12 April

@lyle_h_hill

12 April

Good morning, 

We reported yesterday that the G7 summit in Lucca may have been the first opportunity for Boris Johnson to present himself as a diplomatic heavyweight, capable of rallying other foreign ministers around his proposal to impose tougher sanctions on Russia.

Instead, it proved to be the opposite. The foreign ministers from Italy, France and Germany all publicly rebuked the British proposals, insisting that Russia could "not be backed into a corner". As the foreign secretary flew back to Britain, his aides defended his attempts to "try to push other countries to punish war criminals and murderers” and argued that his foreign counterparts' opinions differed in public to what they argued in private. 

This will come as scant consolation to some Tory colleagues, who opined that his intervention made the UK look weak and, in perhaps slightly hyperbolic language, was a "humiliation for the country".

Rex Tillerson will be hoping he fares better as he travels to Moscow today to meet Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, potentially alongside Putin. The US Secretary of State has known the Russian President for almost 20 years, but their potential meeting will be in entirely different circumstances from when Tillerson was the boss of Exxon Mobile.

Closer to home for the Trump administration, it looks as if Sean Spicer may be on the verge of losing his job as the White House Press Secretary. He drew audible gasps from reporters yesterday when he insisted that "not even Hitler had used chemical weapons".

I think the lesson to take from the last few weeks is that when it comes to Hitler, just don't go there...

NEWS 

Three explosions targeted the Borussia Dortmund team bus as it travelled to the team's Champions League match against Monaco last night. Luckily, only one person, Dortmund defender Marc Bartra, was injured. The match was postponed until tonight and in a sign of solidarity, Dortmund fans offered their homes to Monaco fans in need of a place to stay using social media. 

Francois Fillon has been hit by fresh allegations that his wife was on his parliamentary payroll for longer than he admitted. The French presidential candidate had previously insisted that his wife Penelope had only been paid from 1997; instead, French prosecutors revealed yesterday that she had worked as a paid assistant from the start of his career in 1982. Fillon was undeterred, retaliating that the dates were unimportant and that he was not asking voters to like him. 

The Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee has expressed concern over allegations that foreign governments conducted a cyberattack on the voter registration website in the run up to the EU referendum. At the time, the UK Government insisted that the website's collapse was due to increased demand following a television debate, but chair of the committee Bernard Jenkin has argued that while there is no "hard and fast evidence", a cyber attack cannot be ruled out.

Business & Economy

Brexit risks making it harder for UK companies to win European space contracts, after new terms were laid out for firms bidding for work in the new phase of the €10 billion Galileo satellite navigation system. The European Commission is insisting that it has the right to cancel any existing contracts without penalty if a company is no longer based in an EU member state and that the supplier must repay any existing costs. 

The United Airlines' CEO has continued his efforts to fight the fire of scandal, apologising for the "truly horrific" incident on board a United plane earlier this week and making clear that the airline would "fix what's broken so it never happens again". Regardless of his second attempt to instil calm, Oscar Munoz may still have to fall on his sword. The video of the passenger being dragged off the plane continues to feature in the news cycle and on social media and the stock price of United's parent company plummeted yesterday. 

The UK Government expects to raise more than £7 billion from its newly released savings bond. The Government anticipates more than two million people to snap up the 2.2% interest rate which offers a guaranteed return higher than what most banks and building societies can offer. The bond is the first of its kind in over two years, but has been criticised by opponents as distorting the savings market.

Markets

The FTSE 100 closed higher yesterday on the back of strong performances from airlines and mining companies.  

EasyJet climbed 2.1% and British Airways owner IAG also saw a bump in its share price of 1.9%. These climbs come on the back of a sharp decline in the share price of embattled United Airlines. The American carrier saw its share fall by 4% in the US.

Mining firms Randgold and Fresnillo were the biggest winners on the FTSE, as their shares rose by over 4% respectively.

The pound had a good day, rising 0.5% against the dollar to $1.24770 and 0.4% higher against the euro to €1.17620.

Finals 

Tesco Group

AGMs 

Hunting, Low & Bonar, TMT Investments, Verona Pharma

Trading Announcements 

Atkins, Pagegroup

UK Economic Announcements 

 

(9:30) Claimant Count Rate

Int. Economic Announcements 

(12:30) MBA Mortgage Applications (US), (13:30) Import and Export Price Indices (US), (15:30) Crude Oil Inventories

Columns of Note

Daniel Finkelstein, writing in The Times, argues that by looking at how Tony Blair won the general election in 1997, it is clear that Remainers are wrong to fantasise that it is possible to stop Brexit. In conclusion, he argues: "People’s feelings about their vote change once they have voted. They are likely to remain as leavers even if their reasons for leaving have left."

Writing in The Guardian, Timothy Garton-Ash analyses Hungary's nationalist prime minister Viktor Orbán, who is attempting to close down the country’s most independent university. He argues that European centre right leaders, the most prominent being Angela Merkel, must not appease Orbán and instead must either convince him to change his policies or freeze him out. 

Did you know?

80 million chocolate Easter eggs are sold each year in Britain. This accounts for 10% of the UK's annual spending on chocolate

Parliamentary Highlights

House of Commons

In recess until April 18th

House of Lords

In recess until April 24th

Scottish Parliament

In recess until April 18th