British lawmakers praised, condemned and verbally jostled with Theresa May as she hosted her final prime minister’s questions on Wednesday before she hands power to her successor, Boris Johnson.
“I pay tribute to her sense of public duty,’’ opposition Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, told parliament, repeating his call for a general election.
Corbyn said he hoped May, who will remain a member of parliament, will “oppose the reckless plans of her successor,’’ apparently referring to Johnson’s vow to withdraw Britain from the EU by Oct. 31, with or without a deal.
Former foreign secretary Johnson is set to lead Britain from late Wednesday afternoon, when May hands over power after resigning over her failure to persuade lawmakers to back her Brexit deal.
The ruling Conservatives on Tuesday said that its members had chosen Johnson in a run-off ballot between him and Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to lead the party and the country.
May agreed to step down in May after failing to win parliamentary approval for the Brexit deal she agreed with Brussels.
She told parliament on Wednesday that she had “worked tirelessly to get a good deal for the UK,’’ leaving the chamber to applause from Conservatives and some opposition lawmakers.
May is expected to make a final speech outside 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence in London, before visiting Queen Elizabeth II to inform her formally of her resignation later Wednesday.
Johnson will then have his own audience with the queen before travelling back to speak outside Downing Street.
He is expected to begin announcing ministers for his new cabinet late Wednesday or Thursday.
Johnson will also make a statement to parliament on his Brexit plans on Thursday, according to unconfirmed reports in British media.
In his acceptance speech on Tuesday, Johnson said he wants to unite Britain and “get Brexit done” by the delayed EU exit date of Oct. 31, with or without a deal.
“We’re going to get Brexit done … in a new spirit of can-do,’’ he said in a prepared victory speech.
3 Turkish opposition lawmakers arrested after status revoked
Turkey’s three opposition deputies were arrested on early Friday after their parliament statues were revoked.
Leyla Guven and Musa Farisogullari from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Enis Berberoglu from Republican People’s Party (CHP) were stripped of their seats in the parliament on Thursday after the final verdict from the Supreme Court of Appeals over their cases.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has 291 deputies in the 600-seat assembly, while the CHP now has 138 seats, keeping it the main opposition party in Turkey, and the HDP has 58 seats.
Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2017 on espionage charges of leaking footage to a journalist showing Turkish intelligence trucks being stopped en route to Syria in January 2014.
He was released from prison after 15-month imprisonment and re-elected for the parliament in the 2018 elections.
Guven was released from prison in January 2019 after an 11-week hunger strike. She was accused of “conducting terror activities” following her statements and social media posts on Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” launched against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northwestern Syria.
Legislative, Judiciary Funds bills will promote democratic ideals – Ogun lawmakers
Ogun lawmakers on Thursday said that the bills on Legislative and Judiciary Funds Management remained veritable legislations aimed at promoting democratic ideals, self-independence and accountability.
The lawmakers took turns to lend their voice in support of the bills during the second reading at plenary in Abeokuta.
The bills include a bill for a law to make provision for the Ogun State House of Assembly Legislative Funds Management and other matters connected therewith.
Mr Solomon Osho (APC-Remo North) explained that the bills were aimed at promoting separation of powers among the three arms of government.
Osho, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Justice and Public Petitions, noted that the bills were also aimed at strengthening the judiciary and legislature in the discharge of their respective duties.
Mr Abayomi Fasuwa (APC-Ijebu North East) and Kemi Oduwole (APC-Ijebu Ode) said that the implementation of the bills would make the state retained her leading position in the comity of states in the nation.
Other lawmakers commended President Buhari for the issuance of the Executive Order 10, which they noted would reposition the system of governance in the nation.
The lawmakers added that the two bills would speed up the financial autonomy of the two arms of government and curb undue interference to bring about efficiency in the principle of check and balances through unhindered oversight function.
The Speaker, Mr Olakunle Oluomo (APC-Ifo1), noted that the bills which remained instrumental to the implementation of the Executive Order would rather promote harmonious relationship among the three arms of government as spelt out in the constitution.
He, however, committed the bills to the Committee on Rules and Businesses for further legislative actions.
The Assembly, also passed a resolution calling on the state government to compel all companies and corporate organisations operating in the state to effect not less than 30 per cent local content in all categories of their staff composition.
