Foresight News rounds up the key events that need to be in your news diary this week…
Monday 18 September
Businesses such as nightclubs and other large venues in Scotland will be liable if they do not enforce COVID-19 passes as the grace period for non-enforcement comes to an end. The Scottish passport scheme, which was developed by a different company than the apps used in England and Wales, has been riddled with glitches since its launch on 1 October, prompting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to apologise for the “extreme frustration” caused.
- November 26, 2021
- November 19, 2021
- November 12, 2021
David Henderson goes on trial at Cardiff Crown Court charged over the January 2019 plane crash which killed Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala (pictured). Henderson faces charges under air navigation laws in relation to the crash, which also claimed the life of pilot David Ibbotson. The flight was lost over the Channel Islands as it made its way from Nantes to the Welsh capital just days after Sala’s move to Cardiff City was announced.
MPs vote on whether to extend the Coronavirus Act for a further six months into the summer of 2022. The legislation was first introduced in March 2020 to hand emergency powers to public bodies at the beginning of the pandemic, and was last considered by MPs in March, when then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he could not rule out further extensions. A defeat for the government is unlikely, though rebelliously-minded Tory MPs are sure to relish another opportunity to voice their opposition to Covid-related restrictions.
Boris Johnson welcomes the CEOs of some of the world’s biggest financial institutions to London for the first Global Investment Summit, which is touted by the Department for International Trade as a forum for investors from “priority markets” around the world to hear about green investment opportunities in the UK. Joining the Prime Minister and Cabinet bigwigs including Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss are vaccinologist Professor Sarah Gilbert, GSK CEO Emma Walmsley and WTO head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The Queen hosts a Windsor Castle bash for the attendees after the summit concludes.
Following months of hearings, Brazil’s wide-ranging parliamentary commission of inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is due to present its final report ahead of a vote on Wednesday. The eagerly-anticipated report is expected to indict President Jair Bolsonaro on a number of charges that will almost certainly lead to calls for his impeachment. All of this comes amid a febrile atmosphere in the South American nation in the build-up to next year’s presidential elections.
General Sir Nick Carter delivers one of his final public addresses as Chief of the Defence Staff, as he opens the first day of the Pacific Future defence forum. The setting is apt as Carter prepares to hand over to First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, who will take up the role at the end of November when Carter retires. Radakin was involved in setting up the new AUKUS trilateral security partnership, and his appointment has been seen as an indicator of a naval shift in the UK’s defence strategy.
Russia is set to host key talks on Afghanistan after snubbing last week’s extraordinary G20 leaders’ summit. The so-called “Moscow format” talks will involve representatives from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, and India, as well as the Taliban themselves, assuming they take up their invitation. The meeting is set to focus on post-conflict reconstruction and the prevention of a humanitarian crisis in the country, with human rights issues notably not a priority on the agenda.
A Service of Remembrance and Hope is held in Armagh to mark the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland in 1921, with The Queen expected to be among attendees. The service has not been without controversy, with Irish President Michael D Higgins refusing an invitation due to due to difficulties with the title of the event, which he felt was a “political statement”. Despite the Irish Government sending Foreign Minister Simon Coveney in Higgins’ place, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson claimed the decision had “set back north-south relations”.
The National Centre for Social Research releases the annual British Social Attitudes survey, which this year examines the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on social attitudes in Britain alongside the usual topics of welfare and work, government spending, and immigration. Last year’s report noted an increase in support for higher welfare spending and more favourable attitudes towards immigration, and both are again likely to feature prominently in the snapshot of public opinion.
Labour MP Barry Gardiner’s bill to end “fire and rehire”, where workers are pressured into leaving their jobs and then accept less favourable terms to return, is the main draw among the Private Members’ Bills that have been brought forward in this session of Parliament. The Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill, which would amend workplace law and introduce greater safeguards for employees, has the backing of the Unite union and many of Gardiner’s former Shadow Cabinet colleagues.
Newly-elected Green Party co-leaders Adrian Ramsay and Carla Denyer deliver their first leaders’ speech on the opening day of the party’s autumn conference in Birmingham. The pair begin their tenure with the party in a strong position, having recently overtaken the Liberal Democrats in national polls and with a record number of councillors in place since the last local elections. Conference will be a proving ground for the policies with which the party will attempt to woo voters at the next election, with a wealth tax, free social care, and natural rights law among those up for debate this weekend.
Former US President Barack Obama heads to Virginia to campaign with gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe ahead of the 2 November election. The former governor faces Trump-allied businessman Glenn Youngkin in the race to replace term-limited Democrat Ralph Northam. The closely watched election is viewed as a referendum on President Joe Biden’s ambitious “Build Back Better” agenda amid a fall in his approval ratings. The outcome will be considered both an indicator of Democratic prospects in next year’s midterms, where they face an uphill battle to keep their majority, and confirmation of whether the former confederate state has officially turned blue.
Half-term holidays get a little cheaper for Brits as fully-vaccinated travellers are able to use lateral flow tests for their Day 2 test instead of the more expensive PCRs. From today, vaccinated travellers returning to the UK can take the at-home tests and verify results by sending a picture to providers, rather than sending tests off to a lab for analysis. The government is already under pressure to ensure the new demand for antigen tests doesn’t push up prices, with Which? Calling for action to prevent holidaymakers being “ripped off” as well as a VAT exemption.
A presidential election takes place in the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, where incumbent Shavkat Mirziyoyev is seeking a second term, having replaced long-time president Islam Karimov following his death in 2016. Although there are four other candidates challenging Mirziyoyev, no one seriously doubts that he will be easily re-elected. Perhaps more interesting than the outcome of the election will be how a re-energised Mirziyoyev responds to developments in Afghanistan as part of his ambitions to make Uzbekistan a regional powerbroker.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: Reuters/Stephane Mahe