Still enough time to negotiate a Brexit deal with Brussels before Britain leaves the EU in March 2019; Prime Minister Theresa May

Boris Johnson accuses PM May of ‘dithering’ on Brexit in resignation speech. Johnson is known to have designs on leading the party, but it’s unclear how far his allies will go to see this happen.

Boris Johnson leaves his residence near Buckingham Palace in London en route to making his first speech after resigning from government last week. He said the government has ceded too much control to the EU in its Brexit plan. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson, in his first public comments since resigning last week as Britain’s foreign secretary, urged his party in the House of Commons on Wednesday to not abandon a hard Brexit approach while there’s still time.

“We have changed tack once, and we can change again,” said Johnson.

“We must try now, because we will not get another chance to get it right.”

Johnson said he was fully supportive of Prime Minister Theresa May in January 2017 when she laid out in an ambitious speech a desire to strike the right deal for Britain with the European Union after a majority of the public supported the break in a referendum months earlier.

But, Johnson said, “in the 18 months that have followed, it is though a fog of self-doubt has descended” on the government.

He referred to a “miserable permanent limbo of Chequers,” a reference to the country residence of the prime minister, where she emerged earlier this month with a plan to go forward that sought to strike a balance of the desires from both the pro-Brexit and pro-EU wings of her party.

Within three days of that party retreat, Johnson and the minister responsible for Brexit negotiations with the EU, David Davis, resigned from their cabinet posts. It brought the total of resignations from the May government in the last seven months, for various reasons, to seven.

May said Wednesday that talks had already started with Brussels based on the proposal set down in a white paper policy document earlier this month.

“The Chequers agreement, the white paper are the basis for our negotiation with the European Union and we have already started those negotiations,” she told Parliament.

May said her government has begun negotiations with the European Union based on her hard-won Brexit plan and that there was still enough time to negotiate a Brexit deal with Brussels before Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

In Johnson’s view, the government has ceded too much authority to Brussels, pointing specifically to a €40 billion ($61.6 billion Cdn) exit bill Britain agreed to with the EU.

“We dithered and burned through our negotiating capital,” he said.

Asked by the head of a parliamentary committee whether she would warn the public about the consequences of a “no deal” Brexit, May answered: “You have based your question on an assumption that said we were getting closer to a no deal scenario. I don’t believe that is the case. We have put forward a proposal for what the future relationship should be … and we are in negotiations on the basis of that.”

Theresa May says Rebellious Tories risk bring Labour and Jeremy Corbyn into government

Theresa May has warned hardline Brexiters to fall into line or risk handing power to Jeremy Corbyn after Boris Johnson became the second cabinet minister to resign in 24 hours, claiming Britain was “headed for the status of colony”.may merkel

After a dramatic day of twists and turns in Westminster, the prime minister addressed Conservative MPs for an hour, issuing a stark warning that divided parties lose elections and telling her party that “to lead is to decide”.

She then returned to Downing Street to fill the gaps left on the government benches by several resignations, sparked by the Brexit secretary, David Davis, who stepped down late on Sunday night.

“If we don’t pull together, we risk the election of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister,” one cabinet minister said, summarising what was said at the meeting. “At least half a dozen people made that point and the prime minister responded, too – what is good for the country is a Conservative government.”

Johnson had been due to host a summit about the western Balkans on Monday afternoon but was instead holed up in his official residence with close advisers, considering his position.

Surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods makes it much harder to do free trade deals – Boris Johnson in resignation letter

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L), Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (C) and Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson leave 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on July 3, 2018. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)© Getty Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L), Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (C) and Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson leave 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on July 3, 2018. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The former foreign secretary told Theresa May in his resignation letter that the Brexit “dream is dying”, with the prime minister replying that she is “a little surprised” by his decision to step down.

Theresa May has written to Boris Johnson to tell him she was “sorry” to receive his letter “after the productive discussions we had at Chequers”.

The prime minister held crunch talks at her Buckinghamshire retreat on Friday, where ministers agreed on a new UK-EU trade area and to step up preparations for a “no deal” Brexit.

But Boris Johnson has since resigned in opposition to plans to keep close ties with the European Union after the UK leaves the bloc.

In his resignation letter addressed to Mrs May on Monday, he wrote: “Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. “It should be a chance to do things differently. “To be more nimble and dynamic and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking, global economy.

“That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.” The prime minister is potentially facing a leadership challenge after the departure of Mr Johnson and the former Brexit secretary David Davis.

