1 May 2018

@scottreid1992

1 May 2018

Good morning,

Born in Rochdale, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, Sajid Javid is the UK’s home secretary. However, despite the return of ‘power posing’ and the widespread acclaim with which his appointment was met yesterday, the Tories are still very much in the throes of crisis.
 
In many ways, the choice was not a natural one for Theresa May. Fiercely pro-business and a protégé of the great unmentionable in the halls of 10 Downing Street - George Osborne - Javid has made a name for himself by calling for policies that should set him at odds with the prime minister.
 
He has been vocal in calling for a liberal immigration regime that excludes students from migration targets, and, in his most recent post as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has supported a rapid upscaling of housebuilding efforts. Far be it from me to point out where the Tories could address a gap in their support among migrants and the young, but taking on some of Javid’s policy agenda might make a welcome start.
 
Considering the circumstances of his appointment, Javid’s rare ability among the Conservatives to reach those constituencies do him credit. Speaking as a first generation immigrant, Javid revealed a personal pain at the Windrush scandal. “I thought that could be my mum,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “My dad, my uncle – it could be me.” Returning to parliament yesterday, Javid confessed to the creation of a “hostile environment” at the Home Office and vowed that “We will do right by the Windrush generation.”
 
But the question now is, will he be allowed the free reign to do so? A change of direction also means charting a significant detour from the path set by the prime minister herself whilst at the Home Office, and where many believe she has questions to answer for her role in the downfall of Amber Rudd.
 
Ahead of Thursday’s local elections in England and Wales, Javid’s appointment might allow the prime minister to cash in some much needed political currency with the electorate. Unlike another unfortunate faux pas yesterday, however, it remains to be seen whether she’s as yet “in the money”.

News

The US has granted the EU, Canada, Mexico and other allies a 30-day reprieve from the introduction of steel and aluminium tariffs. The move is thought to be motivated by the White House’s goal of arranging a “coalition” to challenge Chinese intellectual property practices and overcapacity production ahead of a US trade delegation in Beijing this month. Washington said the reprieve is “final” and will allow allies to negotiate deals with the Trump administration to permanently avoid import taxes of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium before they are imposed on June 1.
 
The UK, Germany, France, China and Russia have upheld an agreement to lift sanctions against Iran in exchange for abandoning a nuclear weapons programme. The support for the accord agreed in 2015 comes despite Israeli claims that it has evidence showing covert Iranian operations to secure nuclear weapons – an accusation rejected by Iran. The US failed to support the accord as President Trump said Israel’s allegations proved he was “right” on Iran.
 
Armenia’s parliament is set to elect opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as the country’s prime minister after leading weeks of anti-government protests. Mr Pashinyan is the only candidate for the position, after Armenia’s ruling Republican Party said it would not put up a rival candidate in a bid to ease tensions. Mr Pashinyan, 42, has said he wants to call snap elections and will stand on an anti-corruption platform if taken forward.

Business & Economy

More than $120 billion of mergers were agreed in yesterday’s trading alone, bringing the record amount of total deals struck during 2018 to a new high of $1.7 trillion. Behind the day’s gains were key acquisitions by US wireless carrier Spring who plans a $59 billion all-stock takeover of rival T-Mobile, and the £12 billion merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda in the UK. Analysts predict that the rapid rate of mergers is likely to continue as companies feel motivated by global economic growth, higher stock prices and the continued availability of cheap borrowing. (£)

The new joint operating officers at WPP have confirmed their interest in selling off parts of the advertising group but have ruled out a complete break-up. Coinciding with the group’s quarterly results yesterday, Mark Read, head of WPP’s Wunderman and digital agencies, and Andrew Scott, WPP’s corporate development director and COO for Europe, announced an internal review into underperforming parts of the business. WPP’s market research division, Kantar, which accounts for 15% of group profits is among the assets that could be offloaded. (£)

The heads of TSB will appear before the House of Commons’ Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday to explain a prolonged outage on the bank’s online and mobile platforms. Chief executive Paul Pester and Richard Meddings, who is chairman at TSB, will be joined by a representative from the bank’s Spanish parent company Sabadell. Customer complaints of reduced access to their accounts have now entered their second week, with reports of attempted fraud by scammers surfacing yesterday. (£)

Markets

What happened yesterday?

Fresh from news of its £12 billion takeover of Asda, Sainsbury’s was yesterday’s star gainer boosting London stocks to end on a high alongside similar gains by sterling on the currency markets. At the end of Monday’s trading, the FTSE 100 stood 0.1% higher, up 7.09 points at 7,509.30 points.

Shares in Sainsbury’s closed up 15%, and had been as much as 20% higher during early trading, after confirming it had agreed terms with Asda-owner Walmart over a merger to create a £51-billion revenue giant, which will take a 27% share of supermarket trade in the UK. The deal coincided with Sainsbury’s final results on Monday, reporting a 1.4% rise in profit before tax to £589 million, with profits up 11% in the second half after cutting £185 million of costs.

Advertising giant WPP was also up 8.6% after posting a 0.8% rise during Q1 2018 and suggesting it would take a “fresh look” at business following the departure of Sir Martin Sorrell.

Bottoming out the day’s losses, however, was miner Glencore (down 4.7%) having reported on Friday that two of its subsidiaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo had been served a freezing order for $3 billion of damages for alleged unpaid royalty agreements. The move prompted RBC Capital Markets to downgrade Glencore’s stock from ‘top pick’ to ‘outperform’.

Sterling enjoyed some muted success, following weak UK GDP data last week which ended any hopes of an interest rate hike in May. The pound finished up 0.2% against the euro at €1.14, but down 0.2% against the dollar at $1.28, but managed to half its earlier losses.

Columns of interest

Tabitha Goldstaub, the cofounder of CognitionX, comments in CityAM that Britain could be at the start of an artificial intelligence business revolution. Pointing to recent research that suggests AI could boost UK productivity by 40% and bring an additional £230 billion to national coffers by 2030, Goldstaub celebrates recent government initiatives which may chart the route toward further growth in the sector. Goldstaub also notes that McKinsey recently ranked UK AI research as third in the world behind only the US and China. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg comments in The Times that Brexit will allow the UK to build a “truly special relationship” with the Trump administration in the US. Rees Mogg suggests that the origins of Brexit in popular revolt against the elite make Trump and the UK natural allies, and that the relationship should be reinforced by offering a generous free trade deal during a working visit by the president to the UK in July. (£)

Did you know?

Before Abraham Lincoln became a politician, and later 16th President of the United States, he was a champion wrestler. With more than 300 bouts under his belt, Lincoln only lost one match in his career and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1992.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

 

House of Commons

Oral questions
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)

 

Ten Minute Rule Motion

Road Traffic Offenders (Surrender of Driving Licences etc.) – Mr Alister Jack

 

Legislation

Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [Lords] – remianinh stages

 

Money Resolution

Prisons (interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill

 

Adjournment

Shop Direct in Greater Manchester - Debbie Abrahams

 

House of Lords

Oral questions
Swansea Tidal Lagoon - Baroness Finn

 

Non-disclosure agreements - Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws

 

Procurement of the Government’s fleet of vehicles - Baroness Randerson

 

Legislation

Financial Guidance and Claims Bill [HL] - Consideration of Commons Amendments - Baroness Buscombe

 

Orders and regulations

Licensing Act 2003 (Royal Wedding Licensing Hours) Order 2018 - motion to approve - Baroness Williams of Trafford

 

Combined Authorities (Borrowing) Regulations 2018 - motion to approve - Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

 

Transport Levying Bodies (Amendment) Regulations 2018 - motion to approve - Baroness Sugg

 

Employment Rights Act 1996 (NHS Recruitment—Protected Disclosure) Regulations 2018 - motion to approve - Baroness Manzoor

