UK and EU negotiators have finally agreed a Brexit deal and will now be put to the 27 leaders of the European Union to sign off. However critically, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) say they oppose the agreement. Read Full Article at RT.com
A failure to pass a timetable for getting legislation in place for Britain's departure from the European Union on Oct. 31 increases the risk of the country leaving without an agreement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said on Tuesday.
British MPs gathered for an extraordinary session of parliament on Saturday to vote on the Brexit deal Prime Minister Boris Johnson made with the EU have delayed their decision on the agreement until next week.
A grand carriage procession, a royal “hostage,” a ceremonial sword. Britain’s State Opening of Parliament, and the Queen’s Speech that accompanies it, are nothing if not extravagant—an event more so than any other in British politics that is beholden to ritual and tradition.
For a ceremony replete with colorful customs, however, this year’s Queen’s Speech couldn’t have come at a more untraditional time for Britain. Politically, the government has no majority, an election is imminent (though no one knows when), and the country is careening toward a cliff-edge exit from the European Union, without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the fall. And on a deeper level, major constitutional questions are suddenly up for debate, from the strength and sovereignty of Parliament to the power of the executive and the role of the monarch in relation to the legislature.
It was against this tumultuous backdrop that Queen Elizabeth II made the short journey from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster today to deliver her ceremonial address outlining the government’s legislative agenda for the new parliamentary year. From the elaborate costumes and royal regalia to the theatrical nodding, the Queen’s Speech looks nothing like the Westminster politics that can be streamed online most days of the week. For one, it takes place not in the House of Commons, but across the palace, in the less observed House of Lords. And though the words are drafted by the government, they are delivered by the queen, who, donning an 18-foot crimson Robe of State, addresses lawmakers from a gilded throne. (Though the Imperial State Crown is always present for the ceremony, the queen hasn’t worn it in recent years because of its weight. “You can’t look down to read the speech,” the queen told the BBC last year, “because if you did, your neck would break.”)
But even the pomp and pageantry of today’s event couldn’t overshadow all the political controversy surrounding it. After all, it was only last month that Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood accused of lying to the queen about his original bid to suspend Parliament (an otherwise usual move made controversial by its unusually long duration), which was later ruled unlawful by Britain’s Supreme Court. That the country is just weeks away from its October 31 Brexit deadline and likely headed for a general election (which could prompt yet another Queen’s Speech) led several lawmakers to declare the State Opening a “sham.”
Still, as the only regular occasion to include all three central elements of Parliament—the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the crown—the Queen’s Speech remains a deeply symbolic event. For the queen, it reaffirms her role as the country’s constitutional, albeit politically neutral, head of state. For Parliament, however, it’s an opportunity to remind the monarch who is really in charge. In addition to the customary heckle from the veteran Labour lawmaker Dennis Skinner (who is known for his republican, or anti-monarchy, sentiments), the Commons famously demonstrates its authority by slamming the chamber’s doors in the face of Black Rod, the traditional gatekeeper of the House of Lords sent by the queen to summon the members of Parliament. Only after knocking three times is Black Rod eventually permitted inside.
“No monarch has entered the House of Commons since Charles I—and you know what happened to him,” Richard Fitzwilliams, a commentator on the royal family, told me of the tradition, which dates back to the fractious relationship between Parliament and the crown that led to Charles I’s execution during the English Civil War. (A copy of the monarch’s death certificate is displayed in the robing room used by the queen before the ceremony as a further reminder of Parliament’s sovereignty.)
Many of these traditions take place behind the scenes. Ahead of the ceremony, the Yeomen of the Guard, the queen’s official royal bodyguards, conduct a sweep of the Westminster cellars for explosives, in commemoration of the failed 17th-century Gunpowder Plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up the State Opening of Parliament. As a further precaution, Buckingham Palace takes a member of Parliament “hostage” in order to ensure the queen’s safe return. This year’s hostage was Conservative MP Stuart Andrew. (Jim Fitzpatrick, a Labour lawmaker who was held hostage in 2014, said he was permitted to wander around the palace and even enjoy a coffee or a gin and tonic. “But they made it quite clear that I wasn’t going anywhere,” he said.)
For all the symbolism and ceremonial significance of the Queen’s Speech, there is a practical political element, too. Soon after the speech is delivered, its contents are moved back to the House of Commons to be debated and voted on. This poses an issue for Johnson, whose lack of a parliamentary majority has already seen him lose a series of votes. To be defeated on the Queen’s Speech wouldn’t just constitute a lack of confidence in his government, but would also put his premiership in a constitutional gray area: The last time a prime minister lost a vote on a Queen’s Speech, in 1924, he resigned (something Johnson would be loath to do). More recent laws, however, require that lawmakers hold a formal no-confidence vote to depose a prime minister—something opposition parliamentarians have declined to do until they can remove the threat of a no-deal Brexit.
