Category Archives: United Kingdom

(BBC) Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London


Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.

The Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court.

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said it withdrew Mr Assange’s asylum after his repeated violations of international conventions.

But Wikileaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK.Skip Twitter post by @sajidjavid

Sajid Javid@sajidjavid

Nearly 7yrs after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation & @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law2,77510:35 AM – Apr 11, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy2,757 people are talking about thisReport

End of Twitter post by @sajidjavid

Mr Assange, 47, had been in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation – which he denied and was later dropped.

But he still faces a lesser charge of skipping bail in 2012 and he says this could lead to an extradition to the US for publishing US secrets on the Wikileaks website.

Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.

Mr Assange would remain in custody at a central London police station, before appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court “as soon as is possible”, the statement added.

Ecuador ‘reached its limit’

The Ecuadorean president said the country had “reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange” after he intervened in the internal affairs of other states.

Mr Moreno said: “The most recent incident occurred in January 2019, when WikiLeaks leaked Vatican documents.

“This and other publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.”

Twitter post by @wikileaks: This man is a son, a father, a brother. He has won dozens of journalism  awards. He's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2010. Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to dehumanise, delegitimize and imprison him. #ProtectJulian

It comes a day after Wikileaks said it had uncovered an extensive spying operation against its co-founder at the Ecuadorean embassy.

There has been a long-running dispute between the Ecuadorean authorities and Mr Assange about what he was and was not allowed to do in the embassy.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said that over the years they have removed his access to the internet and accused him of engaging in political activities – which is not allowed when claiming asylum.

He said: “Precisely what has happened in the embassy is not clear – there has been claim and counter claim.”

Mr Assange will initially face UK legal proceedings but could be extradited to the US over the Wikileaks revelations, he added.

UK foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan said the arrest followed “extensive dialogue between our two countries”.

Timeline: Julian Assange saga

Julian Assange
  • August 2010 – The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office first issues an arrest warrant for Mr Assange. It says there are two separate allegations – one of rape and one of molestation. Mr Assange says the claims are “without basis”
  • December 2010 – Mr Assange is arrested in London and bailed at the second attempt
  • May 2012 – The UK’s Supreme Court rules he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations
  • June 2012 – Mr Assange enters the Ecuadorean embassy in London
  • August 2012 – Ecuador grants asylum to Mr Assange, saying there are fears his human rights might be violated if he is extradited
  • August 2015 – Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations – one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion because they have run out of time to question him. But he still faces the more serious accusation of rape.
  • October 2015 – Metropolitan Police announces that officers will no longer be stationed outside the Ecuadorean embassy
  • February 2016 – A UN panel rules that Mr Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” by UK and Swedish authorities since 2010
  • May 2017 – Sweden’s director of public prosecutions announces that the rape investigation into Mr Assange is being dropped
  • July 2018 – The UK and Ecuador confirm they are holding ongoing talks over the fate of Mr Assange
  • October 2018 – Mr Assange is given a set of house rules at the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He then launches legal action against the government of Ecuador
  • December 2018 – Mr Assange’s lawyer rejects an agreement announced by Ecuador’s president to see him leave the Ecuadorean embassy
  • February 2019 – Australia grants Mr Assange a new passport amid fears Ecuador may bring his asylum to an end
  • April 2019 – The Metropolitan Police arrests him for “failing to surrender to the court” over a warrant issued in 2012

(CNBC) The UK has a Brexit extension and here is what the big banks think


  • Theresa May has been granted another 6 months to sort out Brexit.
  • Several options, including her own resignation, remain firmly on the table.
  • The EU has told Britain not to waste time in coming up with a compromise solution.

WATCH NOWVIDEO01:34EU leaders have agreed to a ‘flexible’ Brexit extension

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has returned from Brussels with a Brexit extension that pushes the next deadline out to October 31.

May has seen her preferred withdrawal from Europe rejected three times already but now has another six-and-a-half months to try to get some form of deal over the line.

Whether her government calls a snap general election, works out a softer Brexit or doesn’t even leave the European Union are all still on the table. The possibility of Britain leaving the EU with no deal whatsoever also remains very much alive.

After a long night in Brussels, CNBC rounds up the Brexit predictions from some of the biggest banks in the world.

UBS — Heading for elections

Analysts at Swiss bank UBS concluded that the most likely next step is for May to try to push through her previously rejected withdrawal agreement with opposition party support. UBS sees this plan as doomed to fail and May will be forced to resign, with a subsequent general election “likely.”

In a separate email to CNBC, UBS’s Head of U.K. Rates Strategy John Wraith said the extension will ensure economic headwinds remain for Britain, as businesses and consumers won’t feel freed to press on with investments or big-ticket purchases.

Commerzbank — No bounce for the pound

The German bank believes that Britain is now obliged to participate in the next round of EU parliamentary elections which will only increase division in the U.K. The bank says markets have largely ignored Brexit “noise” but may now start to get nervous if the U.K.’s political stability looks compromised. It assigns a low probability to a cancellation of Brexit but is almost equally uncertain of a second referendum or general election. It sees “limited scope” for any sustainable rebound in either the economy or the pound.

Societe Generale – Markets don’t know what to do

The French bank sees the extension as offering practically no change to the Brexit conundrum. Kit Juckes, who acts a macro strategist for the bank, said in a note Thursday that although there is little evidence that “pre-departure uncertainty” is hurting the U.K. economy, further vagueness over the future won’t help.

Juckes adds that markets are “staring, wide-eyed and mouth open” but have little interest in the Brexit trade. He notes that U.K. economic data isn’t bad and offers a call that sterling is likely to go higher rather than lower.

Citi – Watch the Bank of England

Christian Schulz at Citi said Thursday that a snap U.K. general election remains the logical step to restart the process. He says the Labour party is unlikely to dig May out of her hole and options for the prime minister continue to narrow. For the U.K. economy, Citi sees successive short extensions as “the worst case for business confidence and investment on both sides of the Channel.” The bank says its base case that the Bank of England will raise rates in August looks to have been weakened but the central bank’s meeting next month should offer more clues.

Rabobank — EU keen to avoid blame

The U.K. has a break clause in the extension that allows it to leave should a withdrawal agreement gain support in both Westminster and Brussels. It also requires Britain to avoid disrupting the day-to-day activities of the European Union. Rabobank labels this as another example of the “pragmatic approach” that EU heads of state have taken around Brexit deadlines. The bank says it suggests that Brussels will do all it can to prevent an impression that it’s forcing the U.K. to leave without a deal.

Deutsche Bank — One more try for May

May has said she will still try to avoid U.K. participation in the European elections. This will mean agreeing a deal by May 22. Jim Reid at Deutsche Bank says May can possibly have another tilt at gaining U.K. lawmaker support “sometime in the next 36 hours.”

Reid says whatever the outcome the odds of an early election continue to rise with the chances of a cross-party agreement looking slim. Deutsche’s analyst also notes May’s previous promise to hold binding parliamentary votes on various Brexit options and expects that to dominate headlines in the coming days.

(ECO) Tusk propõe adiamento até um ano para evitar hard Brexit

(ECO) Tusk quer evitar uma saída sem acordo devido aos riscos para cidadãos e empresas. Os 27 inclinam-se para conceder uma extensão da data de saída e acordo pode sair da Cimeira desta quarta-feira.

O presidente do Conselho Europeu Donald Tusk propõe um adiamento de até um ano do Brexit por forma a evitar uma saída brusca do Reino Unido da União Europeia. Os 27 inclinam-se para conceder uma extensão da data de saída, mas deverão ainda chegar a um acordo na cimeira desta quarta-feira, em Bruxelas, sobre o prazo e as condições. Na carta que convoca os líderes europeus para a cimeira, o presidente do Conselho Europeu sublinha a necessidade de evitar um Brexit sem acordo devido aos riscos desse cenário para os cidadãos e as empresas.

Theresa May tinha pedido uma nova extensão curta– até 30 de junho – para poder negociar uma solução interna para o Brexit, com o apoio dos trabalhistas. Mas em Bruxelas poucos ainda acreditam que isso seja possível num tão curto período.

“A nossa experiência até agora, bem como as profundas divisões na Câmara dos Comuns, dão-nos poucas razões para acreditar que o processo de ratificação pode estar terminado em finais de junho”, diz Tusk na carta aos líderes. O presidente do Conselho alerta para o risco de os 27 terem que conceder “uma série de sucessivas extensões curtas”, organizando cimeiras atrás de cimeiras com novas datas para o Brexit, aumentando a incerteza e fazendo pairar o espetro de uma saída desordenada.

