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Prime Minister Theresa May to try to break Brexit deadlock with EU concessions

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British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to break the Brexit deadlock on Monday by setting out proposals in parliament that are expected to focus on winning more concessions from the European Union.

With just over two months until the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29 there is no agreement in London on how and even whether it should leave the world’s biggest trading bloc.

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After her Brexit divorce deal was rejected by members of parliament last week, May has been searching for a way to get a deal through parliament, so far in vain.

The EU, which has an economy more than six times the size of the United Kingdom, says it wants an orderly exit but senior officials have expressed frustration and sorrow at London’s deepening crisis over Brexit.

“I have often said Shakespeare could not have written any better the tragedy we are now witnessing in Britain,” German Europe Minister Michael Roth told broadcaster ARD.

Attempts to forge a consensus with the opposition Labour Party failed so May is expected to focus on winning over 118 rebels in her own party and the small Northern Irish party which props up her government with concessions from the EU.

May will focus on changing the Northern Irish backstop, an insurance policy to ensure no return to a hard border between the British province and Ireland.

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IRELAND
May will make a statement in parliament at 1530 GMT and put forward a motion on her proposed next steps on Brexit, though some MPs are planning to wrest control of Britain’s exit from the government.

Buying sterling is not advisable because of Brexit uncertainty, UBS Wealth Management said on Monday, adding that hedging pound exposure over the next three months is one way to avoid market volatility.

In a sign of just how grave the political crisis in London has become, the Daily Telegraph reported that May was considering amending the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.

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It said EU sources cast May’s plan a non-starter as a renegotiation of such a significant international treaty would require the consent of all parties involved in Northern Ireland.

May told her ministers she would focus on securing changes from Brussels designed to win over rebel Conservatives and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, The Times said.

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Ireland will not engage in bilateral talks on Brexit and will only negotiate as part of the 27 remaining members of the EU, Ireland’s European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee said on Monday.

“What we can’t do and what we won’t do, because we have not throughout this entire process, is engage in any kind of bilateral negotiations with the DUP or any other political party in Northern Ireland or the UK. This is a negotiation between the EU and the UK,” McEntee told national broadcaster RTE.

After May’s motion is published, MPs will be able to propose amendments to it, setting out alternatives to her deal.

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The 650-seat parliament is deeply divided over Brexit, with different factions of MPs supporting a wide range of options including leaving without a deal, holding a second referendum and seeking a customs union with the EU.

Ever since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016, London’s political class has been debating how to leave the European project forged by France and Germany after the devastation of World War Two.

While the country is divided over EU membership, most agree the world’s fifth largest economy is at a crossroads and its choices over Brexit will shape the prosperity of future generations for years to come.

Editing by Janet Lawrence


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Thais ‘cast a spell’ for democracy in Harry Potter-theme protest

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Dozens of mostly young Thais wearing striped "Harry Potter" scarves rallied Monday against the government, vowing to "cast a spell" for democracy as the nascent movement grows increasingly bold in targeting the powerful elite.

For more than two weeks, young Thais across the country have held near daily protests at universities and town halls to denounce the military-aligned government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

Some have also waded into sensitive territory in recent weeks by holding up placards opposing Thailand's lese majeste law, one of the world's harshest.

It shields the monarchy and its super-rich King Maha Vajiralongkorn from criticism, making open scrutiny of the monarch virtually impossible.

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‘Drinking the Kool-Aid’: Famous anti-cult attorney explains what Trump has in common with notorious People’s Temple leader

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Los Angeles-based attorney/journalist Paul Morantz is famous for his work against cults — most notably, Synanon, which tried to kill him in 1978 by placing a rattlesnake in his mailbox. And in a scathing op-ed for his website, Morantz compares President Donald Trump to the infamous cult leader Jim Jones, arguing that Trump, in effect, committed “mass murder” by downplaying the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and encouraging large gatherings despite the dangers.

In 1978, the same year in which Morantz survived a rattlesnake bite, Jones was responsible for a mass killing in a remote area of Guyana — where the leader of the People’s Temple ordered his followers to drink Kool-Aid that was laced with cyanide. More than 900 cult members died at the Jonestown settlement on November 18, 1978, and in 2020, the slang expression “drinking the Kool-Aid” is still used to criticize people who blindly accept bad information.

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Ignorant mask opponents keep using one of the worst analogies imaginable as COVID-19 sweeps across America

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Earlier this year, my college students and I joined our chaplain and a graduate student in traveling to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. The insensitive treatment many attendees gave the terrors that the museum was trying to educate people about are being repeated in a new way: weaponizing the Holocaust against any mask mandates, social distancing, or other health regulations designed to combat the deadly spread of COVID-19.  Amazingly, some of their targets are Jewish.

About a week ago, a couple went into a Minnesota Wal-Mart with swastika masks over their faces.  The Minnesota GOP apologized this month for a Washaba County Republican Party meme comparing mask mandates to Jews having to wear yellow stars.

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