A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the Week
The elephant in the room during last week’s Queen’s Speech was the absence of any specific announcement on how the government plans to address the cost of living, with Labour leader Keir Starmer branding its response ‘pathetic’ and Lib Dem leader Ed Davey suggesting households would be ‘bitterly disappointed’. MPs have an opportunity to continue the conversation in the Queen’s Speech debate on Tuesday (May 17) focusing on the cost of living increases, when opposition parties are likely to echo business groups’ calls for an emergency budget from Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to suggest in the post-Speech debate that some form of assistance was imminent, though the Treasury immediately briefed out a rebuttal that means households may be kept waiting until the autumn for further help.
New legislation is expected to be unveiled this week bringing sweeping changes to the current Northern Ireland Protocol Arrangements with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reportedly preparing new regulations which would remove the current checks on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The Attorney General’s office has released new legal advice ahead of the anticipated changes, claiming that over-riding parts of the post-Brexit treaty would be lawful to avoid the potential of civil unrest. The country’s ever choppy political waters were further stirred by May 5’s local elections, where Sinn Fein became the largest party in the Stormont Assembly for the first time. The DUP continues to refuse to join Sinn Fein in a governing Executive, however, until its concerns over the Protocol arrangements are addressed.
Australians vote in federal elections on Saturday (May 21), with Prime Minister Scott Morrison seeking a fourth term in office as leader of the Liberal–National Coalition. Morrison is trailing in the polls behind Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, a former prominent figure among the left of his party who has since moved towards the centre and now promises ‘renewal, not revolution’. The news in mid-April that China had signed an agreement with the Solomon Islands in that many fear could lead to the deployment of Chinese military to the region has brought into question Morrison’s national security credentials, with Albanese describing the development as ‘a massive foreign policy failure’.
This week is once again jam-packed when it comes to developments related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Monday (May 16) sees EU foreign ministers gather in Brussels as negotiations on the controversial sixth sanctions package against Russia continue, with Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba participating in person. In Finland, meanwhile, the country’s parliament considers the now all-but-inevitable move to join NATO, while in Sweden there is a debate on the subject and a rumoured government meeting to sign off on a parallel move. In Moscow, Vladimir Putin is hosting a CSTO summit that is expected to involve a one-on-one with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö begins a two-day state visit to Sweden (May 17), while Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov delivers a speech on Russia’s role in the world. The European Union is expected to launch its RePowerEU plan to diversify gas supplies on May 18, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Denmark for a summit focusing on offshore wind in the North Sea. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosts a UN Security Council meeting (May 19) on the impact of the conflict on global food supplies, while NATO military chiefs gather in Brussels.