Por isso, Tusk considera que deve ser concedida uma extensão flexível que durará o tempo necessário, mas não superior a um ano, até o Reino Unido aprovar o Acordo de Saída ou redefinir a sua estratégia para o Brexit.

Os 27 deverão inclinar-se para um novo adiamento sendo, no entanto, necessário definir o tipo de extensão e as condições. Várias capitais, com Paris à cabeça querem clarificar, e até apertar, essas condições. Ainda ontem, a secretária de Estado dos Assuntos Europeus francesa sublinhou que uma extensão não está adquirida nem é automática e que é importante existir um plano credível por parte de Londres que trace uma solução para o atual impasse.

A questão das condições do adiamento prende-se com o facto de uma saída demorada do Reino Unido poder afetar o funcionamento da União Europeia num momento em que os 27 enfrentam decisões cruciais. Durante os próximos 12 meses, a UE inicia um ciclo político com eleições europeias entre 23 e 26 de maio e a constituição de um novo executivo comunitário até ao final do ano. Para além disso, os Estados-membros deverão tomar uma série de medidas-chave para o futuro da UE, como a aprovação do orçamento plurianual. Várias vozes levantam a questão do papel em todos estes dossiês de um país que está de saída mas que, enquanto permanecer membro do bloco comunitário, tem os mesmos direitos e obrigações dos restantes 27.

Donald Tusk propõe algumas condições a cumprir durante o período de extensão flexível : o Acordo de Saída não será renegociado e o Reino Unido deve manter uma postura de “cooperação sincera” correspondente ao seu estatuto de país que está de saída.

É com estas interrogações em cima da mesa que decorre ao final da tarde desta quarta-feira a cimeira de líderes. Qualquer que seja o caminho, o presidente do Conselho pede que o debate não seja influenciado por “emoções negativas” e que nenhuma das partes se “sinta humilhada”.

(EuroNews) UK removes ‘European Union’ title from British passport


UK removes 'European Union' title from British passport

CopyrightTwitter/Susan Hindle Barone

As Britain looks to extend its stay in the European Union, it seems British passports haven’t followed the same path.

New UK passports have been issued without the words ‘European Union’ on the front cover.

One person who received the passport said she was “truly appalled” by the removal of the EU from the passport.

“I was just surprised – we’re still members of the EU. I was surprised they’ve made the change when we haven’t left, and it’s a tangible mark of something which I believe to be completely futile,” Susan Hindle Barone told the UK’s Press Association.

“What do we gain by leaving? There’s certainly a whole lot we lose.”

View image on Twitter

How British passports will look like post-Brexit has been a sticking point for those who supported to remain in the EU and a rallying call for some supporters of the Leave campaign, after a decision by the UK government in 2017 to change passports from burgundy to dark blue.

Former UKIP leader and ardent Brexit supporter Nigel Farage has previously described the change as his idea of “Brexmas”.

The UK Home Office said that in order to use the “best value to the taxpater, passports that include the words “European Union” will continue to be issued for a short period”.

Britain was expected to leave the EU on the 29 March.

Prime Minister Theresa May has since requested two extensions, one granted and the latest a request by May on Friday for Article 50 to be extended up to June 30.

The UK is currently scheduled to leave on April 12, after a first extension was already granted.

(BBG) May Seeks New Brexit Delay, Setting Up a Fight With EU


By Thomas Penny and Ian Wishart5 de abril de 2019, 08:45 WEST Updated on 5 de abril de 2019, 10:27 WEST

  •  Request comes as Tusk said to push for one-year extension
  •  Leaders meet for summit next week and still disagree on offer

Chatham House Chair Jim O’Neill says it’s hard to see the EU agreeing to the June 30 date.LISTEN TO ARTICLE 3:53SHARE THIS ARTICLEShareTweetPostEmail

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Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the European Union to delay Brexit until June 30, setting up a battle with the bloc ahead of a key summit next week.

May wants an extension to June 30 and aims to avoid holding European elections next month, which would be politically toxic at home. But the EU’s view is that if there is an extension, it should be longer, given the deadlock in the U.K. France was quick to say it was “premature” to talk of an extension.

The pound rose as much as 0.4 percent immediately after the letter was published, before paring gains.

May cited talks with opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn aimed at breaking the Brexit impasse as a reason for further delay in her letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk. It’s the same length delay she asked for last month, which the bloc rejected.

“It is frustrating that we have not yet brought this process to a successful and orderly conclusion,” May wrote. “The U.K. government remains strongly committed to doing so.”

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Bloomberg Brexit@BrexitReplying to @Brexit

Read Theresa May’s letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk, seeking to delay Brexit to June 30 479:06 AM – Apr 5, 201967 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Follow the latest developments in our Brexit Update

With her options dwindling, May is desperately seeking to get an agreement through Parliament, which has rejected it three times.

Unable to convince her allies to back her own deal, she’s turned to Corbyn for help. Talks are yet to show much sign of progress, even as May is said to be willing to discuss proposals she’s long rejected, including a second referendum.

Click here for May’s letter to Tusk in full.

In her letter, May said the government would prepare for European parliament elections — due to be held between May 23 and May 26 — in case Parliament hasn’t ratified the Brexit divorce deal in time, though she reiterated her reluctance for the U.K. to take part.

May said she’s trying to agree a timetable for legislation with the Labour Party which will allow it to pass through Parliament in time for the elections to be canceled.

“It is in the interests of neither the United Kingdom as a departing Member State, nor the European Union as a whole, that the United Kingdom holds elections to the European Parliament,” May wrote.

‘Compromise Needed’

May said her discussions with the opposition are focused on the future relationship with the EU, and not on reopening the Withdrawal agreement she negotiated with the bloc. That chimes with the EU position that it can rewrite its declaration on future ties but won’t reopen the divorce deal.

“If a consensus is going to be found, compromise will be needed on all sides, in the national interest,” she wrote.

Tusk favors offering the U.K. a one-year extension, though some governments opposed such a long delay, officials said. His proposal would would include an escape clause to allow the U.K. to leave the EU early when the deal is approved.

The EU’s remaining 27 leaders, who meet May in Brussels for a summit on Wednesday, have to agree on any offer unanimously and it’ll be up to them to forge a common position. France is leading a small group of countries opposing a long extension, but officials said they don’t expect any leader to veto a delay outright. France said the year-long delay proposal was a “clumsy trial balloon.”

The EU has previously said any long extension would be conditional on a “clear plan” for the way forward, or a political “event” such as another referendum or general election. But May’s efforts to form a cross-party position with Corbyn, and pledge to hold votes in Parliament on the desired outcome, will probably be enough.

Without an agreement at the EU summit, the U.K. would leave the bloc on April 12 if Parliament doesn’t approve the deal before then — crashing out into legal limbo that would snarl trade and freeze markets. That’s a scenario Parliament is working to prevent, and May has said she won’t lead the country out of the bloc without a deal unless lawmakers consent to it.

While any extension would be welcomed by most businesses, which are desperate to avoid a no-deal outcome, a delay until June 30 would still have an economic cost. The risk of opting for a relatively short extension is that companies and consumers remained trapped by uncertainty, and continue to defer spending and investment decisions until they get more clarity. Meanwhile, Bank of England policy makers would also be forced to continue their current holding pattern.

(BBC) Brexit: MPs back delay bill by one vote


MPs have voted by a majority of one to force the prime minister to ask for an extension to the Brexit process, in a bid to avoid a no-deal scenario.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper led the move, which the Commons passed in one day.

The bill is due to be considered by the Lords later and will need its approval to become law, but it is the EU which decides whether to grant an extension.

It comes as talks between Conservative and Labour teams to end the Brexit deadlock continue.

Discussions between Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday were described as “constructive”, but were criticised by MPs in both parties.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told MPs he would hope the Lords would “scrutinise this bill passed in haste with its constitutional flaws”.

He added that there was “no guarantee” that the UK will not take part in the European elections in May and to participate would be a “betrayal” and “inflict untold damage”.

Media caption’No guarantee’ UK won’t fight EU elections

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond has suggested that he expects Brussels to insist on a lengthy delay to Brexit. He also described a public vote to approve any final deal as “a perfectly credible proposition”.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4 Today he was “very strongly against” a public vote and he would not want to see a long extension to the Brexit process.

