As seasons go, summer has long been the favourite for staging a good protest. Take for example, the August 2011 protests in England, the student demonstrations which led to Tiananmen Square in June 1989, or – lending a sense of the drastic to my analogy – the July 1789 riots that kickstarted the French Revolution; there is something about warmer days and governments looking forward to their holidays that really grinds people’s gears. Stick it to the man, I say, and stick on some sun screen whilst you’re at it.
This year seems to be no exception. Spurred on by the momentum of sending a large inflatable baby into the skies above London last week, UK protestors are set to ‘shutdown’ Heathrow Airport this summer in support of the climate emergency. Look elsewhere in the papers today and you’ll read tales of the‘Balkan Summer’, Venetians protesting cruise ships running amok in the Lagoon, and mass demos against controversial elections in Moldova and Kazakhstan. Protest is most certainly in the air.
Something big is afoot in Hong Kong too. And by big, we’re talking a reported one million people who yesterday took to the streets in defiance of a controversial extradition bill that, if enacted, would make it easier for the Chinese government to target political opponents in Hong Kong. That figure may be disputed by the authorities who put the number closer to 250,000 at a single peak, but any way you look at it, you can’t deny the local outrage. If correct, yesterday’s numbers would be the largest demo in Hong Kong since the UK handed the territory to China in 1997.
What is perhaps most surprising is the cross-section of support for the demo. After the 79-day Umbrella Movement in 2014, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was elected by a coalition of pro-democracy and pro-Beijing sentiment which at the time was more interested in putting aside differences and getting down to governing. That coalition might be over given you were as likely to see a teenage couple on the streets as retired sixty-somethings according to eyewitnesses.
However, years of erosion to the territory’s legislative independence has left the influence of Beijing and the Chinese communist central committee unassailable. Lam has this morning refused to scrap the bill so it’s hard to see what the protestors do next.
But if Hong Kongers’ track record is anything to go by, I predict that we could be here for a while yet. As the Umbrella Movement showed, a whole season of unrest isn’t such a rare thing in the city after all.
Amber Rudd has become the latest senior Tory to announce her support for Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative Party leadership election. Rudd writes an op-ed in The Times, and is thought likely to be followed by other senior members who belong to the liberal One Nation Conservatives group, including David Gauke and Philip Hammond.
In other news from the leadership race, Michael Gove continues to face scrutiny over revelations he used cocaine while a young journalist, and Boris Johnson has announced that he would raise the threshold for the 40p income tax rate to £80,000 if elected leader.
Former residents at Grenfell Tower are suing three US firms they blame for the cause of the 2017 fire. The lawsuit will target the cladding maker Arconic, insulation maker Celotex and fridge supplier Whirlpool, and will be heard in Philadelphia, near to where the headquarters for Arconic and Celotex are located.
Rafael Nadal has beaten Dominic Thiem to claim his 12th win at the tennis French Open. Nadal won for the third straight year in four sets with a score of 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. The victory at Roland Garros leaves Nadal two Grand Slam titles behind the all-time record of Roger Federer at 20.
Business & Economy
The UK and South Korea have announced an agreement in principle for a free trade deal that would maintain existing trade arrangements post-Brexit. Announced by international trade secretary Liam Fox in Seoul, the deal covers South Korean exports to Britain including cars, auto parts and crude oil. The agreement is seen as a boon for the UK government, marking its first Brexit ‘legacy’ deal in Asia.
Two of America’s largest arms manufacturers are expected to announce a $100 billion merger later today, which if confirmed would create the world’s second largest aerospace and defence company by sales. The new entity created between United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and Raytheon would leapfrog Boeing in size, and would also become the second largest supplier to the US Pentagon. UTC chief executive, Greg Hayes, is expected to lead the new company. (£)
The Financial Conduct Authority is said to be considering legal changesfollowing the suspension of withdrawals at Neil Woodford’s flagship fund last week. FCA chief executive, Andrew Bailey - who is also considered a favourite as the next governor of the Bank of England – suggested daily withdrawals from funds holding hard-to-trade assets could be banned, alongside subjecting a fund’s geographic holding location to investor choice. (£)
The week ahead
This afternoon will mark the official start of the Conservative Party leadership elections, as negotiations begin between the US and China on trade, and also with Poland on a proposal to increase US military personnel stationed in the country to 4,500. Huawei will also be in the limelight later today when a senior company official is due to appear before Westminster’s science and technology select committee on the role it proposes to play in the roll-out of 5G infrastructure in the UK.
