Frank Langfitt

Frank Langfitt is NPR's London correspondent. He covers the UK and Ireland, as well as stories elsewhere in Europe.

Langfitt arrived in London in June, 2016. A week later, the UK voted for Brexit. He's been busy ever since, covering the political battles over just how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. Langfitt also frequently appears on the BBC, where he tries to explain American politics, which is not easy.

Previously, Langfitt spent five years as an NPR correspondent covering China. Based in Shanghai, he drove a free taxi around the city for a series on a changing China as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. As part of the series, Langfitt drove passengers back to the countryside for Chinese New Year and served as a wedding chauffeur. He has expanded his reporting into a book, The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China (Public Affairs, Hachette), which is out in June 2019.

While in China, Langfitt also reported on the government's infamous black jails — secret detention centers — as well as his own travails taking China's driver's test, which he failed three times.

Before moving to Shanghai, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He reported from Sudan, covered the civil war in Somalia, and interviewed imprisoned Somali pirates, who insisted they were just misunderstood fishermen. During the Arab Spring, Langfitt covered the uprising and crushing of the reform movement in Bahrain.

Prior to Africa, Langfitt was NPR's labor correspondent based in Washington, DC. He covered the 2008 financial crisis, the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler, and coal mine disasters in West Virginia.

In 2008, Langfitt also covered the Beijing Olympics as a member of NPR's team, which won an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. Langfitt's print and visual journalism have also been honored by the Overseas Press Association and the White House News Photographers Association.

Before coming to NPR, Langfitt spent five years as a correspondent in Beijing for The Baltimore Sun, covering a swath of Asia from East Timor to the Khyber Pass.

Langfitt spent his early years in journalism stringing for the Philadelphia Inquirer and living in Hazard, Kentucky, where he covered the state's Appalachian coalfields for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Prior to becoming a reporter, Langfitt dug latrines in Mexico and drove a taxi in his hometown of Philadelphia. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

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Brexit has convulsed the United Kingdom like no other political event in decades, but it can be hard to follow the day-to-day machinations. At the end of a chaotic week, here's what to know.

How different are things now for the U.K. than they were on Monday?

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The U.K. Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to delay Brexit beyond the country's planned exit date of March 29.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Updated Thursday at 9:38 a.m. ET

This week marks a turning point for Britain and Brexit. On Tuesday, the British Parliament voted down Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan for the second time. On Wednesday, lawmakers voted against a "no-deal Brexit" — leaving the European Union without a formal agreement with Brussels.

Today, they will vote on whether to postpone Brexit beyond the scheduled departure date of March 29.

Here's what you need to know.

What happened on Tuesday?

The Packhorse pub sits in the tiny village of South Stoke in the west of England amid rolling hills dotted with sheep. For more than a century and a half, it played a crucial role in the village and marked milestones in the lives of local families.

Gerard Coles, who was born half a mile from the pub and now brews cider nearby, started coming to the Packhorse when he was 15 and underage, sometimes with his school teacher for lunch.

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Valentine's Day is usually a boon for florists. But in the United Kingdom, a cloud hangs over the industry.

Rosa Ashby, who runs Rosa Flowers in the English market town of Witney, is anxious. Every flower in her shop, including lilies, chrysanthemums and lisianthus, is either grown in or distributed through the Netherlands. That has worked just fine since Ashby started her business 22 years ago, because the U.K. has been inside the European Union's single market, and flowers — and countless other products — have flowed seamlessly across the border.

In the rush of digital news that washes over so many of us every day, it's hard to remember what a politician might have said or promised several weeks ago, let alone several years. Some activists in the United Kingdom have come up with an imaginative, seemingly old-fashioned solution to this modern-day problem.

They plan to put up at least 150 billboards across the U.K. quoting some of the promises and rosy predictions politicians made about Brexit in recent years so people can reconsider them amid the political chaos that has followed.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan went down to an historic defeat in Parliament on Tuesday. The next day, she narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence in her government. This Monday, Jan. 21, she'll have to tell Parliament what her Plan B for Brexit is — and will submit that plan to a vote on Jan. 29.

Here's what to know about key issues during this extraordinary and chaotic moment in British politics.

After Tuesday's staggering loss, most politicians would have resigned. Why is Theresa May still in office?

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Norway's rugged west coast is home to glaciers, waterfalls and dozens of fjords that draw hordes of tourists each summer. But navigating the extreme topography of the region, which is home to a third of the country's population, isn't easy.

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Not so long ago, staging another Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom seemed almost unthinkable. But in recent weeks, as calls have grown louder, the unthinkable has begun to seem plausible.

Last week, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said because of the current political chaos and future economic risks, the British should have another say on whether to leave the European Union if there are no other viable options.

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Not so long ago, staging another Brexit referendum seemed almost unthinkable. In recent weeks, though, calls have been growing. Today in Britain's parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May tried to knock down the idea of a new vote on whether to leave the European Union.

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While the vote ends a feverish day of speculation in the capital, the prime minister still faces many challenges. NPR's London correspondent Frank Langfitt is here to explain it all. Hey there, Frank.

The United Kingdom is embroiled in its biggest political crisis in decades. On Wednesday evening, members of Parliament in Prime Minister Theresa May's own Conservative Party are casting ballots in a no-confidence vote over her leadership. May needs to win a simple majority of votes from her party's parliamentarians to keep her job.

Here's what you need to know.

Why do members of the prime minister's own party want to sack her?

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is delaying a vote in Parliament on her Brexit plan. She's putting it off amid warnings that her proposal would lose. You can hear May's critics who guffawed today when the prime minister stepped before lawmakers to speak.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to drive an unpopular Brexit divorce agreement through Parliament this month. Few seem to like the deal, but its failure could trigger political chaos.

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This weekend marks a major step in Britain's more than two-year journey to leave the European Union. The EU's remaining 27 nations will vote on a divorce agreement with the United Kingdom. And for more, we turn to NPR's Frank Langfitt in London. Hi, Frank.

This week was one of the most chaotic in British politics in recent decades. After more than a year of negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May presented a Brexit withdrawal agreement from the European Union that seemed to unite British politicians across the spectrum in their hatred for it.

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This question, where would you go if your home burned to the ground?

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After many months of talks, negotiators for the United Kingdom and the European Union have reached a Brexit breakthrough: a draft agreement on how the U.K. will leave the EU at the end of March. The text of the agreement, which runs to hundreds of pages, has not been released, but U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is already busy trying to sell the agreement to Cabinet members in private meetings Tuesday evening at London's 10 Downing Street.

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