UK & other courts
The UK Government is reportedly lobbying to block the ICC from activating the war crime of aggression, according to campaigners, in a move that could protect Tony Blair and other British politicians from the risk of future prosecution.
UK and the UN
The UN chief, Antonio Guterres, delivered a speech in London on ‘Counter-terrorism and human rights: winning the fight while upholding our values’, arguing that “terrorism is fundamentally the denial and destruction of human rights”.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
The tensions in Theresa May’s Government have intensified ahead of the votes on the Brexit bill, as ministers accused Boris Johnson and Michael Gove of sending an “Orwellian” set of secret demands to No 10. This has left the Brexit secretary, David Davis, angry at their attempt to steer the UK’s exit.
Michel Barnier has stated that a no-deal scenario is not Brussels’ preferred option, but that the EU is planning for it, and the Dutch parliament has warned its government to start making serious contingency plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Meanwhile the FT reports that the onus is on the UK to unblock Brexit talks, as the EU sees little point in making concessions to a weak Government.
MPs have begun debating the EU (Withdrawal) Bill in Parliament, and, just prior to the beginning of this debate, David Davis announced that MPs will be given a binding vote on the terms of the final Brexit deal. The Guardian reported on this live.
The House of Commons has published the list of amendments being debated. Meanwhile, whilst The Telegraph has dubbed Tories rebelling against the leave date ‘Brexit mutineers’, this approach has backfired, with Tories vowing to resist the ‘blood-curdling threats’ and accusing the Telegraph of ‘blatant bullying’. Considering the likelihood of any amendments passing, Alan Wager, for the UK in a Changing Europe, has crunched the parliamentary numbers on the withdrawal bill, whilst the Financial Tines has stated that the UK Government is on the verge of giving up on its plan to put a specific date for Brexit into domestic law due to the Tory rebellion.
The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has argued that the UK Government is keeping the devolved administrations “substantially in the dark” over the EU withdrawal negotiations. However, following talks at No 10, Nicola Sturgeon appeared more optimistic, though warning significant concessions are still necessary to win Holyrood support. Meanwhile Scottish Secretary David Mundell has reiterated his opposition to a second independence referendum in Scotland, whilst urging the Scottish Government to concentrate on working with the UK Government on securing a good Brexit deal.
Former AG Dominic Grieve has warned that the UK Government may need to introduce more significant legislation to facilitate a post-Brexit transitional deal.
Theresa May is reportedly set to meet the European Parliament’s leadership next week. Meanwhile, following talks between the Prime Minister and MEP Manfred Weber, the ally of Merkel has suggested he is ‘more optimistic’ of a breakthrough in Brexit talks, stating that Theresa May is close to offering a financial deal to progress the negotiations. However, David Davis has warned the PM not to promise too much money to Brussels ahead of next month’s European summit, insisting some must be held back for negotiating the trade deal. Britain is preparing a cause to cut the Brexit divorce bill, considering the question of what it is fair to pay.
Hans-Olaf Henkel, the former head of the Federation of German Industries, has stated that Germany expects Brexit secretary David Davis to offer his “unconditional surrender,” to the EU’s terms when he delivers a keynote speech to trade chiefs in Berlin.
Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, has advocated another Brexit referendum, stating that there should be “a confirming vote on a decision so monumental and irreversible”.
Boris Johnson has dismissed Irish demands for a five-year Brexit transition as the gulf deepens between London and Dublin over the Northern Irish border.