Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
The Times has reported that Britain secretly abandoned its opposition to the death penalty to hand over information linked to the prosecution of a 9/11 suspect when Lord Blunkett was home secretary under a scheme of ‘mutual legal assistance’.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
700,000 people attended the People’s Vote march through central London, demanding a new referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
Theresa May is facing a rebellion by more than 40 of her MPs if she does not agree to fresh demands from Brexiters including amendments to Government legislation that would stop Northern Ireland being placed in a different regulatory and customs territory from the rest of Britain. Meanwhile the prime minister is reportedly also facing a Cabinet revolt after attempting to shore up support for her Brexit plans during an hour-and-a-half long conference call with her ministers. However she has defended her handling of the Brexit talks, stating the 95% of the withdrawal agreement is complete.
In The Guardian, Fintan O’Toole has argued that the Brexiters don’t care about Northern Ireland, and are using the rejection of a hard border as an excuse for no deal. Meanwhile new data released by Northern Ireland’s emergency service has warned that a post-Brexit hard border in Northern Ireland could put lives at risk, as hundreds of emergency vehicles have crossed the frontier in the past two years.
The House of Commons has published a Memorandum from the Government on parliamentary approval of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Civil servants have reportedly begun contingency planning for a second Brexit referendum amid fears Theresa May is unable to get parliament to back a deal.
For Brexit Central, Gisela Stuart has argued that the transition period must not be extended. Meanwhile, setting out a four-point plan to break the Brexit deadlock, Theresa May has left open the possibility of an extended transition, though has insisted that the period will end ‘well before’ 2022. She has also set a date in November for Whitehall to trigger a series of no-deal Brexit preparations, facing up to the possibility that there will be no agreement with the EU about Britain’s departure.
This weekend’s newspapers included a string of violent comments about the embattled Prime Minister, with anonymous pro-Brexit MPs advising her to “bring her own noose” to Wednesday’s crunch meeting of the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs; however leading Brexiter critics of Theresa May leapt to her defence in response. The prime minister emerged unscathed from the packed meeting, giving an “emotional and personal” speech which reportedly won over MPs.
In a bid to overcome the impasse, Michel Barnier has stated that he is prepared to delete the contentious references to Northern Ireland staying with the EU’s ‘customs territory’ in Brussels’ Brexit plan.
The Government is to start issuing instructions to UK-based companies next month on the action they will need to take in the event of a no-deal Brexit, irrespective of how withdrawal negotiations with the EU progress in Brussels.
According to a YouGov poll, 67% of Britons think Theresa May’s Government is handling the Brexit talks badly. Meanwhile an EU public opinion survey has found that Britons would now vote to remain in the EU by a margin of 53 to 35%, with 12% undecided.
Cabinet ministers have warned Theresa May that a no-deal Brexit could plunge Britain into an economic crisis and force the Government to charter ships to access food and medicines. This is also reported in the Financial Times.
The Times has seen Cabinet papers outlining the option of the UK staying in a rolling, multi-year transition post-Brexit, which Geoffrey Cox has likened to the limbo of Dante’s first circle of hell. However, at a meeting of the 1922 Committee, Theresa May is to reassure Conservative MPs that she will not sign a deal leaving the UK in limbo over the customs union or end up to Northern Ireland being split from the rest of the country.
The fifth meeting of the Ministerial Forum (EU Negotiations) has discussed the latest state of EU negotiations, the UK Government’s proposal for co-operative accords, the co-operative accord for science and innovation and the co-operative accord for culture and education.
The Lords EU Committee has written to Dominic Raab, following his refusal to give evidence to the Committee until after a final deal has been made with the EU, describing this as ‘unacceptable’, and urging him to engage with Committees in order to scrutinise the Withdrawal Agreement and the future UK–EU relationship.
The FT has published a Brexit timeline for the final straight in the UK’s divorce from the EU.