Court reinstates 5 suspended Kano lawmakers
The lawmakers were opposed the dethronement of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II, by the speaker of the House, Abdulaziz Gafasa
The lawmakers are: Labaran Abdul Madari, APC representing Warawa Constituency, Bello Bututu, APC, representing Rimin gado/Tofa Constituency, Isyaku, PDP Gezawa, Garba Yau APC Kunci/Tsanyawa and Maje Gwangwazo PDP, representing Kano municipal.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on March 16, the assembly had suspended five members over alleged involvement in snatching a mace during plenary, while hearing a motion for the investigation and dethronement of former Emir Sanusi.
The lawmakers in an originating summons urged the court to declare their suspension as a violation of Section 109 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
They said that the section stipulates and guarantee their tenure in office.
The five lawmakers had opposed to a motion for investigation and dethronement of the former 14th Emir of Kano on March 16 leading to a fight at the assembly.
The presiding Judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, however, agreed with the submission of the counsel to the lawmakers.
Allagoa, in his judgement, said that the suspension was unconstitutional, null and void.
He also ordered the Speaker and the Kano State House of Assembly to pay salaries and allowances of the five suspended members.
Counsel for the speaker and the assembly, Mr Marcelenious N. Duru, had earlier urged the court to dismiss the prayers made by the plaintiffs.
“I am satisfied with the court verdict, the truth had resurfaced at the end of the day,” Madari told newsmen
Minister tasks lawmakers on ending violence against women, girls
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, on Monday urged lawmakers to enact laws and evolve polices that would ensure a safe society and end violence against women and girls.
Tallen made the call in the ministry’s official twitter handle, @FMWA-ng in Abuja.
She was reacting to the recent killings of Miss Uwaila Omozuwa and Miss Tina Ezekwe by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums and police respectively.
Omozuwa, a 100-level Microbiology student of the University of Benin was killed after her attackers had raped her inside a church in Benin, while Ezekwe was allegedly shot dead by a policeman in Lagos.
The minister decried the increase in sexual violence in homes across the country, stressing the need to urgently address the issue and ensure dependable security in the country.
”I condemn these horrific acts and call on our lawmakers to take emergency actions on this dastardly oppression that is suddenly on the increase.
“The Ministry of Women Affairs is aware of how vulnerable Nigerian women are, and record of cases being reported indeed stirs rage.
“We are working passionately to address these issues of violence and abuse against women in Nigeria, and are doing this from all angles – policies, legislature and regulations – to create a Nigerian society that is safe for every woman.
Our goal is to build systems that are efficient and reliable,’’ the minister said.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the UNWomen recently disclosed a rise in Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lagos State with 300 per cent increase between March and April.
Delta has witnessed unprecedented development under Okowa – Lawmakers
Some members of the Delta House of Assembly have commended Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for delivering good governance to the people of the state.
They also assured the people of the state of more dividends of democracy in years ahead.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Asaba, the lawmakers said that the five years of Okowa as governor of the state had witnessed unprecedented development.
They attributed such development to the governor’s desire for good governance and excellence.
The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Christopher Ochor, said that the nickname of the governor as the ‘Road Master’ was not just for the fun of it.
He noted that it was in recognition of the strides recorded by his administration in road infrastructure, even in riverine communities.
Ochor called for more support of citizens for the Okowa-led administration.
Also, Mr Festus Okoh, Majority Whip of the Assembly, representing Ika South constituency, said that there was no local government area in the state without, at least, one development project executed by the present administration.
”Despite the economic recession and the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor never stopped initiating programmes, geared toward enhancing the quality of lives in the state.
The lawmaker expressed optimism that greater development would be provided by the governor in the years ahead.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Anthony Elekeokuri, described the five years of the Okowa-led administrationt as commendable.
Elekeokuri, representing Ika North East constituency, noted that the primary function of any government was to ensure the welfare and security of the people.
He said that the governor had done well in the two areas, and more importantly, in the area of poverty alleviation.
The lawmaker urged the people of the state to remain resolute in their confidence and prayers for the governor and his administration.
Elekeokuri, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to open up the economy for more meaningful development to thrive.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
U.S. Democratic lawmakers expand probe into firing of State Department inspector general
Democratic lawmakers on Friday said they are expanding their investigation into the firing of State Department Inspector General (IG) Steve Linick.
“We are aware that Mr. Linick‘s office was working on at least two investigations that touched directly on Secretary Pompeo‘s actions at the time that Secretary Pompeo recommended that the president fire him,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a joint statement.
