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Theresa May Appoints Sajid Javid as UK Home Secretary

Following Javid's promotion, the Downing Street also announced that former Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire will return to the cabinet as Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary.

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In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.
The Independent newspaper Tuesday night reported that May was preparing for a Brexit meeting with select cabinet ministers Wednesday at which they will try to come up with a joint position on post-withdrawal customs relations following rejection of Britain's existing proposals. wikimedia commons

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday named Sajid Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, the new Home Secretary following Amber Rudd’s resignation for “inadvertently misleading” MPs over targets for removing illegal immigrants.

Javid, whose family came to the UK in the 1960s, is currently Communities, Local Government and Housing Secretary, reports the BBC. He is also the first member of an ethnic minority to hold the position.

The 48-year-old former investment banker and MP for Bromsgrove had also served as the Business and Culture Secretaries.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday named Sajid Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, the new Home Secretary following Amber Rudd's resignation for "inadvertently misleading" MPs over targets for removing illegal immigrants.
Sajid Javid, wikimedia commons

“The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Sajid Javid MP as Secretary of State for the Home Department,” the Downing Street said.

Rudd handed her resignation papers to May on Sunday night. Her exit followed weeks of revelations about the treatment of “Windrush generation” of Caribbean immigrants, who settled legally in post-war Britain but whose right-to-remain has been questioned, and controversy over the government’s “hostile environment” immigration policy.

Following Javid’s promotion, the Downing Street also announced that former Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire will return to the cabinet as Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary.

Javid, who first entered Parliament in 2010 and supported remaining in the European Union despite being regarded as a Eurosceptic, led the government’s response to last year’s Grenfell fire disaster.

Over the weekend, he told the Sunday Telegraph the Windrush scandal felt “very personal”.

“I’m a second-generation migrant. My parents came to this country from Pakistan just like the Windrush generation.

“They came to this country after the Second World War to help rebuild it… My dad worked in a cotton mill, he worked as a bus driver.

“When I heard about the Windrush issue, I thought that could’ve been my mum, dad, uncle or me.”

Rudd’s resignation after the Guardian revealed that in a leaked 2017 letter to May, Rudd had told the Prime Minister of her intention to increase deportations by 10 per cent, seemingly at odds with her denials that she was aware of deportation targets.

Also Read: Imran Khan Elaborates 11-Point Agenda For New Pakistan

She was due to appear in the House of Commons on Monday to explain the revelation.

Speculation about her future had swirled on April 27, as the Home Office and Downing Street failed to respond to claims that she was aware of targets for removing illegal migrants from Britain.

On April 26, May had apologised to the UK’s black community in a letter she sent to the national Afro-Caribbean daily, The Voice, saying: “We have let you down and I am deeply sorry. But apologies alone are not good enough. We must urgently right this historic wrong.” (IANS)

 

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British PM Theresa May Under Pressure to Reverse Huawei Decision

They fear giving Huawei even a limited role in developing the country's fifth-generation wireless network risks imperiling Britain's participation in the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing arrangement

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theresa may, huawei
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves church near High Wycombe, April 28, 2019. May is under pressure to reverse a decision to allow the Chinese technology giant Huawei a role in building parts of Britain's 5G mobile network. VOA

British Prime Minister Theresa May is being urged by members of her own party and senior intelligence officials to reverse a provisional decision to allow the Chinese technology giant Huawei a role in building parts of Britain’s 5G mobile network.

They fear giving Huawei even a limited role in developing the country’s fifth-generation wireless network risks imperiling Britain’s participation in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing arrangement, the U.S.-led Anglophone intelligence pact linking Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain.

The lobbying for a reversal of the decision is likely to intensify following the publication this week of a report co-authored by a Conservative lawmaker and a former British security adviser that argues, despite Beijing denials, that Huawei is ultimately owned by an entity answerable to the “Chinese party-state apparatus.”

The report by the London-based Henry Jackson Society says allowing the company access to Britain’s next-generation mobile-phone network would compromise security. According to the report, Huawei is 99 percent owned by the Huawei Investment and Holding Trade Union Committee, part of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, a state body.

Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have urged all Western allies to shun Huawei on security grounds, fearing the Chinese telecoms giant will act as a Trojan horse for China’s espionage agencies, allowing them to sweep up data and gather intelligence.

theresa may, huawei
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

In February, Pompeo warned, “If a country adopts this [Huawei] and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them, we won’t be able to work alongside them.” A U.S. State Department has been sent from Washington to brief British ministers Monday in more detail about American security concerns.

Last week, it emerged from leaks that Prime Minister May had decided during a meeting of the country’s National Security Council to allow Huawei to build some so-called “non-core” parts of Britain’s 5G data network. Her decision came despite the disapproval of some intelligence chiefs and the country’s defense and foreign secretaries, Gavin Williamson and Jeremy Hunt, who both fear serious impact on Anglo-American relations.

U.S. warnings

The U.S. National Security Agency has warned that approving Huawei’s involvement risks handing China a “loaded gun.” A White House official told VOA the issue will likely be raised during U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain in June.

Australia and New Zealand have decided to block or heavily restrict Huawei’s involvement in the development of their 5G networks. Huawei denies being controlled by the Chinese government and says its equipment can’t be used for espionage purposes. And the Chinese ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, said Sunday the company has a “good track record” on security.

He argued in an article written for Britain’s Sunday Telegraph that any blocking of Huawei would be discriminatory and protectionist. “The last thing China expects from a truly open and fair ‘global Britain’ is a playing field that is not level,” he wrote. The envoy urged Britain to ignore U.S. warnings.

theresa may, huawei
FILE – People look at display models of Huawei Mate20 smartphone series at a launch event in London, Britain, Oct.16, 2018. VOA

May’s decision has been dubbed naive by some senior members of her ruling Conservative party. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the British parliament’s foreign affairs panel, has warned that allowing Huawei to build some of the 5G infrastructure will “cause allies to doubt our ability to keep data secure” and erode the trust underpinning “Five Eyes.”

British government officials say under the provisional plan Huawei’s participation would be restricted to building transmission equipment, including rooftop aerials and base stations, and wouldn’t involve anything to do with core infrastructure, where billing and customer details are stored. Some British cyber-security officials say this would be sufficient to mitigate any security risks; others say the distinction is manginess.

The dispute over Huawei is playing out during a visit to China by Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, who’s hoping to expand economic ties with China ready for when Britain leaves the European Union.

ALSO READ: Sri Lanka Bans Women from Wearing Face Veils for Security Reasons

In Beijing Friday, Hammond praised the “truly epic ambition” of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive trillion-dollar trade, investment and infrastructure program launched in 2015 to spur trade along land and sea routes linking Asia, Africa and Europe.

Some observers suggest Theresa May’s Huawei decision should be seen in the light of Britain’s search for post-Brexit deals to replace the expected losses resulting from the country’s departure from the European Union. British government officials say there’s no connection. (VOA)

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May Survives Through Vote Of No-Confidence

If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?

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Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Jan. 16, 2019. VOA

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Wednesday, one day after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against her plan to divorce Britain from the European Union.

Surviving the vote enables May to refocus on getting a Brexit deal through parliament. She has until Monday to offer a new proposal to the House of Commons, but it isn’t clear what she will propose.

Shortly after the 325 to 306 vote allowing May to remain in office, she invited party leaders for Brexit talks Wednesday night.

More talks?

May said before the vote Wednesday that Britain would leave the EU on the March 29 target date, and that the bloc would only consider extending the negotiating period if there were a realistic exit plan.

Aides to the prime minister said she will try to buy more time and return to Brussels to try to cajole EU leaders into a renegotiation.

EU leaders have repeatedly rejected the possibility of renegotiations since the deal was concluded in November, but British officials hope Brussels now may offer enough concessions to secure parliamentary backing on a replayed vote on an amended deal.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labor Party, filed a motion of no confidence in the government immediately after the result Tuesday.

Britain would have held a general election had May lost the vote. Most analysts said they expected her to survive the vote, and the minority Northern Ireland party she relies on to keep her minority government in office had said it would back the government.

Tuesday’s vote was the biggest parliamentary reversal ever handed a sitting government, with lawmakers — including more than 100 rebels from her ruling Conservative Party — refusing to endorse the highly contentious Brexit deal.

Britain, May
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labor Party, talks during a no-confidence debate after Parliament rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in London, Jan. 16, 2019. VOA

The government’s defeat plunged into greater disarray Britain’s scheduled March 29 exit from the EU. Major questions remain about how and whether it will happen.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday that after the British parliament’s rejection of a draft agreement detailing the country’s divorce from the EU, the risk of reaching the deadline with no deal in place is higher than ever.

The vote against the agreement was the biggest parliamentary reversal ever handed a sitting government, with lawmakers, including more than 100 rebels from her ruling Conservative party, refusing to endorse the highly contentious Brexit deal.

Just 202 lawmakers backed May’s deal with 432 voting against it. The defeat dwarfed the previous 1924 record when then-Labor Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald lost a vote by 166, triggering the collapse of his government and a general election, which he lost.

After the vote, May said, “The vote tells us nothing” about what the House of Commons would agree to regarding Brexit.

Second referendum

Britain, May
A pro-European demonstrator protests in front of a Leaver campaign board opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Jan. 15, 2019, ahead of lawmakers’ vote on whether to accept British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Later, the plan was soundly defeated. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29. VOA

The defeat of May’s plan will give further momentum to a burgeoning campaign in the House of Commons, and among Remainers in the country, for a second referendum, according to analysts. Remainers hope a replayed referendum would reverse the Brexit plebiscite of 2016, which Leavers narrowly won.

The vote on the deal — which originally was due in December but was delayed by the government when it became clear there was insufficient backing for it to pass — also leaves hanging in the balance May’s future as prime minister. Her aides maintained at the end of a day of high political drama that she wouldn’t resign.

“She is the person who has to deliver Brexit,” said British Business Minister Claire Perry, who said May didn’t need to resign.

“There will be other attempts at this. There will be strenuous efforts to improve on the deal,” Perry said.

The sheer scale of the defeat throws into doubt whether even a reshaped Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would secure parliamentary approval in the future, even if the EU is prepared to reopen negotiations.

Britain, May
British Business Minister Claire Perry arrives to attend a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Jan. 15, 2019. VOA

‘Hopelessly optimistic’

“Her Plan B, more of the same, is hopelessly optimistic,” said commentator Isabel Oakeshott.

Also Read: British Lawmakers Rejects Brexit Deal, PM Faces Vote Of No-Confidence

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted when news of the historic vote broke: “I take note with regret of the outcome of the vote in the House of Commons this evening. I urge the UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up.”

EU President Donald Tusk reflected the frustration of many in Brussels, tweeting: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” (VOA)

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Latest #IGForexChat Reveals How Brexit Negotiations Are Affecting the Forex Markets

How close is the UK to finalising a deal with the EU? Only Theresa May and Michel Barnier truly know the answer to that.

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Brexit
French noted that investment in UK assets and stocks is “waiting in the wings” to find out what those barriers will be. Pixabay

With the UK due to formally leave the European Union (EU) in less than six months, Brexit negotiations are reaching a nervous climax.  Hopes remain that the UK government will secure a deal with the EU by the end of the year, but what impact are the Brexit talks having on the forex markets? How far could the pound fall if there is no deal reached? Would the pound be affected by a vote of no-confidence within the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Theresa May being replaced?

The latest #IGForexChat outlined the potential ramifications of Brexit negotiations on forex markets. IG’s Sara Walker interviewed two leading forex experts, chief economist Simon French and market analyst Nicholas Cawley, to help forex traders understand the implications of a hard or soft exit from the EU.

