UN & the UK
The UN Economic Commission for Europe has asked the UK to suspend work on Hinkley Point C due to the Government’s failure to consult with European countries over the project.
Following a General Assembly resolution in December 2016, negotiations will shortly begin at the UN to create a legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. However the UK will not participate, in a move that UNA-UK contends is at odds with obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
Downing Street has confirmed that Theresa May will trigger art 50 on 29 Mar 2017, thus beginning the formal process of leaving the EU. However European sources have stated that Britain could have to wait until June to begin formal talks, and indeed the EU will not hold its first Brexit summit until 29 Apr 2017.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has challenged Theresa May directly over her claim that she would be willing to walk away from the negotiating table, saying that failure to reach a deal would have serious repercussions for the UK. Meanwhile Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has called Brexit “a failure and a tragedy”, though stating the EU is not in a hostile mood toward Britain, and hopes for a friendly relationship.
Officials in the department overseeing Brexit are demanding a funding boost from Philip Hammond to help them deal with the process of leaving the EU as they will need to employ hundreds more staff. Meanwhile Philip Hammond has reportedly come under pressure from Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers to cap the upcoming Brexit ‘divorce bill’ at just £3bn. EU sources have stated that a failure to refer to multibillion-pound Brexit divorce bill in notification letter would receive condemnatory response.
The House of Lords EU Committee has published a report considering justice for families, individuals and businesses post Brexit, stating that leaving the EU legal framework will pose risks for cross border disputes.
The Institute for Government has warned the Government of the challenges that legislating for Brexit will bring, with the necessity of about 15 Brexit-related laws leaving ‘very little space’ for other legislation. Meanwhile MPs have told the Government that it should be prepared to accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ in some areas after the UK leaves the EU.
Britain and Germany are set to sign a new defence pact as Theresa May signals her intention to play a significant role in European security after Brexit.
More than 70 MPs have declared that the BBC risks alienating itself from people who voted for Brexit if it continues its ‘pessimistic’ coverage of the EU departure, though Tony Hall has defended the news coverage.
The latest report on Brexit by NatCen considers what ‘the people’ want to emerge from the Brexit negotiations, suggesting that Britons want free trade (88%) but also want immigration control (69%).