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News diary 7-13 January: Kevin Spacey to appear in court and Brexit debate returns to Commons

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week… 

The first full week of 2019 begins with a United States court case which is likely to dominate headlines worldwide in the coming 12 months as Kevin Spacey (pictured) faces an arraignment hearing over accusations that he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old man at a bar in 2016.

The Oscar winner indicated in a video released on Christmas Eve that he would enter a not guilty plea when he appears at the Nantucket District Court on Monday. The allegations are part of a catalogue of claims which have surfaced since October 2017.

A coroner in Kent presides over the inquest into the death of Max Spiers, a British conspiracy theorist who died in Poland in July 2016.

In a pre-inquest hearing last summer, a court heard that Spiers had been vomiting black liquid before his death, and that the contents of his laptop had been deleted by Polish authorities soon after. The inquest is expected to be heard over four days.

MPs also return to Westminster following their Christmas recess. Today’s House of Commons business features questions to ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions, with the House of Lords hearing the second reading of the Offensive Weapons Bill.

Theresa May gathers her top team in Downing Street on Tuesday for the first cabinet meeting of 2019. Despite announcing at the end of last year that the Government is now “ramping up preparations” for a no-deal Brexit, May is likely to be equally occupied with ensuring that her cabinet remains united and on message in the run up to the Commons vote on her Brexit deal.

Justice Secretary David Gauke is the latest to have fired a resignation warning shot at Number 10, while International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has also aired his opinion that the deal in its current form would be difficult to support.

Elsewhere Mark Drakeford, fresh from unveiling his own cabinet at the tail end of last year, makes his First Minister’s Questions debut in Cardiff, and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss deliver keynotes at the Local Government Association’s local government and finance conference.

On Wednesday, the first session of PMQs in 2019 is likely to represent another difficult turn at the despatch box for Theresa May.

The Prime Minister has so far this year received little domestic or continental goodwill over Brexit – the European Union announced on Thursday that no further meetings or negotiations will be taking place, and a lunch with the DUP’s Nigel Dodds on the same day ended with the party announcing that they still hold “principled objections” to the agreement.

Further up the Thames at City Hall, former Crossrail chair Sir Terry Morgan appears before the London Assembly’s Transport Committee to answer questions on delays to the project’s delivery. Sir Terry resigned from his position in December, just days after commenting that he was expecting to be dismissed over the mounting costs and delays.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has since accused Morgan of “misremembering events” relating to when the Mayor’s Office was made aware of Crossrail’s delays. Initially due to be completed last month, the project is now not expected to open until this autumn.

The Brexit deal debate continues Thursday, but perhaps more significantly there could be confirmation of a date for the vote itself in Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom’s statement on forthcoming business.

Back in December Theresa May committed to holding the vote next week, but with her former Brexit Secretary David Davis now leading the call for a second postponement there could yet be a further hold-up before MPs have their say.

The annual London Government Dinner, hosted by the Lord Mayor and traditionally featuring a speech by the Mayor of London, takes place at the City’s Mansion House.

In his 2017 address Khan warned of the impact of a “muddled Brexit” on the City’s economy, and the Mayor has continued to be vociferous in his criticisms of Brexit and the prospect of a no-deal withdrawal in recent months. During the festive period Khan received a barrage of criticism for allegedly politicising the capital’s New Year fireworks display.

Friday sees the release of GDP estimates for the UK, which are likely to echo forecasts that Britain’s economy will endure a difficult 12 months. The UK is predicted to slump to seventh in international GDP rankings over the next year as the country braces itself for the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit.

The penultimate round of group matches also kicks off in Rugby’s Champions Cup competition as Gloucester host Munster, and the competition continues Saturday with a series of crunch matches. Defending champions Leinster host Toulouse, an all-English affair sees Bath taking on Wasps, and last year’s runners up Racing 92 travel to Belfast to face Ulster.

The Premier League also returns after a week of FA Cup action, with West Ham v Arsenal, Brighton v Liverpool, and Chelsea v Newcastle the standout matches.

In the United States, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is scheduled to make an announcement on his 2020 presidential plans. The Texas politician, who also served in the Obama administration, is likely to be the first of a crowded field of Democratic contenders hoping to take the Presidency from Donald Trump in 2020.

And staff working on the London Underground’s Bakerloo line begin a 24-hour walkout on Sunday evening. An initial strike planned for Boxing Day was suspended by the RMT union after progress in negotiations, though this stoppage is expected to continue disrupting services into next week.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/File Photo

Comments

1 thought on “News diary 7-13 January: Kevin Spacey to appear in court and Brexit debate returns to Commons”

  1. Aside from the usual fluffy fare delivered by Foresight, the rather distasteful reference to Max Spiers. The conspiracy theorist label applied serves no other purpose than to deceive the reader, and leave little doubt as to the intentions of the writer.

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