‘Constitutional outrage’

Ms Cooper’s attempts to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU passed by 313 votes to 312.

The draft legislation would force the prime minister to ask the EU for an extension to the Article 50 process beyond 12 April – and would give Parliament the power to decide the length of this delay to be requested.

How did your MP vote on the Brexit delay bill on 3 April?

Enter a postcode, or the name or constituency of your MPType in 2 or more characters for results.

Tory Brexiteers expressed frustration at the unusual process of a backbench bill clearing all stages in the Commons in a matter of hours, rather than months.

Mark Francois said: “It’s difficult to argue that you’ve had an extremely considered debate when you’ve rammed the bill through the House of Commons in barely four hours. That is not a considered debate, that is a constitutional outrage.”

Chart showing the results of the Commons Brexit delay vote

The government’s attempt to limit the bill’s powers resulted in a 180-vote defeat – the second biggest defeat for a government in modern times.

Responding to the Commons vote, the government said the bill would place a “severe constraint” on its ability to negotiate an extension to the Brexit deadline before 12 April, the date the UK is due to exit.

‘Useful but inconclusive’

It comes as talks between government negotiators and Labour continue throughout Thursday after Mrs May and Mr Corbyn agreed a “programme of work”.

A No 10 spokesman said on Wednesday that both parties showed “flexibility” and “a commitment to bring the… uncertainty to a close”.

Mr Corbyn said the meeting was “useful, but inconclusive”, adding there had not been “as much change as [he] had expected” in the PM’s position.

The prime minister wants to agree a policy with the Labour leader for MPs to vote on before 10 April – when the EU will hold an emergency summit on Brexit.

But if they cannot reach a consensus, she has pledged to allow MPs to vote on a number of options, including the withdrawal agreement she has negotiated with the EU, which has already been rejected three times by MPs.

In either event, Mrs May said she would ask the EU for a further short extension to Brexit in the hope of getting an agreement passed by Parliament before 22 May, so that the UK does not have to take part in European elections.

Media captionCorbyn: May meeting “useful but inconclusive”

The cross-party talks have provoked strong criticism from MPs in both parties, with two ministers resigning on Wednesday.

Chris Heaton-Harris quit on Wednesday afternoon, claiming his job at the Department for Exiting the European Union had become “irrelevant” if the government is not prepared to leave without a deal.

Wales Minister Nigel Adams also resigned, saying the government was at risk of failing to deliver “the Brexit people voted for”.

Reports in papers including the Sun suggest as many as 15 more – including several cabinet ministers – could follow if Mrs May strayed too far from previous commitments.


Among her “red lines” was leaving the EU’s customs union, which allows goods to move between member states without being subject to tariffs. It also imposes the same tariffs on goods from outside countries.

Labour wants a new permanent customs union with the EU, while Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – which has propped up Mrs May’s government – indicated on Wednesday that it could support the idea.

In an interview on ITV’s Peston programme, Mr Hammond said that – while the Conservative manifesto had pledged to leave the EU customs union – “some kind of customs arrangement” was always going to be part of the future structure.

Critics say remaining part of a European customs union would stop the UK negotiating its own trade agreements with the rest of the world.

Mr Corbyn is coming under pressure from senior colleagues in his party to make a further referendum a condition of signing up to any agreement.

Demanding the shadow cabinet hold a vote on the issue, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said not backing a confirmatory vote would be a “breach” of the policy agreed by party members at its last conference.

The party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, told the Peston programme that Labour members would “find it unforgiveable” for “us to sign off on Theresa May’s deal without a concession that involves the people”.

However, party chairman Ian Lavery is reported to have warned against the idea, arguing that it could split the party.

European leaders will continue deciding how to respond to Brexit, with Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin later.

The UK has until 12 April to propose a plan to the EU – which must be accepted by the bloc – or it will leave without a deal on that date.

(GUA) Huawei poses national security risks, says UK watchdog


NCSC report casts doubt over Chinese firm’s future involvement in telecoms

A 3D printed Huawei logo is seen in front of displayed 5G words
 The NCSC report did not call for a ban on Huawei’s equipment being used in the roll-out of next generation 5G networks. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

The government-led watchdog set up to vet Huawei products has given a damning report on the cyber security risks posed by the Chinese company’s involvement in the British telecommunications industry.

The annual report published by the Huawei oversight board, which is chaired by the head of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, said it has found further “significant technical issues in Huawei’s engineering processes leading to new risks in the UK telecommunications networks”.

The 46-page report did not call for a ban on Huawei’s equipment being used in the roll-out of next-generation 5G networks, which critics say could be exploited to allow Beijing to spy on communications in the UK. Huawei denies the accusations.

The watchdog said Huawei had made “no material progress” in addressing security flaws identified in last year’s report and raised serious doubts about the Chinese company’s ability to deliver a $2bn programme to address concerns previously raised by the UK watchdog.

“At present, the oversight board has not yet seen anything to give it confidence in Huawei’s capacity to successfully complete the elements of its transformation programme that it has proposed as a means of addressing these underlying defects,” the report said. “[Our] work has continued to identify concerning issues in Huawei’s approach to software development bringing significantly increased risk to UK operators.”

The report casts doubt on whether UK operators should be involved with Huawei over the future roll-out of telecommunications networks.

“It will be difficult to appropriately risk-manage future products in the context of UK deployments, until the underlying defects in Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security processes are remediated,” the report said.

The US has put increasing pressure on the UK and other countries to stop Huawei from being involved in the roll-out of future 5G networks. Countries including New Zealand and Australia have stopped Huawei from being involved, citing national security concerns.

The report said that last year “several hundred vulnerabilities and issues” were reported to UK operators to inform the risk management of their networks. The report said the National Cyber Security Centre does not believe the defects identified in Huawei equipment “are the result of Chinese state interference”.

An NCSC spokesman said: “Huawei’s presence in the UK is subject to detailed, formal oversight. This report illustrates above all the need for improved cyber security in the UK telecoms networks.”

The annual report does not suggest the UK networks are more vulnerable than in 2017.

“The report details some concerns about Huawei’s software engineering capabilities,” a spokesman for Huawei said. “We understand these concerns and take them very seriously. The issues identified in the report provide vital input for the ongoing transformation of our software engineering capabilities.”

A final decision on Huawei’s involvement in the roll-out of the UK’s 5G networks is likely to be part of a government review of the telecoms market and infrastructure, which is due to be published in coming weeks.

(Reuters) Boris Johnson will now back UK PM May’s Brexit deal: Times reporter


Boris Johnson, former British foreign minister and prominent eurosceptic, will now back Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal after she promised to quit if it passes, the deputy political editor of The Times said on Wednesday.

“Boris Johnson to switch sides and back the deal, source says. Promise of new leader to succeed May got him over the line,” Sam Coates said in a tweet.

(ZH) Now That Parliament Has Seized Control Of Brexit, Here’s What Happens Next


LAST NIGHT’S VOTE: The government was defeated by a majority of 27 (329 vs. 302) on the Letwin amendment which seeks to change the rules of parliament on March 27 in order to provide time for lawmakers to debate and hold indicative votes. It is worth noting that three junior ministers resigned in order to vote in favour of the Letwin amendment. Furthermore, MPs voted (311 vs. 314) against the Beckett amendment (F) which called on the government to seek parliament approval on a no-deal if an agreement is not reached 1 week before the Brexit date, while the Labour amendment (D) to provide parliamentary time for lawmakers to find a majority for a different approach on Brexit was not moved. Following last night’s developments, Goldman Sachs analysts maintained their Brexit probabilities (PM May deal ratification 50%, no-deal Brexit 15% and no Brexit 35%) whilst stating that they are skeptical that this week’s votes will prove conclusive.


Morning – Emergency Cabinet meeting

  • 18:00 – ERG meeting

WHAT’S NEXT: In light of the Letwin amendment passing, on Wednesday 27th March, MPs will vote on a series of options to establish what could command a majority in parliament. The result of any such indicative votes would not be binding on the government as it goes against the Tory manifesto. There is no official list of options, although one has been generated by the Commons select committee for exiting the EU.

1. PM MAY’S DEAL: The deal has been rejected twice already by parliament but remains the only deal the EU can quickly ratify and therefore remains an option. If voted on, it will attract support from May loyalists, but DUP and ERG remain opposed.