“It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money – ending the freedom of movement, ending the juridisction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers money to the European Union.”

Mr Johnson claimed that the UK has ended up postponing “crucial decisions” such as preparing for a no-deal Brexit. He warned that, as a result, the country risks heading for a “semi-Brexit” which will leave chunks of the UK economy locked within the trading bloc – without the country having any control.

And he said that the UK’s inability to influence laws as they are made means “we are truly headed for the status of colony”.

Mr Johnson went on: “It is clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals.”

Suggesting the prime minister has little ambition to get EU negotiators to consider UK proposals, he said: “It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them.”

Donald Trump: So I have Nato, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin

Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn on Tuesday. © AP Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn on Tuesday. Donald Trump expects to see a country in “turmoil” when he lands in the UK on Thursday for a two-day visit he said would make his subsequent summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki seem “easy”.

The president spoke to reporters on the south lawn of the White House on Tuesday morning, before boarding Marine One to begin his trip to Europe, which will begin with a Nato summit in Brussels.

He repeated familiar criticism of Nato and spoke warmly of Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary and Brexit leader who resigned from the government of Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday. Trump said Johnson had been “very nice” and “very supportive”.

“It’s going to be an interesting time in the UK and certainly an interesting time with Nato,” Trump said, over the noise of the helicopter. “Nato has not treated us fairly but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little. But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.”

President Donald Trump shakes hands with British Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson during the "Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development" meeting during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Catalyst Images President Donald Trump shakes hands with British Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson during the “Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development” meeting during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Johnson was the second Eurosceptic cabinet member to resign in recent days, after Brexit secretary David Davis. The UK, Trump said, was in “a situation that’s been going on for a long time”.

“So I have Nato, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly Putin may be the easiest of them all, who would think. Who would think. But the UK certainly has a lot of things going on.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis © Catalyst Images U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One for travel to Europe from the White House, in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis Trump was asked if he had spoken to May since Johnson’s resignation.

“I have not, no I have not,” he said. “Boris Johnson’s a friend of mine, he’s been very nice to me, very supportive and maybe I’ll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson, I’ve always liked him.

Two Brits kidnapped in Congo are released unharmed, Foreign Office confirms

“I pay tribute to the DRC authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their tireless help during this terrible case,” Mr Johnson said in a statement. 

He added that his thoughts were with Ms Baraka’s family and the driver who was injured in the incident.

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Search party: Park rangers pictured at Virunga National Park where the kidnapping took place (AFP/Getty Images)

Two Brits kidnapped and held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been released unharmed, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

The hostages were taken on Friday while visiting a gorilla sanctuary in the Virunga National Park.

A park ranger, named as Rachel Masika Baraka, was killed during the kidnapping, which took place just north of Goma.

On Sunday Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson confirmed they had been released and the park said the pair were receiving “support and medical attention”.

“I pay tribute to the DRC authorities and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation for their tireless help during this terrible case,” Mr Johnson said in a statement.

He added that his thoughts were with Ms Baraka’s family and the driver who was injured in the incident.

The director of Virunga National Park, Emmanuel de Merode, said: “Ranger Baraka’s life was tragically cut short in service to Virunga National Park.

“She was one of the Park’s 26 female rangers and was highly committed, showing true bravery in her work.

“We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to her family, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident.”

Zimbabwe is confronting its past head-on. We are ready to embrace the world – SB Moyo

 

Sibusiso-Moyo
Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo

 

Zimbabwe’s challenges emanate partly from the struggle that all countries, particularly those as young as we are, must go through as they seek to interpret and make sense of their history.Zimbabwe is confronting its past head-on. We are ready to embrace the world.
We can only do so by confronting the past head-on. Contested and painful as it is, our history cannot be changed. We can only learn from it. Most importantly, we need to unlearn the wrong things that we learned in the past.
It is precisely because we are keen to do this that we want to establish relations of friendship, equality and mutual respect, even with those with whom our past relations have been fractious. Our national ethos impels us to seek full readmission into the Commonwealth, whose amity, values and ethics we share, and to reclaim our place in the international community to which we rightly belong

We are aware of not only our international commitments, but also our obligations to our own people. Our government has undertaken to ensure that the Zimbabwe electoral commission will conduct free, fair, non-violent and credible elections, and that the outcome fully respects the will of the people. The political parties that will contest the election are also discussing draft amendments to the electoral laws.