United Kingdom

November 24, 2022

Is a second referendum on Scotland’s independence further away than ever?

The supreme court has ruled that the Scottish parliament cannot hold a second referendum without Westminster’s approval. Where does that leave the independence movement?It was a gamble on a legal solution to a political stalemate: successive prime ministers had refused to allow another referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK, despite repeated calls from the SNP. So the supreme court was asked to rule on whether a referendum could be held without the approval of Westminster.The decision was a unanimous no. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s longest-serving first minister, was disappointed but, she said, undaunted. Instead, she announced that the next general election would become a de facto referendum on the issue. But what does that mean in practice – and how likely is it to lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom? Continue reading...
November 23, 2022

Here’s why Tories are raging again over Brexit – they really don’t trust Rishi Sunak | Henry Hill

The Brexiteer prime minister has ruled out a Swiss-style deal with the EU, but MPs are afraid of what he might doIt is objectively quite absurd for the Conservatives to have spent the weekend having a row over whether or not the United Kingdom is moving towards a “Swiss-style” relationship with the European Union.For starters, Brussels doesn’t particularly like the morass of bilateral treaties it has with Berne and there is no evidence that a similar arrangement would be made available to London even if we wanted one, which the government insists it does not.Henry Hill is deputy editor of ConservativeHome Continue reading...
November 21, 2022

The Guardian view on Swiss-style Brexit speculation: a recognition of failure | Editorial

Controversial briefings to the press by senior government figures reflect a change in the zeitgeistThe short, disastrous premiership of Liz Truss is beginning to look like the endpoint of a political trajectory that began with the Brexit referendum in 2016. The spectacular detonation of Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget by unimpressed markets was the moment when ideology met reality, and the Conservative party’s sovereigntist delusions were finally tested to destruction. In its aftermath, the high tide of Brexit has gone out, and a slow voyage back to economic sanity at last appears to be under way.On Monday, Ms Truss’s successor, Rishi Sunak, was obliged to spend much of his visit to the CBI conference in Birmingham denying suggestions that the government was hoping to pivot to a closer Swiss-style relationship with the European Union. Switzerland enjoys significant and profitable access to the single market, and participates in EU research and education programmes, while making payments to the EU and aligning with its law. According to a Sunday Times report, government figures have privately discussed the possibility of just such a relationship for Britain. “Let me be unequivocal about this,” Mr Sunak countered robustly. “Under my leadership, the United Kingdom will not pursue any relationship with Europe that relies on alignment with EU laws … I voted for Brexit. I believe in Brexit and I know that Brexit can deliver.” Continue reading...
November 16, 2022

Russia-Ukraine war live: missile strike in Poland likely an accident by Ukraine air defence, says Warsaw

Polish president says no sign that incident was part of an intentional attack; Nato says Russia ‘bears responsibility’ for Polish missile incidentNato and G7 leaders have condemned Russia’s “barbaric missile attacks” on Ukraine in a statement following the emergency meeting held earlier with members in Bali.The leaders of Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States met on the margins of the G20 Summit and released the following statement:We condemn the barbaric missile attacks that Russia perpetrated on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure on Tuesday. We discussed the explosion that took place in the eastern part of Poland near the border with Ukraine. We offer our full support for and assistance with Poland’s ongoing investigation. We agree to remain in close touch to determine appropriate next steps as the investigation proceeds.We reaffirm our steadfast support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of ongoing Russian aggression, as well as our continued readiness to hold Russia accountable for its brazen attacks on Ukrainian communities.”The secretary-general is very concerned by the reports of a missile exploding on Polish territory. It is absolutely essential to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine.He sends his condolences to the families of the victims. He hopes that a thorough investigation will be conducted.” Continue reading...
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