The eyes of the world have turned to the Singaporean island of Sentosa, with President Trump due to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un for a historic summit on Tuesday. Both men have already arrived in Singapore and the meeting is aimed at ending the threat of war between the two Koreas and the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Fresh from attending the G7 summit in Québec, at which his relationships with longstanding and traditional US allies crumbled, Trump will be hoping that a new found friendship with his North Korean counterpart can hand him a personal diplomatic victory.
The much anticipated meeting between Trump and Kim had previously been touted as the final stage of a landmark denuclearisation deal, mainly via typically bombastic tweets from the president himself. However, US officials have since attempted to manage expectations, suggesting that this is just the start of a process.
The president has said that he will know “within the first minute” if Kim is serious about peace, and has been at pains to point out that he will be the first sitting US president to meet with a North Korean leader, contrasting this with levels of engagement under previous administrations.
Of course, conventional wisdom had been that North Korea should not be rewarded for its belligerence.
Will this be yet another failed attempt at long-term peace? Or is there, as Boris Johnson said recently, method in Trump’s madness?
Medical staff who make “honest mistakes” while treating patients should not face criminal prosecution, Jeremy Hunt will say today. The health secretary has accepted the findings of an inquiry led by Professor Sir Norman Williams, a former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and is set to unveil plans for new rules that will make it more difficult for the regulator to strike off staff convicted of manslaughter. Criminal proceedings would only apply in extreme cases of “very poor performance”.
A rescue vessel carrying 629 migrants is stranded in the Mediterranean after Matteo Salvini, interior minister and leader of the far right League, refused to allow the ship to dock – the first evidence of the new government’s hardline approach. The Maltese government has also rejected a request to accept the migrants. However, Leoluca Orlando, the mayor of Palermo, has said he would allow the rescue boat to dock in the Sicilian capital in defiance of the order from Rome.
Rafael Nadal recorded his eleventh French Open title yesterday with a straight sets win over Dominic Thiem in the final at Roland Garros. In doing so, Nadal became only the second player in history to win the same grand slam on 11 occasions, following in the footsteps of Margaret Court, who won 11 Australian Open titles between 1960 and 1973. Nadal has now won 17 grand slams in total – just three adrift of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record.
Business & Economy
Under proposed new laws, UK listed companies with more than 250 employees will have to disclose and justify their “pay ratios” – the gap between the highest paid and average workers – on an annual basis. The move comes after years of growing dismay amongst shareholders and the wider public over excessive executive remuneration.
Rolls-Royce is expected to announce thousands of job cuts when it updates investors on its latest plan to simplify processes this Friday – news which was first reported by The Sunday Times. The engineering company refused to confirm the exact number of redundancies, however, it has been widely reported that 4,000 employees will be affected, with the cuts falling primarily on back-office and mid-level management roles.
Some train companies are “thumbing their noses at passengers” by giving incorrect or inconsistent advice to those affected by delays and cancellations, according to Which?. The consumer rights group found that 12 out of 26 firms gave poor advice, which it described as "another indictment against train companies failing to act in the best interest of their customers".
The week ahead
The global focus this week will be Tuesday’s summit between the US and North Korea.
However, closer to home, the House of Commons will debate and vote on 15 amendments to the EU withdrawal bill put forward by the House of Lords, with two votes in particular viewed as significant. The first is on giving parliament a meaningful vote on the deal before it is put to the European Parliament, and the second on forcing the government to set out the steps it has taken to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU.
On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) will deliberate whether to raise interest rates. It is widely expected that they will be held for now.
In company news, Mulberry reports its final results on Wednesday, whilst Kingfisher, WPP, Wm Morrison, Tesco, and SSE are among the organisations holding AGMs.
Finally, the 2018 men’s football World Cup kicks off on Thursday. The first match of the tournament, between Russia and Saudi Arabia, will kick-off at 4pm UK time, preceded by the opening ceremony. By that point, we will also know the hosts for the 2026 tournament, with FIFA member nations meeting the day before to choose between a bid
by Morocco and a joint effort from the US, Canada and Mexico.
IG Design Group, Palace Capital
Schroder Asia Pacific Fund
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Balance of Trade
(09:30) Industrial Production
(09:30) Manufacturing Production
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI), Edge Performance VCT ‘H’ Shares, Foresight Solar Fund Limited, Hostelworld Group, International Public Partnerships Ltd., Katoro Gold, Novacyt S.A. (CDI), Phoenix Global Mining Limited (DI), Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings (DI)
Columns of Note
In his column for The Sunday Times, Kevin Pringle looks at why the constitutional debate continues in Scotland, arguing that the opportunities to put the Union on a secure new footing have been, and are being, missed. Citing the results of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey published last week, Pringle contends that a second independence referendum is feasible, albeit probably only if pro-independence parties hold a majority after the 2021 election. In order to bolster the independence cause, he calls on the SNP at Westminster to lead progressive opinion as the “radical but non Corbyn opposition”.
In The Telegraph, Juliet Samuel writes that the UK had an opportunity to secure a good Brexit deal from the EU, however, it has now been lost. She describes December’s joint report as a “British surrender” and states that the government will face a terrible choice before the end of the year: compromise the territorial integrity of the UK by accepting border checks in the Irish Sea, or subject the whole UK to EU customs policy, ECJ jurisdiction and freedom of movement. Samuel concludes that Theresa May will opt for the latter, as that will keep her in power longer since the former would be unpalatable for the DUP. This, she says, will be “the worst of all possible worlds” for the UK – adhering to EU rules without representation in Brussels.
Did you know?
The record for most goals in a single match at a men’s world cup finals came at the 1954 tournament. In one of the quarter-finals, Austria defeated hosts Switzerland 7-5.
House of Commons
Oral Questions: Defence (including Topical Questions)
Legislation: Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – 2nd reading
House of Lords
Percentage of women in prison with dependents under 16 years old and their average length of stay - Baroness Fall
Reducing future flood risk - Baroness McIntosh of Pickering
Electronic tagging of known stalkers - Baroness Gale
Changes made to bereavement benefits for parents with dependent children - Lord Polak
Debate: Serious Violence Strategy – Baroness Manzoor
No business scheduled
House of Commons
Oral Questions: Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
Ten Minute Rule Motion: Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (England) – Fiona Bruce
Consideration of Lords amendments: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – Day 1
House of Lords
Reviewing the Tier 2 visa system to ensure that overseas doctors recruited by the NHS can take up their positions - Baroness Hayman
Improving the mental and physical health and wellbeing of carers - Baroness Pitkeathley
Harassment of BBC Persian staff by the Iranian authorities - Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Recent reports of the Burmese military attacking Christians in Kachin and other ethnic minorities in Burma - Lord Alton of Liverpool
Legislation: Civil Liability Bill [HL] – Report stage – Lord Keen of Elie
Topical Questions (if selected)
Ministerial Statement: National Council of Rural Advisors
Ministerial Statement: Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2016
Scottish Government Debate: Improving the lives of Gypsy Travellers