’s chair Lady Hale, all eleven judges are in agreement in the decision which means that the closure is canceled. The Court also determines that it has the powers necessary to decide the issue. The HD decision leads, among other things, to Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn demanding that the prime minister resign. Corbyn calls on Boris Johnson to apologize to both the Queen and the country. (Here is a summaryin English by the court’s decision). What happens next becomes a matter for the Speaker of the lower house and upper house. They decide to re-assemble Parliament on September 25. In his first comment on the decision, Boris Johnson, who is in the United States, says he does not share the court’s opinion.
The Brexit issue divides Labor
At its party conference, Labor agreed to stand neutral on the Brexit issue in new negotiations with the EU. The delegates thus voted against a proposal that Labor should work for Britain to remain as an EU member in the event of a referendum on the issue. They thus back up his party leader Jeremy Corbyn who says he intends to negotiate a new agreement with the EU within three months and that a referendum should be held no later than six months after a change of power. Labor will then decide what attitude the party should have at a special conference before such a referendum. The decision illustrates how divided the party is still in the Brexit issue, and several observers point out that the big winner of this will be the Liberal Democrats.
Travel company Thomas Cook goes bankrupt
British travel company Thomas Cook, founded in 1841, goes bankrupt. That happens since the government said no to a request from the company to raise money (£ 150 million). The largest shareholder in Chinese Fosun had promised $ 900 million, but that was not enough to avoid bankruptcy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the government is preparing to fly home over 150,000 Britons currently in various tourist destinations around the world in the coming weeks (around 600,000 tourists need help to return home). The company has 22,000 employees, 9,000 of whom are in the UK. The travel company has large debts (£ 1.7 billion), and blames the problems that travel has reduced due to the hot summer 2018, which has made fewer people want to leave,
The trial of soldier F begins
47 years have passed since Bloody Sunday in Derry / Londonderry when 14 people were shot dead by British troops. Now one of the soldiers is facing trial for the murder of two civilian protesters and attempted murder of four other persons. Soldier F, who has not been named, was not present at the initial hearing of the case in Derry / Londonderry court. The trial is now postponed until December 4, when a witness list will be presented (see March 2019).
DUP seems to be soft on its Brexit line
Now there are signs that the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is softening its stance on Northern Ireland and Brexit. At a meeting in Dublin, DUP leader Arlene Foster says she can think of a kind of special solution for Northern Ireland if it does not affect the constitutional position of the British province and if such a solution is approved by the Northern Ireland Parliament, Stormont. After the meeting, Foster meets for the first time Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for a 45-minute conversation. Following the British election in 2017, the DUP has served as a support party for the Conservative British government. A position of power the party has now lost as Boris Johnson’s government has lost its majority in the lower house. The party is also under pressure in Northern Ireland, when new abortion laws will come into force on October 21 unless a new Northern Ireland government is in place until then. It will be a dilemma for the DUP, which opposes a more liberal abortion law, but the question is whether the party will be able to agree with Sinn Fein to form a new government if the DUP does not agree to a new language law that strengthens the position of the Irish, which is unpopular among DUP voters. Northern Ireland has been lacking government since early 2017.
The EU is putting additional pressure on Johnson
Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne says that the UK must present its Brexit plans in writing before September 30 in order for them to be taken into account (Finland is the EU Presidency in the autumn of 2019). It puts additional pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In addition, the timing is inappropriate for him as it is in the midst of the Conservative Party’s annual conference.
Bettel: “No New Johnson Proposals” Trying
Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel holds press conference after talks with his British colleague Boris Johnson. Johnson, however, is absent from the press conference after being booed by protesters. Bettel expresses his frustration at the Brexit process and says that Johnson has not presented any seriously intended proposals for a new agreement. He also emphasizes that the blame for the problems lies not with the EU, but that they have been created at Johnson’s home country. At the same time, it is clear that talks between the UK and the EU will now be stepped up and moved to the political level, with daily talks between EU negotiators led by Michel Barnier, and the UK Government, led by Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay.
The Liberal Democrats intend to stop Brexit if the party wins the next election
If the Liberal Democrats come to power, the party intends to interrupt the Brexit process. It votes a clear majority of delegates for the party’s conference in Bournemouth. “We will do what we can to keep our place in Europe,” said party leader Jo Swinson after the vote. Earlier in the week, the Liberal Democrats received another mandate in the House of Commons, when Sam Gyimah, one of the 21 members excluded from the Conservative Party, joined.
The government is forced to announce planning for a contractless Brexit
A contractless Brexit can lead to major traffic disruptions, where truckers may have to wait for several days to cross the English Channel, lack of food and medicines and large price increases on food and fuel, among other things, which can lead to unrest in the UK.. Another point concerns fears about what will happen in Northern Ireland if border controls are introduced. These are just some of the problems the British government lists in a document drawn up as part of planning for Britain to leave the EU without an agreement, which goes by the name Operation Yellowhammer. This is now being published, against the will of the government, at Parliament’s request. Parts of the content were already known, as it leaked to the press as early as August. From the government’s point of view, it has been emphasized that what is being painted is “the worst possible scenario”. Following the publication of the document, Labor is demanding that Parliament be revoked.
Court in Scotland: ‘closure of Parliament law-abiding’
A panel of judges in the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest judicial body, ruled that the British government’s decision to temporarily close Parliament for five weeks (called prorogation / home engagement) is in violation of the law. It thus goes against an earlier ruling where it was held that the matter should not be decided by the courts (see September 4, 2019), which was appealed by a cross-political group, made up of 75 MPs, led by SNP’s Joanna Cherry. The three judges justify their decision that they are convinced that the home engagement of Parliament at this stage unduly hinders its work. However, it is unclear what the consequences will be, as Parliament has already been closed. The government intends to appeal the new judgment to the Supreme Court, which has already decided to raise this and another appeal in the same case on September 17. The day after, a Northern Ireland court ruled that it does not constitute a breach of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement if Britain leaves the EU without an agreement.
DUP receives “positive message” from Johnson
In recent days, there has been speculation as to whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson will agree to a special solution for Northern Ireland (called backstop) on the part of the exit agreement with the EU that will allow the rest of the UK to form a temporary customs union (single customs territory) until a another solution is in place. But such a solution would be given a different name. However, such a solution is not acceptable to the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has been given a key role, as the Conservative British government has been dependent on its support for a majority in the House of Commons, a majority that the Johnson government has now lost. The DUP opposes the idea of a new “border” in the sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The leader of the DUP says after a meeting with the Prime Minister that he promised not to proceed with such a proposal without their consent. Boris Johnson makes an even clearer mark a few days later and says he will not agree to a special solution that only includes Northern Ireland.
Bomb findings raise concerns about new attacks against police in Northern Ireland
A large explosive charge is found in a parked car in Creggan, a residential area in Derry / Londonderry. According to police, the bomb belongs to the Republican group of the New IRA, and they suspect it would be used in a police attack. Police find the bomb as they search several houses in Creggan. After the bomb was found, 15 families are evacuated from their homes. During the course of the work, they are attacked by youths throwing gas bombs. The operation takes place after the police had found a bomb a few days earlier in Strabane, in the county of Tyrone, near the local police station, but also near several homes.
New no for new elections
The government and Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffer new defeats in the House of Commons, which once again rejects a proposition to hold elections in October (it is supported by 293 members, which is well below the two-thirds limit of votes required). In addition, the opposition is pushing for the government to publish the communications that preceded the decision to temporarily close Parliament and around the planning of a contractless Brexit. Johnson reiterates during the day that he does not intend to ask the EU for an extended deadline, the fold he is now required to do by law (see previous notes in September). To put pressure on him, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn presents a motion demanding that the government must abide by the rule of law. It is approved without voting. After tonight’s session, the lower house will not be reassembled until mid-October.
President Bercow will resign in October
Lower House Conservative Speaker John Bercow announces that he plans to retire at the end of October, or even earlier if there is a fresh election before. He points out that he promised his family not to continue as president for another term, and says that the time is chosen so that he will lead the work in the lower house when the government presents its new program, as an experienced president may be required when occurs. The timing is also chosen so that it will be the sitting parliament that will elect a new president, unless there is a new election in October. Bercow, as President, has been more popular with the opposition than with many party mates. Conservative Brexit advocates have accused him of bias and wanted to see him replaced.
Varadkar: “No Brexit Agreement unless the border issue is resolved”
Boris Johnson is visiting Ireland for the first time since he became Prime Minister in July. His Irish colleague Leo Varadkar clearly states that the UK needs to come up with a sustainable proposal for how to solve the problems between the Northern Ireland and Ireland border if there is an opportunity to reach an agreement with the EU. Promises that the border issue will be resolved in the future are not enough. and that the special solution for Northern Ireland (called backstop) must work until a new solution is found. Johnson emphasizes that he wants a deal, but if it becomes a contractless Brexit because of the border issue, the blame for a failure will lie on both the UK and the Irish government. Both parties subsequently describe the meeting as positive and constructive.
Yet another minister jumps off
Boris Johnson’s government is affected by yet another runoff, when Amber Rudd, Minister of Labor and Retirement, resigns. She says she can accept that the UK will leave the EU without an agreement if the parties cannot agree on such, but that too little is being done to bring about a settlement. According to Rudd, 80 to 90 percent of the time is spent preparing for a contractless Brexit, which she thinks is a worse solution.
The upper house approves laws that will prevent contractless Brexit
The upper house approves the new law passed by the opposition to prevent Britain from leaving the EU without an agreement. Now Prime Minister Boris Johnson is required to ensure that the Queen gives his approval for it to take effect. British media speculate on what will happen if he delays the process, whether he will be prosecuted for it, or even forced to step down.
High Court: closure of Parliament no offense
The High Court in London states that the Conservative government’s decision to temporarily close Parliament does not violate the law. It then happens that a businesswoman, Gina Miller, has turned to the court. She intends to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, which will then raise the case on September 17.
New setbacks for Boris Johnson
It is now clear that the upper house will approve the new law that the lower house adopted on September 4 already on September 6. This means that the lower house will be able to vote on it again on 9 September. During the day, Luciana Berger, who left Labor in March, joins the Liberal Democrats, who thus have 16 seats in the House of Commons. Later that day comes the next scare, when Jo Johnson, the Prime Minister’s brother who also sits in the lower house, resigns from politics with reference to having to choose between the nation’s interests and the family. On the same day, Prime Minister Johnson speaks in Wakefield, Northern England, flanked by police detectives, and reiterates a previous pledge of 20,000 new police officers. He also says he “would rather die in a ditch” than ask the EU for another deadline.
New defeats for Johnson in the lower house
Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers new defeats in the House of Commons voting to approve the bill that would require the government to request a further deadline from the EU (until January 31, 2020) unless a new agreement is ready before October 19. 327 members voted against proposal 299 against. To go through, it must also be approved by the upper house, approved once more in the lower house and get the queen’s approval (Parliament is not temporarily closed for five weeks). The government also loses the vote to announce new elections until October 15, when it only gets 298 yes votes. Labor 247 members cast their votes. There are several ways for Johnson to get around this, but everyone has a high political price.
Judge in Scotland: “not illegal to leave Parliament home”
A judge at the Scottish Court of Session, Lord Doherty, said it was up to politicians and voters to decide whether the British government exceeded its powers when it decided to temporarily leave the Parliament, not the courts. According to Doherty, the government has not violated the law. The 75 parliamentarians, from both houses of the British Parliament, led by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, say they intend to appeal the decision.
21 members are excluded from the Conservative Party
The 21 Conservative MPs who voted against the government on September 3 are excluded from their party (something referred to in English as “withdrawing the whip”) and removed from the polls in the upcoming elections. This means that they can remain in the lower house, but as independent members. Among the 21 are eight former ministers, including former Finance Minister Philip Hammond, party veteran Ken Clarke, former Justice Minister David Gauke and former Deputy Secretary of State Rory Stewart, but also Nicholas Soames (Winston Churchill’s grandson). Several of them, including Soames and the former Minister of Education, Justine Greening, announce that they do not intend to run for re-election.
Johnson’s defeating defeat in the lower house
It will be a dramatic day when the lower house is reassembled after the summer break. The Conservative government loses an important vote late in the evening, with the numbers 328 against 301 giving Parliament control over the agenda in the coming days. This means that the lower house can decide on a bill to ask the EU to extend the deadline for Brexit to January 31, 2020, unless there is a new Brexit agreement, approved by Parliament, by October 19, or Parliament has approved a non-contractual brexit. The purpose of the bill, which members of several parties support (including some from the Conservative Party), is to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without an agreement. The opposition can win the vote with the help of 21 Conservative members who choose to go against their government despite threats of exclusion from the party. However, two Labor members support the government. During the day, the government loses its majority in the lower house (which it had with the support of the Northern Ireland party DUP), when a member Philip Lee, resigns to the Liberal Democrats. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that his opponents have thus handed over control of the negotiations to the EU, and says he intends to announce new elections if he is forced to request an extended EU deadline. In order to do so, however, he must have the support of two-thirds of the lower house, which is far from certain that he will receive. However, most analysts believe it will be a new election in the UK this fall. However, two Labor members support the government. During the day, the government loses its majority in the lower house (which it had with the support of the Northern Ireland party DUP), when a member Philip Lee, resigns to the Liberal Democrats. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that his opponents have thus handed over control of the negotiations to the EU, and says he intends to announce new elections if he is forced to request an extended EU deadline. In order to do so, however, he must have the support of two-thirds of the lower house, which is far from certain that he will receive. However, most analysts believe it will be a new election in the UK this fall. However, two Labor members support the government. During the day, the government loses its majority in the lower house (which it had with the support of the Northern Ireland party DUP), when a member Philip Lee, resigns to the Liberal Democrats. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that his opponents have thus handed over control of the negotiations to the EU, and says he intends to announce new elections if he is forced to request an extended EU deadline. In order to do so, however, he must have the support of two-thirds of the lower house, which is far from certain that he will receive. However, most analysts believe it will be a new election in the UK this fall. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that his opponents have thus handed over control of the negotiations to the EU, and says he intends to announce new elections if he is forced to request an extended EU deadline. In order to do so, however, he must have the support of two-thirds of the lower house, which is far from certain that he will receive. However, most analysts believe it will be a new election in the UK this fall. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that his opponents have thus handed over control of the negotiations to the EU, and says he intends to announce new elections if he is forced to request an extended EU deadline. In order to do so, however, he must have the support of two-thirds of the lower house, which is far from certain that he will receive. However, most analysts believe it will be a new election in the UK this fall.
Johnson says no to new elections
The day before Parliament is due to open, Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a short speech emphasizes that he neither he nor the voters want a new election to Parliament. He also claims that progress is being made in contacts with the EU, without mentioning any concrete examples, and that Brexit will take place on October 31 as planned. This is in the light of the fact that a large part of the opposition plans to get a new deadline, probably with the help of some Conservative MPs. The latter risk not being able to stand as candidates for the Conservative Party in the next election, according to information in the British media. It also claims that the government is considering announcing elections until October 14 if the MPs who want to stop a contractless Brexit manage to get through their proposal.Fixed-term Parliaments Act).
Big protests against the decision to close Parliament
Thousands of Britons gather in London and some 30 other British cities to protest the government’s decision to temporarily leave the Parliament. New protests are planned for the coming week. Behind the protests stands the campaign group Another Europe is Possible (Another Europe is Possible).
Johnson announces new talks with the EU
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that British negotiators will meet EU representatives twice a week during September to try to persuade the EU to amend the agreement signed during Theresa May’s time as head of government. The big question is still what will happen to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. All parties agree that it should not be a “hard limit”, but have not found a common line for how it can be achieved, as Johnson dismisses the special solution (backstop) that was included in May’s agreement (see November 15, 2018). The EU has called on the UK Government to present concrete proposals. However, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney points out that Johnson has so far not been able to present any credible alternative. Read more about the border issue here.
Parliament’s decision is challenged in court
75 parliamentarians from several different parties are appealing to a Scottish court to persuade it to at least temporarily halt the closure of the British Parliament. The judge at the Court of Session says no to this, but delays the processing of the case until September 3. At the same time, activist and businesswoman Gina Miller are also trying to overturn the controversial decision through the judiciary. According to BBC media, it is not possible for the courts to question the Queen’s approval, but Miller – along with, among others, the former British Prime Minister John Major – believes that it may be possible for the courts to reject the advice given by the Government to the Queen. Another attempt is made in Northern Ireland, where Raymond McCord, who works to take care of the victims in the interests of the Northern Ireland conflict.
