1 November

@AdamDShaw

1 November

Good morning,

The issue of sexual harassment in politics continues to dominate the front pages today.

Damian Green, the first secretary of state and Theresa May’s de facto deputy, is the latest to face accusations of inappropriate behaviour. Writing in The Times, Kate Maltby, a writer and Conservative party activist, recounts a meeting with Green that, in her words, left her feeling “embarrassed and professionally compromised”.

Green has been referred to the cabinet secretary who will consider whether he broke the ministerial code – a move that Downing Street said was standard procedure when an allegation of this nature is made against a government minister. Green has denied putting his hand on Ms Maltby’s knee and described the accusation as a “complete shock” and “deeply hurtful, especially from someone I considered a personal friend”. It has now been reported that he has instructed libel lawyers.

Meanwhile, Bex Bailey, a prominent Labour activist, has told the BBC that she was raped by a senior party official in 2009. Ms Bailey claims that when she reported the incident in 2011, she was told that the incident could “damage” her and was given no advice on what to do next.

This issue is not going away soon and the problem remains of where individuals employed within an atypical organisation, such as Parliament, go to seek help. With both the House of Commons and the Parliament's Standards Commissioner claiming limited, if any, powers to intervene in these matters, adequate protection and redress for these employees still seems a long way off.

News

Eight people have been killed and 11 injured after the driver of a pickup truck mowed down people on a cycle path in New York City. The 29-year-old man then exited the vehicle brandishing what appeared to be two firearms – later found to be a paintball gun and a pellet gun - before he was shot by police and arrested. The incident is being treated as a terror attack and President Trump has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to “step up” vetting measures.

The Audiencia Nacional – Spain’s national criminal court – has summoned Carles Puigdemont, to testify in Madrid this week. This came after the renegade president announced in Brussels that he was setting up a government in exile. Puigdemont, along with 13 members of his sacked government, is facing charges of rebellion, sedition and illegally using €6.2 million of public funds, and has said he will only return to Spain if the government can provide guarantees that he will receive a fair trial. If he fails to appear, a European arrest warrant can be issued.

Business & Economy

Brexit Secretary David Davis is reported to have told cabinet colleagues that between 3,000 and 5,000 new customs officials will need to be hired next year in anticipation of a “no deal” Brexit. This is in addition to the extra 3,000 bureaucrats already brought on to help with leaving the EU. According to the Financial Times, Davis remains confident that a “deep and special partnership” can be negotiated with the EU, but has said that the government needs to work to ensure that the UK could cope without a deal.

In other Brexit news, Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, has warned that banks will begin taking “irreversible” decisions, such as moving staff abroad, if no transition deal is agreed by the end of the year. Bailey was giving evidence before the Treasury Select Committee and said that many financial institutions are already putting contingency plans in place, including renting new office space in the EU.

Airbus has admitted that it broke US compliance rules regarding the use of agents and commissions in what is becoming a widening scandal. The world’s second largest aircraft manufacturer is already under investigation in the UK and France on allegations of bribery, and Thomas Enders, the company’s chief executive, warned of “turbulent and confusing” times in a letter to 130,000 staff this earlier month.

Markets

What happened yesterday?
World stocks set a record 12th straight months of gains, according to the MSCI’s 47 country “All World” index – beating the 2003 run of 11 straight months.

The FTSE 100 played its part, ending the day up 5.27 points, or 0.07%, at 7,493.08.

Specialty chemicals group Croda led the way on the UK’s main index, climbing 4.24%, after reporting sales growth of 12.8% for the first nine months of the year. Meanwhile, shares in Easyjet rose 3.16% following strong results from fellow low-cost airline Ryanair, and WPP gained 3.01% despite cutting its sales and profit margin forecasts.

Bookmakers also performed well after the announcement of a review into fixed-odd betting machines, with William Hill and Ladbrokes - both constituents of the FTSE 250 – adding 2.4% and 1.7% respectively.

On the currency markets, the pound was 0.5% higher against the dollar at $1.3271 and made a similar gain against the euro at €1.1392.

Q3 Results
Apax Global Alpha Limited, Next, Paddy Power Betfair, Riverstone Energy Limited, Smurfit Kappa Group, Standard Chartered

Trading Announcements
Just Group, Morgan Sindall Group, Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, Next, Paddy Power Betfair

AGMs
Greka Drilling Ltd (DI), South32 Limited (DI), Stanley Gibbons Group, Thinksmart Limited (DI)

GMs
Angle

UK Economic Announcements
(00:01) BRC Shop Price Index
(07:00) Nationwide House Price Index
(09:30) PMI Manufacturing

International Economic Announcements
(11:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(14:00) Construction Spending (US)
(14:00) ISM Manufacturing (US)
(14:00) ISM Prices Paid (US)
(14:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
(14:45) PMI Manufacturing (US)
(16:00) Auto Sales (US)
(18:00) FOMC Interest Rate (US)

Columns of Note

Writing in City AM, David Laws, the former Lib Dem minister, examines tomorrow’s decision on interest rates. He argues that with an uncertain economic outlook and the Budget just weeks away, delaying a rise may make sense, but that the Bank of England has boxed itself in by creating a sense of expectation over the last couple of months.

In The Guardian, Aditya Chakrabortty looks at the pilot of a universal basic income in Finland – the first European country to trial the initiative – through which 2,000 people will receive €560 each month for the next two years. Although results will not be published until the pilot concludes, Chakrabortty highlights the difference it has made to one participant’s life as evidence that it can work.

Did you know?

In 2016, it cost the US Mint 1.5 cents to make each one-cent coin. With 9 billion pennies produced that year, this represents a loss of $45 million.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

Oral questions: Wales

Prime Minister's Question Time

Opposition Day Debate: Armed Forces Pay

House of Lords

Oral questions

Government consultation on changing the rules relating to overseas development assistance - Lord Collins of Highbury
Number of 999 calls to the South East Coast Ambulance Service on 23 September to which no ambulance was sent - Baroness Smith of Basildon
Establishing an International Legal Task Force to gather evidence on sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism - Baroness Cox
Review of mental health and employers 'Thriving at Work' - Lord Haskel

Legislation: Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill [HL] - 2nd reading - Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Scottish Parliament

Portfolio Questions: Economy, Jobs and Fair Work; Finance and the Constitution

Scottish Labour Debate: Health

TOMORROW

House of Commons

Oral questions: Exiting the European Union (including Topical Questions)

Backbench Business

Debate on a Motion on Calais and unaccompanied child refugees in Europe - Heidi Allen
Debate on a Motion on sexual harassment and violence in schools - Maria Miller

House of Lords

Oral questions

Allocation of the £5 million public fund celebrating the centenary of women acquiring the vote - Baroness McDonagh
Supporting the return of residential properties, presently let on a short-term basis, to the long-term housing rental market - Baroness Gardner of Parkes
Effectiveness and enforcement of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 - Lord Faulkner of Worcester

Short Debate: Government assessment of the condition of refugees and migrants still in Calais and the surrounding area, one year on from the refugee camp there being demolished - Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Scottish Parliament

General Questions

First Minister’s Questions

Scottish Government Debate: Presumption of Mainstreaming