News diary 12-18 November: Ex BBC China editor Carrie Gracie to speak at conference on equal pay and Wayne Rooney returns for England friendly

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week… 

Amid ongoing speculation that a deal with the EU is close, a cabinet meeting is expected to take place early this week at which ministers will approve the withdrawal agreement.

As the final pieces appear to fall into place, Michel Barnier, fresh from his assertion that the UK could one day reapply for EU membership, is due to update European ministers on the state of negotiations at a General Affairs Council meeting on Monday, while Jean-Claude Juncker meets with Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to Germany.

In London, Gordon Brown delivers a helpfully-timed address at the Institute for Government on what he believes would make for a successful exit from the European Union.

The former Prime Minister last month added his voice to those suggesting a second referendum would be required to resolve the Brexit impasse, and he participates in an audience Q&A after his speech.

On Tuesday, Merkel visits Brussels to deliver an address to the European Parliament on the future of Europe in what may serve as a welcome distraction from her current domestic woes.

Recent electoral setbacks prompted the Chancellor to announce that she would not seek re-election in 2021, and she is due to hand over the leadership of her CDU party at a meeting in Hamburg next month. Merkel’s impending departure has this week prompted one of her potential successors to declare a “new chapter” in German and European politics.

The Department for Work and Pensions is due to release the latest tranche of Universal Credit statistics.

The roll-out of the programme has been beset by problems and criticism has intensified recently; at the beginning of this month the Trussell Trust charity said it was almost entirely to blame for a sharp rise in food bank use, while Secretary of State Esther McVey was then forced into an embarrassing climb-down over plans to transfer people onto the new system. Employment statistics are also released this morning.

Sir Roger Scruton delivers the inaugural Colin Amery memorial lecture in London on Wednesday as he continues to face demands to resign from his role heading a new Government commission on housing.

The writer has been accused of making Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic statements in his previous work, with Labour MPs leading the calls for his dismissal. Scruton issued a robust denial in response in which he said he was “offended and hurt” by the suggestions.

Matt Hancock delivers the keynote address at techUK’s annual Health and Social Care Industry Dinner, which is billed as an opportunity to reflect on the health sector’s digital transformation.

The tech-savvy Health Secretary has been a strong advocate for the use of more technology in the NHS and may use the speech to discuss its role in his plan for the service to focus more on prevention.

Former England captain Wayne Rooney returns to the national team for a friendly against the United States at Wembley on Thursday.

The record goalscorer, who plays for DC United in the States, retired from international football in 2017 and is being granted a special return to make his 120th appearance for the Three Lions in what has not been a universally popular decision by Gareth Southgate and the FA.

Margaret Hodge, Nicky Morgan and Jacob Rees-Mogg are among participants at the launch of new Policy Exchange research on civility and discourse in politics.

The event involves a discussion with the MPs, who have been subject to often virulent abuse across the political spectrum, about their experiences of what the think tank calls the “coarsening of the tone in British politics” in recent years and also features the launch of its new Civility Hub project.

On Friday, UN rights expert Philip Alston holds a press conference to discuss the findings from his 12-day fact-finding visit to the UK.

The Special Rapporteur was tasked with investigating the Government’s efforts to eradicate poverty and was asked to consider the effects of Brexit and the Universal Credit roll-out on that work. A final report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council next year.

Bankers gather in Frankfurt for the annual European Banking Congress where Mario Draghi delivers the opening keynote speech.

As the EBC approaches the end of its stimulus programme, which saw billions of euros of monthly bond purchases over a period of three years in an attempt to stabilise the post-crisis eurozone economy, the bank’s president may look ahead to its role in 2019 and the final months of his term at the helm.

On Saturday, three anti-racist campaign groups come together to lead a national unity demonstration against racism and fascism through London.

The event was called by the Stand Up To Racism, Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism groups in response to what they call “the biggest rise in support for fascism, the far right, racism, Islamophobia and Antisemitism since the 1930s”. Supporters gather outside the BBC’s Portland Place HQ before holding a rally on Whitehall.

The BBC’s former China Editor, Carrie Gracie (pictured), is among the high-profile speakers at a conference on equal pay and women’s rights hosted by the Fawcett Society.

Gracie resigned from her role in January in a very public protest against the disparity in pay with other senior editors at the corporation, and donated the backdated pay she was subsequently awarded to the Fawcett Society. Joining Gracie are Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson and Women’s Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer.

The annual Interpol general assembly opens in Dubai on Sunday amid uncertainty over the whereabouts of Meng Hongwei, the agency’s former president who was reported missing by his wife after he travelled to his native China in September.

The Chinese government said he was detained on suspicion of accepting bribes before Interpol announced his resignation with immediate effect. It has since made no public statement about Meng, whose replacement is due to be elected at the Dubai meeting.

And Mickey Mouse makes his first appearance 90 years ago today in a black-and-white animated short film called Steamboat Willie. The film premiered in New York and was followed by several short films featuring the cartoon mouse who quickly went on to become an American icon.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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