Monday, 22 July 2019: Two ministers to quit if Boris Johnson wins, Britain weighs response to Iran, Zelensky’s party wins Ukrainian election, Greek government promises to respect fiscal targets


Two ministers to quit if Boris Johnson wins: UK Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Secretary David Gauke announced Sunday they will resign if Boris Johnson wins the Tory party leadership contest and becomes prime minister. Hammond and Gauke were among a number of ministers who defied government whips last week to abstain on a backbench motion that would make it much harder for Johnson to suspend parliament and thus stop MPs from blocking no deal. Gauke told the “Sunday Times” that the appropriate thing for him was to resign if Johnson took over. The paper also reported that up to six Tory MPs are considering defecting to the Liberal Democrats if Johnson becomes prime minister, depriving him of a parliamentary majority.,

Johnson says trade deal can break Brexit deadlock: In his weekly column in “The Telegraph” newspaper, Boris Johnson has said the country could agree a free trade deal to leave the EU that would remove the need for one of the more problematic parts of a previous agreement. He said technology could avoid having to stick to the Northern Irish backstop. The backstop, an insurance policy to ensure there will be no return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, has become one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the lengthy Brexit talks. Johnson and his rival to become prime minister, Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, have said the backstop needs to be removed from an agreement Prime Minister Theresa May secured with the EU – something, so far, neither side has agreed on a way to do.

Change in No 10 will not alter Brexit reality, warns Irish deputy PM: Ireland’s deputy PM and foreign minister Simon Coveney has warned that a change in British prime minister will not shift the fundamental realities of Brexit. Repeating a warning to the new prime minister, likely to be former London mayor Boris Johnson, that the bloc will not reopen the divorce deal, Coveney said there would be an opportunity to get rid of the so-called Northern Irish backstop through the future relationship. A no-deal departure would not be the fault of the EU, Coveney said, but would be entirely down to UK political considerations. If it happened, he added, Ireland would need to impose some form of border checks with Northern Ireland to safeguard its position in the EU single market.,,

Antisemitism: Labour launches antisemitism guide for party members
Military: MPs call for 10-year limit on prosecution of soldiers
NHS: Private firms given £9.2bn of NHS budget despite Hancock promise


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Britain weighs response to Iran: The UK was weighing its next moves in the Gulf tanker crisis on Sunday, as a recording emerged showing that the Iranian military defied a British warship when it boarded and seized a ship three days ago. Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said she would chair a meeting of Britain’s COBR emergency response committee this Monday to discuss the crisis. Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt called Iran’s seizure of the ship and its crew members a hostile and illegal act. She insisted the tanker, which was headed to a port in Saudi Arabia, was in the territorial waters of Oman when Iran’s Revolutionary Guard raided it. Iran claims the ship had collided with an Iranian fishing vessel and violated maritime safety. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the exchange a tanker tit for tat. Germany and France on Saturday denounced Iran’s seizure of the tanker and called on the country to release the vessel immediately.,,,

Cruise ship rescues migrants off Greece: The Maltese-registered cruise ship “Marella Discovery” rescued more than a hundred migrants while sailing close to the Greek mainland this weekend. The boat with 111 migrants on board was found in distress on Saturday evening, some 74 kilometres off Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. The aid organisations SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders have announced that they will resume the lifesaving search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The charities condemned the criminal inaction of European governments in the face of people dying at sea. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for a new regulation of refugee distribution ahead of the meeting of EU foreign and interior ministers in Paris this Monday. (Cruise ship);, (Charities); (Maas)

Lufthansa resumes flights to Cairo, British Airways does not: The German airline Lufthansa resumed daily direct flights to Cairo on Sunday following a brief suspension of services a day earlier. The airline mentioned safety as its chief concern, without giving further details. British Airways flights to Cairo remained suspended as part of what the carrier described as its constant review of security arrangements, calling the measure a precaution to allow for further assessment. In its latest travel advisory, the British Foreign Office urged Britons against travelling to Egypt, saying terrorists were likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Egypt’s civil aviation minister criticised the airlines’ decisions as politically motivated.,

Trade: EU offers the US a termination of tariffs on industrial products
Climate: Future EU Commission President von der Leyen considers France’s climate ideas
Huawei: UK allegedly barred from EU cybersecurity meeting


Zelensky’s party wins Ukrainian election: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party is set to win a snap parliamentary election, according to exit polls. Zelensky’s newly formed party Servant of the People, defeated established political forces to win around 44% of the vote, far more than each of the other four parties predicted to have cleared the 5% threshold to enter parliament. Zelensky’s party intends to continue a pro-Western course toward joining the EU and Nato, combining this with economic reforms and an intensified fight against corruption. A party led by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates, tycoon Viktor Medvedchuk, came in second with 11.5% of the vote.,,

Greek government promises to respect fiscal targets: Newly elected Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament Saturday he would immediately implement a reduction of a highly unpopular property tax, while pledging to fully respect the fiscal targets Athens has agreed with its international lenders. Outlining his main policies after a landslide victory in the election, Mitsotakis told Greek lawmakers that the budget would not put fiscal targets for 2019 and 2020 at risk. He said that planned tax cuts and bold reforms of the economy and public administration would lead to higher growth and help Greece convince its lenders to lower fiscal targets after 2020.,

Spain’s Socialists confident of reaching government deal: Spain’s Socialist Party said Saturday that a coalition deal with the left-wing Podemos party was within reach, meaning acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez could be approved by the parliament next week. Sanchez, who won the most seats but fell short of a majority in a parliamentary election in April, hopes to be sworn in as prime minister but even with Podemos’s support he will still need some extra votes from other parties.,

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Austria investigates former leader’s staff over shredding evidence: Austrian prosecutors are probing a staffer of former chancellor Sebastian Kurz on suspicion of shredding evidence, possibly linked to the Ibiza scandal that brought down the government in May. Hidden camera recordings saw Kurz’s far-right vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, resign, the coalition collapse and a caretaker government appointed. Prosecutors are now also investigating a staffer of Kurz’s team for shredding a hard disk just days after the scandal broke and just before a successful no-confidence vote against the chancellor’s government.

Poland: Police arrest 25 people after attacks on LGBT march
Bosnia: Victims of 1992 massacre buried
France: Heat significantly reduces wine production

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German military rejects dozens of candidates over extremist links: Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have rejected 63 candidates over the past two years due to their apparent links to extremism, the Funke Media Group reported on Sunday. The increased security measures followed what authorities believe was a neo-Nazi terrorist plot within the Bundeswehr to assassinate senior government figures and lay the blame for the murders on asylum seekers. Left party politician Ulla Jelpke welcomed the additional scrutiny, but questioned why long-serving soldiers were not subject to the same checks.


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