Brown O’Connor Communications Weekly Look Ahead: Week Commencing 2 September 2019


Forward Look

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that Parliament would be prorogued for up to five weeks from the week beginning 9 September, leading up to the Queen’s speech on 14 October. This move will restrict parliamentary time for opposition parties trying to thwart a no-deal Brexit.

  • Opposition figures are expected to request an emergency SO24 debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday in order to seize control of the order paper and table legislation preventing a no-deal Brexit.

  • A legal challenge in the Court of Session in Edinburgh is considering the legality of the government’s decision to suspend Parliament. Meanwhile, a legal challenge by the victims campaigner, Raymond McCord against this suspension has commenced in the High Court in Belfast.

  • Chancellor, Sajid Javid will unveil his first spending review on Wednesday 4 September. This review is expected to include extra cash for schools, police and the NHS. This announcement has fueled speculation that the government is now on full election footing.

  • The DUP North Belfast Business lunch will take place on 27 September. It is expected to be addressed by Arlene Foster, Nigel Dodds and Diane Dodds. The party conference is also expected to take place on 25 – 26 October.

  • NI Affairs Committee to meet Wednesday 4 September on the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.

  • Exiting the European Union Committee to hear from representatives from Ulster University, Queens University, Ulster Farmers Union, FSB and the PSNI.

  • The UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow has written to the EU to confirm that the UK will not be not nominating a candidate for the 2019 – 2024 College of Commissioners.

  • Ross Easton has been appointed as Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. His Twitter handle is @rosseaston.

Other stories this week

  • The DUP have welcomed the decision to suspend Parliament but Sinn Féin, Alliance, the UUP, SDLP and opposition parties across the United Kingdom have strongly criticised the move which has been seen as anti-democratic.

  • Opposition leaders in the UK had earlier this week agreed a plan to introduce legislation in the House of Commons which would prevent a no-deal Brexit. This represents a shift from Labour’s previous position which sought an immediate no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s government.

  • Ruth Davidson announced on Thursday that she would be resigning as leader of the Scottish Conservative Party after eight years in charge.

  • The Digital Secretary, Nicky Morgan has launched a competition which will see rural communities in Northern Ireland compete in a £30 million roll-out of superfast 5G. Up to 10 rural locations across the UK will be chosen to test 5G applications.

  • Belfast City Council has issued warnings in case of a no-deal Brexit. The warnings note significant concerns for the possibility of a civil unrest, a backlog in bin waste and food shortages at the zoo.

  • Ireland’s population is expected to reach 5 million by the end of next year. The latest Population and Migration Estimates report from the Central Statistics Office show the Irish population increased by 64,500 to 4.92 million by April of this year.

  • The Electoral Commission has released figures which reveal Sinn Féin received a political donation of £1.5 million. This is thought to be the largest political donation ever to any political party in NI.

  • Lord Young, has resigned as the Tory whip in the House of Lords following Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament.

  • The Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage announced they would field candidates in every constituency against the Conservative Party unless Boris Johnson pursued a no-deal Brexit.

Upcoming key political and business events

  • 31 August, TEDxStormont, The Great Hall, Parliament Buildings

  • 31 August, Slugger O’Toole Big Day Out, Hilden Brewery, Hilden

  • 4 September, Spending Review, Westminster

  • 5 September, ‘Bangladesh – A Golden Journey to Development’ Reception, The Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings

  • 11 September, Trade NI ‘Northern Ireland Engagement Day’, Westminster

  • 17 September, EY ‘Economic Eye Briefing’ Business Breakfast, Titanic Hotel

  • 17 September, RTPI Northern Ireland Annual Conference, Europa Hotel, Belfast

  • 27 September, CO3 ‘Engage Executive Talent’ Recruitment Company Launch, Merchant Hotel

  • 27 September, DUP North Belfast, Business Lunch, Fortwilliam Golf Club

  • 8 October, ‘Changing Places: Planning, Place-Shaping and Place-Making in Northern Ireland’, NILGA, Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen

  • 14 October, Queens Speech, Westminster

  • 17-18 October, European Council Summit, Brussels

  • 25-26 October, DUP Party Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast

  • 5 November, SONI Energy Conference, Derry Chamber of Commerce, Waterfoot Hotel

  • 11-15 November, Derry City and Strabane District Council Trade & Investment Mission to Philadelphia and Boston

  • 4 December, ‘Next steps for city and growth deals in Northern Ireland – Implementation, co-ordination and ensuring inclusive growth’, Policy Forum for Northern Ireland, Belfast