24 August 2019


UK Labour moves to prevent new PM pursuing no-deal Brexit: Starmer

KONFRONTASI- Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Wednesday it had brought forward a motion for parliament to take control of government business to prevent a new prime minister pursuing a no-deal Brexit.

Labour is using a vote on Wednesday to try to seize control of the parliamentary agenda later this month to give lawmakers the chance to introduce legislation aimed at preventing the suspension of parliament or a no-deal exit.

British police arrest 113 climate change activists after London roads blocked

KONFRONTASI -   British police have arrested 113 people after climate change activists blocked some of London’s most famous roads including Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and Waterloo Bridge in an attempt force the government to do more to tackle climate change.

The protests, led by British climate group Extinction Rebellion, brought parts of central London to a standstill on Monday and some stayed overnight for a second day of protest on Tuesday.

Brexit delayed? PM May requests three-month extension, EU pushes back

KONFRONTASI-Prime Minister Theresa May asked for a three-month delay to Brexit on Wednesday to buy time to get her twice-rejected divorce deal though parliament, but the request faced immediate resistance from the European Commission.

May said Britain remained committed to leaving the European Union “in an orderly manner” and she wanted to postpone Britain’s departure to June 30.

But a European Commission document seen by Reuters said the delay should either be several weeks shorter, to avoid a clash with European elections in May, or extend at least until the end of the year, which would oblige Britain to take part in the elections.

The pound fell sharply as May requested her extension.

Nearly three years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and nine days before the formal exit deadline, British politicians are still arguing over how, when or even if the world’s fifth largest economy should leave the bloc it first joined in 1973.

When May set the March 29 exit date two years ago by serving the formal Article 50 divorce papers, she declared there would be “no turning back” but parliament’s refusal to ratify the withdrawal deal she agreed with the EU has thrust her government into crisis.

Now May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay.

“As prime minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30th of June,” May told a rowdy session of parliament.

“I have therefore this morning written to President Tusk, the president of the European Council, informing him that the UK seeks an extension to the Article 50 period until the 30th June,” she said.

She said she planned to ask parliament to vote a third time on her departure deal, which lawmakers have already voted down twice. She didn’t say when the vote would happen.

But May did say delaying Brexit did not rule out the possibility that Britain could leave without a deal.

The opposition Labour Party said by choosing a short delay May was forcing British lawmakers to decide between accepting a deal they have already rejected or leaving without a deal.

Pro-Brexit members of May’s Conservative Party are opposed to a longer delay because they fear it could mean Brexit might never happen.


PM to try to break Brexit deadlock with EU concessions

KONFRONTASI-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.

Fears of 'Windrush-type scandal' as EU citizen registration opens

KONFRONTASI-A government scheme designed to allow European citizens to continue living in the UK after Brexit was launched in public test phase on Monday, amid warnings that it could leave tens of thousands of people undocumented in years to come.

The 3.5 million citizens of the EU's 27 countries residing in the UK must go through an online application process to apply for "settled status" if they have lived in the UK for at least five years, or "pre-settled status" if they haven't reached that threshold.

Theresa May promises Brexit deal will deliver vote of British people

KONFRONTASI-British Prime Minister Theresa May has said the draft deal the United Kingdom has struck with the European Union with regards to Brexit will adhere to what people voted for during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

"What we have been negotiating is a deal that does deliver on the vote of the British people," May told MPs on Wednesday after the UK and EU finalised the details of their plan on Tuesday.

May defended the agreement to a group of MPs from her own Conservative party ahead of a meeting with her cabinet, during which she is seeking her ministers' backing for the deal.

Despite an earlier statement, Downing Street said May would not make an official statement on if the cabinet had agreed on the deal on Wednesday night.

Hardline Brexit supporters said the deal included unacceptable compromises.

May said the agreement would guarantee an end to unlimited immigration from the EU and would allow Britain to set its own trade policy, two of the main issues raised during the Brexit campaign.

She added the agreement included a backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland but said this would be a temporary "insurance policy" if no future relationship is agreed.

"We want to bring the future relationship into place at the end of December 2020," she said.

Accoriding to Al Jazeera correspondent Paul Brennan, the next 24 hours will be crucial for both Brexit and the Theresa May government as a whole.

"We are wondering now if the Brexit piece falling into place or the British government falleng into pieces," Brennan said from London.

