The week ahead: G8, Egyptian elections and Adam Smith at Leveson - Press Gazette

The week ahead: G8, Egyptian elections and Adam Smith at Leveson

After spending two days at Camp David saving the world, the Avengers reassembled in Chicago on Sunday for the NATO Summit, where talks continue (handily for this blog) on Monday. Presidents Obama and Karzai are set to sign the agreement which will set out the terms of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, while Asif Ali Zardari is expected to take part in discussions on the reopening of ground supply routes in Pakistan. Meanwhile the mystery of how our own Dr Bruce Banner stays calm has been solved: hours and hours of Fruit Ninja.

The Government’s Long-Awaited NHS Information Strategyâ„¢ is (or was, at the time of writing) due for publication on Monday, a mere 17 months after plans were initially put forward. The strategy, billed as an ‘information revolution’ which will lead to a better use of patient information, comes ahead of the publication in summer of a white paper on data as the Government attempts to fulfil its commitment to be the most transparent in the world.

New England manager Roy Hodgson gets his first opportunity to run the rule over his squad ahead of next month’s European Championships when they come together for a training camp on Monday. In a predictable sign of things to come, the multi- trophy winning polyglot managed to last all of an hour after announcing his squad last week before ‘Hodgson Out’ was trending on Twitter.

Fresh from her star turn at the Police Federation conference, Theresa May goes once more unto the breach on Tuesday with a speech at the Association of Chief Police Officers summer conference. The Home Secretary withstood booing, laughter and even an accusation of treason last week, suggesting she’s back to her redoubtable best after a difficult few weeks – although she’s now upset a force more great and powerful even than the police.

There’s no rest for the kitten-heeled, however; also on Tuesday, UK Border Force chief Brian Moore appears before the hardest working committee in parliament to discuss his agency’s response to recent border chaos at Heathrow. It’s unlikely that Moore will take the same line as the Immigration Minister; ‘It was the wind’s fault’, Iannucci’d Damian Green last week.

The countdown begins on Tuesday: once the European Court of Human Rights hands down its judgement in the case of Scoppola v. Italy (in which a man given a life sentence for murdering his wife appeals against his disenfranchisement), the Government has six months to introduce legislation which makes the UK voting system compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights. Having twice been granted extensions, the Government is now set to be compelled to confront an issue which has united Jack Straw and David Davis and which will test the Prime Minister’s ability to appease both his coalition partners and already-restive backbench Conservative members.

Egyptians begin voting for their new president on Wednesday in what is sure to be a symbolic marker of the ancient state’s Arab Spring, which began early last year. Elections have been dogged by controversy, particularly as ten candidates were disqualified on April 15th – among them, the Muslim Brotherhood hopeful Khairat al-Shater and the popular Salafi Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail. The country’s last elections were held in 2005, when the now-disgraced and on-trial Hosni Mubarak won a fifth six-year term with 88.6% of the vote.

Efforts to resolve the euro zone crisis continue on Wednesday when the European Council holds a meeting of EU heads of state, led by the reticent President Herman Van Rompuy. New French President Francois Hollande might get the butterflies as he attends his first euro summit, but introductions and courtesies may well be lost in the vortex of economic oblivion looming on the Mediterranean horizon.

For anyone planning on leaving the house when the Greatest Show On Earth comes to the UK this summer, this Wednesday Lord Coe is doling out what’s left of Olympic and Paralympic tickets. Lucky ticket-holders can look forward to an even bigger overdraft in return for the chance to watch the remaining premium events, including the really long walking race, the second round of the apple bobbing and the conkers quarter-final.

An MPs’ committee talks to Justine Greening on Wednesday about Londoners’ two favourite subjects: transport and the Olympics. Defending England favourite Sepp Blatter’s right to speed along London’s VIP lanes in a limousine, drinking liquidised canapés as traffic lights magically turn green for his motorcade could prove difficult –though the Transport Secretary could always ask Sepp to re-mode.

The Office for National Statistics releases its second estimate of Q1 GDP on Thursday, following its April 25 release that cheerfully confirmed the UK is back in recession. Following last week’s confirmation that the eurozone avoided a recession (just) in the same period, a downwards revision could make for grim reading for the Treasury.

Alleged News International influence-exaggerator Michel Frederic joins alleged DCMS lone-operator Adam Smith at the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday, where the pair will be asked to shed some light on the contact between the news organisation and the Government department tasked with considering the bid for control of BSkyB.

No-longer-disgraced sprinter Dwain Chambers begins his preparation for the London Olympics on Friday, facing off against opponents including the formidable world-record holder Usain Bolt in the Czech Golden Spike 100m. Friday’s appearance marks Chambers’ first race since the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the British Olympic Association’s lifetime ban for drugs cheating could not be upheld, a decision slammed by Olympic medal winner Steve Redgrave as ‘ridiculous’.

The second Investec Test match between England and the West Indies takes also gets under way at Trent Bridge on Friday. At the time of writing, the opening day of the first Test at Lord’s had closed 243-9, a fine result that Andrew Strauss’s men then carelessly threw away/brilliantly capitalised on (delete as appropriate).

Away from the cricket pitch but sticking firmly with shiny round objects used to travelling great distances, Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to appear on Saturday at a protest in his Richmond constituency against the proposed downsizing of maternity services at Friarage Hospital. Hague, who has hardly been noted for consensus-busting views on deficit reduction, has spoken of his ‘deep concern’ at the proposed changes.

Erstwhile system-smashers UK Uncut get ready to party like its 1948 on Saturday with a street bash themed around the that year Britain last hosted the Olympic Games and the NHS was established. A week before every single man, woman and child in the country is swept up in a ‘Liz-inspired flag-waving frenzy, the group meets at the Waterloo Station Concourse at 11am, where they’ll presumably be boarding a one-way train to A Better Future, calling at Social-Justice-on-Thames.



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