Brexit limbo; impeachment bombshell


Following Tuesday night’s developments, the UK government’s expensive “Get Ready For Brexit” information campaign--as seen at Grand Central in Birmingham--may well have misjudged the date that the UK leaves the EU. Photo Michael715 / Shutterstock 

China seeks Lam replacement, Naruhito ascends throne, Commission’s budget warnings, WeWork takeover, and Paris 2024 logo. Delano’s breakfast briefing.

Johnson wins and loses--extension and election likely

UK prime minister Boris Johnson finally got the victory in parliament he craved for his withdrawal bill on Tuesday evening, as the FT reports. But he was then thwarted in his “do or die” ambition for the UK to leave the EU on 31 October when MPs “slammed the brakes” on his rushed timetable for the legislation, as The Independent put it. The result moved outgoing European council president Donald Tusk to say he will recommend EU leaders grant the 3-month extension that Johnson asked for in his unsigned letter last Saturday, says the Evening Standard. If the extension is granted, the prime minister is likely to seek a general election, The Mail reckons. The BBC has an explainer on various scenarios of how an election can be called and what the earliest possible dates could be.

Barnier warns on post-Brexit negotiations

Meanwhile, Michel Barnier has said that reaching agreement between the UK and the EU on a new trade and security arrangement could take “three years or more” after Brexit. The Guardian says the pronouncement has fuelled fears of a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020. Barnier will head up the EU’s new “Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom”, which is due to start work on 16 November regardless of developments in the UK,  according to Reuters.

Ambassador says Ukraine was pressured

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, has said that “an irregular informal channel of US policymaking” was used to try to persuade Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden and his son, The Guardian reports. The 72-year-old ambassador was said to be distressed that much needed military aid was being withheld until Zelenskiy committed to the investigation, says The Washington Post in a profile piece. Vice has 5 key statements from Taylor’s opening remarks.

Increasing public support for impeachment

Meanwhile, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday shows that 46% of Americans said they supported impeachment and 40% said they opposed it, but that support was surging among independents.

Lam to be replaced as Hong Kong chief

The Financial Times cites sources that say the Chinese government is planning to replace Carrie Lam with an “interim” chief executive to lead the Hong Kong government. The FT’s source reckons a replacement could be installed by March and would stay at the helm until 2022, when Lam’s term of office was due to end.

Naruhito ascends Chrysanthemum Throne

Japan's new Emperor Naruhito officially ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne in a ceremony of ancient pageantry on Tuesday, CBS reports. Britain’s Prince Charles, Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia and Monaco’s Prince Albert were among the guests, says People magazine. The Japan Times has a nice historical photo gallery of the emperor’s path to the throne.

Commission issues warnings on national budgets

The European Commission has asked France and Italy for clarification over their 2020 draft budgets, which it fears could be in break of rules, Euronews reports. Warnings have also been issued to Finland on its spending plans, and Spain, Portugal and Belgium over incomplete budgets.

Softbank takes 80% of WeWork

Japanese conglomerate Softbank has taken control of take control of co-working company WeWork, leaving founder Adam Neumann with the equivalent of nearly $1.7 billion, The Verge reports. In analysis, CNBC says the recent plight of WeWork “has cast SoftBank in the role of mafia boss”.

Boeing boss ousted

Boeing has severed ties with Kevin McAllister, the CEO of its commercial airplanes division, Reuters reports. The move comes as fall out of the fatal crashes of two 737 MAX jets continues to impact the airplane manufacturer.

EU-Microsoft contract concerns

TechCrunch reports that an enquiry by European Data Protection Supervisor into the contracts that see EU institutions use Microsoft software products and services has revealed "serious concerns over the compliance of the relevant contractual terms with data protection rules”.

Trump trade advisor leaves

Kelly Ann Shaw is the latest senior official to leave the Trump administration, Reuters reports. The president’s G7 and trade advisor is moving to the private sector after working 10 years in government.

2024 Olympic logo ridiculed

Paris on Tuesday unveiled the logo designed for when it hosts the 2024 Olympic Games. France24 reports that the art deco style incorporates a gold medal, the Olympic flame and the lips and outline of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic. But the BBC says the logo has met with some ridicule on social media.

Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts