News diary 25-31 March: PM to hold Brexit talks with Corbyn and EU Parliament votes on 'link tax' laws

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

A week which was supposed to be the UK’s last as an EU member will now instead be devoted to more Brexit machinations after events in Brussels last week.

On Monday, a new amendable motion on Brexit is tabled before Theresa May returns to the despatch box to update MPs on her discussions with fellow leaders at the European Council, while the Government is also required to lay a Statutory Instrument early this week to amend the legally mandated 29 March departure date.

The Prime Minister also holds further talks with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn as she attempts once again to build a parliamentary coalition to approve her Brexit deal in the third meaningful vote, which must be held this week.

In the outside world, Apple holds a major event in San Francisco where the tech giant is expected to launch a new streaming service, possibly including news and video subscriptions and its own original content. The company unveiled new hardware over three days last week, suggesting today’s event may mark the beginning of a transition away from physical products for the iPhone manufacturer.

In Washington, the AIPAC Policy Conference continues, with the second day agenda likely to include a speech from Benny Gantz, Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in the upcoming Israeli elections.

Several administration officials are also scheduled to address the conference, including Vice President Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, while Democratic presidential candidates are noticeably absent this year, with House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer representing the party.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, holds a working meeting with President Donald Trump, who announced on Thursday that the US will fully recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights. They have also scheduled a dinner for Tuesday, when Netanyahu is also expected to make his own AIPAC speech.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick appears before the Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday to discuss serious violence. Questions are likely to focus on the Met’s plans to tackle knife crime and Dick’s assertion earlier this month that there is “some link” between knife crime and reduced police numbers, contradicting comments from Theresa May.

After Theresa May said in her Downing Street speech it was clear “the public have had enough” of Brexit and want this stage of the process “over and done with”, the National Centre for Social Research publishes early data on attitudes to Brexit from its British Social Attitudes Survey. The three million signatures on a new petition to revoke Article 50 suggest the Prime Minister may have been at least partially correct.

Across the Channel, the European Parliament votes on changes to copyright laws, dubbed the “link tax”, which would require the enforcement of copyright laws online, meaning publishers can charge licensing fees to sites that link to their content. The proposal has seen strong opposition from open internet campaigners, as well as companies such as Wikipedia, Facebook, and Google.

On Wednesday, US transport authorities are before a Senate subcommittee on aviation to discuss the approval process for Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft following the 10 March Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed 157 people. In the wake of the disaster, which bore similarities to the 29 October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, it was reported that both planes lacked safety features that may have prevented the crashes, but for which Boeing charged extra.

As the Government prepares to launch its ‘no-deal’ contingency plans, Michael Gove faces a grilling from MPs on his department’s readiness for Brexit. The environment secretary, whose departmental responsibilities include emergencies, was last year reportedly looking to hire a military planner to assist rural communities affected by disruption to food supply.

Elsewhere, Karen Bradley discusses her work with the Northern Ireland Affairs committee after extending the deadline for parties to resume talks over restoring the executive at Stormont until August.

On Thursday, the British Chambers of Commerce holds its flagship annual conference in London. The programme features remarks from leading business figures such as Tesco CEO Dave Lewis, while the presence of Sadiq Khan, Keir Starmer and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, days after her ‘no-deal’ warning to the Prime Minister, suggest that Brexit is likely to be the event’s dominant theme. The agenda also includes two currently-blank keynote speech slots – will Theresa May try to make a last-ditch appeal to business?

The Department for Work and Pensions publishes annual statistics on the number of low-income households in the UK. Last year’s figures showed that the number of children living in relative poverty had risen by 100,000 over 12 months, representing 30% of children across the country.

Under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, the UK was due to withdraw from the European Union on Friday. However, after Theresa May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk to request an extension of the Article 50 period, EU leaders agreed to delay the UK’s departure until at least 12 April, with the possibility of a further extension until 22 May on the condition that a deal was approved by the House of Commons during this week.

Brexit supporters are due to arrive in London at the conclusion of the March for Leave, a journey from Sunderland to the capital to protest what the organisers, Leave Means Leave, called “the Brexit betrayal”.

After setting off 16 days ago with Nigel Farage at the helm, the march was due to conclude Saturday with a rally in Parliament Square to mark Brexit Day, though the mood is likely to be far from celebratory following the delay.

In an already-crowded field of Democratic politicians seeking the party’s nomination to challenge Donald Trump next year, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke stands out for the scale of national media attention he attracts and his remarkable fundraising abilities.

On Saturday he formally kicks off his 2020 campaign with a rally in his home town of El Paso, Texas, where he has already clashed with the President over immigration rhetoric and crowd sizes.

Union members and employees at a Honda site in Swindon take part in a march and rally to protest its closure after the Japanese car manufacturer announced its intention to shut the plant in 2021. The Unite union, which represents the workers and has organised the protest, estimates that the closure would result in the loss of 12,000 jobs in the region and the wider supply chain.

A presidential election takes place in Ukraine on Sunday with incumbent Petro Poroshenko seeking a second term after he came to power in the wake of the Maidan revolution.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is among a 39-strong group of candidates, though recent opinion polls have been led by Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old comedian who has previously claimed to not understand politics and advocates online referendums as a means of shaping policy.

While Zelenskiy may be unlikely to win, the polling suggests that Poroshenko could be forced into a run-off vote next month.

Voters also go to the polls in Turkey, where local elections are effectively a barometer of the popularity of Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid rising unemployment in a recession-hit economy.

In a sign that he may be worried about his prospects, the Turkish President was accused last week of attempting to make political capital out of the Christchurch terror attacks by using the perpetrator’s videos at his campaign events, before invoking Australian deaths at Gallipoli in remarks which angered Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Parliament TV

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Source: Digital Journalism
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