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
A pivotal week for Rishi Sunak’s government sees the Conservative Party gather for what is likely to be the party’s final autumn conference before the coming general election. The Tories come into the conference, which kicks off on Sunday with speeches from Grant Shapps and James Cleverly, with internal rows brewing over its positions on what are sure to be key battlegrounds including migration, taxation, and post-Net Zero U-turn issues like the pro-car announcement that’s reportedly due this week.
Jeremy Hunt’s speech on Monday (October 2) comes as the Chancellor faces a delicate balancing act over his plans for taxes with the Autumn Statement looming, while Home Secretary Suella Braverman laid the groundwork for her address on Tuesday (October 3) with a keynote in Washington DC that received mixed reviews from party colleagues. While the Prime Minister may be hoping to foster some unity in his closing speech on Wednesday (October 4), a poor performance or bad messaging could see the Conservatives leave Manchester more divided than when they arrived.
Met Police firearms officers have vowed to put down their guns should one of their colleagues be named in court on Wednesday (October 4) during an anonymity hearing for the officer charged with the murder of Chris Kaba. The mitigation team has applied for the officer, who has refused to say his name in court and has been referred to as Officer NX121, to be granted anonymity in the case. Kaba was unarmed when he was shot dead by a firearms officer while driving on September 5 last year, and a subsequent IOPC investigation into the incident found there was a homicide case to answer. Since the charges were announced, hundreds of firearms officers are believed to be considering their positions, with Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley admitting the force faces difficult choices over its coverage.
The first by-election of the new parliamentary term takes place on Thursday (October 5) when voters in the Glasgow constituency of Rutherglen and Hamilton-West head to the polls in what may serve as a litmus test for the shifting dynamics of Scottish politics. The by-election comes after constituents voted to recall the former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier earlier this year following her suspension from the House of Commons for breaching COVID-19 lockdown regulations in 2020. The Labour Party’s candidate, Michael Shanks, will undoubtedly be hoping to capitalise on growing dissatisfaction with the SNP amid the fallout from Nicola Sturgeon’s controversial resignation and police probe into the party’s finances. Meanwhile, Sturgeon’s successor Humza Yousaf will be pinning his hopes on a narrow victory in the swing seat to keep the Labour Party at bay ahead of next year’s general election. The vote count for the by-election takes place overnight, with a result declaration expected on Friday (October 6).
While the increasingly likely possibility that Saturday night’s deadline to avert a federal shutdown in the US will pass without an agreement is likely to dominate news next week, there’s plenty going on besides the high-stakes standoff over government spending.
Following Tuesday’s bombshell ruling from the judge overseeing New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case against Donald Trump, finding the former president and his company persistently committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets, the trial is set to get underway on Monday (October 2). While the ruling in favour of James resolves the main claim at stake in the case, the non-jury trial – which Trump failed to delay – will examine several other claims as well as James’ request for $250 million in damages. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s son Hunter is scheduled to appear in federal court in Delaware on Tuesday (October 3) after unsuccessfully seeking to avoid an in-person appearance in his felony gun charges case. Special Counsel David Weiss has also indicated that he intends to file fresh charges against Hunter Biden by today following the collapse of a plea deal concerning tax evasion charges.
European leaders meet in Granada on Thursday (October 5) for the third European Political Community Summit, which features nearly 50 heads of government from across the continent. In what’s becoming a running theme of the biannual gatherings, Rishi Sunak will be trying to appease voters and his MPs back home by pushing for migration to top the agenda, sparking a diplomatic row with the Spanish hosts, who reportedly want to focus on artificial intelligence and Ukraine.
The summit also takes place against the backdrop of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh following Azerbaijan’s military offensive and the announcement yesterday that the self-declared ethnic Armenian Republic of Artsakh would cease to exist next year. The Azeri and Armenian leaders are not only due to attend the EPC meeting, but have long been scheduled to participate in five-way talks with the EU, France and Germany on the sidelines to discuss resolving the conflict and normalisation efforts. Following this week’s developments, the international community will be looking for immediate action on allowing humanitarian observers into the territory amid Armenian fears of ethnic cleansing.
The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is announced on Friday (October 6) to round off ‘Nobel Week’, which sees daily announcements of the big prizes in science, economics and literature. The deliberative process is extremely secretive, though we do know that this year there are 351 candidates, of which 259 are individuals and 92 are organizations. It is notoriously hard to predict who will be chosen each year, but Henrik Urdal, the head of the Peace Research Institute Oslo who puts together an annual list of potential winners, has this year included rights activists from Iran, Afghanistan, Ecuador and the Philippines, Myanmar’s Ambassador to the UN Kyaw Moe Tun, the ICJ and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group.