11 December


11 December

Good morning,

Weather induced chaos was the main feature of the weekend across the UK, as freezing temperatures and snow caused temporary delight which quickly gave way to inconvenience for many. 

Overnight, temperatures across the UK plummeted to as low as -10C in rural areas, leading the Met Office to warn of treacherous travel conditions and a possibility of black ice forming on the roads. The RAC has urged people to only drive if necessary and has told travellers to expect their journeys to take two to three times longer than expected.

Britain does love to grind to a halt at even the merest hint of snow, but I suspect we can be forgiven in the face of this recent onslaught. Over 60,000 homes were left without power last night and in Wales many are waking up to over 30cm of snow. Across the country 400 schools are closed.

And if you were hoping to catch a flight to the US this morning, I'm afraid you may need to rearrange. Airports across the UK are already reporting major cancellations, with over 30 British Airways flights from Heathrow cancelled before 10am.

However, the United States is facing extreme weather of its own, but when it comes to snow they are undoubtedly better prepared than we are. In fact, they are so well prepared that they play professional sport and if you don't believe me, take a look at this clip from an NFL match yesterday.

In California, circumstances could not be more different. The wildfire that is causing untold destruction to communities on the west coast has now grown to cover an area larger than New York City. 200,000 people have been evacuated from their homes as firefighters work bravely to control the flames. However, it is estimated that only 10 per cent of the fire has been contained at this stage.


The UK government's commitment to the Brexit deal has been questionedby the Irish government and leading figures in the EU this morning. David Davis yesterday described the deal over the Irish border through regulatory alignment with the single market and the customs union as a "statement of intent" that was not legally enforceable. Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, had believed the deal to be "politically bulletproof" upon assurances from Theresa May.

Meanwhile, leading figures across Europe were also briefing that the "Canada plus plus plus" deal championed by David Davis on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday would lead to extensive amounts of red tape from Brussels. Also on Marr, Keir Starmer was outlining Labour's vision of a soft Brexit, calling for a Norway style deal where the UK stays in the single market and customs union.

Max Clifford, the former celebrity publicist, has died of a cardiac arrest following a collapse in prison. Clifford was held in Littlehey prison, a category C jail for sex offenders, after being sentenced to eight years in jail for a series of sexual assaults. Clifford became famous for the "kiss and tell" style of sex scandal, where he would sell his client's stories to the press.


The Chemical Industries Association has written an open letter to Michael Gove, urging the UK to remain within the EU regulations in the sector.Large chemical and pharma groups have joined the call as Eurosceptic ministers have begun a campaign to force the government to move away from the EU regulations.

Amber Rudd will announce in a speech today a strategy aimed at reducing economic crime, especially in the City of London. Estimates suggest billions of pounds of criminal money are laundered through the City each year, despite London being regarded as a clean place to do business. The home secretary will later announce a National Economic Crime Centre to oversee the police response to financial crimes.

The Labour Party is considering moving the Bank of England to Birmingham if it wins the next general election. The move would be part of the regional economic policy hub and would see some functions of the Bank of England placed close to the National Investment Bank and Strategic Investment Board, organisations that Labour would create were it to win the next election.


The week ahead
Following the United States decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, President Macron will host a 'One Planet' climate summit on Tuesday. The aim of the summit is to agree how public and private financial institutions can raise more money in the fight against climate change.

Also on Tuesday, the US Senate election in Alabama will take place. The seat was left vacant by Jeff Sessions when he took the role of Attorney General in the White House. However, the race for the seat has been mired in controversy, as the Republican candidate Roy Moore has been consistently accused of sexual misconduct throughout the election. Trump has continued to back him.

On Thursday, the much anticipated two day European Council summit gets underway in Brussels. The EU leaders will be expected to formally approve the plan agreed last week to ensure "sufficient progress" had been made in talks. This agreement will allow the European Commission to begin the second phase of talks with the UK, regarding the transition period and any future trading arrangements.

Finally this week, also on Thursday, the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee will meet for the final time this year. Following the decision to raise interest rates in November, the committee is expected to vote unanimously to keep rates on hold.

Hollywood Bowl Group
Local Shopping REIT
Photo-Me International


Westmount Energy Ltd.

Global Ports Investments GDR

Final Dividend Payment Date


In the Financial Times big read, Ralph Atkins and Laura Nooman look at the decline of the once dominant Swiss private banks. A Swiss clampdown on tax evasion is forcing banks to close, meaning 15,000 fewer people are employed in banking in Switzerland than 10 years ago.

The international trade secretary, Liam Fox, writing in The Guardian, argues that following Brexit the UK should be an "evangelist for world trade". He believes that Brexit gives Britain the chance to reshape our role on the world stage.


The most snow to fall in a 24-hour period in the United States is 75.8 inches.


House of Commons
Oral questions
Education (including Topical Questions)

Finance Bill - Second Reading

Shooting of Abdul Karim Boudiaf in 2009 - Mr David Lammy
House of Lords
Oral questions
Whether UK citizens who wish to retain their European citizenship post-Brexit may do so - Lord Teverson

Effectiveness of local welfare assistance schemes in meeting need -Baroness Lister of Burtersett

Why kinship carers who subsequently have their own child are not exempt from the two child limit - Baroness Sherlock

Guidance for Ministers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office concerning the diplomatic skills required for the performance of their duties - Lord Soley

Short debate
Recent developments in Sudan and South Sudan - Baroness Cox
Scottish Parliament
No business scheduled.


House of Commons

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

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee stage (day 6) - Committee of the whole House - Mr David Davis

House of Lords
Oral questions
Number of doctors from European Economic Area states working in the UK who may be planning to leave the NHS after the UK withdrawal from the EU - Baroness Walmsley

Short debate
Human rights priorities in the light of Brexit - Lord Cashman

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Government Debate
Celebrating our Future - Scotland’s Year of Young People

Members' business
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Tackling Commercial Sexual Exploitation