16 May

@Stu7Tay

16 May

Good morning,
 

Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia was thrown into the spotlight again overnight after the Washington Post reported that the US President had shared highly classified information about Islamic State to senior Russian officials during a White House meeting last week.

At the meeting with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, and Sergei Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador, Trump reportedly went “off-script” and provided information considered so sensitive that some details had been withheld from international allies and members of the US administration. Indeed, the Washington Post reports that for almost anyone else in government, discussing such matters would be illegal and it is only the US President’s authority to declassify government secrets that prevents his actions from being considered to have broken the law.

Connections with Russia have dogged the Trump administration to date and this meeting – which came just a day after the firing of FBI director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow – once again calls into question whether the President’s shoot-from-the-hip approach is compatible with the intricacies of foreign diplomacy. 

One can only imagine what Hillary Clinton has made of today’s news, given her presidential rival last year condemned relentlessly the way in which she handled confidential information.

This side of the pond, one document which certainly isn’t classified is the Labour manifesto, which is launched officially today after being leaked in draft form last week. Jeremy Corbyn will promise a "radical and responsible" plan for government that will work "for the many not the few."

 

NEWS

Moors murderer Ian Brady who, alongside Myra Hindlay, was responsible for the torture and murder of five children in the 1960s, has died at the age of 79. Brady was jailed for his crimes in 1966 and passed away after a long illness yesterday at Ashworth Hospital, a secure psychiatric unit in Merseyside where he had been detained since 1985.
 

A former head of GCHQ has said that Microsoft should have continued support for its Windows XP system to protect public services from cyberattacks such as the one that brought NHS hospitals to a standstill last week. In a letter to The Times, Sir David Omand claims that the tech giant knew how reliant private and public sector bodies were on the system when it withdrew support in 2014. (£)
 

France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, has appointed centre-right mayor Edouard Philippe as France's new prime minister. Philippe is from the centre-right Republicans and his selection is seen as an attempt by Macron to further weaken the divided right and attract right-wing politicians to his En Marche movement.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

JP Morgan has bought an office block in Dublin’s docklands for €125 million as it seeks to accommodate 1,000 workers as part of its Brexit contingency plans. The purchase is seen as a further move by the American investment bank to boost its presence in the European Union. (£)
 
A study of property owners has found that leasehold has become the biggest concern for homeowners in the UK, after it emerged that many new homebuyers have become stuck by spiralling ground rents. The report by HomeOwners Alliance found that 50% of UK adults see the current leasehold/freehold system as a serious problem, an increase of eight per cent since last year.
 
Ford is planning to reduce its salaried workforce by 10% in North America as it attempts to combat a falling share price by cutting costs. The car maker currently has around 30,000 salaried workers in the continent.

 

MARKETS

Shares in commodities firms and banks helped the FTSE100 end the day on another record high yesterday.

At the close, the index posted a rise of 0.25%, or 19 points, to 7,454, with Anglo American, Glencore, Standard Chartered, BHP Billiton and Barclays all enjoying gains. It was also a good day for energy shares after Brent crude rose more than 2% to $52.17 a barrel.

However, it wasn’t such a good day for travel companies after TUI and Thomas Cook suffered respective losses of 4.8% and 3.4%.

On the currency markets, the pound climbed 0.3% against the dollar to $1.292, but fell slightly at 1.176 euros.

Finals
BTG, DCC, First Derivatives, NewRiver REIT, Premier Foods, Speedy Hire, Summit Germany Limited, Vodafone Group

AGMs
Aldermore Group, Charles Taylor, Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (DI), Gulf Marine Services, Impax Environmental Markets, IWG, Merchants Trust, Polymetal International, Petards, Quarto Group Inc., Rockhopper Exploration, Standard Life, Ubisense Group, Xaar

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Consumer Price Index
(09:30) Producer Price Index
(09:30) Retail Price Index

International Economic Announcements
(10:00) Balance of Trade (EU)
(13:30) Building Permits (US)
(13:30) Housing Starts (US)
(14:15) Capacity Utilisation (US)
(14:15) Industrial Production (US)

 

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

To mark the launch of Labour’s general election manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn has written for the Daily Mirror to argue that the country is rigged against the young. He says his party will govern for the many and will “challenge the elite and their cosy consensus.”


In The Telegraph, former Conservative leader William Hague shares his belief that the Liberal Democrats are struggling to gain traction with voters in this election because Theresa May’s pitch on the middleground negates the need for minority parties. He says the Prime Minister’s offering appeals to a broad base of the electorate and people are turning to the Conservatives and away from both Tim Farron’s party and Ukip.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Although Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, Venus is the hottest of all the planets, because it has an atmosphere about 90 times thicker than that of Earth, made almost entirely of carbon dioxide, which traps all the heat. The average temperature on Venus is 462 degrees Celsius.

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
 
House of Lords 
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Government Debate: A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People


TOMORROW

House of Commons

In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
 
House of Lords 
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament
Portfolio Questions: Communities, Social Security and Equalities

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Debate: Fisheries

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Debate: Education