Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week …
This week is set to be one of the most significant periods for a post-war UK Government. The coming days will define Theresa May’s premiership and could see Parliament wresting control away from ministers on the future direction of the UK’s departure from the EU.
- February 12, 2019
- January 29, 2019
- January 22, 2019
The action begins at the European Court of Justice on Monday as it hands down judgment in a legal challenge over whether the UK can unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 notification.
The ECJ’s chief legal expert said in an opinion on the case earlier this month that Britain should be able to cancel Brexit without needing the consent of the other member states.
If the court’s judgment follows the advocate’s opinion, it would be a blow to May just 24 hours before MPs have their meaningful vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The judgment is due at 8am UK time.
Tuesday’s vote in the Commons promises to be among the most contentious in recent history with MPs divided on all sides of the House. It comes after five days of intense debate which were preceded by the Government being found in contempt of Parliament for the first time in history.
The numbers appear to be against the Prime Minister, and with amendments from across the Brexit spectrum being tabled, the vote could produce a variety of outcomes – an attempted renegotiation, a no-deal Brexit, even a second referendum – none of which will be palatable to May.
A crushing defeat could even persuade her to throw in the towel, though past form suggests she will persevere whatever the result.
Attention turns to Strasbourg on Wednesday as MEPs hold a debate on the outcome of Tuesday’s Commons vote. The EU’s Chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, made clear last week that Theresa May’s deal presents the only opportunity for the UK to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has previously echoed the sentiment by describing the deal as ‘the only one possible’. Whatever happens in the early part of this week, the remainder will be shaped by the fallout from Tuesday’s events as the future direction of Brexit is played out.
In non-Brexit news, members of the Welsh Assembly formally vote on Carwyn Jones’ successor as First Minister, with newly-elected Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford expected to take office.
Labour currently controls 28 of the 60 seats in the Assembly, though Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives are also likely to put forward their own candidates for the post.
EU leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday for the first European Council since the deal with Theresa May was signed off last month. As things stand it’s a Brexit-free agenda, and with domestic crises gripping France, Spain and Italy, May’s counterparts are probably hoping it stays that way.
Talks will focus on the EU’s long-term budget, the single market, and the bloc’s second-most contentious issue of recent times: migration. The second day’s session is dominated by a lunchtime Euro Summit where leaders will discuss the eurozone reforms agreed by finance ministers at the beginning of this month.
In London, the Supreme Court is due to rule in a case concerning Brexit legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. The case was referred to the UK’s highest court by the Attorney General and Scotland’s Advocate General in summer and the court’s justices will rule today on whether the Scottish Brexit bill is constitutional and within the Parliament’s remit to approve. The judgment will be announced at 9.30am.
It’s also the end of an era as David Dimbleby hosts Question Time for the final time. After 25 years fronting the programme, Dimbleby announced his decision to step down in June and said he would return to his first love of reporting. His successor will be the Antiques Roadshow’s Fiona Bruce, who becomes the show’s first female host.
Friday is the centenary of the first election in which women were permitted to vote. After the franchise was extended to women (who were over 30 and met a property qualification) under the Representation of the People Act, some 8.5 million women became eligible to cast a vote for the first time. To mark the anniversary, a statue of Manchester-born suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst is unveiled in the city’s St Peter’s Square.
The COP24 climate summit comes to an end after two weeks of negotiations on how to build on the 2015 Paris agreement and tackle emissions in the coming years.
The UN conference takes place in the wake of the IPCC’s dramatic global warming report and was accompanied on the opening day by research by the World Health Organization which suggested that millions of lives could be saved through action to meet the goals set out in Paris three years ago.
Amid escalating tensions between Kiev and Moscow, a meeting takes place in the Ukrainian capital on Saturday to formally create an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church. With Ukraine’s military allies an increasingly visible presence in the dispute, this departure from the Russia’s sphere of influence is unlikely to be taken lightly in the Kremlin.
On Sunday the BBC announces the Sports Personality of the Year in a ceremony broadcast from Birmingham. In a new format for this year the contenders for the main award will only be revealed on the night and a new award for best sporting moment will be presented after a public vote.
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is among the favourites for the award, though boxer Tyson Fury may be an outside bet to succeed Sir Mo Farah after his dramatic title fight against America’s Deontay Wilder.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: Reuters/Henry Nicholls