20 April

@SueArthur

20 April

Good morning,

As expected, MPs in the House of Commons yesterday voted in favour of an early general election by 522 votes to 13. This means Britons are set to proceed to the ballot box on 8 June.
 
With only 49 days to go, the battle lines are being drawn with the first full day of campaigning starting in earnest today. The Prime Minister has said the country faces a “clear choice” between “strong and stable leadership”, or a coalition thrown together to “prop up” Jeremy Corbyn. She chose to make her first stump speech in Bolton, a Labour marginal that voted for Brexit. “Strong and stable” is set to be a catch phrase for the Conservative campaign.
 
Jeremy Corbyn will kick off with a message that rails against the establishment, “rich bosses and big corporations that don’t pay their share”, and promising to “put the majority first”. He will vow not to “play by the rules” and insists that the election result is not a foregone conclusion.

 Despite Theresa May’s resistance to TV debates prior to this election, the BBC and ITV are set to push ahead with plans for leaders’ debates. It’s unlikely that Mrs May will participate – but opposition leaders are pushing for her to be “empty-chaired” if she refuses to.
 
Mrs May has said she prefers to “get out and about and meet voters” – and took the opportunity to do so yesterday when she addressed supporters in Bolton.
 
And finally, Brenda from Bristol was our most clicked link yesterday. For some more light relief, watch as BBC reporter Nick Eardley is taken by surprise outside Westminster yesterday.

NEWS

The Financial Times leads with a report that Brussels is starting systematically to shut out British groups from multibillion–euro contracts and urging companies to consider having an office in the EU in order to maintain operating permits. This is according to an internal memo seen by the FT that explicitly calls on EU staff to begin encouraging the UK based private sector to prepare for the “legal repercussions” of Brexit. (£)

Former Chancellor George Osborne will step down as MP for Tatton in order to focus on his new role as editor of the Evening Standard. Mr Osborne gave his team at the London paper the scoop on his decision – but the revelation came too late to make the paper’s main edition, and had to be published in a specially commissioned late edition.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has “incontrovertible” test results that show sarin gas or a similar substance was used in the chemical weapons attack  on Syria earlier this month.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Business Secretary Greg Clark has indicated that ministers are finalising “muscular and strong” proposals to intervene in the energy market, in a clear warning that the government is preparing to put a cap on energy prices. Shares in Centrica and SSE fell more than 1.5 per cent on the back of his comments. (£)

The controversial Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has been dropped from the network after allegations of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment. Campaigners say the allegations against O’Reilly should alarm Ofcom, which is currently looking into the proposed Sky and 21st Century Fox merger.

Household finances are at their worst state since the summer of 2014. The household finance index, compiled by Markit, shows a “sharp and accelerated squeeze” in financial wellbeing in the average British household, as families report the biggest reduction in cash available to spend since August 2014.

 

MARKETS

Market news
The FTSE 100 continued to slide yesterday, reversing all its gains this year. The index fell by 33.14 points, or 0.46 per cent. In two days of trading, the index has lost 204.16 points.
 
The pound fell by 0.4 per cent against the dollar to $1.278.
 
The FTSE 250 recovered by 119.85 points, or 0.62 per cent, after shedding 227.42 points after news of the snap election.
 
Energy shares are expected to fall today after oil prices dropped sharply in New York last night, with news that US crude stockpiles had fallen by less than expected.

Finals
Electrical Geodesics Inc., Hvivo, Jersey Oil And Gas, Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings (DI), Xeros Technology Group

Interims
Gattaca

Q1 results
Unilever 

Q3 results
Sky

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

 The Economist suggests that Theresa May’s decision to call a snap-election marks her as a more ambitious politician than the political class realised. Although it is likely she will enhance her majority in the June election, the article predicts she will continue to preside over a deeply divided country.
 
The Harvard Business Review has conducted a comprehensive study of the secrets behind CEO success.  The findings challenge some widely held assumptions: while boards often gravitate toward charismatic extroverts, introverts are slightly more likely to surpass the expectations of their boards and investors. In addition, virtually all CEO candidates had made material mistakes in the past, and educational pedigree in no way correlated to overall performance.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Since 1900, 13 UK Prime Ministers have taken office without winning a General Election. 

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, including Topical Questions

Church Commissioners, the House of Commons Commission, the Public Accounts Commission and the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

Business Statement 

Leader of the House

House of Lords
In recess until 24 April. 


Scottish Parliament

First Minister's Questions

Scottish Government Debate: Defence Basing Reforms and the Impact on Scotland

 

TOMORROW
House of Commons

No business scheduled.

Scottish Parliament 
No business scheduled.