The Head of the British Government’s legal department has resigned over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to override part of the EU withdrawal agreement with domestic legislation, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Jonathan Jones was unhappy with the government’s decision to table a bill designed to override a provision in the agreement that allows different post-Brexit customs arrangement for Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom, the newspaper said.
It quoted unidentified officials as saying Jones’ resignation followed “months of tension” over Britain’s negotiations with the EU on post-Brexit trade and related legal issues.
This week, the UK House of Commons is planning to vote on the government’s new bill aimed at nullifying key parts of the withdrawal agreement with the EU.
The withdrawal agreement with the EU was signed by former Prime Minister Theresa May, which, in turn, hampers reaching a post-Brexit deal, set to be finalised by the end of this year.
If adopted, the provisions including agreements on state aid and Northern Ireland customs would be overridden.
The treasury solicitor was “very unhappy’’ about the decision to replace parts of the Northern Ireland protocol of the 2019 withdrawal agreement with new parts in the UK internal market bill, according to which the UK prime minister will be given powers to interpret the protocol.
The official’s formal departure is expected to be announced later on Tuesday, the newspaper reported, adding that the Cabinet Office refused to comment.
Jones has become the sixth senior UK government official to leave his position this year over growing tensions with the prime minister.
His resignation follows that of National Security Adviser, Mark Sedwill, Head of the Diplomatic Service at the UK Foreign Office, Simon McDonald, and Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, Philip Rutnam.
Others are Permanent Secretary for Justice Ministry, Richard Heaton, and Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education, Jonathan Slater.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Man City’s Gundogan tests positive for COVID-19
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League club said on Monday.
Gundogan is the third player in the squad to return a positive test in recent weeks.
City winger Riyad Mahrez and defender Aymeric Laporte previously tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month.
“Gundogan is now observing a 10-day period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine,” the club said in a statement.
Gundogan is likely to miss three matches for City while he self-isolates, including Monday’s league clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Thursday’s League Cup tie against Bournemouth and Sunday’s league game against Leicester City.
Both Mahrez and Laporte returned to training last week but City boss Pep Guardiola said only the Algerian winger would be available against Wolves — City’s opening game of the season.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Edited By: Joseph Edeh
EU Diplomats to discuss ways to support Libyan ceasefire on Monday – Borrell
The EU’s foreign ministers will discuss efforts to shore up Libyan ceasefire later on Monday, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, cautiously expressing optimism over the developments in the conflict-hit country.
In August, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) declared an immediate ceasefire in a move that was backed by the rival eastern-based parliament.
Last week, GNA Head Fayez Sarraj announced his intention to resign and transfer powers to a new executive authority by the end of October.
“After many months I see a reason for cautious optimism. There is a positive momentum, there is a ceasefire and we need to use it,” Borrell said upon the arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council.
The top diplomat would also brief the council on his visits to Libya and Egypt.
According to Borrell, the bloc has “concrete decisions” on a Libyan sanctions list, which will be announced at a press conference later in the day.
Along with Libya, the council will focus on Belarus and relations with Africa.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Oil prices slip on potential return of Libyan output; Gulf storm supports
Oil prices fell on Monday on the potential return of output from Libya as rising coronavirus cases also added to worries about global demand, although a tropical storm heading for the United States Gulf of Mexico limited losses.
Brent crude was down 33 cents or 0.8 per cent at $42.82 a barrel by 0645 GMT, while United States crude was down 38 cents or 0.9 per cent to $40.73 a barrel.
Workers at Libya’s major Sharara field have restarted operations, two engineers working there said, after National Oil Corporation announced a partial lifting of force majeure.
But it was still unclear when production might restart.
“The market can ill afford more crude hitting the market,’’ ANZ analysts said in a note on Monday, at a time when coronavirus-related curbs have eroded demand.
More than 30.78 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 954,843 have died globally, a Reuters tally shows, paralysing travel and business activity.
“It is hard to get excited about a pickup in crude demand as the virus is surging in France, Spain and the UK, along with concerns that the United States appears poised for at least one more cycle in the fall and winter,’’ said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“Even if energy markets don’t see Libyan production return or if hurricane season eases, oil prices can’t shake off the dwindling demand outlook.’’
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc halted some oil production and began evacuating workers from a United States Gulf of Mexico platform, the company said on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Beta was predicted to bring one foot (30 centimetres) of rain to parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana as the 23rd named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season moves ashore on Monday night, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Oil and gas producers had been restarting their offshore operations over the weekend after being disrupted by Hurricane Sally.
Some 17 per cent of United States Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production and nearly 13 per cent of natural gas output went offline on Saturday in the face of Sally’s waves and winds.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Election: PDP commends INEC, Buhari, Edo people
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan at a news conference in Abuja on Sunday, urged INEC to extend the process to future elections, especially the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
“Our party also notes the efforts of the INEC under Prof. Yakubu Mahmood in ensuring that Edo election was conducted in a manner that was largely adjudged to be free, fair, transparent and credible.
“Nigerians hope that what we have witnessed in Edo will not be an off-season procedure in the commission. We demand that this credible process applies to all our elections.
“The PDP applauds the use of virtual portal by INEC to upload results directly from the polling unit, the base of our election, which made it impossible for electoral violators to hijack this electoral process.
“We however urge INEC to strengthen its processes, particularly in the area of card readers, to forestall the type of delays witnessed in accreditation of voters in Edo.
“Our party also notes the improvement in the activities of our security agencies compared to past elections. We hope that our security organs will continue in this stead in future elections.
“The Edo election has indeed shown that credible elections are possible in our country if we play by the rules,” he said.
Ologbondiyan commended President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing credible election, imploring him to continue in the spirit of ensuring that the people were allowed to freely choose their leaders at all elections.
He urged the President to continue to toe the line of allowing for electoral uprightness for posterity.
He, however, said that Edo election must serve as a loud lesson to “political godfathers”, that power belongs only to God.
“He confers through the people; and that no matter how an individual strives to lord it over others, the will of God, through the people, will always prevail,” he said.
Ologbondiyan congratulated Gov. Godwin Obaseki, on his reelection and the people of Edo for their choice.
“This victory, as won by the people, is historic and serves as a strong, viable and unambiguous lesson to leaders.
“We rejoice with the Edo people for helping to reset the political culture of our nation by casting their votes, protecting the votes, ensuring that their votes counted and following it, “bumper-to-bumper”, to the final point of declaration,” he said.
Ologbondiyan appreciated the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu , whose participation in the election helped to deepen Nigeria democracy and enabled the people to make their choice.
“We invite him, in the spirit of sportsmanship, to congratulate his brother, Obaseki and join him in the onerous task of leadership in the general interest of all Edo people,” he said.
Ologbondiyan also commended traditional institutions, faith-based organisations, youth groups, market women, artisans, community associations, trade unions, traditional leaders and other stakeholders in Edo for standing up for their state during her critical moments.
“Furthermore, the PDP applauds the international community for their keen observation of our electoral processes as well as profiling of those who are bent on undermining our democracy and making free and fair elections appear impossible in Nigeria.
“We urge the international community and all lovers of democracy not to relent in providing necessary advisory to our leaders on the conduct of our elections,” Ologbondiyan said.
Ologbondiyan restated PDP’s support for the actions taken so far by the US and UK in restricting electoral violators from visiting their countries.
“We urge them not to restrain on further sanctions against such individuals for their sinister roles in our elections,” he said.
Ologbondiyan appreciated the Chairman of PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, for providing the right leadership that led to the victory in Edo.
He also commended all PDP governors, national assembly caucus, elders, leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of the party for their efforts in the election.
“Furthermore, our party thanks the media, the civil society groups and all Nigerians across board, for showing more than a passing interest in ensuring that the wishes of the people of Edo for a credible and transparent election prevailed.
“We do not take your efforts in this regard for granted.
“The PDP assures of a continuous partnership with all critical stakeholders in our collective desire to recreate a nation that will continue to be our pride,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed