Parliament votes to delay Brexit, rule out No Deal
In a series of consecutive crunch votes in Parliament, the House of Commons have voted to request the European Union extend Article 50, thereby delaying Brexit until June. They also voted to rule out withdrawal without an agreement. Division in the Commons and within the main parties have caused a months-long impasse, meaning no decision has been made on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
The important thing to remember is that in order for Article 50 to be extended, all member states will have to agree. European leaders have already emphasized that the UK will have to provide a feasible plan and a sensible reason for the extension. “What for?” they are asking. If it is to renegotiate on a withdrawal bill that they have been working at for two years, they will not be interested. As far as they’re concerned, there is nothing left to renegotiate.
As far as the law is concerned, if the EU decision is not unanimously in favor of extending Article 50, Britain will still be leaving the EU on March 29th. Today’s vote result is an instruction to the government to ask permission to delay Brexit. If they cannot achieve this, then law states “No Deal” is the default.
From Britain’s point of view, there are a few options on the table. Theresa May will continue to put forward versions of her withdrawal bill, though House Speaker John Bercow may block continued motions on bills that are essentially the same thing. The Prime Minister has been defeated on this matter twice, one of them being the biggest House defeat for a government since the 1920s.
Another amendment narrowly voted down today would have put the decision-making power back to Parliament and away from government. The House could have then voted on a range of options, including a closer arrangement with the EU, an EEA agreement or other.
Former British soldier charged for killing on Bloody Sunday
A unnamed former British soldier will be charged for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney on Londonderry on Bloody Sunday, the most brutal day of the Northern Irish Troubles. The Public Prosecution Service ruled that on January 30th, 1972, Soldier F shot the two men dead at a civil rights march. He is but one soldier out of 16 of whom enough evidence has been provided for a prosecution. The victims of the many other killings that day have described the situation as “heartbreaking.”
Anti-EU billboard posters covered up before Weber visit
Billboards with Anti-European Union messages have been covered up preceding a visit by Manfred Weber, seen by many as the favorite to be elected as the new EU Head Commissioner. The controversial signs were already the subject of disagreement on Tuesday as Weber spoke with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Spain ends electric shock experiments on prisoners
The second phase of an experiment using electric shock currents to the brain of prisoners has been suspended by the Spanish government. The first phase of the experiment was carried out on 41 inmates, 18 sentenced for murder. The experiment was meant to discover the effects of the experiment on aggressive and violent behavior.
Mysterious benefactor gives villagers envelopes full of cash
Residents of the small village of Villarramiel have been finding envelopes of cash at the foot of their doors. 15 inhabitants have received bundles of money from 50 to 100 Euros. The identity of the benefactor is yet to be established.