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Theresa May battles to win over rebel Conservative Party amid Brexit upheaval – National

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British Prime Minister Theresa May fought back against critics of her Brexit deal Saturday, telling opponents from within her party their alternative plans for Britain’s departure from the European Union wouldn’t work.

May is battling to win over rebels in her Conservative Party and and to preserve her position as prime minister after a grueling week in which party members plotted to oust her and two Cabinet ministers quit within hours of her government striking the long-sought divorce agreement with the EU.


READ MORE:
Brexit has U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May facing down a mutiny in her party

In a public relations offensive, May revealed in a Daily Mail interview how her husband supported her during “a pretty heavy couple of days.”

Calling her husband, Philip, her “rock,” May said that when the Conservative revolt erupted Wednesday, the first thing he did was pour her a whisky.

She also laid into political opponents, saying their ideas for resolving the biggest stumbling block in EU-U.K. negotiations – avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit – wouldn’t resolve the problem.

WATCH: This is what you need to know about the Brexit draft






“People say, ‘If you could only just do something slightly different, have a Norway model or a Canada model, this backstop issue would go away.’ It would not. That issue is still going to be there,” May said in the interview , published Saturday.

“Some politicians get so embroiled in the intricacies of their argument they forget it is not about this theory or that theory, or does it make me look good,” she added.

While May appeared to have survived the week, her headaches are far from over. Disaffected “Brexiteers” think they have the numbers required to trigger a challenge to her leadership within days.

They are aiming for 48 letters of no confidence, the number needed for a vote under Conservative Party rules. So far, more than 20 lawmakers have publicly said they submitted such letters.


READ MORE:
Here’s what’s included in the draft Brexit deal

One of them, Mark Francois, complained that May’s draft deal would leave Britain with the worst outcome – “half in and half out” of the EU. He said it would never be approved in Parliament, where May’s Conservatives do not have a majority.

Like Francois, many pro-Brexit Conservatives are pushing for a clean break with the EU and argue that the close trade ties between the U.K. and the EU called for in the deal would leave Britain a vassal state.

As it stands, the draft agreement sees Britain leaving the EU as planned on March 29 but remaining inside the bloc’s single market and bound by its rules until the end of December 2020.


It also commits the two sides to the contentious “backstop” solution, which would keep the U.K. in a customs arrangement with the EU as a guarantee the Irish border remained free of customs checkpoints.

British media reported that several pro-Brexit senior Conservatives, including House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, were trying to persuade May to renegotiate the divorce deal in a way they find more acceptable.

Leadsom told Sky News Saturday “there is still more to be done” to get “the best possible deal for the U.K.” before the draft withdrawal agreement is signed off on Nov. 25 in Brussels. She didn’t elaborate.

The deal also requires approval from Britain’s Parliament before the U.K. leaves the bloc.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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