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18 March 2015updated 07 Jun 2021 5:28pm

Five things you need to know today: Legal challenge launched over parliament’s suspension

By New Statesman

Activists and MPs revolt over suspension of parliament

MPs and campaigners have revolted against Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks in advance of the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU on 31 October. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has described the move as a “constitutional outrage”, anti-Brexit activist Gina Miller has made an application to the High Court for a judicial review of Johnson’s move, a petition opposing the proroguement of parliament has received more than a million signatures, and protests have been held across the country in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Birmingham and Durham. A poll conducted by YouGov found that the public opposed the suspension of parliament by 47 per cent to 27 per cent.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson set to stand down 

Ruth Davidson is expected to stand down as Scottish Conservative leader today owing to profound differences with Boris Johnson and the personal demands of motherhood. Davidson, who campaigned passionately for Remain in the 2016 EU referendum, made clear her opposition to Johnson’s leadership campaign and was outraged by his decision to sack her ally David Mundell, the former Scottish Secretary. At the last general election, under Davidson’s leadership, the Scottish Conservatives increased their number of MPs from just one to 13. 

Italian parties form new coalition government

Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) have agreed to form a new coalition government following the collapse of the previous administration. Earlier this month, the leader of the far-right League, Matteo Salvini, broke off his party’s alliance with M5S in an attempt to trigger a snap election and become prime minister. But Giuseppe Conte, the technocrat who resigned as prime minister, will now return to the role and the new administration will seek to govern until the next scheduled election in 2023. 

China moves military vehicles across Hong Kong border

China has sparked unease by moving military vehicles across the border with Hong Kong in advance of a march calling for full democracy in the city. State news agency Xinhua and the People’s Daily released pictures and footage of armoured carriers and trucks carrying troops and a naval vessel arriving in Hong Kong. China insisted that the move was a “normal routine annual rotation in line with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Garrisoning the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”. 

Northern England areas could run out of water by 2035

Demand for water could outstrip supply by 2035 in parts of northern England, a new report has warned. IPPR North found that climate crisis, leakage rates and overuse meant the region was at risk of droughts. The report warned that without a reliable and sustainable supply of clean water “activity in the Northern Powerhouse would quickly grind to a halt”.

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