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Date for General Elections Fixed Amid Brexit Deadlock

Mirror News Desk



Brexit deadlock

The months of Brexit deadlock that have hard hit the British currency and created a political chaos throughout the country might come to an end soon. The Johnson-led government seems to have succeeded in its continued efforts of bringing general elections in the country with the date set to December 12.  

Despite succeeding in achieving a new Brexit deal during the UK-EU negotiations, the prime minister faced huge challenges as the MPs backed the new deal in the House of Commons but disagreed with the deadline date i.e. October 31.

Since, the MPs wanted more time to scrutinise the legislation, a snap election was back on the agenda. Following the Brexit deadlock, Boris Johnson strengthened his efforts in pushing for general elections. The legislation paved its way through the House of Commons with a margin of 438 votes to 20.

Though the Lords have not yet approved the bill, yet there are chances that it might become law by the end of the week. If it happens then whole of the UK would indulge in campaigning for their best possible candidates, shifting focus from Brexit to the elections.

However, only the British voters would decide the fate of Brexit deadlock, post the parliament has backed the general election move. Since, the EU’s decision to delay Brexit for three months had taken a no-deal departure off the table, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also supported the general election legislation.

Though Prime Minister Johnson is positive that the general elections amid the Brexit deadlock would give a fresh mandate to him and the public involvement in the matter through the means of elections would help to know their will, the stakes of which party would get on the better side of the voters remains oblivious.

Meanwhile, the Brexit has further been delayed to January 31.

In a similar context, Johnson even re-admitted 10 of the 21 Conservative MPs whom he threw out of the party for rebelling over Brexit, allowing them to stand as Conservative candidates.

While the Labour leader has favoured the general elections, calling it a “once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back”, many other Labour MPs have expressed their discontentment over the timing of the election. They have added that only another referendum can settle the Brexit deadlock in the country.

Tuesday’s voting stated that only 127 Labour MPs including Corbyn supported the general election legislation.

In the wake of general elections, Liberal Democratic Leader Joe Swinson, who has earlier announced her name for prime ministerial candidacy has openly criticized both Johnson and Corbyn. She added none of the two leaders is “fit to be prime minister”, considering the present political volatile times.  

Many consultants have claimed that if Labour party wins the elections under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, it might damage UK-Middle East relations and torpedo post-Brexit trade deals. This is because Corbyn is viewed “negatively” and “with suspicion” and many believe that his leadership would threaten the political, economic and security levels in the country.

As the Europe braces for the effects of Brexit, all the sides are actively preparing for the consequences of Brexit deadlock, be it longer delays and greater uncertainties. Though the country is all set for economic benefits and drawbacks of the Brexit, the European member states who have millions of workers in the UK are deemed to be the ones to be severely affected in the chaos.


Prince Charles Expresses Remorse at Sufferings of Palestinians, Promotes Peace

Mirror News Desk



Prince Charles

Prompting calls for peace in Middle East, while avoiding involvement in the politics at home or overseas, has become the motto of the royals Recently, Prince Charles, during the third day of his trip to the Holy Land to visit his grandmother’s tomb, expressed sadness over the sufferings and hardships faced by the Palestinians.

The heir to the British throne called for “a just and lasting peace” in the Middle East region. In the present, not only Palestinian conflicts, but those in other countries such as Iraq, Iran have altogether contributed to instability and chaos throughout the Middle East. The foreign interventions have further created a conflict of interest, aggravating the existing situations in the surroundings.

On Friday, Prince Charles met with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, after which he prayed with Christian clergy. He later visited the grave of his grandmother Princess Alice, buried on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. Charles was welcomed in Israel for his grandmother saved a Jewish family at her home in 1943, in Nazi-occupied Athens and is recognised as one of the Righteous Among the Nations by Israel’s Holocaust memorial institution, Yad Vashem.

Though Princess Alice’s life herself was marked by exile and mental illness, it never wavered her religious devotion to serve the needy. She left no possessions, having given everything away. Due to her work, she was also sometimes known as Mother Superior Alice-Elizabeth.