If you don’t have time to watch the entire interview, here are the main talking points as to whether forex traders should buy or sell sterling in the markets in the coming months:

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May’s spokesperson said both the Prime Minister and the Brexit secretary, David Davis, said the government would be robust when the EU withdrawal bill returned to the House of Commons after completing its passage in the House of Lords. Pixabay
What will happen to the pound if we reach 31st March 2019 without a Brexit deal?

Nicholas Cawley insists that it is highly likely that the UK government will know if a Brexit deal can be reached by the end of the year. Cawley said there will undoubtedly be “clear signals” ahead of the EU’s December meeting as to whether a deal is achievable.

According to Simon French, the UK parliament will have an influential role if talks move into the New Year. French believes January will be a crucial month for parliament as the amendments within the UK’s withdrawal bill will need approval. If the majority of MPs cannot agree on the bill, they will have the right to propose a “meaningful vote”. French believes this vote could “ask the government to go back to the negotiating table” and attempt to “extend Article 50”.

French also believes it is unrealistic to expect the price of sterling to be priced on a hard Brexit “until midnight on March 29th”.

In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.
The Independent newspaper Tuesday night reported that May was preparing for a Brexit meeting with select cabinet ministers Wednesday at which they will try to come up with a joint position on post-withdrawal customs relations following rejection of Britain’s existing proposals. wikimedia commons
How far could the pound fall against USD and EUR in the event of no deal?

French pointed to historical analysis of previous peaks and troughs of sterling against the US dollar. The IMF bail-out of the UK in the 1970s and Lehman Brothers/Northern Rock in 2008 resulted in “20-25%” declines, leaving the pound in the “high teens” i.e. $1.17-$1.20 to the pound. French believes a hard Brexit is “no more material than those previous events” and, as such, the pound could experience a similar decline next March.

On the subject of whether the pound will end up in parity with the euro, Cawley was quick to dismiss those claims.

How will Brexit affect the pound during the transition period?

Cawley was quick to predict that, if an extension to the UK’s transition period after leaving the EU is agreed, “it will initially weaken sterling”. However, he suggested that an extension may prove useful to some business sectors that may need that time to “get their house in order”.

On the flip side, Simon French is “slightly more bullish” about the transition period. He believes the expected discussions about a free-trade agreement will eventually uncover “the materiality of what trade barriers will look like” between the UK and the EU. French noted that investment in UK assets and stocks is “waiting in the wings” to find out what those barriers will be. He believes that, once clarity is achieved in the “Treaty text”, it will be easier to price things correctly.

Brexit,  Image source: www.catholicherald.co.uk
Representational Image, Brexit.
Will the pound be affected by the replacement of Prime Minister Theresa May?

On the subject of the value of the pound being influenced by the departure of Theresa May as Prime Minister, Nicholas Cawley believes sterling “would take it quite well” and that the price “wouldn’t go down”.

Cawley was quick to temper that by saying it would ultimately depend on the “favourite” candidates to replace her. He said that the prospect of Boris Johnson would be “hated” by many in the markets, yet a more “progressive” candidate such as Sajid Javid would be viewed more positively.

Are further interest rate hikes likely from the Bank of England?

Nicholas Cawley believes there is “no reason to push interest rates up at the moment”, despite inflation reaching 2.4% this year. Furthermore, Cawley finds it hard to believe that the Bank of England would dare consider raising interest rates in the event of a hard Brexit.

Both Cawley and Simon French expect little to happen on the subject of interest rates until May 2019, when the Bank of England “may start giving some signals” based on the first quarterly inflation report after the UK leaves the EU on 31st March.

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Brexit (Representational IMage) Image source: The Street

Interestingly, French suggested that the Bank of England could yet consider a rate hike “as early as February” with the ECB’s rate policy seemingly rigid and President Trump reportedly wanting the Fed to “go at a slower rate”. French believes this would encourage investors to “buy into sterling”.

How close is the UK to finalising a deal with the EU? Only Theresa May and Michel Barnier truly know the answer to that. French noted that “the history of the EU negotiations” would suggest that the Brexit talks will inevitably “go down to the wire”. Whichever way the scales tip, the forex markets are sure to be a fascinating place to be in the coming months.