14 June

@lyle_h_hill

14 June

Good morning,

A huge fire has engulfed a tower block in the North Kensington area of West London. Details at this stage are sparse but it is believed that a fire started in the Grenfell Tower at about 12:55am and rapidly spread through the 27-storey building. It is believed the whole block was engulfed in about 15 minutes.

More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze, which is still burning, albeit less violently than it had been throughout the night. Unfortunately, due to the height of the building, firefighters could not tackle the blaze on the top floors. There is a worry about the structural integrity of the building, which could still collapse.

It is believed that the block has 140 flats, with each flat housing around four or five people on average. Sadly, the demographic make-up of the residents consists of both young children and many older people.

At this moment in time, 20 ambulance crews are at the scene and 30 people have been taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries. Harrowingly, from the live images and stories this morning, many more people are unaccounted for in the tower block and the London Fire Brigade has confirmed a number of fatalities. 

Many residents from the lower floors managed to escape, woken by screams from others rather than fire alarms within the building. It is thought that the fire started on around the fourth floor.

The eye witness accounts and images from the scene are extremely distressing and it can only be hoped as more details emerge throughout the day that many more people managed to get out alive.

 

NEWS

Two former prime ministers entered the political debate yesterday. John Major, speaking on Radio 4’s ‘The World at One’ programme, insisted that he had hisreservations about Theresa May doing a deal with the DUP, for fear it would set back the peace process in Northern Ireland. Speaking in Poland, David Cameron said the result of the general election may lead to a “softer” Brexit.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has testified in front of the Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating claims that Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians. Sessions said that any suggestions he knew of Russian collusion was an “appalling and detestable lie” and clashed with lawmakers throughout the hearing.

Theresa May was in France last night holding a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron. This is May’s first visit with a European leader since the election. She reiterated that the British people voted to leave the EU and that she would deliver on that. Meanwhile, it is believed that Philip Hammond is preparing to lead a battle within government to keep Britain inside the EU customs union.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Inflation rose 2.9 per cent last month compared with the previous year, as the lower pound continued to put pressure on import costs. With this rise, inflation is increasing at the fastest pace for almost four years and is believed to be putting significant pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates.

The start-up insurer Gryphon has become one of the largest new entrants into the industry in recent years after it raised £180 million from investors. Gryphon is attempting to bring new technology to a centuries-old industry, as it seeks to “maximise the potential of insurtech to build intuitive products and processes”.

The problems at Uber show no signs of abating as the firm’s boss Travis Kalanick has announced plans to take a leave of absence from the company.As reported yesterday, the decision comes following a review of the company's conduct by former attorney general Eric Holder. In an email to staff, Kalanick said "if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve."

 

MARKETS

The FTSE 100 index slipped by 11 points to close at 7,500.44. Shares in Merlin Entertainment, the owner of Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers, suffered a sharp fall as the recent terrorist attacks in the UK led to a "softer domestic, day-trip market".

Despite its deal with Deutsche Bank collapsing, the London Stock Exchange was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100 yesterday. Shares rose 5.4% after forecasts expected a rise in profit margins.

On the currency markets, sterling rose against the dollar to $1.2737. The pound also had a strong day against the euro, rising 0.65% to €1.1376.

Finals

Biffa, Charles Stanley Group, Castings, Mulberry Group, Enteq Upstream, Norcros, Severfield

AGMs

Concepta, Futura Medical, HSS Hire Group, Manx Telecom, Steppe Cement Ltd, Tax Systems, Touchstar, Walcom Group

Interims

Elegant Hotels Group

UK Economic Announcements

(09:30) Claimant Count Rate

International Economic Announcements

(07:00) Consumer Price Index (GER)
(11:00) Industrial Production (EU)
(13:30) Retail Sales (US)

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

In an exclusive Guardian interview, Diane Abbott has revealed that she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes over two years ago. She also attacks the Conservative campaign as "vicious" towards her and reveals at one point the Labour Party considered legal action.

Hugo Rifkind, writing in The Times, explains why Uber ethical vacuum "drives him round the bend". He asks why technology companies get away with being so horrible, taking aim at Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The longest recorded chicken flight is 13 seconds long
 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY
 
House of Commons
 
Business
 
(i) The House will go to the House of Lords to receive Royal approbation for its choice of Speaker. (ii) Swearing in of Members of the Commons
 

House of Lords
 
Swearing in of members of the Lords
 

Scottish Parliament
 
Portfolio Questions: Education and Skills
 
Scottish Government Debate: Scotland’s Economy, Opportunities for Growth

 
TOMORROW
 
House of Commons
 
Business

Swearing in of Members of the Commons
 

House of Lords
 
No business scheduled.
 

Scottish Parliament

First Minister's Questions

Portfolio Questions

Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Justice and the Law Officers