The lawmakers are planning to conduct transcribed interviews with “key officials” who may know why Linick was fired and how his investigative work at the department may have been a factor in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo‘s decision to ask President Donald Trump to remove him, according to a report by The Hill.
“If Pompeo pushed for Mr. Linick‘s dismissal to cover up his own misconduct, that would constitute an egregious abuse of power and a clear attempt to avoid accountability,” they said.
Pompeo admitted last week that he recommended to Trump that Linick be terminated earlier this month. The president’s decision has sparked an inquiry by Democrats and scrutiny even by a number of Republicans on Capitol.
As inspector general, Linick was responsible for, among other things, conducting administrative and criminal investigations of waste, fraud, mismanagement, and misconduct in the State Department, according to his online biography.
Besides Linick, Trump has moved in the past few weeks to fire Intelligence Community IG Michael Atkinson, acting Pentagon IG Glenn Fine, and Christi Grimm, principal deputy IG of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Roundup: Hint of post-COVID budget as British PM faces his toughest grilling yet from committee of key lawmakers
As more politicians in Britain joined the chorus demanding the resignation of the under-fire senior advisor at 10 Downing Street, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear Wednesday he was standing by his top aide.
Johnson faced a tough round of questions from the powerful House of Commons liaison committee, made up of the chairpersons of all select committees.
Johnson called on the politicians to draw a line under the row generated by his advisor Dominic Cummings and instead rally around the battle against coronavirus.
Dozens of questions were fired at Johnson during a grueling 95-minute session, called to discuss the Conservative government’s response to the pandemic.
The row over Cummings erupted when media reports revealed that during a national lockdown he made a long journey from London to the northeast of England, with his 4-year-old son, and sick wife, to ensure his child could be looked after by family members if he was struck down by COVID-19.
During several exchanges with committee members, Johnson was accused of ducking the questions.
Although he did not apologize directly for Cummings’ actions, Johnson did express regret for the situation caused to many families by lockdown.
He told the group of senior politicians, “Of course, I am deeply sorry for all the hurt and pain and anxiety that people have been going through throughout this period. This country has been going through a frankly most difficult time.
“We are asking people to do quite exceptionally tough things, separating them from their families.”
Conservative MP Simon Hoare told Johnson he feared any future lockdown rules would be less rigorously adhered to as a direct result of the activities of his senior advisor.
Johnson also insisted he was not putting his political priorities over public health, insisting his priority was the national interest.
Asked why Britain had a 2-meter distancing rule when other countries opted for a meter or 1.5 meters, Johnson said Britain’s response was based on scientific advice, but that was continually being looked at.
“My hope is that when we make progress we will be able to reduce that distance,” he said.
He also told the committee that the government would not be blown off course by the virus from the commitments it made in its election blueprint last December when Johnson was handed an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons.
“We are going to meet all of our manifesto commitments,” he told the committee.
He told the MPs the government at some stage would be bringing forward to MPs a post-COVID package.
It raised the prospect that Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak were already thinking of some form of budget when the pandemic was over. Johnson hinted that he remained opposed to raising taxes.
Chinese lawmakers reply to foreigners in “two sessions” Q&A
Lawmakers congratulate Edwin Clark at 93
The Minority caucus in the House of Representatives has felicitated with Chief Edwin Clark as he turns 93.
The members extoled the leadership qualities, patriotism and relentless commitment of the elder statesman and former Information Minister in the development of the country.
The Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDA-Delta), in a statement signed and issued on Monday, described Clark as ‘a leading light, a forthright, fearless and outspoken leader’.
Elumelu said Clark had remained steadfast in his commitment toward the unity, stability and development of Nigeria.
”Chief Clark has remained a firm and uncompromised voice for the entrenchment of rule of law, social justice, adherence to the principles and tenets of constitutional federalism.
”He stands for equitable distribution of national opportunities and undiluted respect for the sensibilities and rights of federating units in the quest for a strong, united and virile nation,” he said.
The lawmaker said that over the years, Clark had remained philanthropic and dedicated to the good of the Nigerian people.
According to Elumelu, his commitment to the development of the younger generation is evinced in his roles, leading to the establishment of the University of Benin and the Edwin Clark University.
He said that Clark, in his service to the nation, had demonstrated the hallmark of statesmanship as well as a huge example for leaders at all levels.
Elumelu congratulated Clark on his 93rd birthday and prayed God to grant him more years in good health to continue in his good works for the nation and humanity at large.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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