Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
Calls for the Home Office to stop returning asylum seekers to Afghanistan have intensified after a report that showed that the number of civilian casualties in the country exceeded 10,000 for the fourth year running in 2017.
The global extent of MI6’s cooperation with Muammar Gaddafi and Tony Blair’s personal role in negotiating the alliance have emerged in previously secret documents released in a High Court case over rendition, with Libyan files showing that the then head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, flew to Tripoli in 2004 to discuss how to conduct a joint campaign against exiled Libyan jihadists.
Margaret Hodge, a prominent Labour MP, has accused British overseas territories of undermining the security services by helping North Korea breach US sanctions.
Amnesty International has published its annual assessment of human rights around the world, warning that, for Britain, the Brexit bill is set to ‘substantially reduce rights in the UK’.
Campaigners have won a third High Court victory over the UK Government’s plans to tackle air pollution, with the judge finding that the Government plan was ‘unlawful’.
The UK has gained one point in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, meaning it is now ranked as the eighth least corrupt country in the world.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
In her Munich speech, Theresa May called for a new UK-EU security treaty post-Brexit, offering a concession on the ECJ role in return. However this has been widely viewed as uncompelling.
Theresa May plans to keep her cabinet ministers at Chequers for an away day until they have outlined a Brexit plan that includes a high level of alignment between EU and UK rules.
The Institute for Public Policy Research has published a briefing considering new findings on public attitudes to Brexit.
City leaders from some of the biggest cities outside London have accused the Government of failing to involve them in the Brexit process, as a group of councillors and mayors met the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barmier.
In a speech in Austria, David Davis is to tell business leaders that fears that leaving the EU will plunge the UK into a “Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction” are unfounded. His speech, considered in The Guardian, insisted that Brexit ‘will not change the kind of country Britain is’. Meanwhile The Guardian has published a detailed analysis of David Davis as negotiator.
The Lords EU Select Committee has travelled to Brussels to continue its scrutiny of Brexit negotiations.
The Financial Times has considered the road to the March council, and three issues which continue to pressurise Theresa May.
Campaigners to stop Brexit have prepared a six-week advertising blitz, with billboards and digital publicity to target voters in the Midlands and north.
The House of Commons Library has published a report in advance of a Westminster Hall debate considering the alternatives to a no-deal outcome in the Brexit negotiations. It has also published a report looking at the January 2018 negotiating directives drawn up by the Council of Ministers.
A group of 62 Tory Eurosceptic MPs have written a letter to Theresa May, urging her to hold firm on plans for Brexit to mean leaving the single and customs unions. Meanwhile Charles Grant for the Centre for European Reform has argued that Theresa May can’t afford red lines on Brexit.
The Financial Times has reported that the UK is on a collision course with the EU as the UK’s position paper does not contain an end date for the transition period, stating that it wants at least 24 months, and it is trying to give itself the power to reject new EU laws. However, Downing Street has insisted there will be a firm end-date to the Brexit transition period, but Theresa May has angered Cabinet ministers by signing off on Britain’s negotiating strategy for the transition period after Brexit.
Theresa May has reportedly been forced to reassure jittery Brexiters on the Conservative backbenches as her 11-member Brexit inner cabinet prepared to assemble for an eight-hour awayday to thrash out a deal on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. However pro-Brexit ministers have claimed victory after a key Cabinet committee agreed a compromise deal on the UK’s future relationship with the EU in crunch talks. The FT considers the truce in light of Labour’s shift in position to arguing to keep the UK in a customs union, which could result in a Commons defeat for the Government.
The EU27 have ruled out the UK Government’s preferred approach to a future trade deal, under which the UK would be in regulatory alignment with the EU in some areas while finding different ways to achieve the same outcomes in other sectors, describing it as a risk to the European project.
The European Scrutiny Committee has asked the Government for urgent clarification about the financial implications for UK taxpayers of the proposed transition period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, with The Guardian reporting that the transition extension could cost £5bn. The paper also reports that the UK will lose its rebate from the EU at end of 2020 if it seeks to extend the Brexit transition beyond then.