The leader of the Scottish Tory Party resigns
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish branch of the Conservative Party, is retiring after eight years in the post. However, she will remain as a member of the Scottish Parliament. She states both personal reasons and the conflicting feelings she has for Brexit as the basis for the decision. Davidson was among those who pleaded for the EU referendum to allow Britain to remain in the Union and she has openly expressed her skepticism towards Boris Johnson’s leadership. She has also been among those mentioned as a possible new party leader for the Conservative Party in the future. Under her leadership there has been a modernization of the Scottish Tory Party. Earlier in the day, the Conservative Lord Young of Cookham left his post as “whip” in the upper house in protest of the temporary closure of Parliament.
Criticism of the government’s decision to temporarily close Parliament
The government’s decision to temporarily close the parliament is provoking strong reactions, both from the opposition and some from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conservative party colleagues, including former Finance Minister Philip Hammond. Outside the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street, protesters are calling for slogans to “stop the coup.” Over the first 24 hours, over 1.2 million names have signed a petition to protest the decision.
Johnson’s request to temporarily close Parliament is approved
The Conservative government has asked Queen Elizabeth to temporarily shut down Parliament (called prorogation / home engagement) from September 10 until October 14, when Boris Johnson intends to present his government program in the so-called Queen’s Speech. The same day the Queen gives her approval. This means that the opposition’s ability to put a spanner in the wheel for a contractless Brexit is severely limited. Johnson denies in media that the measure is about wanting to push through an EU exit without a deal, but says he does not want to wait to present his plans for the country until the EU exit is a fact. Several leading politicians, including former Conservative Prime Minister John Major, have said in the past that they intend to turn to the courts to prevent the Parliament from being disrupted, albeit temporarily. Lower House Speaker John Bercow, a party-mate to Johnson, is now facing harsh criticism of the government, partly because he has not been warned about the measure, and partly because he considers it a violation of the Constitution. However, the conservative politicians defending the measure point out that the closure is only a few days, since Parliament does not usually meet during the period when the political parties hold their conferences. At the same time, the government bypasses a decision in July that the lower house should be assembled for a few extra days in September and October to make decisions concerning Northern Ireland (see However, the conservative politicians defending the measure point out that the closure is only a few days, since Parliament does not usually meet during the period when the political parties hold their conferences. At the same time, the government bypasses a decision in July that the lower house should be assembled for a few extra days in September and October to make decisions concerning Northern Ireland (see However, the conservative politicians defending the measure point out that the closure is only a few days, since Parliament does not usually meet during the period when the political parties hold their conferences. At the same time, the government bypasses a decision in July that the lower house should be assembled for a few extra days in September and October to make decisions concerning Northern Ireland (seeJuly 15, 2019).
EU Commissioner: UK has to pay debt to EU
Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, states that the UK must fulfill its financial commitments to the EU even if the country leaves the cooperation without a deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said that if it becomes a contractless Brexit then the British will no longer pay the £ 39bn note agreed by the EU and Johnson’s representative Theresa May.
The opposition agrees on a strategy to prevent contractless Brexit
The British opposition parties agree to work together to try to prevent a dealless Brexit. A first step will be to try to persuade the lower house to pass a law that will allow this when Parliament is reassembled on September 2, thereby forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask the EU for further time when the current deadline expires on October 31. They have already done so once before, in April this year, when Theresa May was pressed to ask the EU for more time. Johnson, for his part, insists that the UK should leave the EU in October, regardless of whether a new agreement has been reached or not. He also emphasizes that there can be no new agreement on the separate solution for Northern Ireland (backstop), something other EU countries refuse to agree.
Northern Ireland members support a special solution for Northern Ireland
49 of the 90 members of Northern Ireland Parliament Stormont write a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk expressing their support for the special solution agreed by Theresa May’s government and the EU (called backstop). According to it, Northern Ireland should continue to follow some of the rules that apply to the EU internal market, and that the whole of the UK should continue to be part of the EU Customs Union for some time, something that Prime Minister Johnson and his Northern Ireland support party oppose. The Northern Ireland Parliament has not met since 2017, and the British province has been without government since the beginning of the same year.
Corbyn proposes a plan to stop contractless Brexit
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn presents a plan for how the opposition can prevent Britain from leaving the EU without a deal. He intends, at the beginning of September, when Parliament returns to London after the summer break, to make a declaration of confidence in Boris Johnson’s government. The idea is that if he wins the vote in a short period of time he will take over as interim leader and from that position ask the EU for more time and announce new elections. In this case, Labor will go to elections with the promise of holding a new referendum on the EU, where it should also be possible to vote for the country to remain within the cooperation. The plan is welcomed by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), the Green Party and Welsh Plaid Cymru, while the Liberal Democrats reject the idea that Corbyn should be allowed to lead a transitional regime.
Gibraltar lets go of thoughts
Authorities in Gibraltar cancel the seizure of an Iranian tanker, despite a US request for the vessel to be detained (see July 4 and July 19). Iran is said to have submitted a written statement that the oil load was not on its way to Syria, whose regime is subject to international sanctions, including from the EU.
Britons join the protection fleet for tankers
The UK’s new government states that the British Navy will join US efforts to protect merchant vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz. In the tense situation that predominantly exists between the United States and Iran, Theresa May’s government tried in July to gather support for a European-led fleet. Both Americans and Britons have found it difficult to convince other countries to participate.
Conservative loss in filling elections makes it difficult for the government
Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds wins the election for the British lower house in Brecon and Radnorshire. She wins over the Conservative candidate with over 1,400 votes. The Brexit Party candidate comes in third place, while Labor’s candidate only gets four. The result means that Boris Johnson’s majority in the lower house (together with the DUP) consists of only one mandate.
Johnson’s British round trip no success
Boris Johnson begins his time as Prime Minister with a tour of Northern England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As a result, several political analysts warned of difficulties in holding together the British Union. In Scotland he is met by the curse before his meeting with Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon clearly highlights her dissatisfaction with Johnson’s Brexit policy which she believes will cost Scotland 100,000 jobs. Johnson’s party colleague Ruth Davidson, who leads the more liberal Scottish branch of the Conservative Party, has openly opposed the idea of a contractless Brexit. In Wales, Johnson avoided all contact with the media and the public. However, there was talk of a boost for the Conservative party in the public opinion, but this also applies to Plaid Cymru who wants to see an independent Wales. In Northern Ireland, Johnson reiterated its demand to abolish Northern Ireland’s special solution (called a backstop) in a possible agreement with the EU, which has strong support from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), but not among other Northern Ireland parties. Nor do they have any confidence in Johnson’s assurance that he is “impartial” with regard to the 1998 Northern Ireland Peace Agreement.
Half the government is replaced
Boris Johnson presents his ministers. About half of the old ministers are dismissed or choose to leave the government, including the foreign and defense ministers. New Foreign Minister after Jeremy Hunt becomes Dominic Raab. He resigned as Brexit minister in the fall of 2018 in protest of Theresa May’s exit agreement. Stephen Barclay continues as Brexit minister. Sajid Javid switches from Minister of the Interior to Finance. Former Deputy Minister of Development, Priti Patel, is appointed new Minister of the Interior. Ben Wallace, who is close to Johnson, becomes Secretary of Defense. Robert Buckland, former prison minister, becomes new minister of justice.
Boris Johnson’s new prime minister
Conservative Party newly elected leader Boris Johnson becomes new prime minister. Since Theresa May filed her resignation, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has asked him to form a government.
Boris Johnson elected Tory leader
Boris Johnson has won the Conservative Party vote against Jeremy Hunt. Johnson thus becomes not only the Tories party leader but also Britain’s next prime minister. Johnson won the vote by a large margin. He got just over 92,000 votes against Hunt’s over 46,000.
Departures in protest of Boris Johnson
In connection with the Tory Party leadership election, Alan Duncan, who has held a post as Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, leaves his job. He himself states that he is resigning in protest against Theresa May being succeeded by Boris Johnson. Several ministers on heavy items have said that they will also resign on the July 23 message that Johnson has won the vote, which in that case also makes him prime minister.
