UK PM May fires Defence Minister Williamson over Huawei leak

Robie de Guzman   •   May 2, 2019   •   1368

(L-R) British Prime Minister Theresa May and Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson | Courtesy : Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May fired her Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, on Wednesday (May 1), saying an investigation suggested he was to blame for leaking discussions about Chinese telecoms company Huawei from her National Security Council (NSC).

Last week, it emerged that Britain would allow Huawei a restricted role in building parts of its 5G network, seeking a middle way in a bitter dispute between the United States and China over the next generation of communications technology.

The NSC is a forum in which senior Cabinet ministers discuss top secret national security information, and the leak sparked anger in parliament.

May wrote to Williamson that an investigation into the leaks had provided “compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure.”

Williamson had repeatedly denied that he was responsible for the leak.

May appointed International Development Minister Penny Mordaunt to succeed Williamson as Defence Secretary, and named Prisons Minister Rory Stewart to Mordaunt’s former role. (REUTERS)

Queen Elizabeth II approves legislation against no-deal Brexit

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

The bill to prevent British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal with Brussels was given Royal Assent on Monday by Queen Elizabeth II.

The signing came after the House of Commons and House of Lords on Wednesday and Friday passed the so-called no-deal legislation ahead of its planned suspension.

It means Johnson now has to go to the European Council meeting of leaders on October 17 to seek an extension to Britain’s membership of the bloc until January unless a deal is in place.

Brief announcements were made in both houses of Parliament to inform politicians that the bill had now become law and entered the statute books.

The bill is aimed at tying Johnson’s hands after he entered 10 Downing Street saying he would take Britain out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal.

The Guardian in London reported that at a Monday briefing with journalists, Downing Street insisted Johnson will refuse to request a Brexit extension till January, even though legislation passed last week, and the Royal Assent later today, would require him to do this.

The prime minister is not going to seek an extension. If MPs want to resolve this there is an easy way – vote for an election today and let the public decide, Johnson’s spokesperson said in briefing.

Johnson’s threat to refuse to ask leaders of the 27 EU members for an extension has provoked intense debate among lawyers and political commentators about whether he would be breaking the law. (Reuters)

UK PM says Queen’s speech to be held on Oct.14 as govt plans to suspend parliament

UNTV News   •   August 28, 2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (August 28) that he would schedule a Queen’s Speech for Oct. 14 in order to launch new legislation and he denied he was seeking to prevent parliament from obstructing his Brexit plans.

“We need to get on with our domestic agenda and that is why we are announcing a Queen’s Speech for Oct. 14,” Johnson said in a television interview broadcast.

Asked about criticism from members of parliament that they were being denied time to debate and vote on Brexit, Johnson said: “That is completely untrue. If you look at what we’re doing, we’re bringing forward a new legislative program.

“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17 (European Union leaders’) summit, ample time in parliament for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues, ample time.” (REUTERS)

(Production: Iona Serrapica)

Boris Johnson takes office as UK PM amid Brexit uncertainties

Robie de Guzman   •   July 25, 2019

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Newly-elected Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson took office as the British prime minister on Wednesday amid the rising uncertainties of Brexit.

The latest development came after Theresa May formally stepped down as the leader of the country and Johnson was invited by the Queen to form the government.

Johnson, former British foreign secretary and ex-mayor of London, became the prime minister as Britain is faced with the looming Brexit deadline and uncertainties.

In front of the door of “No. 10” Downing Street, Johnson gave his first speech to the nation as he vowed to bring Britain out of the European Union (EU) by Oct. 31, saying “no ifs, no buts”.

“And we’re going to fulfill the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October the 31st, no ifs or buts. And we will do a new deal, a better deal that will maximize the opportunities of Brexit while allowing us to develop a new and exciting partnership with the rest of Europe based on free trade and mutual support,” the new prime minister said.

Before Johnson became the prime minister, Philip Hammond had quit as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the most high profile in a slew of resignations.

Just hours after moving into the Downing Street, Johnson named Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary in May’s government, as new Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The new Foreign Secretary is former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. He replaced Jeremy Hunt, the politician who went head-to-head with Johnson in the battle to be the leader of the Conservative Party.

Now in charge of interior matters as the new Home Secretary is 47-year-old Priti Patel, who served under May as International Development Secretary. (REUTERS)

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