Brexit – This week in the long running Brexit saga, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his first vote in Parliament 328-301, which ruled out the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on the 31st October. The 21 Conservative rebels who voted against the Prime Minister’s wishes were thrown out of the party, including former chancellor of the exchequer, Phillip Hammond, and Kenneth Clarke, who has served in the cabinet since the days of Margaret Thatcher. PM Johnson is now pushing for a general election to try and firm up his position before going into negotiations with Brussels, however, the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has stated that his party will not be forced into taking part in an election until any possibilities of a ‘no deal’ exit are taken off the table. PM Johnson responded to Labour leader Corbyn’s dismissal of an election by calling him a “chicken”, stating that he suspects Mr Corbyn is afraid of losing. After being forced to give up fighting the opposition in Parliament after a number of humiliating defeats, PM Johnson is now pushing more aggressively to have a general election on the 15th October “and indeed earlier” as he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than agree to another Brexit delay. On Friday, a legal challenge over PM Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was rejected by the High Court, however, and appeal is due to be heard in the Supreme Court on the 17th September.
Hong Kong extradition bill – The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, withdrew the hugely controversial extradition bill on Wednesday, as well as announcing three more measures to help ease the crisis and restore law and order in Hong Kong. Protests, however, are still due to go ahead this weekend, with many protesters pledging to carry on fighting, as the concession of the withdrawal bill is too little, too late.
US-China trade war – A phone call between China’s Vice Premier, Liu He, and US trade representatives brought a wave of optimism over the trade negotiations, as the two parties agreed to resume face-to-face talks in October in a bid to ease the tensions in the rapidly escalating trade war.