Jo Swinnon, new leader of the Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats elect Jo Swinnon as new party leader after Vince Cable. She receives two-thirds of the 76,000 votes. Swinnon is 39 years old and the first woman on the Liberal Democrat party post. According to Swinnon, opposition to Brexit and green issues is high on the party’s agenda.
Iran seizes British flagged thoughts
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard raises a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and forces it to port in Bandar Abbas. The vessel is owned by a subsidiary of the Swedish ferry group Stena. Most of the 23 crew are Indian. Iran claims the ship violated international shipping rules: it must have sailed on a fishing boat and refused to answer calls. The British deny the accusation and state that the ship was in inhuman water. Tensions between Britain and Iran rose earlier in July when a crude oil tanker, carrying cargo from Iran on its way to Syria, was seized by British forces at Gibraltar (see July 4). Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt promises the British navy will get more money if he wins the party leadership election in the Conservative Tory party. His counterpart Boris Johnson has also promised higher defense funding.
The lower house makes it difficult for new Tory leaders to bypass Parliament
The British lower house approves a proposal that will make it more difficult for the government to bypass Parliament to push through a contractless Brexit. Boris Johnson, who is a favorite in the Conservative Party party elections, has not ruled out the possibility of allowing MPs to stay at home for a shorter period so that Britain can leave the EU by 31 October. With 315 votes in favor and 274 against, the House of Commons approves the proposal, which means that the House must gather for several days in September and October to make decisions relating to Northern Ireland even if Johnson decides to temporarily send the members on leave.
European leaders call for dialogue between Iran and the United States
The United Kingdom, France and Germany call on all parties to resume the dialogue in order to reduce the recent stronger US-Iran tensions. However, they place a great responsibility on Iran for the 2015 nuclear energy agreement to survive (see Iran: Calendar). Iran rejects a few days later information that it is ready to discuss its robotic program with the US. It has happened since Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in an interview that it could happen if the US raises its sanctions on Iran.
Johnson and Hunt believe that the EU will back the border issue
Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the two remaining candidates in the Conservative Party party elections, say they believe the EU will agree to abolish the special solution for Northern Ireland which is an important part of the exit agreement between the UK and the EU (called backstop). At the same time, the EU has repeatedly stated that it is not prepared to do so. According to analysts, it is becoming more and more likely that the UK will leave EU cooperation without an agreement on 31 October. On July 23, the winner of the party leadership election will be announced.
Gibraltar to vote on new abortion law 2020
Gibraltar announces that a referendum will be held on March 19, 2020, amending its strict abortion legislation. Under current law, abortion is prohibited and can be punished with life imprisonment (however, no one has been sentenced for many years). The Gibraltar government says the decision on the referendum was made after the UK Supreme Court 2018 ruled that Northern Ireland’s abortion law, similar to Gibraltar’s, violates the European Convention on Human Rights. The new proposal that Gibraltar residents should vote on whether abortion should be allowed until the 12th week of pregnancy if a woman’s physical or mental health is threatened, or if the fetus is malformed.
Britain’s US ambassador resigns
British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch resigns after the quarrel about leaked emails, as he thinks the situation makes it impossible for him to remain in the post (see July 9, 2019). Prime Minister Theresa May regrets his departure. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt the two politicians competing to take over after May occupy different positions on the issue. Hunt openly defends Darroch, while Johnson does not, at least not during the televised debate between the two party leader candidates.
The lower house votes for new abortion laws and gay marriage in Northern Ireland
The British House of Commons approves a plan to introduce same-sex marriage and liberalize abortion legislation in Northern Ireland unless a new Northern Ireland government is in place on October 21. The vote is on the initiative of two Labor members. The proposals are adopted by a clear majority (383 for and 73 against, in the case of same-sex marriage, and 332 in favor and 99 against in the case of abortion legislation). Both issues should actually be decided by the provincial parliament in Northern Ireland, and even if the specified date passes without any new government in Belfast, several tours remain in parliament before a possible law can be finalized. Northern Ireland has not had a government since January 2017, and is the only part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not allowed and where abortion is allowed only if the mother’s life is in danger.
Leaked e-mails cause a scuffle with the United States
Emails from the United Kingdom Ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch, calling on US President Donald Trump for “dysfunctional” and “inappropriate” leaked to the media cause scandal in contacts between the White House and the British government. Trump writes on Twitter that he does not intend to have any contact with Ambassador Darroch and criticizes Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit. May, for her part, says she has full confidence in the ambassador even though she does not share his assessment.
Labor is only the fourth largest party, according to opinion polls
A poll conducted by YouGov indicates that the Conservative Party is still the largest British party at 24 percent, followed by the Brexit party at 23 percent and the Liberal Democrats at 20 percent. Labor comes in fourth place with 18 percent.
Britons stop Iranian oil for Syria
A crude oil tanker with cargo from Iran is boarded and seized by British forces at Gibraltar. The cargo is on its way to the regime in Syria. Iran calls the action against the ship, registered in Panama, a act of piracy and calls on the British ambassador to protest. The intervention against the ship must have been called for by the United States, but the legal basis for British action is the EU sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria, not the US sanctions on Iran. Gibraltar later states that it acted on its own initiative without any intervention from any other government.
The Tories party leader election is between Johnson and Hunt
After several rounds of elections, there are now two candidates left in the Conservative Tory party party elections: former Foreign Minister and former London Mayor Boris Johnson and current Foreign Minister and former Health Minister Jeremy Hunt. Now it will be the party members’ decision to decide which of the two will take over, both as party leader and prime minister.
Johnson leads the party leadership
After the first round of the Conservatives’ party elections, Boris Johnson receives the most votes from the party’s MPs (114). He is followed by Jeremy Hunt (43), Michael Gove (37), Dominic Raab (27), Sajid Javid (23), Matt Hancock (20) and Rory Stewart (19), in that order. Three party leader candidates are now out of the picture: Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper. The next round of party elections will be held on June 18.
Javid gives the go-ahead to extradite Assange to the US
On June 11, the US Department of Justice files a formal request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be turned over to the United States to stand trial for, among other things, trying to hack into the Department of Defense’s computer system and violating US spy laws. Interior Minister Sajid Javid now says in an interview with the British media company BBC that he has signed an extradition order, but that the final decision lies with the courts.
Britain plans to tighten its climate targets
The UK will tighten its climate targets and will virtually eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to a bill being tabled in the House of Commons. The message is welcomed by environmental groups, but critics say the change will be too late, while others argue that the goal will not be reached. In 2008, the United Kingdom pledged to reduce emissions by 80 percent compared to 1990 levels. If the bill is adopted, the UK will be the first G7 country to impose such severe emission restrictions.
May resigns as party leader
Theresa May resigns as leader of the Conservative party, but remains as prime minister until a replacement is appointed (see May 2019).
Labor wins filling choices
Lisa Forbes of the Labor Party wins a filling election in Peterborough with 31 percent of the vote ahead of Brexit Party’s Mike Greene, who gets 29 percent. The margin is just under 700 votes. The turnout is just over 48 percent.
Change UK is shattered
The new party Change UK loses strength when six of its eleven MPs drop off. The six, Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna, Sarah Wollaston, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger and Gavin Shuker, intend to remain in the lower house as independent members. The party leader post is taken over by Anna Soubry, who formerly belonged to the Conservative Party. An important reason for the party cracking down is that it did poorly in the elections to the European Parliament, as it received just over three percent of the vote.
Trump on state visit, promises trade agreement after Brexit
The US president comes to the UK for a three-day state visit. He succeeds even before he arrives to create controversy through several statements, saying, among other things, that Boris Johnson should take over as Prime Minister after Theresa May and that the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage should be allowed to join the UK’s negotiations with the EU. Following meetings with Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister May, Trump promises a “phenomenal” US-UK trade agreement once the British have left the EU. One sensitive issue before the state visit was the British’s preliminary decision to allow Chinese Huawei to participate in the work of expanding the G5 network in the UK, something the US has criticized. But now Trump says the problems can be solved. At the same time, thousands of people are gathering in London to protest against Trump,
They want to take over after May
Several candidates have now announced their interest in taking over the party leader post in the Conservative Party after Theresa May. In addition to former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, current Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, Interior Minister Sajid Javid, former Brexit Minister Dominic Raab, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michael Gove, former group leader in the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Former Minister of Labor and Pensions Esther McVory Stewart, Health Minister Matt Hancock and Mark Harper, who sat in David Cameron’s reign, former Science Minister Sam Gyimah (who was forced to retire in June because he did not receive enough support). In early June, the rules for party leadership are set. In order to stand, a candidate must have the support of at least eight MPs, previously the limit was two. Then Conservative members of the House of Commons vote in several rounds until two candidates remain. After that, about 124,000 party members can say theirs. The first vote will be held on June 13. Read more about the candidateshere.
The Brexit party wins the European elections
The Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, wins the EU election in the UK with 29 seats and almost 32 percent of the vote, but the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, both of which are EU-friendly, are doing well with just over 20 percent and 12 percent of the vote. votes. That gives the Liberal Democrats 16 seats and the Green Party 7 seats. Labor and the Conservative Party both make bad choices, receiving 14 and 9 percent of the vote (and 10 and 4 seats, respectively). In Scotland, the SNP gets 3 seats, in Northern Ireland Sinn Fein, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Alliance Party get 1 seat each and in Wales Plaid Cymru wins 1 seat. The turnout is almost 51 percent.
May resigns as party leader June 7
24th of May
Theresa May announces that she will leave the post of Conservative Party leader on June 7. Until the party has decided who will be her successor, May will remain as prime minister. This happens after she has been subjected to severe pressure from people within her own government. Just a few days earlier, Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative group leader in the lower house, had left the government in protest against Brexit politics.
The UN General Assembly votes for the British to give up the Chagos Islands
Britain suffers defeat in UN General Assembly with 116 states voting for British to return Chagos Islands to Mauritius. Britain and Mauritius have long had a dispute over the islands. The resolution is not binding, but the defeat still has some political weight. Since 1971, the UK has been leasing one of the islands, Diego Garcia, to the US which has a military base there. The British have promised to return Chagos to Mauritius when the base is no longer needed for strategic reasons, but have not said when to do so. The US’s current lease expires in 2036. A group of former islanders have been struggling for many years to get the right to return to Chagos.
Boris Johnson wants to become a new Conservative leader
Theresa May agrees to set a timetable for when she will step down as Prime Minister. She should have concluded a deal with leading forces within the Conservative Party that she will resign in June if she loses the vote on the Brexit agreement to be held then. Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Boris Johnson announces that he will be running for new leader of the Conservative Party.
A new Brexit vote will be held in June
Theresa May announces that the lower house will vote once again on the Brexit agreement in June, regardless of whether the talks between the government and the Labor Party are yielding results. In that case, it should happen after US President Donald Trump’s visit to the country at the beginning of the month.
Ireland and the UK agree on a joint travel zone after Brexit
Ireland and the United Kingdom sign a Declaration of Intent (Meomorandum of Understanding) to retain the opportunity for Irish and British to travel freely between countries after Brexit. Citizens from one country should continue to have the right to work, study, access various grants and seek care in the other country without special permission. The agreement also gives Irish citizens the right to vote in British elections and vice versa. The agreement concerns around 300,000 Britons residing in Ireland, and 350,000 Irish in the UK. The Common Travel Area (CTA) has existed since 1922. The new agreement is not binding on any of the countries. At the same time as the agreement is concluded, new talks will start between the Northern Irish parties in Belfast.
Scotland raises the age of criminality to twelve years
The Scottish Parliament is voting to raise the age of criminality from eight to twelve years. From some quarters, they want to raise it even more, to 14 or 16 years, and the responsible minister appoints an inquiry into whether to do so. The eight year limit was introduced in 1933.
Ready for British EU elections
It is now clear that the UK will take part in the EU elections, as there is not enough time to make another attempt to have the Brexit agreement approved by the House of Commons. At the same time, the government is continuing its talks with Labor to try to find a solution to Brexit that is getting enough support to be approved. The lower house has already voted no to the so-called exit agreement three times.
Great manifestation of Scottish independence
Around 75,000 people gather in Scottish Glasgow to demand independence for Scotland. A similar event was held on the same date last year, but only 35,000 attended. The Scottish Government Party SNP has launched its campaign ahead of the EU election, in which the UK may be participating, with slogans to stop Brexit.
Success for Alliance Party in Northern Ireland Municipal Election
Municipal elections are held at the same time in Northern Ireland, where the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin are given the most seats, 122 and 105 respectively, followed by Ulster’s Unionist Party (UUP) with 75 and the Social Democratic SDLP with 59. However, the DUP, UUP and SDLP decline, while Sinn Féin gets as many seats as in the last election in 2014. However, the party loses five seats in Derry and Strabane, who go to SDLP. However, the municipal elections will be a success for the Alliance Party, which goes from 32 to 53 seats. The Green Party, which gets 8 seats and a few other small parties, also goes ahead. In addition, 23 independent candidates receive delegate seats, which is 8 more than in 2014. The Alliance Party’s success is largely due to young voters voting for it.
Setback for the Conservative Party in the English municipal elections
As expected, the municipal elections in England become a setback for the Conservative Party, which loses over 1300 seats, and the control of 25 municipal councils. Labor also loses at least 90 seats and Ukip loses 141 seats. The Liberal Democrats will be the election’s big winner with just over 700 new seats, along with the Green Party winning 194 new seats. Many independent candidates have also had success. As late as 2017, the Conservative Party and Labor together won 80 percent of the vote, but election expert Professor John Curtice now says that the time when they could have done it is probably over. Percentage across the UK, the two major parties receive an equal share of the vote, 28 percent, while the Liberal Democrats get 19 percent.
Bombardier leaves Northern Ireland
Flight manufacturer Bombardier announces that it intends to sell the Northern Ireland part of the company. With 3,600 employees, Bombardier is the largest employer in the industrial sector in Northern Ireland. The company says it will do its best to find the right buyer, and that the Northern Ireland branch of Bombardier has received more and more assignments from other international customers, such as Airbus, in recent years.
Parliament calls for “climate emergency”
The UK Parliament calls for a “climate emergency”. This happens after Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn filed a motion on this and without the House of Commons voting on the matter. However, the measure is most symbolic and does not mean that the government must act on it. The motion is adopted after the activist group Extinction Rebellion carried out a series of actions in London and after the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg visited the British parliament. More than 1,100 people have been arrested in connection with Extinction Rebellion’s protests.
May dismisses the Minister of Defense
Theresa May dismisses Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson. It comes after allegations that Williamson leaked information to the National Security Council press that the British government discussed allowing the Chinese company Huawei to join and build the British 5G network. Gavin Williamson denies that there is anything in the charges. The issue is sensitive as the United States pressed for Huawei not to join, due to concerns that the company might be forwarding intelligence information to Beijing. The opposition demands that the leak be investigated by police.
Julian Assange is sentenced to prison for bail
Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange is sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for violating British bail laws when he took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012. Now even legal negotiations are waiting for him to be extradited to the US (see April 11, 2019).
New Northern Ireland talks on 7 May
26th of April
British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Irish colleague Leo Varadkar announce that new talks in Northern Ireland will start on 7 May. The goal is to get a new provincial government in Northern Ireland.
Demand for new referendum on Scottish independence on Britain leaves EU
Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon presents her plans to hold another referendum on Scottish independence in 2021 if Britain leaves the EU. The Scottish Government is now preparing new legislation to prepare this.
Priest urges politicians to “build peace” in Northern Ireland
Journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot dead by the New IRA in Derry / Londonderry, is buried in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. The support from the political elite in both the UK and Northern Ireland and Ireland is high, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, her Irish colleague Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins, Arlene Foster of Northern Ireland DUP, Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O ‘ Neill. The priest Martin Magill makes a clear mark on the politicians and asks why it would be necessary for a 29-year-old woman to be killed in order for them to gather. He urges them to use the moment to “build peace”. On the same day, British Northern Ireland Minister Karen Bradley announces that she will begin talks with Northern Ireland political leaders later this week.
Murder of journalist upsets Northern Ireland
A police operation in the Creggan district of Londonderry / Derry in Northern Ireland triggers rattles. When several shots are fired at the police, a Northern Irish journalist meets Lyra McKee as she watches the events. She dies shortly thereafter. The leaders of Northern Ireland’s six largest parties after the murder make a joint statement condemning the murder. Saoradh, an unlisted far-left political party formed by so-called Republican dissidents (defender of the Irish Republican Army, the IRA, who opposes the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement) lays the blame on the police the day after, claiming that the young men who shot only defended himself and that the blame for the shooting was with the police. A few days later, the New IRA (New IRA) took on the blame for the deed and apologized to her family and friends.