Many of the customs and much of the choreography surrounding the Queen’s Speech haven’t changed much since the 1852 Opening of Parliament, on which the modern ceremony is based. In some ways, Fitzwilliams said, they are more important than ever before. “The question marks that remain over what’s going to happen even in the next month are just extraordinary,” he said. “When you’ve got the political chaos that you have at the moment, it is interesting and perhaps reassuring that some traditions are observed.”
A defiant Boris Johnson said he would not negotiate a further delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union after parliament voted on Saturday to postpone a vote on his Brexit deal.Parliament voted 322 to 306 in favour of an amendment put forward by Oliver Letwin, a former Conservative cabinet minister.According to legislation passed earlier, the vote means Johnson is obliged to write to the European Union seeking a delay beyond Britain’s scheduled departure date of October 31.But…
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dealt another blow Monday when the speaker of Parliament denied him a second shot at winning MPs’ approval for his EU divorce deal, with Brexit looming in just 10 days’ time.
In a major blow to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.K. lawmakers voted Saturday to postpone a decision on whether to back his Brexit deal with the European Union, throwing a wrench into government plans to leave the bloc at the end of this month.
Our guest is Andrej Plenkovic, the prime minister of the most recent EU member state, Croatia, which will be heading up the rotating presidency of the European Union as of January. He spoke to us about Brexit, the Turkish offensive in Syria and EU enlargement.
Trump Has "Meltdown" After Lawmakers Rebuke His Actions on Syria, Gordon Sondland to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry Today, Britain and European Union Reach Brexit Deal, Protests Continue in Catalonia After Sentencing of Separatist Leaders, Trump Admin Proposes Opening Up Tongass National Forest to Logging, 500,000 Kids Could Lose Free School Lunches Under Changes to Food Stamp Program, Chicago Public School Teachers on Strike Today, General Motors and UAW Reach Tentative Deal Aimed at Ending Strike, NYC Council Slated to Vote on $8 Billion Plan to Close Rikers & Build New Jails, Maryland Congressmember Elijah Cummings Dies
A defiant British government doubled down on Sunday, insisting it would leave the European Union in 11 days’ time despite parliament forcing a reluctant prime minister to request another delay.In a day of high drama on Saturday, MPs in the House of Commons passed up the chance to decide on the revised withdrawal agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had negotiated with the European Union.That defeat leaves Johnson under mounting pressure to find a way out of paralysing impasse on when and…
British MPs gathered on Saturday for a historic vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – a decision that could see the United Kingdom leave the European Union this month or plunge the country into fresh uncertainty.The House of Commons is holding its first Saturday sitting since the 1982 Falklands War to debate the terms of a divorce agreement Johnson struck with EU leaders on Thursday.Opposition parties and Johnson’s own Northern Irish allies have rejected the text but the prime…
After three years of Brexit crisis, Sky News is betting that some viewers are so bored by the divorce drama that there is a market for a channel dedicated to news that has nothing to do with Britain's exit from the European Union.
A British lawmaker proposed an amendment to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plan which would prevent a no-deal exit from the European Union at the end of 2020, when a planned transition period is scheduled to end.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union on Saturday requesting a delay to Brexit but he also sent another message in which he stated he did not want the extension, a government source said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reluctantly wrote to Brussels asking for a Brexit extension after MPs voted Saturday to force him into seeking a delay beyond October 31.But Johnson, who has pinned his premiership on getting Britain out of the European Union on time, refused to sign the letter he sent to European Council President Donald Tusk.The Conservative leader, who had to send the letter to abide by the law, also sent a second signed letter insisting he was not seeking an extension to…
A deal to smooth Britain’s departure from the European Union hung in the balance on Monday after diplomats indicated the bloc wanted more concessions from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and said a full agreement was unlikely this week.
As the Brexit maelstrom spins ever faster, Johnson and EU leaders face a tumultuous week of reckoning that could decide whether the divorce is orderly, acrimonious or delayed yet again.
Johnson says he wants to strike an exit deal at an EU summit on Thursday and…
With the details of Brexit still unclear, many businesses are wondering how to proceed. At the Frankfurt Book Fair, DW asked Publishing Scotland representatives how Brexit developments are affecting their industry.
Finally, a Brexit deal? Well, apparently not quite. The UK's lower house of parliament, the House of Commons, loves to vote "no" and to push for delays. This is tough for politicians but great fun for cartoonists.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears to be on the brink of reaching a Brexit deal after making major concessions to European Union demands concerning the Irish border.A draft text of the agreement could now be published on Wednesday if No 10 Downing Street gives the final green light, according to senior EU and British sources.It is understood that the negotiating teams have agreed in principle that there will be a customs border down the Irish Sea. A similar arrangement was rejected by…
Slovenia's foreign minister said Tuesday the European Union showed unity during the Brexit negotiations, but failed in the Balkans when it couldn't agree to open accession talks with North Macedonia … Click to Continue »