Free movement of people to and from the European Union will end on the day the UK leaves. That’s the message from prime minister Theresa May's spokesperson, seeking to clarify the government’s position after ministers gave a range of conflicting views on the matter.
While May was enjoying northern Italy’s riches, chancellor Philip Hammond prompted speculation free movement may continue under transitional arrangements once the UK leaves the bloc. This position was backed by home secretary Amber Rudd, spurring international trade secretary Liam Fox to warn that allowing unregulated EU immigration to continue would be a betrayal of last year's referendum result.
After days of growing divisions among cabinet ministers played out in public, the prime minister stepped in to clarify the position, denying that the government was looking for an 'off the shelf' transition deal. The business community – which has long feared the impact Brexit would have on its access to the EU’s workforce - was quick to respond, warning Britain would suffer as a result.
But if UK politics seems to be lacking in organisation, it’s nothing compared with the mayhem continuing in Donald Trump’s White House. Just 10 days after Anthony Scaramucci was brought into the West Wing as communications director, he is gone. The wealthy New York financier was removed as Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, begins his tenure by imposing “a new sense of order and operational discipline that had been absent under his predecessor”.
So whilst the Mooch takes an early summer vacation, Theresa May is heading off on a walking holiday in the Swiss Alps. Here’s hoping that this time all she brings back is cuckoo clocks and chocolate, rather than another snap general election.
The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro, freezing Maduro’s assets under US jurisdiction and prohibiting US citizens from doing business with him. The move comes a day after Maduro declared a sweeping victory in a vote that will allow him to further consolidate his power over the crisis torn nation. Much of the world - and many of Venezuela's citizens -- have called the vote an assault on democracy. At least 10 people died in clashes around Sunday’s vote, during one of the deadliest days in nearly four months of political unrest.
Almost all men over 60 and women over 75 should be eligible for statins, according to a new analysis that investigated the effects of guidance that was set by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in 2014. The sweeping findings mean that millions of people in the UK are eligible for and would benefit from taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs. However, GPs are worried they could be encouraged to prescribe the drugs to most of their patients, leading to huge strain on doctors.
The US media report president Donald Trump personally dictated the statement his son, Donald Trump Jr., gave on his talks with a Russian lawyer during the election campaign. The Washington Post, citing multiple sources, said the original plan in response media reports on the meeting, was to issue a truthful statement ahead of the story. Trump, the newspaper claims, then intervened to have the statement say Trump Jr. had met with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to discuss adoption of Russian children by US citizens.The Post reports that Trump dictated the statement while flying back to Washington from the G20 summit in Hamburg whilst aboard Air Force One.
Jeanne Moreau, one of the iconic faces of the French New Wave, has died at the age of 89. Paying tribute, French President Emmanuel Macron said Moreau had "embodied cinema" and was a free spirit who "always rebelled against the established order". Moreau is probably best known for her role in Francois Truffaut's 1962 new wave film Jules et Jim. She won a number of awards including the best actress prize at Cannes for Moderato Cantabile in 1960.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
The first strike by Bank of England workers in more than 50 years is to go ahead from today after last-ditch talks over higher pay broke down. The workers, many of whom work in security and maintenance, plan to protest outside the central bank wearing masks bearing the governor Mark Carney’s image. Employees are unhappy about a below inflation pay rise of one per cent. The rate of consumer price inflation currently stands at 2.6 per cent, meaning that workers are likely to be facing a real terms pay cut.
Britain's finance industry could lose up to 40,000 banking jobs, see banking costs rise by as much as four per cent, and have their capital requirements increase by up to 30 per cent as a result of Brexit according to a new report by consultancy firm Oliver Wyman. The most detailed assessment yet of what Britain’s departure from the EU means for the sector, indicates that an estimated two percentage points would be knocked off wholesale banks’ return on equity in Europe because of the disruption.
Credit rating agency Moody’s has warned that soaring levels of household debt could leave Britain's lower-income families dangerously exposed amid signs of an economic downturn linked to Brexit. Moody's said the UK's rising household debt and a weaker macroeconomic climate had forced analysts to downgrade four of the five consumer structured finance sectors to negative. This bleak outlook came as the Bank of England revealed the scale household debt, with the amount borrowed by consumers on credit cards, loans and overdrafts soaring to £200 billion for the first time since the financial crash of 2008.
Bitcoin faces a pivotal moment today, as investors are about to receive an entirely new asset called Bitcoin Cash after the blockchain supporting the cryptocurrency is forced to split in two. A group of insiders unhappy with the existing plans to speed up transaction times are to offer investors a matching amount of a new virtual asset, which could put pressure on the value of original bitcoins. However, several popular Bitcoin platforms are refusing to support the new coins and experts are warning there could be trading "chaos" over the coming days.
What happened yesterday
The FTSE 100 has closed up 3.63 points at 7,372.
The biggest gainers yesterday were water stocks - Severn Trent finished up four per cent at £22.40 and United Utilities ended 2.9% higher at 897.5p, as investor concerns that the long arm of the regulator will squeeze company profits began to subside.
HSBC lost some of its earlier gains but still ended the day 1.8% higher, following a rise in half year profits. The bank reported a five per cent increase in profits to $10.2bn (£7.8bn) and announced a share buyback of up to $2bn.
On the fallers, Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco closed down 5.9% and 4.9% respectively, following an announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration that it would aim to find ways to reduce nicotine in cigarettes.
The FTSE 250 ended 52.95 points ahead at 19,781.14.
On the currency markets, the pound gained 0.43% against the dollar to $1.3191 and edged down by 0.15% against the euro to 1.1163 euros.
Filtronic plc (FTC)
Nwf Group plc (NWF)
4imprint Group plc (FOUR)
BBA Aviation plc (BBA)
BP Plc (BP.)
Centrica plc (CNA)
Direct Line Insurance Group plc (DLG)
Forterra plc (FORT)
Genel Energy plc (GENL)
GoCompare.com Plc (GOCO)
Greggs Plc (GRG)
Intertek Group plc (ITRK)
LSL Property Services Plc (LSL)
Man Group (EMG)
Rolls Royce Holdings Plc (RR.)
SDL plc (SDL)
Taylor Wimpey plc (TW.)
British Smaller Companies VCT plc (BSV)
Plastics Capital Plc (PLA)
Vp plc (VP.)
Work Group plc (WORK)
CYBG plc (CYBG)
UK Economic Announcements
(7:00) Nationwide House Price Index
International Economic Announcements
(8:55) Unemployment Rate (GER)
(10:00) GDP (Preliminary) (EU)
(13:30) Personal Income (US)
(13:30) Personal Spending (US)
(15:00) Construction Spending (US)
(15:00) ISM Manufacturing (US)
(15:00) ISM Prices Paid (US)
COLUMNS OF NOTE
Writing in The Telegraph, Tom Harris insists that as we mature we begin to “acknowledge the shades-of-grey nature of global politics”. Considering Jeremy Corbyn and his expressions of support for the Hugo Chavez-inspired socialism of Venezuela against the current situation the country finds itself in, Harris concludes the Venezuelan example isn’t one Britain should follow.
Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent intermittently since 1976, continues his six piece series from Aleppo published in The Independent. For the Syrians, he writes, the Qatar -Saudi dispute is now being fought out on the ground between the two sides' proxies in the Syrian war. One of the men Fisk interviews makes a striking observation, saying that while “In [the 1973 Arab-Israeli war] the enemy were at our borders. Now they are inside”.
DID YOU KNOW?
"OK" is one of the most frequently used and recognised words in the world. There have been numerous attempts to explain the emergence of this expression, which seems to have swept into popular use in the US during the mid-19th century.