A group of unelected peers have today claimed Parliament must have a veto on when Theresa May triggers Brexit. In a new report, the House of Lords’ Constitution Committee have demanded the Government should not invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the formal process by which Britain will quit the bloc – without explicit parliamentary approval. They claim it would be “constitutionally inappropriate” for the Prime Minister to proceed without the consent of MPs and peers. The report’s conclusion runs against Mrs May’s belief she does not need to hold a House of Commons vote before kickstarting Brexit. Although they acknowledge the Government has a manifesto commitment to implement the will of the British public shown through the historic June 23 vote, the peers highlight how the EU referendum was not legally-binding on the Government. The 18-page report states: “It would be constitutionally inappropriate, not to mention setting a disturbing precedent, for the Executive to act on an advisory referendum without explicit parliamentary approval—particularly one with such significant long-term consequences.
Britain will not trigger article 50, the formal step that will kick off negotiations on the terms of its exit from the European Union, before its dedicated Brexit ministry is operating at full capacity, the minister in charge said on Tuesday. “The (Brexit) department has doubled in one month. I suspect it will double again in size and that’s about the point we will be looking for that information,” said David Davis, in answer to a question about when his ministry would be assessing data and analysis on Brexit from other parts of government. Asked by a committee of MPs whether his ministry would reach full capacity before or after Article 50 was triggered, he said: “Before … That’s self-evident I would have thought.” Davis went on to say there was already a lot of work going on across government.
The European Parliament’s lead negotiator on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, says the EU needs to have an agreement on UK withdrawal before the next European elections in May or June 2019. In a tweet he said: “Brexit should be delivered before 2019, when EU politics enters into new cycle & the @Europarl_EN starts new mandate.” He will participate in the talks along with negotiators from the European Commission and the ministerial Council. The talks are likely to start in 2017. UK Prime Minister Theresa May says she will not trigger the Brexit mechanism – the EU’s Article 50 – before next year, because detailed preparations are necessary.
Britain’s parliament may well have to ratify part of the legislation needed for the country to exit the European Union, Brexit Secretary David Davis told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday. “There has to be some legislation (to enact Brexit), no doubt about that,” said Davis, whose formal title is Secretary of State for exiting the European Union. “There are various stages, firstly some legislation to deal with the European Communities Act 1972 … There may well have to be at least parliamentary ratification under the relevant 2010 legislation, the so-called CRAG legislation, but that’s the absolute minimum I can see,” he said. He was referring to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The issue of parliamentary ratification is sensitive because a majority of MPs voted for Britain to remain in the European Union. The United Kingdom as a whole voted to leave in a referendum on June 23, and Prime Minister Theresa May has said the will of the people must be respected.
The president of the European Commission is going to urge the EU to stick together after the shock Brexit vote during his annual State of the Union speech. Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to say that the UK’s decision to vote Out on 23 June is a warning that the bloc faces a battle for survival against mounting nationalism in Europe. He has faced calls to resign over Brexit, but insists he tried his hardest to ensure that the UK remained a member state.
The European Union is facing an ‘existential threat’, its most senior official will warn on Wednesday, as major splits emerge between East and West countries in the wake of Brexit. Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, will on Wednesday deliver a ‘State of the Union’ speech, in which he will attempt to ease tensions in an increasingly divided continent. He will even point to the murder of a Polish man in Harlow, Essex last month as an example of what could happen if Europe does not unite. Mr Juncker’s speech comes as the EU descended into bitter recriminations following accusations that an authoritarian Commission was to blame for Brexit.
A UK parliamentary report has severely criticised the intervention by Britain and France that led to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The foreign affairs committee accused the then PM David Cameron of lacking a coherent strategy for the air campaign. It said the intervention had not been “informed by accurate intelligence”, and that it led to the rise of so-called Islamic State in North Africa. The UK government said it had been an international decision to intervene. The action had been called for by the Arab League and authorised by the UN Security Council, the Foreign Office added.
A PLOT to nail bomb crowds at an Elton John gig and at Buckingham Palace would have been on the scale of 7/7, a court heard yesterday. Student Haroon Ali Syed’s terror plan was allegedly inspired by IS and is also said to have targeted London’s busy Oxford Street and military bases. The 19-year-old allegedly intended to strike at a concert by Sir Elton in London’s Hyde Park on the anniversary of 9/11. Police believe he originally planned to be a suicide bomber, and wanted to buy machine guns or pistols to carry out a “lone wolf” killing spree. Prosecutor Thomas Halpin told Westminster magistrates’ court: “It is alleged Haroon Syed was planning a terrorist attack in the UK.
