British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin on Tuesday, triggering political upheaval that could lead to a disorderly exit from the EU or even to a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave.
Parliament voted 432-202 against her deal, the worst parliamentary defeat for a government in recent British history. Scores of her own MPs – both Brexiteers and supporters of EU membership – joined forces to vote down the deal.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promptly called a vote of no confidence in May’s government, to be held within 24 hours.
With the clock ticking down to March 29, the date set in law for Brexit, the United Kingdom is now ensnared in the deepest political crisis in half a century as it grapples with how, or even whether, to exit the European project that it joined in 1973.
May’s crushing loss, the first British parliamentary defeat of a treaty since 1864, marks the collapse of her two-year strategy of forging an amicable divorce with close ties to the EU after the March 29 exit.
“It is clear that the House does not support this deal, but tonight’s vote tells us nothing about what it does support,” May told parliament, moments after the result was announced.
“We need to confirm whether this government still enjoys the confidence of this House,” May said.
May said parliament had spoken and the government had listened. The small Northern Irish DUP party, which props up her minority government and had said it would oppose the deal, said it would still back May in the no confidence vote.
The EU said the Brexit deal remained the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal from the EU.
“The Brexit deal is basically dead,” said Anand Menon, professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London.
Ever since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016, the political class has been debating how to leave the European project forged by France and Germany after the devastation of World War Two.
While the country is divided over EU membership, most agree that the world’s fifth largest economy is at a crossroads and that its choices over Brexit will shape the prosperity of future generations.
Before the vote, May had warned pro-Brexit MPs that if her plan was rejected, it was more likely that Britain would not leave the EU at all than that it would leave without a deal.
She has also warned fellow Conservatives not to let the opposition Labour Party seize control of Brexit.
Supporters of EU membership cast Brexit as a gigantic mistake that will undermine the West, smash Britain’s reputation as a stable destination for investment and slowly weaken London’s position as a global capital.
Many opponents of Brexit hope May’s defeat will ultimately lead to another referendum on EU membership, though Brexiteers say that thwarting the will of the 17.4 million who voted for Brexit could radicalise much of the electorate.
Brexit supporters cast leaving as a way to break free from a Union they see as overly bureaucratic and fast falling behind the leading economic powers of the 21st century, the United States and China.
#DidYouKnow That Ghana deported 994 Nigerians since 2018?
The Nigerian government has disclosed that 994 of its nationals were deported from Ghana – Abike Dabiri
The Nigerian government did not disclose why they were deported but said 508 of them were deported within the last six months, while 486 were repatriated in 2018.
This was made known by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
Dabiri-Erewa made the disclosure while meeting a Nigerian professor, Augustine Nwagbara, who was sacked by the University of Education, Winneba, for incitement.
She warned of dire consequences if its nationals are shabbily treated in Ghana and on the African continent.
She said, “It will not go down well on the continent if Nigeria decides to do what they do to Nigerians over there. We demand respect.
“If a Nigerian commits a crime, you should deal with that particular person rather than generalize issues by punishing those who are innocent of the crime.”
Lagarde leaves IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, has resigned her appointment and will be leaving the Bretton Woods institution on September 12.
IMF’s Executive Board in a statement yesterday in Washington DC, said it had accepted her resignation and would soon kick-start the process to find her replacement.
“Today the IMF Executive Board accepted Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s resignation from the Fund with effect from September 12, 2019.
“With this decision by Managing Director Lagarde, the IMF Executive Board will initiate promptly the process of selecting the next managing director and will communicate in a timely fashion.
“The Executive Board has the utmost confidence in Mr. David Lipton, who remains Acting Managing Director of the Fund in the interim period,” it said.
Lagarde had announced in a statement yesterday that she had submitted her resignation from the IMF and it would go into effect in September.
“I have met with the Executive Board and submitted my resignation from the Fund with effect from September 12, 2019.
“The relinquishment of my responsibilities as managing director announced previously will remain in effect until then.
“With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB President and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the Fund, as it will expedite the selection process for my successor,” Lagarde said.
According to her, while the Executive Board would be taking the needed steps to proceed toward selecting a new managing director, David Lipton would remain the Fund’s acting managing director.
On July 9, the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council adopted a formal recommendation to nominate Lagarde as president of the European Central Bank.
Her nomination will now be discussed by the ECB governing council and the European Parliament, and the final appointment by European Council in October.
She was named as the next Managing Director of the IMF for a five-year term, starting on July 5, 2011, replacing Dominique Strauss-Khan.
Oil prices in steady decline
US crude stocks fell 9.5 million barrels in the week to July 5, more than triple the 3.1 million barrel draw analysts had expected, as refineries ramped up output, the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), said.
The report followed data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, on Tuesday that had boosted oil prices earlier.
Reuters reported that major oil firms began evacuating and halting production in the Gulf of Mexico after weather forecasts warned that a tropical disturbance might become a storm yesterday (Wednesday) or today.
Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and BHP Group were in the process of removing staff from 15 offshore platforms.
ExxonMobil said it was “closely monitoring” the disturbance to determine if its facilities might be affected.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to 17 percent of United States crude oil output, which stands at around 12 million barrels per day (bpd).
OPEC to Rollover Crude Oil Output Cut Deal
OPEC is to roll over a deal on cutting crude supplies at a meeting next week and discuss deepening the curbs that have been in place since January 1, 2019. A deal between OPEC and allies, including Russia, to curb oil output by 1.2 million barrels runs out at the end of June.
With the expiration of the agreement this week, the group has scheduled meetings from July 1-2 in Vienna, Austria to discuss the next steps.
However, Iraq’s Oil Minister, Thamer Ghadhban, has said the group would extend the current deal and consider deeper production cuts.
He said the issue would be discussed in Vienna but declined to specify what alternative level of cuts were being suggested.
“The rollover at least would be at the same level because it has not been very effective, it has been effective to a certain level to minimize the glut in the market, but there are now ideas or calls for agreeing (on) even more,” Ghadhban said on the sidelines of the CWC Iraq Petroleum Conference in London.
Reuters reported that Algeria had floated an idea of deepening the cut by some 600,000 bpd, to make it 1.8 million barrels per day.
Oil prices hit their highest in about a month on Wednesday, buoyed by United States government data that showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in crude stocks as exports hit a record high, and surprise drops in refined product stockpiles.
The price of the global benchmark, Brent crude, which dropped to $65 per barrel yesterday, had risen $1.44, or 2.2 per cent to settle at $66.49 a barrel on Wednesday, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.55, or 2.7 per cent, to settle at $59.38 a barrel.
The product drawdown comes at the same time as news that the largest and oldest refinery on the US East Coast would be shut after a massive fire last week caused substantial damage.
According to agency reports, Philadelphia Energy Solutions plans to shut down the 335,000 bpd refinery complex next month.
The crude inventory fall and refinery outage added to uncertainty over oil supplies created by the war of words between Washington and Tehran.
This has prompted fears that oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil supply route, could be disrupted.
Asked if a war was brewing, US President Donald Trump told Fox Business Network on Wednesday: “I hope we don’t but we are in a very strong position if something should happen.”
Tehran has condemned a fresh round of US sanctions, describing it as “mentally retarded.”
But the US Special Representative on Iran, Brian Hook, told Reuters in an interview yesterday that the United States’ policy of maximum economic pressure on Tehran was working.
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