Nearly 300 climate activists are arrested
Nearly 300 activists from the Extinction Rebellion group are taken in conjunction with actions taken to require the government to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the UK and take other measures to counter climate change. In several actions, the group’s members have, among other things, conducted a protest in the lower house, prevented public transport, blocked bridges and roads, painted slogans on a building belonging to the oil company Royal Dutch Shell and chained themselves outside Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn’s home. According to official statistics, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 were 43 percent lower than 1990.
A new political party is formed
The Election Commission approves a new political party, the Change UK − Independent Group, formed by MPs who dropped out of both Labor and the Conservative Party. This means that the party will be able to stand in the EU elections in May, if the UK has not left the EU until then.
Farage launches Brexit party
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage launches a new party: the Brexit Party, in Coventry, which will run in the British EU elections which is likely to be held in May. According to Farage, the party has 70 candidates ready to participate, one of whom is freelance journalist Annunziata Rees-Mogg, who dropped out of the Conservative Party and is the sister of Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the most renowned Brexitors within the Conservative Party. Farange also claims that in ten days the new party raised £ 750,000.
Julian Assange is arrested in London
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is arrested by British police at Ecuador’s embassy in London. This happens after Ecuador claimed his Ecuadorian citizenship (something he received as late as December 2018) and revoked his political asylum. The arrest takes place at the request of the United States: recently published documents show that the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Assange in March 2018, on suspicion of data breach. Julian Assange has been at Ecuador’s embassy since 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he has been charged with rape. However, the preliminary investigation against him was discontinued in 2017, and the arrest order to surrender Assange to Sweden was revoked. A court in London convicted him shortly thereafter of violating the terms of the bail he was granted in 2012.June 2012). Later, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno accuses Assange of using the embassy as a “spy center” to intervene in events affecting “other countries’ democracies”.
New respite for the UK
EU countries agree to give Britain another respite. This time until October 31st. This means that the British must hold EU elections in May, if the country does not leave the cooperation before 1 June. The European Council also says that no changes will be agreed to the exit agreement previously agreed by the parties. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, urges the British not to waste this time. Theresa May insists that there is still the possibility that the lower house will approve the agreement and the UK can leave the EU on 22 May. Read more here about the options available for the UK.
Preparations are being made for possible UK participation in the EU elections
The UK Government is taking steps to make it possible for Britain to stand in the EU elections in May. It also stressed that it does not mean that the country will really participate. At the same time, Prime Minister May is traveling to Germany and France to try to persuade EU leaders to give her further respect for the UK exit.
May asks for deferral until June 30
Theresa May re-writes to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, requesting a postponement of Brexit until June 30 this year. She emphasizes that if a settlement is completed before that date, the UK intends to leave the EU sooner than that.
New attempt to avoid Brexit without agreement
The House of Commons votes by a majority vote through a proposal by Yvette Cooper of Labor and Olover Letwin, of the Conservative Party, calling on May to ask the EU for more time and avoid the UK leaving the EU without a deal. 313 members voted for the proposal 312 against.
May is seeking talks with Labor
Prime Minister May announces that she wants the EU to give the UK another deadline. At the same time, she is turning to the Labor opposition party so that a plan can be drawn up before the EU deadline expires on April 12. Two ministers in lower positions then decide to resign.
Four new no from the lower house
Once again, the House of Commons fails to agree on a common line in trying to find alternative solutions that could replace Theresa May’s and the EU’s Brextit Agreement. Four proposals were voted down, albeit by a marginal margin, including one that calls for the UK to enter into a permanent customs union with the EU and one to hold a referendum on a possible Brexit agreement.
A third no to the Brexit agreement
The British lower house votes again on Theresa May’s Brexit agreement, but this time only on the divorce case. The President approved this because it meant that the lower house did not vote on exactly the same thing as before. Again, the members reject the agreement, but the margin is more scarce than in the two previous votes: 344 no-votes and 286 yes. Now the British Government has to decide how to proceed. One option is to leave the EU without an agreement on April 12, another to withdraw Article 50 and remain as an EU member.
May promises to resign if the agreement is approved
Members of the British House of Commons vote against eight non-binding motions on how Britain should proceed in the Brexit process. This is done after Prime Minister Theresa May promised to resign if Parliament approves the Brexit agreement she has negotiated with the EU. But she has yet to convince the Northern Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to support the agreement. But leading Brexiters like former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and former party leader Ian Duncan Smith say they are now prepared to support the agreement. However, Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the EU-critical ERG within the Conservative Party, points out that he will only do so if the agreement is supported by the DUP. 75 votes are still missing for the exit agreement to be approved.
New defeat for May in the Brexit issue
Prime Minister Theresa May suffers a new defeat in the House of Commons, with 329 members voting to give Parliament one day control over the continuing Brexit process and finding out which proposal has the most support in the House. 302 members voted against, but the proposal, tabled by Conservative member Oliver Letwin, has the support of members from several different parties. Letwin’s proposal wins because it is supported by 30 Conservative members who are opposed to the party line, among them three deputy ministers who leave the government on the same night. At the same time, it is clear that, at least so far, May has not been able to gather enough support to get the exit agreement through the lower house.
Great manifestation against Brexit in London
Several hundred thousand people (one million according to organizers) are demonstrating in London to demand a new referendum on Brexit. The protesters also put forward a demand to revoke Article 50, the article that initiated the entire exit process. Speakers include Labor’s Deputy Party Leader Tom Watson, Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable and London Mayor Sadiq Khan (Labor). At the same time, more than 4 million names have been collected to revoke Article 50.
The EU gives the UK short respite with Brexit
EU leaders give Britain a certain reprieve with Brexit. If the UK Parliament approves the exit agreement, the process will be extended to May 22, just before the election to the European Parliament. If Parliament does not approve the Brexit agreement, the process will only be extended until April 12.
May asks the EU to postpone the Brexit until June 30
Prime Minister Theresa May writes to EU leaders asking for Britain to delay Brexit until June 30. She says she can not wait to leave the EU longer than that. She also stresses that Parliament should be allowed to vote on the Brexit agreement a third time, but says nothing about the time. The European Council President Donald Tusk later on the same day says he believes that the EU should only agree to it if the UK Parliament approves the exit agreement agreed by the EU and the UK in 2018 (see November 2018).
“No new vote in the lower house on the same proposal”
President John Bercow ruled out that the lower house should vote a third time on the exit agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed with the EU. If there is to be another vote, some radical changes must be made. Bercow justifies his decision with a 1604 practice that the lower house should not have to vote twice on exactly the same question.
Clear signs to ask the EU for more time
The lower house votes by a clear majority for the UK to ask the EU to have more time for the Brexit process (412 votes in favor and 202 against). A deferral must be approved by all 27 member states. Unless the EU grants more time, the UK must leave the cooperation on March 29. The UK will need more time to prepare for the EU exit, even though the House of Commons will vote in favor of May’s agreement in the coming week. However, it is not yet certain that there will be a third vote then, it depends on how much new support the government thinks it can get. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn says a few days later he can think of a referendum on the agreement, if it wins the House’s approval.
Legal process begins against former British soldier
14th of March
The Northern Ireland Prosecutor’s Office decides to initiate legal proceedings against a former British soldier, who is not named but called Soldier F. He is charged with the murder of two unarmed Catholic protesters, and for attempted murder of four others, in Londonderry (which Catholics call Derry) in 1972. When In the case of 18 other soldiers and two persons who are believed to have been members of the Official IRA, the Prosecutor’s Office considers that there is currently no sufficient evidence to allow the prosecution to be brought. At the event, which is called Bloody Sunday, 13 people were killed and 15 injured (one of whom later died). It meant a clear escalation of the conflict in Northern Ireland (see also Northern Ireland: Towards Peace). Read more about the prosecution and Bloody Sunday here). The Prosecutor’s Office has made its decision after going through 125,000 pages of material.
