2 October


2 October

Good morning,

“The citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic.”

These were the words of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont late last night after his government announced that people had voted in favour of independence. Around 90% of those who voted in the controversial vote backed separation in Sunday's vote, with the turnout calculated at 42.3%. However, when you pick up a newspaper today, you are likely to find on its front page images of the violence that marred the vote.

Confrontation had been expected, with the Spanish government declaring in advance that any referendum would be illegal, but the scale of brutality of the clashes between Spanish authorities and Catalan voters, which left more than 800 people injured, has shocked international onlookers.

Videos on social media surfaced over the course of the day which showed police using batons and rubber bullets to smash their way into polling stations and drag people out. There was also footage captured showing police clashing with local Catalan firefighters.

The sheer strength of force employed by riot police, drafted in from across Spain, appear to have only worsened deep tensions in the region. Indeed, some experts believe Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister - who it should be remembered leads a minority government - has now lost the political initiative following the heavy-handed tactics. It will be interesting to see how this plays out across domestic Spanish politics, as well as in Europe and internationally.

After a day of high emotion, Spain's tumultuous relationship with Catalonia is headed for uncharted territory. With the Catalans expected to declare independence in the next 48 hours, the Spanish government in Madrid will today meet and set out their response to what is the biggest political crisis they have faced in decades. The disagreement – and perhaps the bloodshed – doesn’t look like nearing a stable conclusion any time soon.


A gunman has been reported to have opened fire at a country music festival being held on the Las Vegas strip. There are reports from a local hospital that there are at least two people dead and 24 injured after automatic gunfire was heard near the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Theresa May has come under increasing pressure to remove Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson from his position, after he made another public intervention regarding his vision for a Brexit deal. The prime minister yesterday faced questions over her leadership as the Conservative party conference got underway in Manchester. (£)

Donald Trump has dismissed the prospect of talks with North Korea, tweeting that his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with Kim Jong-un. White House officials have played down the president’s opposition to talks, insisting that the administration were in agreement about how to deal with Pyongyang.

Business & Economy

300,000 future bookings for flights and holidays have been cancelled after the Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that Monarch Airlines has ceased trading. The airline - the UK's fifth biggest and the country's largest ever to go into administration - collapsed at 4am, leaving 110,000 customers stranded abroad. The CAA has chartered more than 30 planes to bring them back to the UK, a process Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has called the UK’s “biggest ever peacetime repatriation”. Monarch employs about 2,100 people and reported a £291m loss last year.

HSBC chairman Mark Tucker has already chosen the person who should replace Stuart Gulliver as chief executive, despite only taking up his role today. Europe’s biggest bank by assets now need the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority to grant approval before they can announce the appointment. (£)

The Institute of Directors has called on the Chancellor Philip Hammond to offer tax breaks for investment in order to boost confidence among business at a time of increasing pessimism about the future of the economy. The call was timed for the start of the Conservative party conference, after a survey showed that confidence in the economy has worsened markedly since the general election. (£)


The week ahead

In an event that will be carefully watched by the markets, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will take to the podium in Strasbourg on Tuesday to talk Brexit as MEPs prepare to vote on recommendations for the October 20 EU27 summit in Brussels.

It’s a busy day on Wednesday as Pepsi, Tesco and agrochemicals company Monsanto all post financial results. Investors are likely to be watching with a keen interest to see if PepsiCo can build on its momentum in selling pricier healthy snacks. The drinks giant has found success in charging higher prices for premium products, which has helped offset a fall in popularity for its trademark drink.

On Thursday, supermarket warehouse club Costco releases its fourth-quarter results, having shown a strong performance in a market that has suffered recent weak sales.

James Halstead

UK Economic Announcements
(00:01) GFK Consumer Confidence

Int. Economic Announcements
(10:00) Unemployment Rate (EU)
(15:00) Construction Spending (US)
(15:00) ISM Manufacturing (US)
(15:00) ISM Prices Paid (US) 


Columns of Note


With Brexit affecting several major areas of policy that are the responsibility of the UK’s devolved administrations, Kevin Pringle writes in The Sunday Timesthat Theresa May must work with the country's first ministers on UK-wide Brexit frameworks. Pringle says that formal co-decision making by the UK's four governments would show respect to devolution and earn the prime minster “favour in some strange places.”

Rachel Sylvester explains in the New Statesman why the Conservative conference will be “one big talent contest” in which cabinet ministers hope to catch the eye of the party activists who will elect the next leader. Sylvester says that Theresa May’s authority is so weak, her party is focusing on itself at a time when the country is facing its biggest economic and diplomatic challenge since the Second World War.

Did you know?

Humans can distinguish between at least a trillion smells.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons
In recess until 9th October for party conference season
House of Lords
In recess until 9th October for party conference season
Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled


Scottish Parliament

Scottish Government Debate: Roll-out of Universal Credit