 

Legislative Reform (Constitution of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons)

Order 2018 - motion to approve - Lord Gardiner of Kimble

 

Enterprise Act 2002 (Share of Supply Test) (Amendment) Order 2018 - Lord Henley

Scottish Parliament

Topical Questions

 

Scottish Government Debate

Success of the Commonwealth Games

 

Stage 3 Debate

Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill

 

Members’ Business

Support for Rape Crisis Centres and Prosecutions – Kezia Dugdale

 

TOMORROW

 

House of Commons

Oral questions

Wales

 

Prime Minister’s Question Time

 

Ten Minute Rule Motion

Victims of Terrorism (Pensions and Other Support) – Emma Little Pengelly

 

Opposition Day Debate

Windrush generation

 

Adjournment

Mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk – Dr Dan Poulter

 

House of Lords

Oral questions

Creative Industries Sector Deal - Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury

 

Reducing the amount of plastic used in packaging - Lord Dubs

 

Response of the NHS to cyber attacks - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

 

Legislation

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – Report (day 5) - Lord Callanan

 

Scottish Parliament

Members’ Business

Campaign to Save ATMs – Dean Lockhart

 

Portfolio Questions

Education and Skills

 

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business

Health

 

Members’ Business

Civil Contingency in Nuclear Weapon Transport – Mark Ruskell

TODAY

 

House of Commons

Oral questions
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)

 

Ten Minute Rule Motion

Road Traffic Offenders (Surrender of Driving Licences etc.) – Mr Alister Jack

 

Legislation

Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [Lords] – remianinh stages

 

Money Resolution

Prisons (interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill

 

Adjournment

Shop Direct in Greater Manchester - Debbie Abrahams

 

House of Lords

Oral questions
Swansea Tidal Lagoon - Baroness Finn

 

Non-disclosure agreements - Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws

 

Procurement of the Government’s fleet of vehicles - Baroness Randerson

 

Legislation

Financial Guidance and Claims Bill [HL] - Consideration of Commons Amendments - Baroness Buscombe

 

Orders and regulations

Licensing Act 2003 (Royal Wedding Licensing Hours) Order 2018 - motion to approve - Baroness Williams of Trafford

 

Combined Authorities (Borrowing) Regulations 2018 - motion to approve - Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

 

Transport Levying Bodies (Amendment) Regulations 2018 - motion to approve - Baroness Sugg

 

Employment Rights Act 1996 (NHS Recruitment—Protected Disclosure) Regulations 2018 - motion to approve - Baroness Manzoor

 

Legislative Reform (Constitution of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons)

Order 2018 - motion to approve - Lord Gardiner of Kimble

 

Enterprise Act 2002 (Share of Supply Test) (Amendment) Order 2018 - Lord Henley

Scottish Parliament

Topical Questions

 

Scottish Government Debate

Success of the Commonwealth Games

 

Stage 3 Debate

Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill

 

Members’ Business

Support for Rape Crisis Centres and Prosecutions – Kezia Dugdale

 

TOMORROW

 

House of Commons

Oral questions

Wales

 

Prime Minister’s Question Time

 

Ten Minute Rule Motion

Victims of Terrorism (Pensions and Other Support) – Emma Little Pengelly

 

Opposition Day Debate

Windrush generation

 

Adjournment

Mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk – Dr Dan Poulter

 

House of Lords

Oral questions

Creative Industries Sector Deal - Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury

 

Reducing the amount of plastic used in packaging - Lord Dubs

 

Response of the NHS to cyber attacks - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

 

Legislation

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – Report (day 5) - Lord Callanan

 

Scottish Parliament

Members’ Business

Campaign to Save ATMs – Dean Lockhart

 

Portfolio Questions

Education and Skills

 

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business

Health

 

Members’ Business

Civil Contingency in Nuclear Weapon Transport – Mark Ruskell