Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said on Sunday he was increasingly concerned that a vote for Britain to leave the European Union could be overturned by a powerful group of the bloc's supporters.
In an interview with Britain's Observer newspaper, Farage, former head of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party, said a well-organised and funded group of campaigners that wants to remain in the EU was drowning out those who want to leave.
"The Remain side are making all the running," said Farage. "They have a majority in parliament, and unless we get ourselves organised we could lose the historic victory that was Brexit."
Last week, Farage said he was warming to the idea of holding a second vote on Britain's membership of the EU to settle the argument - an idea written off by other Brexit campaigners who urged the government to press on with exit talks with the bloc.
In 2016, Britons voted 52 to 48 percent in favour of ending its membership of the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out a second referendum, saying her government was seeking an amicable divorce with the EU which will safeguard the economy and enable Britain to secure trade deals with other countries.
But some Brexit campaigners fear her approach has led to the watering down of several of their demands, including the ability to reduce immigration and to reclaim sovereignty by leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
UK 'strongly condemns' Israeli okaying new settlements
Britain on Thursday “strongly” condemned Israel’s approval of hundreds of new housing units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.“The U.K. strongly condemns the advancement by the Israeli authorities of plans and tenders for settlement units across the West Bank,” said a statement by Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East.“We call on Israel to reconsider these proposals,” said Burt.“Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the physical viability of the two-state solution,” he added.Israeli authorities on Thursday approved the construction of hundreds of new housing units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli media reports.Israel approves new West Bank settlement unitsTurkey rejects Israel’s new bill that strengthens East Jerusalem’s occupation"The plans that were approved involve construction of more than 200 homes in Oranit and more than 50 in Petzael in the Jordan Valley," Israeli daily Haaretz reported.According to Haaretz, additional housing units were approved in the Ariel and Alfei Menashe settlements, both of which are located in the northern West Bank.Haaretz added that the Israeli authorities had also approved plans for "hundreds" of additional housing units in the West Bank settlements of Kfar Adumim and Givat Zeev.Earlier this week, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to approve the construction of some 2,500 new settlement units across the occupied West Bank.According to Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now, the Israeli authorities approved the construction of 6,742 new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2017 -- the highest number since 2013.Some half a million Israelis currently live on more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.UK-based NGOs slam restriction on entry to Israel
UK's May pledges to cut all avoidable plastic waste by 2042
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday she would eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042, part of a "national plan of action" she hopes will show that her government is about more than just Brexit.Unveiling a new environmental agenda which she said was now "centre stage", May is keen to put divisions over leaving the European Union, scandals and an ill-judged election behind her and try to broaden the appeal of her Conservative Party.But while welcomed, her moves to extend a 5 pence charge for a single-use plastic bag to all retailers, to have packaging-free aisles in supermarkets and to create a new Northern Forest were also criticised by some lawmakers for not going far enough.She told an audience in west London that her party had made an important pledge "to make ours the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.""As we leave the European Union which for decades has controlled some of the most important levers in environmental policy, now is the right time to put the question of how we project and enhance our natural environment centre stage."UK refuses diplomatic status for WikiLeaks founderAfter a shaky start to the year when a reshuffle of her top team of ministers fell flat, May wants to show that her premiership is more than just Brexit and has chosen environmental reform to try to win over voters.Her Conservatives are under pressure from the main opposition Labour Party, which is enjoying record levels of membership and has challenged May over her treatment of Britain's much-loved but over-stretched health service.Her environment minister, Michael Gove, who ran against May in a 2016 leadership contest, has introduced some green policies: protecting bees by restricting some pesticides and banning microbeads - tiny pieces of plastic in some cosmetics which are entering the world's oceans.But the latest moves were described as "vague" by the Green Party's Caroline Lucas.UK's May believes she has right government team after reshuffle"Focusing on only the low hanging fruits of environmental protection is like treating heart disease with a bypass, without changing your diet or taking up regular exercise," she said in a statement. "It's not a serious, sustainable solution for the long term."Greenpeace UK's executive director John Sauven said: "If Theresa May wants to persuade people this is more than just husky-hugging, she needs to put some joined-up thinking at the heart of her strategy."May, who said she regularly recycles and has barn owl, bat and bird boxes in her garden, said she would look at plastic bottle deposits and would launch a call for evidence next month on whether to impose taxes or charges on single use plastics.Worries about overuse of 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups each year have also been raised by campaigners. Parliament's environmental audit committee last week called for a 25 pence "latte levy" to be charged hot drinks.Britain's May clear she wants Brexit deal that works for UKUK PM May says Trump committed to best interests of United States
UK refuses diplomatic status for WikiLeaks founder
The British Foreign Office rejected an Ecuadorian government request to grant the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange diplomatic status in a bid to bring to an end his forced stay in the South American country’s London embassy.An FCO spokesperson was quoted Wednesday night by British media, including the Guardian that the “government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr. Assange here in the UK,” but “the U.K. did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter.”A proposed diplomatic status -- if it had been granted -- would give the WikiLeaks' founder diplomatic immunity, which would make it possible for him to leave the embassy and the U.K. without fear of arrest.Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy located in Knightsbridge, central London for nearly six years after claiming diplomatic asylum in June 2012 after being wanted by Swedish prosecutors for questioning over various alleged sexual offences. He was supposed to be extradited to Stockholm by British authorities before entering the embassy.He refused to go back to Sweden, referring to the risk of extradition to the U.S., where he insisted the American authorities would charge him with espionage for releasing troves of once-secret files to the public.The development came following reports by the Ecuadorian press that Assange, who is Australian by birth, recently became an Ecuadorian citizen and was granted a passport.Swedish prosecutors last year dropped their investigation into allegations against Assange but he still faces arrest by British authorities for breaching his former bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.Ecuador’s foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa, earlier this week, said her country was seeking a “third country or a personality” to mediate a final settlement with the U.K. to resolve the impasse.“Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice,” the FCO spokesperson said.In 2016, a UN panel concluded that Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained in violation of international law.
Several pro-EU campaigners say the need for a second referendum has become more pressing because public opinion is showing some signs of turning against Brexit as the difficulty of negotiations to leave the bloc becomes increasingly clear.
On Thursday, a ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror newspaper of 1,049 adults showed that although more people think there should not be a second referendum (51 to 43 percent), if there were to be a re-run, voters say they would opt to stay in the EU by 55 to 45 percent.