"The reaction has been almost universally opposed to the deal, both the Brexiteers and those who want to stay in the EU are extremely unhappy," he said.

"Parliament seems to be at an impasse."

The Irish border has been a key issue during negotiations between London and Brussels.

Both have vowed to prevent the re-emergence of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which will leave the EU with Britain, amid fears the issue could reignite decades-old tensions.

But the two sides disagreed for a long time on how to resolve the issue.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said the agreement "breaches the prime minister's own red lines", adding that negotiations with Brussels had been "shambolic".

"This government spent two years negotiating a bad deal that will leave the country in an indefinite half-way house," Corbyn said.

Conservative Peter Bone, a leading pro-Brexit MP, also criticised May.

"You are not delivering the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters," Bone said.

Following the UK's announcement an agreement was signed, Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday that an emergency EU summit could be held on November 25 to vote on the deal.

UK parliament would then vote on the Brexit accord.

If successful, the whole Brexit process should be concluded on March 29, 2019, almost three years after the referendum was held.

However, Brennan said that a failure for the cabinet to approve the deal could lead to real issues for May and her government.

"The timetable from now is that the cabinet has to approve, and if they don't approve she will have to review her position as cabinet leader," Brennan said.

"The real problems will arise in parliament, because there is no majority and if they don't approve that's when we're really in uncharted territory because we might be looking at general elections," he added.

Hunt to press Saudi rulers on Yemen war, Khashoggi murder in visit to Riyadh

KONFRONTASI-British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is due in Saudi Arabia later on Monday, will question the kingdom’s rulers about the continuation of a deadly war against the people of Yemen while urging them to come clean about the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Hunt would hold talks Saudi King Salman, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman once he touches down in Riyadh, a spokesman confirmed to British media.

Hunt said Sunday that he will try to stop the ongoing Saudi-led military aggression against Yemen during the trip, which also includes a stop in the United Arab Emirates, one of Riyadh’s key allies in the war.

Saudi Arabia kicked off the bloodshed in Yemen over three years ago with the declared goal of removing the Houthi Ansarullah Movement from power and reinstating former fugitive President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The war has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians while destroying the impoverished country’s critical infrastructure, putting millions on the verge of famine and exposing them to deadly cholera outbreaks that have already consumed over 2,000 lives.

Saudi atrocities in Yemen have even prompted the US and the UK, who both provided Saudis with weapons and intelligence during the war, to join an international campaign to end the war by demanding a UN-brokered armistice.

Ignoring the calls, however, Riyadh and its regional allies have stepped up their push to capture the strategic Yemeni port city of Hudaydah to get the upper hand in any future peace talks.

“The only solution is now a political decision to set aside arms and pursue peace. Britain has a unique position, both as pen-holder [lead state for drafting decisions] at the UN security council and as a key influencer in the region, so today I am traveling to the Gulf to demand that all sides commit to this process,” said Hunt.

“We are witnessing a man made humanitarian catastrophe on our watch: now is the window to make a difference, and to get behind both the UN peace process and current UK efforts in the security council,” he added.

While in the UAE, Hunt will continue the ongoing case of Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old British student who was detained at Dubai Airport in May on charges of spying.

Former Russian spy gravely ill in ‘suspicious’ UK incident

KONFRONTASI-A former Russian spy has reportedly fallen critically ill in the UK after exposure to an “unknown substance,” British media say.

Police confirmed Monday that they had found an old man and a young girl unconscious near a shopping mall in Salisbury, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of London on Sunday afternoon.

The pair was then announced by the UK media to be convicted Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The 66-year-old has an address in Salisbury.

UK PM Theresa May faces rebellion by her own party

KONFRONTASI-British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a rebellion by her own MPs on Wednesday over parliament's role in authorizing a final Brexit deal, threatening a damaging defeat at home even as she makes progress in Brussels.

Members of May's Conservative party are demanding that an explicit legal guarantee be included in the landmark EU (Withdrawal) Bill to ensure MPs get a vote before any deal is signed.

UK police arrest another man over London train bomb attack

KONFRONTASI-British police have apprehended another man in connection with the bomb attack on a crowded London Underground train during the morning rush hour on September 15, bringing the number of people under arrest to four.

The 20-year-old man was arrested in the Welsh capital Cardiff on Monday by counter-terrorism officers.  

The man is being held under the Terrorism Act and questioned at a London police station but the police has not charged or identified him yet.