British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered yet another blow Thursday when his brother announced his resignation as a junior minister and from parliament.
Jo Johnson tweeted his resignations were due to conflicts between between family and Britain.
“In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest — its an unresolvable tension &; time for others to take on my roles as MP (Member of Parliament) & Minister,” he said.
It was not immediately clear if Jo Johnson would leave parliament immediately or not seek reelection.
His resignation follows his brother’s recent expulsion of 21 lawmakers from the Conservative Party, which remains divided over the prime minister’s strategy to withdraw from the European Union on October 31 with or without an agreement.
Boris Johnson was dealt another setback Wednesday when the House of Commons voted in favor of a measure forcing the government to ask the EU to delay Brexit another three months if there is no exit deal by Johnson’s October 31 deadline.
This was Johnson’s third major Brexit defeat in two days.
The measure now goes to Parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, where pro-Brexit lawmakers are planning to defeat it by filibustering.
A number of Conservatives joined opposition lawmakers Tuesday in voting to seize the Brexit matter from Johnson.
French President, Emmanuel Macron Appoints Jean Castex As New PM
President Emmanuel Macron on Friday named senior French civil servant Jean Castex, who drew up the policy for easing the coronavirus lockdown, as his new prime minister as part of a government reshuffle.
“The president of the Republic has named Jean Castex as prime minister and mandated him to form a government,” the presidency said in a brief statement.
Recall that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and his entire government resigned Friday, July 3, as Macron’s ruling party reels from dire local election results and the president prepares to tackle the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In other news, former French prime minister, François Fillon and his Welsh wife, Penelope, were sentenced to jail on Monday, June 30, for embezzling public funds as part of the “fake job” scandal.
A French court found Francois guilty of charges of creating a fake job for his wife, which paid her over €1 million ($1.13 million) using taxpayer money.
UN Suspends 2 Officials In Viral Car-Sex Video
Two employees of the United Nations mission in Israel have been suspended without pay after a viral video featured a sex act in their official vehicle, as it drove down a major street in Tel Aviv.
Recall that in the 18-second video, a woman in a red dress was seen straddling a man in the back seat of clearly marked white UN vehicle. Another man appears to be asleep in the passenger seat.
In a statement released on Thursday July 2, the UN said the men in the video have been identified as staff members of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), UN military observers based in Israel.
Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN’s secretary general said the two staff members have been suspended without pay until the investigation into the incident has concluded.
Dujarric told BBC;
“Their suspension was appropriate given the seriousness of the allegations of failing to observe the standards of conduct expected of international civil servants.
“UNTSO has re-engaged in a robust awareness-raising campaign to remind its personnel of their obligations to the UN Code of Conduct.”
The UN maintains strict regulations barring sexual misconduct by staffers and has come under fire for violations in recent years. A report by the UN confirmed 175 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by staffers in 2019. Sixteen claims were substantiated, fifteen were found to be unsubstantiated, and the rest are still investigated.
French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe Resigns
France is to name a new prime minister on Friday shortly after the announcement of Edouard Philippe’s resignation.
President Emmanuel Macron wants a new government to focus on efforts to relaunch the French economy deeply hit by the coronavirus crisis.
The French presidency said a new prime minister will be appointed “in the coming hours.” Many government members are expected to be replaced in the ensuing reshuffle.
In an interview given to several local newspapers on Thursday, Macron, said he is seeking a “new path” to rebuild the country for the two remaining years of his term.
He praised Philippe’s “outstanding work” in the past three years.
“I will need to make choices to lead (the country) down the path,” he said.
Macron did not elaborate on the profile of the next prime minister. French media list Florence Parly and Jean-Yves Le Drian, former defense minister and foreign minister respectively, among potential candidates.
The reshuffle comes days after a green wave swept over France in local elections. Macron saw his young centrist party defeated in France’s biggest cities and failing to plant local roots across the country.
The reshuffle was planned even before Sunday’s voting, as Macron’s government faced obstacles and criticism before and during the virus crisis.
As the pandemic was peaking in the country in March and April, authorities came under fire for the lack of masks, tests and medical equipment.
Before that, Macron’s pro-business policies, widely seen as favoring the wealthier, had been hampered by the yellow vest economic movement against perceived social injustice. This winter, weeks of strikes and street demonstrations against a planned pension overhaul disrupted the country.
In addition, Macron’s efforts to boost job creation have been swept away by the economic and social consequences of the country’s lockdown.
The government issued a 460 billion-euro emergency package through a state-funded partial activity scheme, tax cuts and other financial aids for businesses, and Macron needs to adapt his policies as France’s economy is expected to shrink by 11% this year.
The unemployment rate that fell from 9.2% at the beginning of Macron’s term in 2017 to 7.6% earlier this year — its lowest level since 2008 — is now expected to increase steadily.
“Our first priority will be to rebuild an economy that is strong, ecological, sovereign and united,” Macron said in a televised address to the nation on June 14.
He ruled out any tax rise and instead said “working and producing more” is the response amid bankruptcies and layoffs caused by the crisis.
He put an emphasis on creating new jobs with climate-oriented policies including renovation of old buildings and greener transport and industries.
Philippe, 49, is expected to become the mayor of his hometown of Le Havre, in western France, after he won a large victory in Sunday’s voting.
A conservative, former member of The Republicans’ party, he had joined Macron’s government in May 2017.
He had seen his popularity sharply increase in recent weeks, according to French poll institutes that show many French consider he did good job in gradually easing virus-related restrictions in the country and enforcing an emergency package to support the French economy.
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