Prime Minister Theresa May will today give yet another Brexit speech as the Government continues to outline its position on upcoming negotiations.
The weather had threatened to curtail May's key note announcement, as she could not travel from London to Newcastle where the speech was due to be delivered. Luckily, when you're prime minister, snow doesn't disrupt much and venues such as Mansion House in London miraculously become available at short notice.
However, it was more than a little travel inconvenience that May was worried about last night, as the Financial Times is reporting this morning that once again Cabinet ministers clashed over the specific wording the prime minister would use.
In one corner, Boris Johnson and David Davis argued against wording that suggested Britain would form a “binding commitment to align” the car industry, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other sectors to EU rules.
Meanwhile, Greg Clark and Philip Hammond were arguing the case that for industries such as these, that have long and complicated supply chains and regulation, the only sensible option would be to align completely with EU rules.
The speech follows a day of meetings in Downing Street with Donald Tusk, in which the European Council president demanded a more comprehensive solution on the Irish border issue.
Regardless of Cabinet in fighting, which has maligned the negotiating process throughout, the prime minister will hope that this speech will allow her to move the debate forward and gain some momentum in the negotiating process.
Freezing conditions continued to cause disruption throughout the UK last night as hundreds of drivers were forced to spend the night stuck on roads due to heavy wind and snow. The Army has been deployed to deal with two major incidents in Hampshire and Avon and Somerset, as the UK faces the prospect of a fourth day of disruption.
The Commons public accounts committee has today released a scathing report in which it has urged ministers to identify which UK Government contractors are "too big to fail". The report follows news that the Government was forced to rethink its decision to pull funding from troubled adult training and apprenticeships provider Learndirect.
Researchers in Scandinavia have identified that diabetes is actually five different diseases, rather than the more standard classification in which it is broken down into either type one or type two. The scientists hope that their discovery will allow for the development of more tailored drugs for sufferers of the diseases.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Donald Trump has announced that the United States will impose heavy tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium for "a long period of time" in order to counter perceived Chinese steel dumping in the US. It is feared the announcement will trigger a retaliation from China and Europe and potentially lead to a trade war. The tariff will be set at 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.
Siemens has pledged to build a train manufacturing plant in Britain if it wins multi-billion pound contracts to supply rolling stock orders for either HS2 or London Undergound. The new plant would be Britain's third train manufacturing unit and the German company is using the prospect of the plant to sweeten the £5 billion bid.
According to a study of house prices by Nationwide, the UK property market faced its sharpest drop in prices in almost a year between January and February. Prices fell 0.3% as rising interest rates and a squeeze on incomes took their toll on the market. Economists had expected a drop of nearer 0.1%
WPP's share price tumbled yesterday upon news that the group had posted its worst results since the financial crisis. £1.5 billion was wiped off the share price of the marcomms giant following chief executive Martin Sorrell's admission that 2017 was "not a pretty year".
At one point in early trading, shares had dropped as much as 15%, prompting a four minute suspension in trading. By the end of the day, shares had recovered slightly, but the group still closed 8% down.
Alistair Osborne, writing in The Times, takes aim at Sorrell, arguing that he has become WPP's Wenger. He argues it may be too early for Sorrell to leave, but that he needs to do more to justify his position at the top of the company.
On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.12% against the dollar at $1.37610.
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UK Economic Announcements
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Intl. Economic Announcements
(07:00) Retail Sales (GER)
(10:00) Producer Price Index (EU)
(15:00) U. of Michigan Confidence (US)
COLUMNS OF NOTE
Jim Pickard, writing in the Financial Times Magazine, interviews John McDonnell and asks whether Britain is ready for a socialist chancellor. The wide ranging and long interview covers a number of topics, including McDonnell's previously controversial topics.
Polly Toynbee, writing in The Guardian, urges Sinn Féin MPs to take up their seats in parliament and become the "saviours of Ireland – and Britain". She urges the MPs to briefly break their long standing position of not participating at Westminster to break the Brexit impasse.
DID YOU KNOW?
WPP was founded as Wire and Plastic Products plc to manufacture wire shopping baskets in 1971. It was bought by Martin Sorrell in 1985.
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