Peter Westmacott

  • Johnson Takes the Reins as Britain Remains on Uncertain Brexit Course

    Boris Johnson will now take his turn at trying deliver the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (EU), as he was elected on July 23 to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party. Johnson, who previously served as UK foreign secretary and mayor of London, will be named prime minister on July 24, replacing May who resigned on May 24 after being unable to get parliamentary support for her Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union.

    Johnson, an outspoken supporter of Brexit, campaigned for Conservative leader on his ability to deliver Brexit by the October 31 deadline agreed to by the UK and the EU in April. “We are going to get Brexit done on October 31 and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do,” Johnson said on July 23.


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  • Tehran Seizes British Ships as Gulf Pressures Intensify

    Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that it seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19, and a second British-owned tanker was boarded before being released, in the latest escalation over control of one of the world’s most vital energy trade waterways.

    The first tanker, the Stena Impero, was seized by Iranian boats after it ignored warnings to stop, according to Iranian officials. The second tanker, MV Mesdar, operates under a Liberian flag but is owned by UK company Norbulk Shipping.


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  • Strain on the Special Relationship as British Ambassador Resigns Over Leak

    London’s top representative in Washington has resigned his post after unprecedented pressure from the White House against a top US ally, the latest sign of an increasingly rocky special relationship.

    Sir Kim Darroch, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States since 2016, announced his resignation on July 10 after days of pressure over comments he made about US President Donald J. Trump in a series of secret diplomatic cables—leaked to The Daily Mail and published on July 6—that described the US president as “incompetent,” and his administration as “uniquely dysfunctional.”


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  • Trump in the UK: A Visit Well Spent

    US President Donald J. Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom this week was always going to be controversial. His approval ratings in the UK are not as bad as in other countries of the European Union, but his divisive and disruptive character meant that a sizable minority questioned whether he deserved full state visit honors almost a year after he was hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.


    Timing also became an issue, since by the time of the visit Theresa May, who originally conveyed the invitation two years ago, had become a lame duck prime minister. Moreover, Brexit, of which Trump is a big supporter and which was due to have taken place by March 29, remains unresolved and hugely divisive for both public opinion and politicians.


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  • The Huawei Challenge

    Despite an effort by the United States to persuade its friends and allies not to use 5G wireless communications technology developed by Huawei, many will find it hard to avoid doing business with the Chinese telecom giant altogether.

    Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, explains: “It will be difficult to avoid licensing any Huawei or Chinese 5G technology as Chinese firms hold 37 percent of all 5G patents.”

    Huawei, for instance, said Manning, “has over 1,000 patents, so many nations and carriers may have little choice but to license some Chinese 5G technology.”


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  • May’s Last-Minute Gamble to Secure Brexit Deal

    British Prime Minister Theresa May’s late-night trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on March 11 has secured “legally binding changes” to her Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union, which May believes can pass a vote in Parliament on March 12.

    May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced three new provisions to the Withdrawal Agreement at a press conference just before midnight on March 11—a day before members of Parliament in London are to vote on the deal.


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  • Atlantic Council Press and Members Call: Brexit Nears its Endgame

    Atlantic Council Press and Members Call: Brexit Nears Its Endgame

    Moderator: Bart Oosterveld
    Speakers: Sir Peter Westmacott, Benjamin Haddad 
    March 11, 2019
    10:30 a.m. ET
    Listen to the audio version here


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  • Westmacott Quoted in Axios on May's Push to Avoid Another Brexit Defeat


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  • Can Theresa May Change Brussels’ Mind?

    As British Prime Minister Theresa May packs her bags to go to Brussels once again, European leaders could be forgiven for thinking this “looks like Groundhog Day,” Bart Oosterveld, the Atlantic Council’s C. Boyden Gray fellow on global finance and growth and director of the Global Business and Economics Program, said.

    May pushed through a provision in the British Parliament on January 29—the Brady Amendment—which formally states Parliament’s opposition to the current draft Withdrawal Agreement laying out the terms of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union over concerns about the “backstop” provision meant to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


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  • May's Brexit Deal Stumbles in Parliament. Now She is Fighting to Save Her Government.

    A little over two months remain until the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union (EU) and yet the manner of Britain’s exit seems more unclear than at any time since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

    The UK Parliament on January 15 rejected by a vote of 432 to 202 the Withdrawal Agreement British Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU.


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