The lower house votes against leaving the EU without an agreement
the 13th of March
The British lower house votes against the UK leaving the EU without an agreement. In a first vote, it is done with just four votes overweight (312 votes on the winning side, 308 on them losing). Later in the evening, the House voted for a sharper wording that completely excludes a Brexit if there is no agreement (it is supported by 321 members while 278 reject it). None of the votes are binding on the government, but it is hardly politically possible for Theresa May to go against the House of Commons. In addition, she is weakened by the fact that some Conservative members, including several ministers, did not follow the government’s instructions before the vote. Another proposal that advocates an unenforceable EU exit loses with clear numbers (the proposal is supported by 164 votes, while 374 reject it). On March 14, the lower house will vote on whether the UK government should ask the EU for more time to complete the Brexit process. There will also be a third vote on the exit agreement next week. Meanwhile, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and campaign organization Leave Means Leave are expected to try to increase government pressure through a march from north-east England to London, with demands for Britain to leave the EU without a deal. It starts in Sunderland on March 16 and is scheduled to reach London on March 29. try to increase government pressure through a march from north-east England to London, with demands for Britain to leave the EU without a deal. It starts in Sunderland on March 16 and is scheduled to reach London on March 29. try to increase government pressure through a march from north-east England to London, with demands for Britain to leave the EU without a deal. It starts in Sunderland on March 16 and is scheduled to reach London on March 29.
Emergency plan for Brexit without agreement is presented
the 13th of March
The government announces a series of temporary measures in the event the UK leaves the EU without an agreement. In that case, customs duties should be removed completely on a wide range of goods, with the aim of mitigating the consequences of a Brexit, by keeping prices down and trying to avoid job losses. Exceptions should be made, among other things, for cars, and certain foodstuffs (such as beef and lamb). The new rules will cover goods coming from the EU but also imports from other countries. The government also says it does not intend to make any customs checks or levy any fees on goods shipped from Ireland to Northern Ireland. However, some tariffs should remain for goods imported into the EU and then on to the UK mainland. Some analysts emphasized that in this case it would be a violation of WTO rules.
Another no for May’s Brexit agreement
the 12th of March
The British lower house again voted no to Theresa May’s Brexit agreement with the EU. This time 242 members said yes to the agreement, while 391 voted no. This means that on March 13, the lower house will vote on whether or not to leave the EU without an agreement.
Problems for the car industry
the 12th of March
The UK economy made a slight recovery in January 2019, compared to the end of 2018, according to new figures from the UK statistical authority ONS. But the clouds of concern for the future are many. Global economic downturns, but also all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is taking place. The industry, especially the automotive industry due to reduced demand from China, and the construction sector, have particularly serious problems. Most analysts simultaneously warn of an economic shock if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
May get new guarantees from Brussels
11th of March
Theresa May manages to give Brussels legally binding guarantees that the emergency solution (called backstop) for the Northern Ireland-Ireland border will not be permanent. Exactly what it means is still slightly unclear. And in order to be valid, they must also be approved by the governments of the EU countries. However, Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has given the green light. The day after, however, Chancellor of Justice Geoffrey Cox states that nothing in the new documents gives Britain the right to conclude the “emergency solution” should a dispute arise with the EU. The President of the European Commission has previously announced that the UK must leave the EU by May 23, if it does not, the British must take part in the EU elections held May 23 to 26.
Northern Irish companies appeal for willingness to compromise in Brexit vote
Over 50 Northern Ireland companies, both local big corporations and multinational corporations, in an open letter, call on British MPs to be prepared to compromise on Brexit in order to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, protect the British province’s peace and not risk the economy collapse. Various business groups have previously made the same appeal to the DUP for the party to give up its opposition to the draft agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU.
The parliaments in Scotland and Wales mark May
The parliaments in Scotland and Wales are uniting and voting to mark their opposition to the exit agreement reached by the British Prime Minister Theresa May, which the House of Commons will consider for the second time in the coming week. In two identical motions, they call for May to postpone the exit date and oppose any plans for Britain to leave the EU without a deal. The governments of Scotland and Wales have repeatedly stated that they feel neglected in the Brexit process and are facing sharp criticism of how it has been handled.
New fund will help vulnerable cities after the Brexit
4th of March
The government announces that a new fund of £ 1.6 billion will be set up to assist particularly vulnerable cities that are at risk of being hit extra hard by Brexit. Most of the money is expected to go to cities in Northern and Central England. Labor is accusing the government of “bribing” MPs from these cities to support the exit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU. At the same time, critics point out that the regional support that is currently coming from the EU is considerably greater than £ 1.6 billion.
Three new groups are put on the terrorist list
Hezbollah and Ansaroul Islam and Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), which are active in the Sahel region, are placed on the British security authorities’ list of terrorist organizations. This means that it becomes criminal to support them in any way. The Hezbollah military branch has been on the list since 2008. A total of 77 international organizations have been added to the list. In addition, 14 groups in Northern Ireland are banned under terrorist law.
The Minister of Agriculture resigns in protest
Agriculture Minister George Eustice leaves the government in protest against May having promised that the lower house will be allowed to vote on an extension of Brexit if the exit agreement with the EU is voted down. However, Eustice says he plans to vote yes to May’s agreement.
The lower house says no to Labour’s Brexit proposal
The House of Commons votes by a clear majority to Labour’s proposal for Brexit, which includes a proposal for a permanent customs union between the UK and the EU. 240 votes for the proposal and 323 votes against. It suggests that the Labor Party supports the demand for a new referendum on Brexit. On the same day, the Labor Party shuts down one of its MPs, Chris Williamson, after he received criticism for trying to downplay the charges of anti-Semitism within Labor. He apologizes for his statement.
May opens for deferral of Brexit
Prime Minister Theresa May succumbs to pressure, including from within her own government, and opens the door for British withdrawal, but no longer until June (if that is the case, Britain will also take part in the EU elections). She also says that the lower house should be allowed to vote on whether or not the Brexit should be postponed. But it will be a final emergency solution, if the lower house has not approved her agreement with the EU on March 12. If it votes down the agreement, a second vote will be held on March 13 on whether the UK should leave the EU on March 29, even if no agreement exists or not. If the lower house votes against the agreement and refuses to leave the EU without an agreement, a vote on a postponement of the withdrawal shall be held on 14 March.
Corbyn swings on referendum
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn now claims to be ready to support a new referendum on Brexit. But only if the lower house rejects his party’s alternative plan for an EU exit. His new stance should have followed the pressure from leading party comrades, Sir Keir Starmer and Tom Watson, who fear that many of Labor’s MPs would otherwise retire to the Independent Group. At the same time, there are about 20 Labor members who are expected to oppose a referendum. Despite all the problems surrounding Brexit and criticism of the government’s austerity policy, the Conservative Party is leading Labor over the latest opinion polls.
ICJ: Britain should return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius
The ICJ recommends the UK give up control over the Chagos Islands, which Mauritius claims. The UN Court also states that in the 1970s it was wrong for the British to force about 1,500 people to leave the islands to prepare for a US air base. 13 of the 14 judges agree on the issue. Mauritius claims that the UK forced them to leave the islands in exchange for independence, while the British government claims it did so voluntarily. Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf urges the British to act as quickly as possible. ICJThe decision is not binding, but Britain has previously said that the islands should be returned when it is no longer needed for defense reasons. British Foreign Ministry writes that the base of Diego Garcia is important for maintaining security in the world. The people who were forced to leave the islands have for many years struggled to get the opportunity to return there, but British authorities have said no. It was the UN General Assembly that in 2017 turned to the ICJ to have the issue examined.
Brexit vote is postponed
Theresa May postpones the next vote on the exit agreement between the UK and the EU from 27 February to 12 March. At the same time, she is trying to persuade the EU to make new concessions. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn accuses May of creating a situation where the House of Commons can only choose between “her agreement” or leaving the EU without an agreement. Earlier this week, the Labor Party signaled that it wants a permanent customs union with the EU and close cooperation on the common market. At the same time, some of May’s party comrades in the lower house are pressing for the Prime Minister to ask the EU for a two-month resignation in order to “end the negotiations”.
New departure from Labor
Another Labor politician, Ian Austin, jumps off to the newly formed Independent Group in the lower house, which thus consists of twelve members, nine Labor defectors and three from the Conservative Party. This means that the Independent Group is the fourth largest group in the lower house, with a mandate more than the Liberal Democrats.
Three Conservative MEPs are retiring
Three Conservative MPs, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen, leave their party and join the independent group previously formed by eight defeated Labor members. The three justify their decision with the government’s handling of Brexit and how it has put an end to all attempts to modernize the party. This means that Theresa May’s government, with the support of the DUP, has only a nine-member majority.
