David Davis has been told he could be in contempt of parliament after his department heavily edited government analyses on the impact of Brexit on 58 industrial sectors before handing them to a select committee. Opposition MPs accused the Brexit secretary of leaving out “politically embarrassing” information after he refused to include anything deemed to be market sensitive or that he said could damage the UK’s negotiations with the EU27. Davis said he was withholding the information because he had “received no assurances from the [Brexit] committee regarding how any information passed will be used”. But that triggered a furious reaction from MPs on the Brexit select committee who were supposed to be handed over the reports after a unanimous and binding vote of MPs. One option, they said, is to trigger contempt proceedings against the cabinet minister. They will meet with their chair, Hilary Benn, to discuss whether the release is acceptable on Tuesday … [Read more...] about David Davis could be in contempt of parliament over Brexit studies
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Already under pressure, Prime Minister Theresa May's government lost three votes in the House of Commons on Tuesday, even before the main debate got underway. May is seeking approval from the house for the exit deal from the EU which her negotiators signed off last week. That vote will be taken next Tuesday. But this Tuesday began with a setback for her as a European Court of Justice advocate general gave formal advice that revoking the "Article 50" divorce notice was an option for the House without the other EU 27 member states having a say. The UK does not need approval of other EU countries to withdraw from Brexit, the advocate ruled. Then, MPs voted 311 to 293 in favor of holding the UK government "in contempt of parliament" for refusing to release key legal advice on the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop legal guarantee for avoiding a hard border with Ireland. House Leader Andrea Leadsom said the government would publish "the final and full advice provided by the … [Read more...] about UK government loses key votes as parliament gains powers in next Brexit steps
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's attempt to call a snap election failed to garner the support of two-thirds of lawmakers in the House of Commons on Wednesday — leaving the Brexit process in limbo. It was his third defeat in the lower house of Parliament in just two days — coming right after opposition MPs and rebels in Johnson's Conservatives approved a bill that could force Johnson to ask the European Union for another Brexit delay, a step he has repeatedly said he will not take. With Johnson losing his majority after expelling rebel Tory MPs and with time running out before the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31, here's a look at what to look out for over the next few days: What's happening with the no-deal Brexit bill? The bill was passed in the House of Commons. Now lawmakers in the upper chamber of Parliament, the House of Lords, will debate it. Time will be tight to get the bill approved, as Johnson has moved to suspend Parliament as of next week. … [Read more...] about Brexit: What’s happened and what’s next?
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has pencilled in 19 June for the first formal day of talks with Britain about its withdrawal from the European Union, in what are being billed as the most important negotiations in the country’s history. That highly symbolic morning, Barnier will face whoever is the British Brexit secretary after the election for the first day of an arduous 15 months of negotiations to hammer out the terms of the UK’s exit. It is understood that the European commission’s Brexit taskforce, led by Barnier, shared the proposed date with key figures in Brussels last week. EU officials are yet to discuss any logistics with the UK, however, due to an ongoing row with Theresa May’s government over its blocking of a mid-term review of the union’s budget. Brussels cancelled plans for behind-the-scenes “pre-talk talks” to discuss how the negotiations could be handled in anger last month when Britain vetoed the shuffling of … [Read more...] about Brexit negotiations set to start on 19 June
AstraZeneca's non-executive chairman, Leif Johansson, told France's Le Monde the pharmaceutical company had halted investments in the UK as British Prime Minister Theresa May faced growing pressure Monday to rethink her plan for leaving the EU after Brexit talks reached a standoff on the weekend over arrangements for the UK border with Ireland. "If a transition deal does not make clear what will happen in the future, AstraZeneca will maintain its decision not to invest," Le Monde quoted Johansson as saying in an interview. "A Brexit agreement will need to ensure that Britain does not become an isolated island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean," Johansson added. 'No benefits involved' AstraZeneca has already spent £40 million ($53 million, €46 million) stockpiling medicines in the UK and continental Europe to prevent supply disruptions, if the two sides fail to reach a withdrawal agreement. More than 2,600 drugs have some part of their manufacturing carried out in … [Read more...] about AstraZeneca suspends UK investments over Brexit fears