This Week In Politics has largely been focused on Brexit and the Conservative rebels who voted against the government to push through an amendment that upholds parliamentary democracy by forcing Parliament to have a vote on the final Brexit deal. A Conservative-led council awarded themselves an 11% pay rise and over 60,000 people have signed a petition calling for Richard Branson to give back the money he won after suing the NHS.

Meanwhile in world politics, Doug Jones of the Democrats won in Alabama, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approved a $19.2 billion stimulus package, net-neutrality took a blow in America plus much more.

UK and Brexit news

After a year of negotiations, which Theresa May conceded to the terms that were being touted before negotiations had started, the EU declared that they were ready to move onto stage 2 of the negotiations, which is setting out the future relationship and trade deal. The EU insisted that this stage would be more difficult than the previous one. Meanwhile, the Conservative government took a blow when they lost a vote that ensured an amendment would insist parliament have a vote on the final deal. The eleven Conservative MPs who voted against their party were subsequently branded traitors by the far-right press and reports have been made of death threats.

In Norfolk, a Conservative-led council have come under severe criticism after they awarded themselves a huge 11% pay rise, backdating the pay rise to May.

The rise will see their allowances increase by around £1000 a year. This decision was made after they argued that they would have to make £125 million worth of cuts over the next 4 years, furthermore, this pay rise comes shortly after the council forced through budget cuts to vital local children’s services.

Virgin Care sued the NHS after it failed to win a £82 million contract to provide children’s health services in Surrey.

The Contract was awarded to a local consortium formed by Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation and two social enterprises. Following Virgin Care’s success in suing the NHS, a petition has garnered over 60,000 people calling on Richard Branson, who owns Virgin Care, to give back the substantial amount of money he won. It is a concern that the already financially starved NHS is having to use its money to fight legal battles with private companies, after they fail to win a contract and it highlights the profit before people nature of privately run healthcare.

World news

In America, the Republican majority in the Senate took a blow after Democrat Doug Jones won the seat in Alabama. This will also be blow to Donald Trump after he won the state in last-year’s presidential race by almost 30 percentage points. Furthermore, he supported known paedophile and white supremacist Roy Moore for the Republicans during the election. Meanwhile the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to scrap rules that ensured an open internet.

The net-neutrality regulations ensured that internet service providers can’t block websites or start charging more for a superior service. Furthermore, it kept the internet from being censored and commoditised by profit-driven service providers.

This is both a blow to freedom of expression and consumers but New York’s attorney-general has said he will sue the FCC to stop the move.

In Austria, the far-right have gained power after the president approved the coalition between the People’s Party and the Freedom Party, read more here. Following an explosion, a hub that imports gas for European countries was shut down. Italy declared a state of emergency because they are the hub’s biggest customer.

In the middle-east, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approved a stimulus package of $19.2 billion, this package includes funding for house building and fee waivers for small businesses. The attempt is to boost private sector growth after an economic slump caused by low oil prices. Plus, crown prince, Muhammed Bin Salman, lifted a 35-year old ban on cinemas to make the country look less puritanical.