The government wants to remove a teenager who joined IS citizenship
Shamima Begum, who traveled to Syria in 2015 as a 15-year-old to join the Islamic State(IS), will have her UK citizenship revoked, according to a letter to which her family refers. Shamima Begum, who is in a refugee camp in Syria, has said in an interview that she wants to return to the UK. Depriving her British citizenship is, according to the letter from the Ministry of the Interior, possible as she can apply for citizenship in Bangladesh from which her mother comes. Begum has recently given birth to her third child (however, the two children she has previously given birth are dead) (in March the new child also dies). She now has 28 days to appeal the decision. According to Interior Minister Sajid Javid, about 900 British citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join IS. The decision to revoke the citizenship also raises criticism, and several voices are heard for Begum to stand trial in the UK. The Bangladeshi Ministry of Foreign Affairs later stressed that it is not relevant to grant Begum citizenship in Bangladesh, since she was born in the UK and has not even visited her mother’s home country. British media, however, give conflicting information about what applies. Read more about British citizenship laws inPolitical system.
Eight MEPs are leaving Labor
Seven MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey leave the Labor Party in protest against party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy and how the party leadership handled allegations of anti-Semitism within the party. It has previously been speculated that dissatisfied Labor politicians would form a new party, but the seven now say they will form an independent group in the lower house. Later, Joan Ryan also resigns from Labor and joins the group, citing “anti-Jewish racism” and “hatred of Israel” within the party. She also strongly criticizes party leader Corbyn.
Flybmi in bankruptcy
British airline Flybmi goes bankrupt. As a reason, the company states rising fuel prices and new green taxes, but also the uncertainty created by the Brexit process.
New defeat for May in the lower house
Prime Minister Theresa May suffers a new defeat in the lower house as 303 members vote against her Brexit strategy, while it is only supported by 258 members (66 Conservative members cast their votes). The strategy is for the government to try to find a way to replace the emergency solution for the Northern Ireland border, and to do what it can to avoid the UK leaving the EU without an agreement. The loss in the lower house does not mean anything in practice, but May continues its efforts to get the EU to agree to a revision of the exit agreement.
Economic growth is slowing down
The UK economy grew by 1.4 percent in 2018, which was the lowest growth figure since 2012. Decreased production in the industry, especially in the automotive industry, is part of the explanation. But the construction sector and the service industry have also lost ground.
Collaboration agreement between SDLP and Fianna Fáil
A majority of the members of the Northern Ireland Social Democratic Party SDLP vote for a collaboration with the bourgeois Irish party Fianna Fáil. The decision is criticized by the Irish Government’s Fine Gael and the Labor Party in the same country.
EU countries recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president
Several EU countries, including the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Sweden are acting against Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro. The countries officially recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president, after Maduro rejected an ultimatum to announce new elections. A contact group with countries in the EU and Latin America is formed a few days later to try to resolve the conflict in Venezuela.
May will seek new concessions from the EU
The British House of Commons is voting with little margin for an amendment by Conservative Member Graham Brady that Prime Minister May should try to renegotiate parts of the exit agreement with the EU concerning the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, which goes by the name of “backstop”. 317 members voted in favor of the proposal, 301 against. At the same time, the lower house votes for another amendment that excludes the country from leaving the EU without a divorce agreement with the EU (318 for and 310 against) (the proposal has been tabled by Conservative member Caroline Spelman). Several other amendments were rejected, including trying to persuade the EU to give the UK more time to agree (as it looks now, the country will leave the EU on March 29). None of the proposed amendments is binding. From the EU: On the side, they signal that no renegotiation will be necessary and that the agreement, which has been negotiated for two years, remains firm. Several observers point out the absurdity that May is now trying to renegotiate parts of the agreement that came about on a proposal from the British government. A new vote on the Brexit issue will be held on February 13.
SNP politicians are arrested accused of sexual abuse
Scotland’s former prime minister Alex Salmond is arrested, accused of, among other things, two rape attempts and other sexual abuse. He is released on bail. Salmond denies that he committed any crime (see also listing earlier in January 2019).
Car bomb attack in Northern Ireland
A car bomb explodes outside a courthouse in Derry / Londonderry in Northern Ireland. No person is injured in the attack. Police are alerted to the attack plans ten minutes before the vehicle explodes. Hundreds of people are being evacuated from the surrounding buildings, a Republican paramilitary group calling its New IRA suspected of the act. Five men are later arrested on suspicion of involvement in the act, but four of them are released shortly thereafter. The following week several cars were cut by masked men, but no new assaults are carried out. Later, a group that simply calls themselves the “IRA” takes on the Derry / Londonderry attack, saying in a statement, quoted by the Derry Journal, that it has nothing to do with Brexit. At the same time, the group is threatening new acts of violence against the British krona’s forces.
May’s government remains
Theresa May’s government survives the disbelief vote that Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn directed at the government. 325 members vote to support the government and 306 support the declaration of confidence. The Conservative government wins the vote with the support of the ten members of the Northern Ireland DUP. After the vote, May opens cross-political talks on how to proceed. She has discussions with representatives of the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Plaid Cymru that evening. Corbyn, however, refuses to participate as long as he does not receive guarantees that the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without an agreement has been completely depreciated. The government must present an alternative Brexit plan to Parliament as early as January 21.
The lower house votes no to May’s Brexit agreement
The lower house votes by a clear majority (432 votes) to the Brexit agreement. Only 202 support it. It is the biggest defeat a British government has experienced in the lower house since 1924. Over 100 Conservative members vote no, both supporters of Brexit and those who want Britain to remain in the EU. The government’s support party for the Northern Ireland DUP also rejects the expectation of the agreement. Following the vote, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn makes a statement of no confidence in the Conservative government. It will be held on January 16. Here are graphics from the New York Times about what can happen now.
Nicola Sturgeon in windy weather
Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon reports herself to the Scottish Parliament’s Ethics Committee to decide whether she has violated the ethical rules applicable to ministers. It has happened since it emerged that she had secret contacts with the former Scottish prime minister and former SNP leader Alex Salmond at the same time as an investigation was underway as to whether he had in 2013 committed sexual harassment against two female employees. Salmond denies that he did something wrong. Sturgeon says her contacts with Salmond touched on party issues. A judicial inquiry is also underway to see if there is anything in Salmond’s allegations that the Scottish Government has violated the law and leaked confidential personal information to the media. It has emerged that the Scottish Government made mistakes when their investigators had contacted the women concerned before formally reporting Salmond. In addition to all this, the police conduct their own criminal investigation of charges against Salmond.
May symbolic defeat in the lower house
Theresa May suffers a setback when a meager majority of the lower house votes for a proposal by Labor MP Yvette Cooper that the government must have Parliament’s approval in order to raise some taxes if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 303 members voted for the proposal and 296 voted against. 20 Conservative members vote in favor of the proposal, which in practice is not expected to have any major consequences, as the government can raise money in other ways. The following day, January 9) comes the next setback in May’s House of Commons, with a majority of members voting for another proposal, this time on the initiative of a conservative politician, Dominic Grieve. This means that within three days the government must present a revised Brexit plan if the current proposal is rejected by Parliament next week. This time, 308 members voted for the proposal, while 297 voted against. This time, 17 Conservative members are voting with the opposition, including three former ministers: Justine Greening, Sam Gyimah and Jo Johnson.
Tense for Brexit vote on January 15
7 th of January
It now seems clear that the House of Commons will vote on the Brexit agreement on January 15. According to British media, Prime Minister Theresa May should try to persuade the EU to provide further guarantees on the Northern Ireland issue before the vote and for Parliament to play a more decisive role. 200 MEPs have written to May urging her to exclude the UK from leaving the EU without any kind of agreement on how trade and travel should be handled in the future. At the same time, an exercise is being conducted with hundreds of trappers in Kent to create a system for avoiding queue formation if the British leave EU cooperation without an agreement. Attention is also drawn to the abusive words that Brexit supporters pour into Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP and advocate for a referendum on the Brexit agreement, when she arrives at the House of Commons. Soubry questions why the police do not intervene against the Brexiters. In the past, journalist Faisal Islam, who works for Sky News, has been subjected to racist allegations in the same place.