Category: UK News

Peers Vote Down First Brexit Draft; UK Government ‘Disappointed’

On its first debate regarding the first draft of the legislation that would bring the UK out of the European Union, party peers voted by 358 against 256 in guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals living in the United Kingdom. Some peers said the UK government must not use EU nationals living in the United Kingdom as “bargaining chips” against the European Union.

The UK government said it was “disappointed” at the outcome of the debate. Party ministers justified that the rights of EU nationals is “a part of a deal that would involve the protection of UK expats living in EU countries.”

However, the peer vote could be overturned with an MP vote. Given that the commons passed the bill without amendment, the Lords was “a disappointment” for having the legislation amended.

Political analysts said that the government had likely expected the outcome as the UK government of Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to safeguard the rights of Britons living in the EU before safeguarding the rights of EU nationals inside the United Kingdom.

According to Lords leader Lord Strathclyde, the vote was evidence of “wrong-headed” and “muddled-thinking.”

MEPs in the European Parliament believed that EU citizens inside the United Kingdom “deserved to know” their legal rights after the completion of Brexit. Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said the nationals needed to know this “as soon as possible.”

Tory Conference: Brexit Put On The Sidelines For The Meantime

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory conference speech focused on assuring the party’s members that Europe will not dominate the conference meetings, especially Brexit.

Mrs May said that Britain should focus on being a country that “works for all”. She addressed the party members at the start of the meeting. Despite pushing Brexit on the sidelines, she said she will not backslide on the subject.

In her speech, she had included a snippet for the Brexit. She outlined her plan of invoking article 50, the formal process of negotiating an exit by the end of March.

She then said that she would pass the “Great Repeal Act” in 2017 January. This would replace the UK legislation from 1972 that guaranteed their UK membership.

The new law would help provide certainty for businesses by allowing them to maintain their status. However, the delay in addressing Brexit may also mean the legislation with the EU could be further delayed.

This Great Repeal Act, which at the outset will do little more than replicate EU law in domestic legislation, is a pragmatic act of housekeeping: it would be simply impossible for Britain’s lawmakers to run the slide-rule over every piece of EU legislation pre-Brexit to decide what to keep and what to ditch.

Thirdly, Mrs May repeatedly said she would not give a running commentary on Brexit negotiations or set out Britain’s demands in advance. That was a mistake that her allies feel David Cameron made in his ill-fated EU renegotiations last winter.

EU “Friends” Will Not Be Abandoned – Johnson

According to Leave Representative Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom will not abandon its “friends” in the European Union. During his attendance in Brussels, Mr Johnson said he wanted to see that all the countries of the EU have a “co-ordinated response” to terrorism in response to the attack in Nice, Paris.

As the post-Brexit government’s new foreign secretary, Mr Johnson has met with EU counterparts and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Before he arrived to Brussels, Mr Johnson’s plane had to make an emergency landing, delaying his schedule. The small incident involved a technical issue with one of the engines.

James Robbins, the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, said that although Brexit was not on the agenda “Mr Johnson’s fellow ministers are bound to be sizing up their nemesis”.

“Today’s meetings are bound to be odd, when the man who compared the EU’s ambitions to create a super-state to those of Adolf Hitler, sits down with the 27 other ministers,” he added.

The meeting comes after new Brexit Secretary David Davis said EU migrants who come to the UK as a departure date nears may not be given the right to stay.

He said there might have to be a cut-off point if there were a “surge” in new arrivals but any steps must be compatible with EU law.

Nick Hornby’s ‘Funny Girl’ Pays Tribute To the Golden Age of Light Entertainment

Comedian Nick Hornby’s Seventh Novel and 13th book is both entertaining, but not without its own flaws.

Funny Girl focuses on the golden age of light entertainment with predictable humour and honest perspectives, which brought many eager to watch television during the 50s and the 60s. It features the life of Miss Blackpool 1964 Barbara Parker, who refuses the award because she does not want to stay in her town for ‘a year of ribbon-cutting’ as Hornby put it.

Meanwhile, Barbara dreams of stardom and idolises Lucille Ball. She moves to London, changes her name to Sophie Straw and gets herself into the sitcom Barbara and Jim. She steals the show despite the disapproval of BBC, charming scriptwriters ,directors and her co-star Clive because of her good looks and comic timing.

Barbara is described to tell the ‘most awkward lines delivered with a straight face, having her a bigger laugh than she deserved.’

However, the novel could feel eager to shrug off the formal constraints of novel-writing. The novel took scope that Blackpool was the only journey Barbara really took and her only understanding of her entire career. But its better points looks to a more sophisticated and interesting plot than just another story of a woman rising to stardom. Hornby puts comedic timing in the most dramatic and heartbreaking situations, making easily unresolved misunderstandings easier to forgive and forget.