Other corporate events to look out for include the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo where computer and video game makers are expected to release a host of new titles. Tesla holds its annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday when chief executive Elon Musk is due to give an update on the company’s forward plans in the electric vehicle market.
Earnings updates will be thin on the ground this week, but key reports are expected from Tesco, Majestic Wine and online retailer Boohoo. UK GDP figures will be released today followed US consumer price inflation data on Wednesday and China’s latest data for consumer and producer prices, industrial production, retail sales and trade.
Codemasters Group Holdings
Seneca Growth Capital Vct
SEC S.P.A. (CDI)
Time Out Group
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Balance of Trade
(09:30) Gross Domestic Product
(09:30) Index of Services
(09:30) Industrial Production
(09:30) Manufacturing Production
Intl. Economic Announcements
(09.30) Services Confidence (EU)
Source: FTSE 100, Financial Times
Columns of Note
In the Financial Times, life & arts columnist Jo Ellison mourns the death of discovery. Ellison looks at tourism in Lisbon, Iceland – and perhaps more surprisingly - the former nuclear exclusion zone at Chernobyl, and suggests that humans are wrecking formerly isolated areas in an age where there are no new places left to discover.
For Sky News, Deborah Haynes asks why an expected stushie between Donald Trump and the UK government over Huawei’s involvement in 5G infrastructure didn’t materialise during his state visit last week? She suggests it might have more to do with the Conservative leadership race than policy changes in the White House, given a broad diversity of opinions between those that might be the next PM.
Cartoon source: The Times
Did you know?
Punching bags have been installed on the streets of Manhattan to help New Yorkers vent their anger.
House of Commons
Home Office (including Topical Questions)
National Insurance Contributions (Termination Awards and Sporting Testimonials) Bill
Debate on a Motion on the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme – Grahame Morris
UK foreign policy in relation to China and Hong Kong – Alistair Carmichael
House of Lords
Reviewing the tax rules relating to NHS pensions - Lord Naseby
Challenges and opportunities facing national museums - Lord Lee of Trafford
Progress identifying a design for small modular nuclear reactors - Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
How the Government identify, support and track the applications of people seeking asylum on the grounds of gender identity or sexual orientation - Lord Scriven
Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill [HL] - Committee stage - Lord Keen of Elie
Orders and regulations
National Health Service Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - motion to regret - Baroness Thornton
No business scheduled
House of Commons
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion
United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Pension Transfers (Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Investigation) - Mr Edward Vaizey
To approve a Statutory Instrument relating to the Draft Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Enforcement) (Amendment) Order 2019 - Kelly Tolhurst
To approve a Statutory Instrument relating to the Draft Child Support (Miscellaneous Amendments)Regulations 2019 - Will Quince
UK Voluntary National Review on the Sustainable Development Goals
Rising crime and anti-social behaviour on Slade Road in Birmingham - Jack Dromey
House of Lords
Ensuring that banks provide free withdrawals from current accounts at cash machines - Baroness Bryan of Partick
Latest figures for the gross domestic product per capita for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and the percentage increase for each such figure since 1999 - Lord Wigley
Whether the Foreign Secretary’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on 13 May represented a change in the Government's policy on defence expenditure - Lord Robathan
Preventing homophobic and misogynistic attacks - Lord Kennedy of Southwark
Non-Domestic Rating (Preparation for Digital Services) Bill - Second reading and remaining stages - Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
Kew Gardens (Leases) (No.3) Bill (HL) -Third Reading - Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Protecting children from harmful vehicle emissions - Baroness Randerson
Operation of the theatre market and ensuring that theatre is accessible - The Earl of Glasgow
Topical Questions (if selected)
Update on P1 Standardised Assessments
Stage 3 Debate
Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill
Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill
Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee Debate
Changes to Standing Orders
The Way of St Andrews – Murdo Fraser