A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News.
Leading the week
Holyrood provides the focus for this week’s political news, as Nicola Sturgeon sets out her route map for a second referendum on Scottish independence. The Scottish First Minister is already making plans for a vote to be held next October, and her address on Tuesday (June 28) is expected to flesh out the detail of how the ballot will actually work. But Sturgeon’s push for another referendum will be hampered by political roadblocks on both sides of the border. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already rejected calls for a second poll, teeing up a possible Supreme Court battle in the near future. The picture isn’t exactly straightforward in Scotland, either, where despite having the backing of the Scottish Greens, the SNP’s ‘IndyRef 2’ plans have been comprehensively rejected by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
As Sturgeon delivers her statement to the Scottish Parliament, Cabinet Secretary Sir Simon Case appears before the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. The hearing focuses on the propriety of governance in light of the Greensill scandal, and is certain to touch on both the ‘partygate’ fallout and the recent resignation of the prime minister’s ethics adviser Lord Geidt. MPs might also like to ask for more information on the ‘informal conversation’ Case had with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation about a potential job for Carrie Johnson back in 2020, which he insisted was not ‘improper’ and something he ‘would have done for anyone with relevant experience’.
Three people are sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday (June 30) for the murder of Logan Mwangi, who was found dead in a south Wales river last July. Angharad Williamson, John Cole, and an unnamed teenager were found guilty of carrying out a ‘brutal and sustained assault’ on the four-year-old, before dumping his body in the River Ogmore in Bridgend. A trial at Cardiff Crown Court heard the three had inflicted injuries usually seen in car crash victims and attempted to conceal their involvement from police by claiming Logan had gone missing from the family home. A child practice review into the case is expected to report before the end of the year.
Still reeling from this morning’s Conservative losses in the Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield by-lections, Boris Johnson will be looking to see off critics by highlighting his high-profile support for Ukraine in a week where the conflict looks set to dominate the international agenda yet again. On Monday (June 27), he will be at the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Germany where attendees hold a session with President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is participating virtually. Later that day, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who both took part in the BRICS summit earlier this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will join G7 leaders in person for talks with so-called outreach partners on global food security.
Tuesday (June 28) is the final day of the G7, and Johnson will likely hold a press conference to discuss the outcomes from the gathering. Many of those present will then be heading to Madrid for the NATO leaders’ meeting, though the main discussions are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday (June 29-30). A one-to-one meeting between Johnson and US President Joe Biden – either in Germany or Spain – is something to keep an eye out for, though Biden’s keen interest in Ireland may force the prime minister back to domestic affairs following the publication of legislation to unilaterally scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Zelensky will be addressing the NATO summit, whose attendees also include membership candidates Finland and Sweden as well as partner countries Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Hopes that Finland and Sweden’s bids to become full NATO members could be signed off at the summit have faded amid continued opposition from Turkey, whose objections centre around allegations that they are overly sympathetic towards Kurdish nationalists. The decision to invite Asia-Pacific leaders to the gathering, meanwhile, is viewed as an indication that NATO remains wary of China’s rising global influence.
On the other side of the equation, Vladimir Putin, who has not travelled abroad since the invasion began, heads to Turkmenistan on Wednesday (June 29) to attend a summit of states bordering the Caspian Sea, including Iran. He’s also due to meet this week – likely Thursday (June 30) – with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who will chair the G20 summit later this year. Widodo is also expected in Kyiv for talks with Zelensky, though it remains unclear exactly when that trip will take place. Finally, Turkish reports suggest a four-way meeting between Turkey, the UN, Russia and Ukraine may take place as soon as next week in Istanbul to try to reach an agreement on establishing corridors allowing for Ukraine to export its grain stocks even as the conflict grinds on.