UK May Not Hold Pivotal Brexit Vote, Says Fox

Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox arrives in Downing Street in London on March 14, 2019,/ AFP

 

British leader Theresa May’s government warned Sunday it might not have a planned Brexit vote this week unless it feels it could secure a win that avoids a lengthy delay to the EU pullout.

Britain has been paralysed by political inaction and chaos as it barrels toward the March 29 end of its 46-year involvement in the bloc without a plan.

Parliament has twice resoundingly rejected the separation terms May reached with the other 27 EU leaders last year.

She doggedly vowed to bring the lawmakers back by Wednesday for a third vote that — if it finally ended in success — would see her ask the EU for a “technical” Brexit delay until June.

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But May warned on Sunday that another defeat would almost certainly require Britain to take part in European Parliament elections in May.

This would mean “we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever,” May wrote in The Sunday Telegraph”.

Two of her top ministers then warned that May might not even submit her deal for a third vote unless she feels she has sufficient support from her own party members who previously voted against.

“It would be difficult to justify having a vote if you knew you were going to lose it,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told Sky News.

“We will only bring the deal back if we are confident that enough of our colleagues… are prepared to support it so that we can get it through parliament,” finance minister Philip Hammond added on the BBC.

“I mean we are not just going to keep presenting it if we haven’t moved the dial,” Hammond said.

Some EU leaders have suggested postponing Brexit until the end of 2020.

A delay that long could give Britain time to decide to either keep much closer EU ties or have Brexit reversed in a new national poll — two options welcomed by a range of European officials.

The 27 EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss their Brexit options.

US Network Apologises For Robbie Williams World Cup Gesture

US Network Apologises For Robbie Williams World Cup Gesture
British singer Robbie Williams performs during the opening ceremony before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14, 2018. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

 

US broadcaster Fox has apologised after it showed pop star Robbie Williams giving the middle finger to viewers during the World Cup opening ceremony.

The former frontman of English boy band Take That raised his finger after singing his track “Rock DJ” before the global audience Thursday in Moscow.

The 44-year-old did not explain his gesture but he appeared to mouth the phrase “I did this for free” — a response to criticism for gracing an event dear to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony was a newsworthy event produced by a third party and carried live on Fox,” Fox Sports said in a statement.

“As it was broadcast live, we did not know what would happen during Robbie Williams’ performance and we apologise,” it said.

The middle finger, while innocent by the standards of pop star antics on stage, prompted a deluge of upset comments on social media, many from parents saying the gesture was inappropriate for children.

After repeated incidents, US networks routinely broadcast domestic events with a short delay to allow time to cut out incidents that may offend viewers.

Networks have become even more fastidious since the 2004 Super Bowl, the most-watched event on US television when Justin Timberlake accidentally bared Janet Jackson’s nipple while dancing, scandalising audiences.

Hip-hop star M.I.A. nonetheless gave a middle finger during the 2012 Super Bowl, leading the National Football League to take legal action against her for violation of its contract.

Williams sang in Moscow alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, with the two singing a duet of his hit solo song “Angels.”

AFP