UN & the UK
In its annual trade and development report, ‘Beyond austerity: Towards a new global deal’, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has argued that austerity budgets adopted by Governments across the world, including the UK’s, since the 2008 financial crash are to blame for undermining the job security of millions of workers and threatening the progress made by women in the workplace.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
In its first sign of contingency planning in case Brexit talks break down, Brussels has taken steps to amend legislation to ensure the stability of the EU carbon market, keeping prices level.
The EU Withdrawal Bill passed its first parliamentary vote in the Commons by 326 to 290 votes. However, Conservative MPs warned Theresa May that their support for her Government’s Brexit legislation was not unconditional, demanding significant changes to the bill within minutes of backing it. This followed David Davis’ claim that voting against the bill would mean a chaotic Brexit.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has clashed with opposition leaders after urging them to work together over Brexit without dropping her plans for a second independence vote. Meanwhile the Scottish Conservatives have urged the SNP to drop their grievance agenda on Brexit and work to get the process through both the Scottish and UK Parliaments.
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s controversial former finance minister, has stated that Theresa May should abandon her Brexit talks as she is ‘sleepwalking into a disaster’.
General secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, has mocked Theresa May’s Brexit demands, condemning them as the ‘equivalent of a letter to Santa’. Meanwhile former Brexit minister, Lord Bridges, has argued that the UK needs to be honest about the complexity and scale of leaving the EU, as well as about the lack of time to reach an agreement.
Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit coordinator for the European parliament, has urged Theresa May to rethink her refusal to address MEPs, stating that to do so would be in her best interests. Meanwhile, in his annual State of the Union speech, Jean-Claude Juncker has called for greater EU integration ahead of Brexit.
The UK in a Changing Europe has considered the potential consequences of a no deal Brexit.
Theresa May has announced that she will deliver a speech in Florence next week to update on the Brexit negotiations so far. According to the Financial Times, the Prime Minister setting out her plans for a transition deal is key to addressing concerns in Brussels over a budget hole.
The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee has taken evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of its inquiry, Brexit: sanctions policy. Meanwhile the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, has called for clarity on post-Brexit laws, stating that the CJEU would be interpreting laws in the context of ever closer European union, based on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, and that therefore British judges needed to know the UK parliament’s view.