2. NO DEAL BREXIT: This would lead to the UK leaving the EU on the new revised date of April 12th on WTO terms. HoC have twice voted against this option, albeit by only four votes last time.

3. ELIMINATING A BACKSTOP: This, in theory would mean re-writing the Withdrawal Agreement, something the EU repeatedly dismissed. A variant would be to promote “alternative arrangements” i.e., technology to monitor the flow of good that could replace the backstop. The EU have previously agreed to examine this, although implementation could take years.

4. CANADA-STYLE DEAL: A popular idea with hardcore Brexiteers, this would focus on the future trade deal with the EU rather than the Withdrawal Agreement. In theory, the UK would accept no continuing regulatory alignment with the EU, although is unclear how far the EU is willing to negotiate this. However, this would not solve the impasse regarding the Northern Irish border, nor has there been signs of many Labour are willing to support this.

5. NORWAY-PLUS DEAL: This soft-Brexit alternative would keep the UK in the single market by remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Unlike EFTA, the deal would also keep the UK in the customs union (hence the plus). The deal has been promoted by a group of Tory backbenchers, Labour leader Corbyn has also shown some interest and some believe it would be the most popular option given a free vote. The Sun reported last night that over 100 are ready to back this deal after PM May’s deal is killed off.

6. LABOUR DEAL: This would mean the UK remains in a customs union with the EU and remain close to the single market. European Council President Tusk has previously deemed this as “promising”, although the plan was rejected by parliament. The Labour deal is unlikely to attract support of the Conservatives.

7. SECOND REFERENDUM: A replay of the 2016 referendum would be a separate option although nobody in parliament is seriously calling for that. However, a referendum could be attached to one of the options above. When a second referendum was put on PM May’s deal before the HoC this month, only 85 MPs voted for it after labour ordered its MPs to abstain.

(DW) Cabinet revolts against Theresa May, UK media reports


Multiple UK outlets are reporting that Theresa May’s Cabinet is now refusing to support her premiership and is asking her to step down. An interim leader would then oversee Brexit negotiations.

Theresa May

UK media reported late on Saturday that Prime Minister Theresa May was facing a Cabinet revolt and may have to resign immediately.

The move comes just days ahead of a planned third vote on May’s twice-rejected Brexit deal.

What we know so far:

  • The Sunday TimesThe Telegraph and The Daily Mail reported on the potential coup, citing Conservative MPs.
  • All said an interim leader would be appointed to oversee the last weeks of Brexit negotiation.
  • The Daily Mail tabloid said Environment Secretary Michael Gove would likely take temporary leadership before a full contest in the summer.

Read more: Stop Brexit: Millions sign petition to British government

‘A mockery’

The Times political editor Tim Shipman said, “Cabinet ministers have turned on May in a spectacular fashion,” and are pressuring her to leave, though she has still not made a firm decision to do so. He added that May’s husband was one of the few urging her to try and stay on as prime minister.

Tim Shipman@ShippersUnbound

May’s u-turns last week destroyed her brand for being steady and reliable. Her genius for 2yrs was to persuade MPs she was on their side. Now no one thinks she is on their side3589:23 PM – Mar 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy219 people are talking about this

Pro-Brexit Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan told The Telegraph that the way May “allowed herself to be treated in Brussels made a mockery of taking back control.”

Buzzfeed News said government whip Paul Maynard told May her strategy was both failing and destroying their party.

Read more: Merkel on Brexit after summit: ‘We are dealing with short deadlines’

Conservative MP George Freeman summed up the political mood, saying, “You can see the anger.”

George Freeman MP@GeorgeFreemanMP

I’m afraid it’s all over for the PM. She’s done her best. But across the country you can see the anger. Everyone feels betrayed. Government’s gridlocked. Trust in democracy collapsing. This cant go on. We need a new PM who can reach out & build some sort of coalition for a PlanB.5,1449:34 PM – Mar 23, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy3,452 people are talking about this

Street protests: Earlier on Saturday, more than one million people took to the streets of London to demand a second referendum, and an end to two years of political uncertainty.

Second vote: UK lawmakers voted this week to postpone the deadline for a deal by a few weeks after failing to reach a consensus. The new deadline for a deal is April 12, to avoid having Britain field candidates for the upcoming EU elections in May.