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Food Inspectors Facing Larger Workload As New Law Is Passed

A union, Unison, has raised fears that food hygiene inspectors will be overwhelmed with demands to carry out inspections of cafes and restaurants. The news comes ahead of the passing of a new law in Wales forcing food outlets to openly display their food hygiene rating on their premises. Unison has asserted that inspectors were already under heavy pressure, even though businesses may fear loss of trade if they have to wait for re-inspection to improve their poor scores.

From November this year, the new law aims to further develop a voluntary scheme, in which restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets in Wales openly display their food hygiene ratings, from the worst at 0 to the best at 5. On the other hand, Unison said the 137 food inspectors employed by Wales’ 22 councils were under pressure with their current workload, even without the law. The union is afraid that food inspectors will struggle to keep up with demand from those businesses that are given low scores.

The new law clearly states that a business has the right to a re-inspection within three months of making the initial request, and most councils currently operate a six-month window. The head of local government for Unison in Wales, Dominic MacAskill, said the union welcomed the new legislation as an opportunity to promote the work of environmental health officers to the wider society. Unison, however, has expressed its fears that the demand by food establishments to have their score-on-the-door reviewed again would detract from non-statutory functions that were still quite important to be adhered to.

He claimed that one example of “proactive preventative measures” that might potentially suffer was the responsibility of environmental health officers to inspect school toilets following the recent e-coli outbreaks, that can be described as more serious health hazards than a simple hygiene rating at the local takeaway.

He explained: “I think what we’re worried about is that it’s going to be robbing Peter to pay Paul. Things such as health promotion are not statutory requirements, so they’re the thing that may give in order to meet the statutory requirements of this new bill. The concern is it is not just the 0-1s that are going to apply for reviews, it’s going to be the 3s and 4s that want to be 5s, so there’s going to be a significant increase in demand for this service.” Government officials are now analysing the responses and a final report will be published in due course.

Big changes ahead for Personal Injury Claims

In the UK a new law will come into effect from April 1st 2013 called the LASPO – which stands for The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offences Act. This has come about following an ongoing investigation regarding pricing by Lord Jackson, which started 3 years ago.

There will also be other changes taking place including the possibility of reduction to Road Traffic Accidents fixed pricing, from £1200 to £500, although this hasn’t been confirmed just yet.

The overall compensation commission to solicitors schedule to rise by 10% after April 1st. This contradicts the contingency fees which are in place at present where a solicitor can charge any fee “up to a maximum of 25%”, this is known as a success fee. This is to cover the risk element that the solicitor takes if the case is unsuccessful and therefore the solicitor doesn’t make any money.

‘Referral fees’ will also come to an end from April 1st 2013 which will largely affect how Claims Management Companies will deal with new claims.

This will have a huge impact on the “compensation culture” some suggest has come over from the way things work in the USA.  It has been reported that Claims Management Companies were passing on personal injury claims without being checked first, on to solicitors to obtain a referral fee.

Under the new legislation on April 1st, a person will no longer be in a position to become insured to cover them losing if their case is unsuccessful and so will be liable for their own cost.

Despite these plans, the future of personal injury claims remain unpredictable as it is still important to promote justice to innocent and trustworthy people who have genuine cases of personal injury. What will happen still remains to be seen.

The UK government will help the British civil servants and troops in Cyprus

Chancellor George Osborne announced that the British civil servants and military personnel will be protected from the savings tax in Cyprus. The said levy on savings will be part of eurozone bailout amounting to £8.7bn. It is estimated that there is around 2 Billion Euros of British deposits in Cyprus. There are also a lot of British people working and serving in Cyprus.

During the Andrew Mar Show in BBC, Mr. Osborne said that the Cypriot Banks in the United Kingdom will not be affected by the levy on savings in Cyprus. He added that the British civil servants and military personnel will not be part of the bailout because Prime Minister David Cameron has already got them out when he became Prime Minister. He added that when there will be affected British people in Cyprus, the UK government will compensate them. They will be protected from the Cypriot bank tax.

It has been a dilemma in Cyprus when the news about the levy on savings erupted. Nicos Anastasiades, the Cypriot President delayed the informal meeting with politicians because of the unrest that happened in the country after the news on levy broke out. It was reported that Cyprus was already the 5th country who asked the eurozone for support. The new agreement in the country aims to increase the corporation tax by 2.5%. The European parliament’s chair on economic and monetary affairs committee, Ms. Sharon Bowles said that the bailout seems to rob the small investors on the protection that were promised to them. She said that is Cyrus was a bank; it was already brought in court due to mis-selling.