A teenager has appeared in court accused of planning to carry out a mass-casualty terror attack at London landmarks including Buckingham Palace.
Haroon Ali-Syed, 19, from Hounslow in west London, was arrested last week on suspicion of a terror offence. It is alleged that between April 2016 and September 2016, Ali-Syed attempted to obtain weapons online, including an explosive device, with a view to launching an assault on a busy area of the capital. It is believed that Oxford Street and military bases were also among the targets the defendant had allegedly considered as a location for the attack. Ali-Syed was charged with the intention of committing acts of terrorism engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention.
MPs say the HS2 rail link needs a “realistic timetable” and believe the current schedule is “overly ambitious”. The Public Accounts Committee says “it is not convinced” that the first phase of the £56bn rail line – linking London and Birmingham – will open at the end of 2026 as planned. It also urged the government to clarify the route and costs for the second phase, linking to Manchester and Leeds. A government spokesperson said the project was “on time and on budget”. “We are keeping a tough grip on costs, and pressing ahead with plans for Phase Two – with further details due to be announced this autumn,” the spokesperson for the Department for Transport added.
Urgent clarity is needed over the future of £55bn HS2 high-speed rail project, MPs have warned, criticising the “significant uncertainty” faced by local communities as the government deliberates. MPs on the influential public accounts committee have said the government must set out “a realistic timetable for delivering HS2” and that the transport secretary, Chris Grayling , should make clear by the autumn if the first stage of the route, from London to the West Midlands, will be complete by 2026. In June, the National Audit Office said HS2’s first phase could potentially be delayed by up to a year. The committee said it was concerned that the timetable for opening phase one by 2026 was overly ambitious and cost estimates for phase two exceeded available funding by £7bn.
Multibillion-pound plans for a high-speed rail link between London and the north are being dogged by “significant uncertainty” after the sudden resignation of the line’s chief executive, according to MPs. Simon Kirby’s decision to abandon HS2 in favour of a job with Rolls-Royce has fueled the doubts enveloping the £56 billion programme, the cross-party group said. The commons public accounts committee urged the government to act quickly to prevent the project spiraling out of control.
The Conservatives have been accused of trying to rig the UK’s electoral system after a Tory-commissioned review threatened to strip an estimated 23 seats from Labour. Jeremy Corbyn’s party branded the proposals “unfair, undemocratic and unacceptable”, while campaigners claimed they were based on flawed data and would “skew” democracy. The Labour Leader’s own North London seat is set to be axed, while leading moderates such as Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna faced changes that could leave them vulnerable to de-selection. But doubt has been cast over whether the plans will ever come into force, after they also put a higher-than-expected number of Tory seats at risk.
The Tories have been accused of rigging the electoral system in a new carve-up of voting boundaries which could cost Labour 23 seats – including Jeremy Corbyn ’s. The Labour leader’s constituency will be abolished in the biggest shake-up in 70 years, leaving just 68 of England’s 533 seats intact. Challenger Owen Smith is under threat too. Labour MP Jon Ashworth said it was an “affront to democracy”, adding: “It’s about the Tories trying to gerrymander the system to benefit themselves.” Katie Ghose, of the Electoral Reform Society , said poorer areas tending to support Labour would be worst hit.
The Home Office has hinted that old-style blue British passports could make a comeback if the UK leaves the European Union. The colour of UK citizens’ travel documents has been the subject of intense debate since the country voted for Brexit on 23 June. Responding to a written question from Conservative MP Julian Knight the Home Office said it was looking into alternative designs for the passport after it is no longer required to be red in line with other EU countries. Home Office minister Robert Goodwill said: “We are considering potential changes to the UK passport after the UK has left the European Union.
The Government is poised to give the green light to the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power plant. Downing Street and the new Department for Business and Energy are working flat out so that an agreement can be announced before the end of the week. The Prime Minister wanted to announce on Monday that the project was back on but had to postpone the plans when the Cabinet minister in charge of the project said he had some last minute concerns. The £18 billion scheme in Somerset was stalled when Theresa May unexpectedly announced she wanted to review the whole project shortly after she took office in July. She promised to make a decision by September.
End of the world
The virtual clock appears on cryptic website Bad Self Eater, where its timer is counting down to 4pm on September 14. Not to be deterred by all other false apocalypse predictions to date, wacky doomsayers are at it again, suggesting the clock could be ticking towards the end of days. According to YouTube conspiracy theory enthusiast Lisa Haven, the site has now gone viral, fueling claims the end could really be nigh. In a video titled “Cryptic Apocalyptic Countdown Ends September 14th”, Haven analyses the enigmatic symbols behind the clock on the bizarre website.