1 June

@stu7tay

1 June

Good morning,

Theresa May will again put Brexit at the centre of her election campaign today as she continues to face criticism for failing to take part in last night’s television debate with other party leaders.

The seven-way debate was notable for the absence of the prime minister, who stuck by her commitment to refuse to turn up despite Jeremy Corbyn’s 11th hour decision to appear. She was ridiculed by each of the leaders throughout the night for her failure to show up. Surprisingly, it was the Labour leader who condemned her least on the issue.

It was left to Amber Rudd to represent the Conservatives, and it became clear early on that she would have to fend off attacks from the other participants on stage for much of the night.

The Home Secretary clashed with Corbyn over topics including leadership, Brexit, terrorism and the economy. She reeled off a number of hits from her boss’s songbook, accusing Corbyn of having a “magic money tree”, backing the Prime Minister to deliver a “strong and stable government” and even reciting the classic “long term economic plan” a phrase that was synonymous with the 2015 general election.

Corbyn hit back, saying the government had delivered a squeeze on living standards and severe cuts to welfare as he outlined plans to end the public sector pay cap and introduce a £10 an hour living wage by 2020.

On social media, senior Conservatives took to Twitter to prolifically illustrate the other participants as a "coalition of chaos", with Sajid Javid and Boris Johnson in particular posting at a rate only comparable with Donald Trump when the US president takes in an episode of Saturday Night Live. There was a particularly surreal moment when the Twitter account associated with political TV show, House of Cards, took to the online platform to mock Theresa May's no-show.

With such a crowded panel, it was difficult for any leader to deliver a knockout blow, but Corbyn will no doubt feel his gamble to turn up was the right choice. For the Conservatives, May will hope that viewers remember Rudd’s assured performance and not her absence as she pitches herself as the right leader to lead the “great national mission” of delivering Brexit.

Me, I was just left to wonder if any of the contestants on STV had been able to wow Simon and the other Britain's Got Talent judges by correctly identifying the definition of "covfefe".

News

90 people have died and another 450 injured after a truck bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter of Kabul yesterday. The attack is the deadliest in the Afghan capital since last summer, and one of the worst in Kabul since the 2001 intervention.

Donald Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, in a move that would undermine the agreement between 200 countries to limit global warming. In response, Chinese and EU leaders are reported to be releasing a statement saying the agreement is "more important than ever".

Academics at the University of Oxford are challenging the rules that force them to retire at the age of 67, saying the restrictions makes the institution “uncompetitive in recruiting and retaining world-class talent.” (£)

Business & Economy

A poor start to the year has seen the UK fall from being the fastest growing nation of any advanced economy to languishing at the bottom of the league table. The UK only managed growth of 0.2 per cent in the first three months, well short of Canada’s 0.9% expansion which saw them top the table. (£)

The chief financial officer of one of the UK’s biggest football clubs has revealed that foreign footballers are looking to be paid in euros rather than sterling following the country’s decision to leave the EU. Cliff Baty, who works at Manchester United, said players are questioning the value of being paid in sterling after Brexit and this has complicated big-name transfers. (£)

Insurers have warned that an increase in the Insurance Premium Tax rate means that rises in insurance premiums will now come into force.The IPT rate has increased from 10% to 12%, meaning motor, home, pet and health insurance will rise.

Markets

It was an inconsistent day for the FTSE100 yesterday as the index ended the day lower than on Tuesday despite reaching a new intra-day high in the morning.

It climbed briefly above 7,563 before dropping back to end the day 6.56 points or 0.09% lower at 7,519.95. Sterling experienced the opposite trend, rising to $1.29 following a sharp drop after YouGov published a projection that there would be no parliamentary majority following the general election on 8 June.

Finals
FirstGroup, Immupharma, Johnson Matthey

AGMs
Allied Minds, BGEO Group, Camellia, Jimmy Choo, Filta Group Holdings, Georgia Healthcare Group, Hostelworld Group, Osirium Technologies, Plus500 Ltd (DI), Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings (DI), Seplat Petroleum Development Company (DI), Tri-Star Resources

UK Economic Announcements
(07:00) Nationwide House Price Index

Int Economic Announcements
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(15:00) Construction Spending (US)
(15:00) ISM Manufacturing (US)
(16:00) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Columns of Note

Writing in The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland argues that the tightening of the polls prove that election campaigns do still matter. He says Corbyn’s fightback and May’s faltering campaign defy the traditional Westminster perception that electoral contests are decided long before the campaign even begins.

Iain Martin writes in The Times today about the need for Theresa May to undergo a summer relaunch following what he says is the Conservative’s worst general election campaign since before the First World War.

Did you know?

Hippos are able to produce their own sunscreen, in the form of a sticky reddish sweat.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

House of Lords

In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament

First Minister's Questions

Stage 1 Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill

TOMORROW

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled