Parliament of the United Kingdom

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Unionist parties from Northern Ireland to take legal action against the Brexit deal
Arlene Foster
Arlene Foster Credit: DUP (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Members of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) announced Sunday to take part in legal action challenging part of Britain’s deal with the European Union.

The Protocol agreed during Brexit is designed to protect the European Union's single market without creating a land border on the island of Ireland but so far caused disruption to trade since it came into force at the start of the year. Some British companies have halted deliveries to Northern Ireland, and some supermarkets have been left with empty shelves.

"Alongside the political action we have been taking, we have considered a number of legal routes, and will be joining other unionists from across the United Kingdom in judicial review proceedings to challenge the Protocol, unless arrangements are put in place which are consistent with the Act of Union 1800, the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 and the Belfast Agreement. ", said DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
The UK admits bill to change Brexit agreement would "break international law"
European Flag at Downing Street
European Flag at Downing Street Credit: Frederick Tubiermont

The United Kingdom minister for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced to the Parliament Tuesday that the government would be willing to "break international law in a very specific and limited way" by ignoring terms of the Brexit agreement with the European Union.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union Commission, said tweeted: "Very concerned about announcements from the British government on its intentions to breach the Withdrawal Agreement. This would break international law and undermines trust. Pacta sunt servanda = the foundation of prosperous future relations."

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated: "If the U.K. violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement passing the Congress."

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Parliament of Scotland votes for immediate export stop of tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields to the United States
Tear gas usage during protest
Tear gas usage during protest Credit: Kunii

With 52 votes to 0 votes and 11 abstentions, the Scottish Parliament has passed a motion that calls the government of the United Kingdom to "immediately suspend all export licences for tear gas, rubber bullets and riot gear to the US" and states that it "stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement".

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Julian Assange denied bail by London court

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was denied bail on Wednesday after his defense lawers argued a release from Belmarsh Prison in London would mitigate his "high risk" of catching coronavirus.

Assange's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, told Westminster Magistrates Court Assange has prior chest and tooth infections and osteoporis, placing him at a higher risk from the virus.

However, Judge Vannessa Baraitser rejected the arguments, arguing that based on Assange's prior conduct, there are "substantial grounds" to believe that if released he would not return to face extradition hearing. "As matters stand today, this global pandemic does not, as of itself, yet provide grounds for Mr Assange’s release," she said.