May to set departure date after lawmakers vote on Brexit
The chairman of a powerful Conservative Committee said this on Thursday in London.
Three years after Britain voted to leave the EU, there is little clarity over when, how and even whether Brexit will happen.
And this had prompted some in May’s party to call for a new approach to the country’s biggest policy shift in more than 40 years.
May has promised to step down after her Brexit deal is approved by lawmakers but many in her party want her to set out clearly when she will quit if the agreement is rejected for a fourth time, and others are demanding her immediate departure.
“The prime minister is determined to secure our departure from the EU,” Graham Brady, Chair of the 1922 Committee that can make or break party leaders, said.
Brady said this following a meeting between his committee’s executive and May in parliament which he described as a “very frank exchange”.
The government has said lawmakers will be able to debate and vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the legislation required to enact May’s Brexit deal, in the week starting June 3.
“We have agreed that she and I will meet following the second reading of the Bill to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader,” Brady said.
Brady added that the conversation would take place whether the bill was passed or not.
May, who became prime minister in the chaos that followed the 2016 referendum when Britons voted 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the EU, survived a no-confidence vote of her Conservative lawmakers in December.
Under current party rules, she cannot be challenged again for a year, but some on Brady’s committee had pushed for those rules to be changed in order to try to force her out earlier if she refused to set out a clear departure date.
Boris Johnson, the face of the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, said he would stand as a candidate to replace May as Conservative leader.
May’s Brexit deal has been rejected three times by parliament and weeks of talks with the opposition Labour Party, the idea of which were deeply unpopular with many Conservatives, have failed to find a consensus on the way forward.
Mired in Brexit deadlock and forced to delay Britain’s March 29 exit from the EU, May’s Conservatives suffered major losses in local elections this month and are trailing in opinion polls before May 23 European Parliament elections.
With Labour and Brexit-supporting rebels in the Conservatives planning to vote against her deal, it is unlikely to be approved as things stand.
Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers were unimpressed with May’s failure to set a firm date to quit.
One, who declined to be named, described it as “yet further procrastination, which is causing appalling damage to the Conservative Party.”
Another, Andrew Bridgen, said May was “an increasingly beleaguered and isolated prime minister, who is desperate to salvage something from her premiership.
Victim of Pell assault ‘relieved’ at court’s decision to quash appeal
The judges at the Court of Appeal rejected Pell’s appeal in a majority two-to-one decision and upheld his conviction for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the mid-1990s.
“It is four years since I reported to the police. The criminal process has been stressful,” the victim said through his lawyer, Vivian Waller, after the court decision on Wednesday.
“The journey has taken me to places that, in my darkest moments, I feared I could not return from. The justice machine rolls on with all of its processes and punditry, almost forgetting about the people at the heart of the matter.”
In the state of Victoria, where the trial took place, publishing anything that may tend to identify the victims of sexual abuse is prohibited under law.
Pell’s victim was identified as JJ by the sentencing judge. The other victim died in 2014.
JJ said he “felt a responsibility to come forward” after attending the funeral of his childhood friend, the other choirboy, who died of an accidental drug overdose – which has been blamed on the abuse.
“I knew he had been in a dark place. I was in a dark place. I gave a statement to the police because I was thinking of him and his family. I felt I should say what I saw and what happened to me.”
JJ said he did not report to the police for his personal gain.
“I have risked my privacy, my health, my well-being, my family… This is not about money and never has been,” he said, adding he is “not on a mission to do anybody any harm.”
“My journey has not been an easy one. It has been all the more stressful because the case involved a high-profile figure,” said JJ, who recently became a father.
“I am grateful for a legal system that everyone can believe in, where everybody is equal before the law and no one is above the law.”
“I just hope that it is all over now.”
Meanwhile, the father of the late victim said he shed “tears of relief in the courtroom when the judgement was handed down this morning.”