A day before paying tribute to his grandmother, Prince Charles spoke about the inspiration he inherited from his grandmother at the World Holocaust Forum. The event coincided with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp and was attended by dozens of other world leaders. After visiting the tomb, Prince Charles was shown around the 19th-century church by Archimandrite Roman Krassovsky, the local head of the Russian Orthodox Church.  

Sympathising with the Palestinian’s pain and division that have continued for several decades, Prince Charles, during his visit to the occupied territories, said, “It breaks my heart… that we should continue to see so much suffering and division. No one arriving in Bethlehem today could miss the signs of continued hardship and the situation you face.”

“…I can only join you, and all communities, in your prayers for a just and lasting peace… It is my dearest wish that the future will bring freedom, justice and equality to all Palestinians, enabling you to thrive and to prosper,” he added.

The overall purpose was to spread peace in the region. Prince Charles even said, “the greatest tragedy” would happen if the ancient Palestinian Christian communities were to disappear from the Holy Land. He referenced it to the previous departure of many Arab Christians from the Middle East. Well it is not the first time that the Prince of Wales has been outspoken on the ongoing issues. Earlier, he became a source of criticism for his inter-faith and environment related dialogues.

In 2018, Prince William became the first British royal to have travelled to Israeli occupied territories of Palestine. He also declared to “forever honour” the commitment to maintain and promote Middle Eastern peace. His wish to make efforts in reducing the tensions was much appreciated by the Palestinians, but little had they known that their crisis, being a political one, would lest be taken forward by the royals.

Once again, Prince Charles’ words of interests stating the same concern have raised questions as to whether the next heir would really take steps in improving their situations, or will it remain in the namesake.

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As Part of Brexit Deal, Johnson Introduces New Visa Scheme for Scientists

Mirror News Desk



Brexit Deal

As the Brexit deal appears to have reached a next level, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to bring in new visa rules to attract the most talented scientists and mathematicians from across the world.

Johnson said that Britain is open to gifted scientists and mathematicians that could bring forward a ground-breaking research and lead the country to new heights. Such would be the new visa rules of the country. The news came after Home Secretary Priti Patel told businesses that they have been too reliant on low-skilled cheap labour from the EU that is one major reason behind the companies fearing huge risks post Brexit.

Though the critics believe that the country will enter a transitional period following Brexit, during which the companies will be able to continue to trade with the European Union under the existing rules, Patel has asked the businesses to start investing in training British workers.

The home secretary believes that training British workers would increase the number of skilled labours in the country, which would, to some extent, diminish the risks faced by several companies after the Brexit deal is done.

The prime minister appears to be sharing a somewhat similar belief as he said, “The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting edge research.”  For the same purpose, a fast-track “global talent” visa meant to speed up and simplify entry to the UK for skilled researchers, will be launched on February 20.

As compared, never has the UK been the readiest for Brexit deal as it is today, considering every angle, every possibility, standing with the worldwide talents to turn their ideas into reality. The Brexit uncertainty that has been looming over the entire country now seems to have been slightly cleared, although many questions still remain unanswered.

Days before, the British currency crossed a key level against the Euro, a victory confirmed after the UK businesses increased substantially since the December general elections. It indicated that a wave of investment revival could be brought in the country, if the similar situations continued.

In the wake of the Brexit deal, the government plans to keep Britain at the forefront of technological developments. Nearly, £300 million has been invested in a fund for “experimental and imaginative” mathematical sciences that would carry out the purpose of technological advancements and research over the next five years.

The new visa rules would also provide the eligible scientists with the freedom of choosing their own jobs. Meanwhile, there would be no limit on the number of applicants wanting to use the new visa rules. Some of the researchers believe that such changes would help the country remain a “globally leading environment” for research and innovation, while many others are adamant on the belief that businesses will be hit by staff shortages if curbs are imposed on low-skilled workers moving to the UK once Brexit deal is achieved.

Today, 47 percent of the workforce in the country is in a higher skilled job, with professional, scientific and technical careers such as chemical engineers and architects, showing the greatest surge in numbers since 2010.

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After Sir Kier Starmer, Lisa Nandy Enters Labour Leadership Race

Mirror News Desk



Lisa Nandy

Generous support from three party “affiliates” has helped Labour candidate, Lisa Nandy to reach the final ballot of the Labour leadership contest. Nandy is the second candidate of the final ballot, after Sir Kier Starmer.

Lisa Nandy confirmed her position after getting support from the Chinese for Labour group. Earlier, she had been nominated by GMB and NUM trade unions. Expressing her delight on securing a place in the ballot paper, she said, “As someone of mixed heritage, I’m incredibly proud that it is Chinese for Labour who have secured my place on the ballot paper. They do incredibly important work to ensure we are a representative and inclusive party that can truly speak for modern Britain.”

Nandy affirmed that she was “looking forward to getting out into the country” and put forth her “vision for reuniting the party, rebuilding trust and returning Labour to power”. As per the leadership rules, candidates have to be endorsed by minimum three affiliates or unions, counting for at least five percent of affiliated members. Support from at least one of the major unions is necessary for making it through to the end stage.

The first candidate to enter the final ballot paper in the labour leadership contest, Sir Keir Starmer received backing from unions Unison and Usdaw and from affiliate group the Socialist Environment and Resources Association (Sera).

In her speech at the Centrepoint charity in London, Lisa Nandy elaborated on her plans to increase taxes for overpowering the welfare cuts made by the Tory government. She mentioned that “tax is not an evil” and stated her objective to create a “genuinely empowering” social security system.

As per Nandy, taxes should be based on the principles of fairness. She added, “Almost every time a firm avoids corporation tax, we allow a cut to the well-off at the expense of those in greater need, we chip away at the system and people’s trust in it.”

If YouGov poll is to be trusted, Lisa Nandy is still an outsider in the Labour leadership contest, with only seven percent of Labour members considering her as the first preference. The polls put Kier Starmer at a striking 46 percent. Although Jess Phillips gained 11 percent in the poll, her withdrawal from the leadership race gave an upper edge to both Nandy and Keir.

Hopeful about a woman winning, Nandy said, “It is painful to me that we are a party that stands for equality but we’ve never had a woman [leader]. I think we may be the only party that’s never done it.”

Nandy was seen criticising the Blair and Brown governments for not speaking against the Thatcher-era idea to end the post-war consensus on the importance of the welfare state. Nandy believes that “we tacitly accepted that four decades of economic conservatism was a bigger priority than people, that only by showing we could be as tight as the Tories could we buy legitimacy for helping people in the most need.”

Meanwhile, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner seems to be the only candidate having enough support to become the new deputy leader of the Labour Party. She is in direct competition with shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler, Scotland’s only Labour MP, Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan and shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon.

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Brexit Bill: Fourth Defeat Compels Johnson to Accept Dubs Amendment

Mirror News Desk



Brexit bill

Brexit bill, officially termed as the Withdrawal Agreement ensuring the UK’s exit on January 31 with a deal, has once again been defeated in the House of Lords, despite being passed in the Commons unamended by 99 votes.

The fourth and tougher defeat in the House of Lords came as a shock to the newly formed Conservative government, pressurising Prime Minister Boris Johnson to drop his opposing ideologies over a number of issues. The peers’ agreement to make amendments on EU citizens, EU Court of Justice rulings and court independence brought three defeats for the government.

The defeat of the Brexit bill has now put Johnson under immense pressure to accept the measures allowing unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the country. The move was first sponsored by Lord Dubs, who himself is a former child refugee taken in by Britain when he fled the Nazis.

Dubs amendment first brought in 2016 as an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016, allowed children’s safe passage to Britain amid the European migrant crisis. It was earlier passed by 300 votes to 220, making a fourth loss to the Johnson-government. Another amendment got the backing of Lords, with the government losing by 239 votes to 235.

With five back-to-back losses, the Brexit bill changed to the Sewel Convention, confining the legislation on the matter within the devolved competence of the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales or Northern Ireland Assembly.

Meanwhile, the peers passed the amended bill on Tuesday night without needing a vote, and will now return to the Commons on Wednesday afternoon. The defeated prime minister has vowed to overturn all the amendments made by Lords as soon as the Brexit bill completes its passage through parliament.

The amendment seeking reunion of children with their families has been widely supported throughout the country, with major charities such as the British Red Cross and Safe Passage personally backing the Dubs amendment. They have urged the prime minister not to strike out the provision benefitting the children that have long been left stranded in many European camps.

Aware of the fact that the prime minister would attempt to quash his amendment, Dubs called on the Commons to resist the move. The acts safeguarding the interests of child refugees were already mentioned in the Brexit bill enacted during the office of former Prime Minister Theresa May but Johnson’s government failed to revise the legislation after victory in December elections.

Most of the Conservative leaders were of the impression that they have been doing the most for the lone minors, but the voting in the House of Lords stated it otherwise. It has sent a clear signal to the government which claims that they back family reunion whilst taking away the legal protections that support it. Focus on reinstating the protections has become a key chant of the peers, amongst whom Lord Dubs is seen as taking the foremost initiative.

Dubs clearly warned against the government’s using of the unaccompanied child refugees as “bargaining chips” in the next phase of Brexit negotiations with the EU. He even brought the comparisons of how the affected ones have survived the dire situations and are still at the risk of sexual exploitation.

Since, the government is the only hope for the child refugees, closing the possible doors would further bring them closer to the traffickers and smugglers. There is no telling of what dangerous options would the children opt in a bid to re-unite with their families. As of now the critics are waiting for Johnson to show compassion and agree to the Lords amendment in the Brexit bill to reach the safety of the left ones.

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Harry and Meghan’s Future Time in Canada Stuck at Royalty Costs

Mirror News Desk



Harry and Meghan’s Future Time in Canada Stuck at Royalty Costs

Removing the royal batches from their pockets, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back as the senior members of the royal families, and decided to spend part of their time in Canada. However, their relocation to North America is carrying uncertainties, where the Canadians are having hard time assessing the potential costs of giving space to royalty amongst them.

The obsession of royal family is not much relevant amongst the Canadians, as it is in the United States. But, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a strong connection with the country. While Markle spent six years in Canada while filming for TV show Suits, Prince Harry has too paid several visits throughout his life.

Once the couple steps back from public life in the UK, they would “spend time in Canada”, according to the Buckingham Palace. “There’s a lot of excitement about it,” said a North Saanich resident Sue Rogers. “But people here also understand [the couple] wanting to have some of the peace and quiet we have here. It makes perfect sense.”

For Canadians, the current focus point is the potential cost required for extensive security of the couples, which has been estimated to be ranging from C$1.3m (US$1m) to more than C$10m (US$7.7m) annually.

“Canadians do not have an appetite to pick up that bill,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director at the Angus Reid Institute. A public opinion poll by the institute revealed that three-quarters of the Canadian citizens, 73 per cent, turned down the idea of funding royal security and other relocation expenditures through tax dollars.

Besides, 19 per cent of respondents were fine with paying a portion of the bill and only 3 per cent said that the country should pick up the tab for security. The government of Canada foots the bill generally during the royal visits. However, it is uncertain if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would qualify for official protection or not.

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Global News that “there’s still a lot of decisions to be taken by the Royal Family, by the Sussexes themselves as to what level of engagement they choose to have”. He said that the issue of security costs is “part of the reflection that needs to be had and there are discussions going on”.

Both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have not yet spoken on the matter. Besides, the federal officials are also not sure of how the costs would be divided. Although Queen Elizabeth II has also agreed to the couple’s wish of becoming financially independent, the transition details are still being worked out. It was recently learned that the Megxit deal has come to an halt, where the Queen’s aides were finalizing the details.

The decision of the royal couple to leave royalty is certainly huge, as is their desire to spend time in Canada. As it is in nature, the twin announcements have created slight distress and conflicts in both the UK and Canada.

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