UK & other courts
In the first case to test the Ministry of Defence’s duty to protect against Q fever, Wayne Bass, a former private from the 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, is suing the MoD over its failure to protect him from contracting Q fever in Afghanistan by not providing antibiotics.
Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
In an attempt to address the concerns raised by human rights groups and the media regarding the impact of a body of secret law emerging which is neither properly indexed nor available for the public to consult, the judiciary has created a database of intelligence and security judgments.
The UK Government is to award thirty-three Cypriots £1m in damages for claims that they were tortured by British forces during an armed uprising in the late 1950s.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
Theresa May is expected to reject calls to forge a cross-party consensus on Brexit when she lays out her plan B to Parliament on Monday, choosing instead to back new diplomatic efforts in Brussels to renegotiate the Irish backstop. Her spokesman has stated that Parliament is unlikely to have a second binding vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal until February, playing down the significance of the motion due to be voted on on 29th Jan.
Dominic Grieve has laid out his plan to take control of parliamentary business on Brexit for a day, but has insisted this plan does not amount to a ‘coup d’état’ though Downing Street is ‘extremely concerned’ over it.
Keir Starmer has insisted that Labour must not rule out backing a second referendum if it fails to force a general election. Meanwhile, Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, is to call on his party not to fail Britain at a ‘great moment of change’ and urge the party to ‘engage intelligently’ with Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn, who has been under pressure from scores of his own MPs to swing behind a so-called “People’s Vote”, has tabled an amendment to the Government’s Brexit plans urging a series of votes on plans to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
Stating that May’s deal ‘would be better than not leaving at all’, Jacob Rees-Mogg has dropped a major hint that his group of hardcore pro-Brexit Tory MPs are willing to strike a deal with the prime minister on Brexit.
Theresa May is reportedly on a collision course with Parliament after she refused to compromise to secure a Brexit deal in the eve of the deadline set by MPs about next steps. However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the prime minister is considering amending the Good Friday Agreement as part of a fresh attempt to unblock the Brexit logjam.
The Prime Minister has claimed that failing to implement the result of the original vote in 2016 could ‘undermine faith in our democracy’ among voters, warning that a second EU referendum could ‘damage social cohesion’ in the UK.
Amber Rudd has told Theresa May that up to 40 ministers could walk out of the Government within days unless Conservative MPs are allowed to vote on a plan that could block a no-deal Brexit. However, Theresa May has been warned of a mutiny by the Tory grass roots if she rules out a no deal. Meanwhile, Yvette Cooper and Nick Boles have tabled an amendment to Theresa May’s parliamentary motion about Brexit plan B seeking to prevent the UK leaving the bloc without an agreement if the prime minister’s revised deal is rejected by MPs.
Michel Barnier has rebuffed the idea of renegotiating the Irish backstop, and although the Polish foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, suggested a five year time limit on the backstop, this was rejected by both Germany and Ireland. Meanwhile, the EU has confirmed it will enforce a hard border on the island of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit, despite the risk it would pose to peace. Austrian Chancellor Sebastien Kurz has encouraged the UK to extend art 50 rather than risk crashing out of the EU without a deal.
Five Cabinet members – including Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Chancellor Philip Hammond are among the 18 ministers who have reportedly been secretly plotting in Parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
In a speech the Queen has urged people to find “common ground” and to respect “different points of view”, in remakes which commentators have suggested refer to the Brexit debate.
Brussels is struggling to prevent EU member states from adopting contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit that it sees as too generous to UK sectors such as road haulage and aviation.