UK leader delays Brexit vote, risks further Cabinet discord

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May attends a summit between Arab league and European Union member states, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, February 24, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 24 February 2019

UK leader delays Brexit vote, risks further Cabinet discord

  • The move has the potential to further sow discord within May's Cabinet
  • May told reporters as she traveled to Egypt that her negotiating team would return to Brussels on Tuesday for negotiations

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Sunday that she is delaying a vote on her Brexit deal in Parliament, saying it should now take place by March 12, a little more than two weeks before the UK is due to leave the European Union.
The move has the potential to further sow discord within her Cabinet. Three senior Cabinet members already had suggested Saturday that they may break ranks with her and back amendments to delay Britain’s departure unless a deal is agreed upon by Parliament over the next week.
But May told reporters as she traveled to Egypt for an EU-Arab League summit and talks with European Council President Donald Tusk that her negotiating team would return to Brussels on Tuesday for negotiations aimed at wringing concessions out of her reluctant EU partners.
“As a result of that we won’t bring a meaningful vote to Parliament this week. But we will ensure that that happens by March 12,” she said.
Britain is due to leave the EU in just over a month on March 29. The UK would be the first country to leave the bloc and the move is full of deep economic and political consequences. But May has been unable to convince the UK Parliament to endorse the draft Brexit deal she agreed with the Europeans in November. Any deal must also be endorsed by the European Parliament before the deadline.
“It is still within our grasp to leave the European Union with a deal on March 29,” May said.
An EU official said there had been “no tensions” between May and Tusk during their half-hour meeting.
The official, who isn’t permitted to speak publicly while the negotiations are ongoing, said that May informed Tusk about the “work and timeline to find a way forward on Brexit. In particular, the prime minister’s plans in relation to the meaningful vote” meant to take place by March 12.
Tusk, who chairs summits of EU leaders and acts on their behalf, recalled that Britain’s 27 partners insist on “clarity that a proposal for the way forward can command a majority in the UK” before the leaders take the issue up again.
British lawmakers will consider various Brexit options this week as May continues to seek concessions from her EU counterparts. No visible signs of progress have emerged in recent weeks as the 27 other member countries continue to insist that they will not renegotiate the legally-binding divorce deal.


Poland seizes two for plotting Breivik-style attacks on Muslims

Updated 28 min 19 sec ago

Poland seizes two for plotting Breivik-style attacks on Muslims

  • The two suspects were taken into custody on Sunday in the capital Warsaw and the northern city of Szczecin
  • Breivik, an anti-Muslim neo-Nazi, massacred 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011

WARSAW: Polish agents arrested two people accused of planning attacks against Muslims inspired by Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and suspected white supremacist Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, the security service said on Wednesday.
The arrests follow a spate of attacks involving white supremacists targeting ethnic and religious minorities across the globe. Far-right groups have grown in strength in Poland, the largest of the European Union’s post-communist states.
The two suspects were taken into custody on Sunday in the capital Warsaw and the northern city of Szczecin.
“The arrests are the result of information collected earlier by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) about an extremist group whose aim was to intimidate Muslims living in Poland,” the statement said.
“The materials gathered during the investigation show the group modelled itself on terrorist attacks carried out by extremists including Anders Breivik (in 2011 in Norway) and Brenton Tarrant (in 2019 in New Zealand).”
The group intended to carry out attacks using firearms and explosives, the statement said, and during one search of a house in the Warsaw suburb of Wlochy, ABW agents found materials for making large quantities of explosives, guns and ammunition.
Breivik, an anti-Muslim neo-Nazi, massacred 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011.
Tarrant has been charged with an attack broadcast live on Facebook in 2019 on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 51 people and wounded dozens.