“It’s been an extremely tough wait for our client who has had to deal with the awful thought that maybe the man who destroyed his son’s life could have his conviction overturned,” said Lisa Flynn, the lawyer for the father.
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
3 children of German Islamic State fighters arrive in Frankfurt
It is the first time the German government has brought the children of Islamic State militants home amid a fierce debate about how to handle repatriation of jihadists and their children in the wake of the militant group’s collapse.
The police spokesman said the children’s transport has been overseen by social workers and child protective services, but declined to give further details citing privacy regulations.
Sources told dpa the children included two sisters ages 2 and 4 who had been accompanied to the airport in Erbil by their grandmother, and a boy aged 7 who was also brought to the airport by his grandmother.
According to the German Foreign Ministry, four children including a sick baby were handed over to employees of the German Consulate in Erbil on Monday.
The children had been living in the Kurdish-controlled al-Hol refugee camp near the border with Iraq since the collapse of the Islamic State group.
The police spokesman did not comment on the whereabouts of the baby.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that the government is working under difficult circumstances to bring more children of Islamic State fighters back to Germany.
Edited by Emmanuel Yashim
Brazil bars Maduro’s officials entry, alleging rights abuses
The prohibition concerns officials whose acts have violated principles contained in the Brazilian constitution: democracy, human dignity and human rights, according to the announcement.
The government will prepare a list of the names of the officials in question.
It was not known if the list would be made public.
It was the first time that Brazil adopted unilateral sanctions against another country, according to daily O Globo. Colombia, Argentina, and Peru have adopted similar measures against Maduro, who is facing a campaign by the U.S.-backed opposition to oust him from power.
The president won a second term in an election boycotted by most of the opposition last year, and has presided over an economic meltdown.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in January and won the support of dozens of countries.
U.S. President Donald Trump meanwhile said his administration was maintaining contacts with the Maduro regime on several levels, including a very high level.
Edited by Emmanuel Yashim
Court to rule on appeal in convicted paedophile Cardinal Pell’s case
The former Vatican treasurer and one-time close adviser to Pope Francis was convicted in December for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the mid-1990s.
The 78-year-old maintains his innocence.
Pell’s two-day appeal hearing was held in June, which ended with the judges reserving their decision.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson will read out a summary of the decision, which could be majority or unanimous, with the proceedings to be live-streamed on the court’s website from 9:30 am on Wednesday (2330 GMT Tuesday).
Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic figure to be jailed for a child sex abuse conviction, has already been in prison for more than five months. Depending on the verdict, he could either walk free, his case could be sent to a retrial or he could remain in jail.
Meanwhile the father of one of the two choirboys sexually abused by Pell said Tuesday through his lawyer that he is waiting “with bated breath” and is “anxious about the decision.”
”He has said that he would like to see justice prevail and George Pell kept behind bars where he cannot prey on more unsuspecting children,” said Lisa Flynn, the lawyer representing the father, whose son died of a drug overdose in 2014.
Edited by Emmanuel Yashim
Trump says Kashmir is ‘complicated’ but still aims to mediate
The U.S. president has spoken with both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in recent days, trying to diffuse tensions.
He will likely meet Modi this weekend on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France, though India has already rejected the US offer to mediate on the issue.
“I think we are helping the situation, but there are tremendous problems between those two countries as you know and I will do the best I can do to mediate or do something,” Trump said.
“Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have the Hindus and the Muslims and I wouldn’t say they get along so great,” Trump said at the White House. “Frankly, it’s a very explosive situation.”
Trump heaped praise on both Modi and Khan, noting that he recently hosted the Pakistani leader at the White House.
“They are great people and they love their countries. They are in a very tough situation. Kashmir is a very tough situation,” he said.
The U.S. under Trump cut aid to Pakistan, a Cold War-era ally, and the recent Khan visit did not spark any pledges to renew the assistance, amid concerns in Washington about Islamabad’s focus on fighting terrorism.
Edited by Emmanuel Yashim