News diary 17-23 September: BBC to mark six months until Brexit with week of coverage as Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright travels to Brussels

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week… 

On Monday, a special interview with Theresa May is broadcast on the BBC to kick off a week-long series of programmes marking six months until Brexit.

Although there are unlikely to be any revelations from the resolutely on-message Prime Minister, the interview, with former BBC political editor Nick Robinson, gives May the chance to pitch the Chequers plan on prime-time TV at the start of another crunch week.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde is in London to discuss the release of the Fund’s annual review of the UK economy.

Last year, the Fund backed the Government on its efforts to reduce the deficit but warned that Brexit had the potential to “reshape the UK economy” and affect future productivity.

On Tuesday, Michel Barnier is due to update EU27 ministers on the state of play in Brexit negotiations at a General Affairs Council in Brussels.

The EU’s chief negotiator suggested last week that a Brexit deal could be mere weeks away, though his counterpart Dominic Raab responded days later with a front-page warning that the UK could withhold the divorce payment if an acceptable agreement were not reached.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in begins a three-day visit to North Korea for talks with Kim Jong Un in what is the third meeting for the pair this year.

Announcing the visit earlier this month, the South Korean government said the focus would be on denuclearisation on the peninsula, which, according to the UN nuclear watchdog, is not proceeding as rapidly as projected in the wake of the Singapore summit between Kim and Donald Trump. Speaking last week, Moon called for “bold decisions” from both sides on the issue.

And Vince Cable delivers the closing speech to round off the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton after last week suggesting that he would not lead the party into the 2022 election.

Cable also said he’d be open to a change of party name as he touted a series of reforms aimed at turning the Lib Dems into a movement for moderates.

On Wednesday, former Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson is in Washington DC to deliver an address on Brexit to the Heritage Foundation think tank.

Paterson was one of the headline acts at a briefing on the Irish border by the European Research Group of Tory MPs last week, when he proposed a “boring” solution to the issue. He’s set to talk today about how Chequers “fails to deliver on earlier promises”.

Meanwhile in Brussels, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright (pictured) meets with Věra Jourová, who holds the European Commission’s consumer brief.

Talks are likely to focus on areas such as mobile roaming and data protection in the wake of guidance issued last week which suggested that UK consumers may face charges for making calls in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

On Thursday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hosts European leaders for an informal gathering at which Prime Minister Theresa May has one of her last opportunities to appeal in person to her European counterparts, plus Michel Barnier, ahead of the looming October deadline for an agreement.

Between the rival factions in her own party, an increasingly vocal campaign for a second referendum, and the intractable Brussels institutions, May could struggle to find any parties pleased with the outcome of this summit.

The Office of Rail and Road publishes an interim report as part of its inquiry into disruption in May caused by the timetable changes on GTR and Northern Rail.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling directed blame at Network Rail when he announced the inquiry to MPs in the House of Commons, but the Epsom and Ewell MP has repeatedly faced criticism about sub-par service on the country’s train lines and came under heavy fire from MPs from both sides calling for his department to take some responsibility during the 4 June statement.

The Mercury Prize is awarded tonight, with Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Nadine Shah among the 12 shortlisted artists for the coveted “Album of the Year” prize.

And in Japan, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party hold a leadership election in which former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba challenges Shinzo.

The Prime Minister, who is seeking a third term, saw his approval rating fall early this year in the face of a series of revelations about nepotism within his government, but meetings with US President Donald Trump have offered the opportunity to showcase himself as a champion of the country’s interests.

In Birmingham, UKIP marks 25 years since the party was founded at its autumn conference on Friday. Party leader Gerard Batten is due to launch a new manifesto, with its post-Brexit priorities key to the survival of a party that has centred on a single action for its entire history.

There had been speculation that members might vote on whether to offer Tommy Robinson UKIP membership after the party’s family and children spokesperson Alan Craig submitted a motion for debate, though party chairman Tony McIntyre later announced that the motion was not submitted correctly and therefore could not feature at conference.

The latest official statistics on the most popular baby names in England and Wales are revealed, with people across the country waiting to discover whether Oliver will finally fall from favour after holding the top spot for boys’ names since 2013.

Last year Olivia was the most popular first name given to girls, replacing Amelia, which had been the most popular choice since 2011.

On Saturday the Labour Party holds its annual women’s conference. Motions on the agenda include improve representation in Parliament, abortion rights, Brexit, prostitution and pensions.

There is also a motion on self-identification, opposing the principle of self-identification and claiming that protections afforded to women under the Equality Act that allow all-women shortlists are dependent on the characteristic of sex, which it says is not another word for gender.

Britain’s Anthony Joshua takes on Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium in the latest defence of his World Heavyweight boxing titles.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has said that this fight has been more difficult to sell tickets for than the boxer’s previous title defences in Wembley, with people waiting on a yet-to-be-negotiated title unification fight with Deontay Wilder next year.

Labour members converge in Liverpool on Sunday for the start of the party’s autumn conference and with two huge internal rows over Brexit and anti-Semitism rumbling on and several MPs fearing deselection after facing no confidence motions brought by restive party members.

Ahead of this weekend there were suggestions that CLPs were attempting to force the leadership into backing a so-called people’s vote on the final Brexit deal by submitting a barrage of motions on the issue. Last year, an awkward outcome was averted when none of the motions chosen for debate related to Brexit.

The excitement is likely to be limited today with the agenda only featuring speeches on party democracy and campaigning, but over at The World Transformed, the Momentum-organised shadow conference, party leader Jeremy Corbyn is scheduled to speak at a session themed “A World for the Many” alongside author Naomi Klein and US union leader Bonnie Castillo.

Earlier in the afternoon, MPs Luciana Berger, Ruth Smeeth and Alex Sobel are among speakers at a rally organised by the Jewish Labour Movement.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville