20 November

@lyle_h_hill

20 November

Good morning,

Robert Mugabe took to state TV in Zimbabwe yesterday evening to deliver what was widely tipped to be the final speech of his 36 year presidency.

Instead, the 93-year-old Mugabe was defiant in his lengthy address, refusing to stand down from the presidency, despite the deadline of noon today set by his Zanu-PF party. In his speech, Mugabe acknowledged the concerns of the army who had placed him under house arrest, but announced he would reside over the Zanu-PF party congress next week despite being stripped of the party leadership.

However, his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will have other ideas, after he was elected leader of the party this weekend and became its candidate for the 2018 general election. It represented the final victory of Mnangagwa's faction over Mugabe's wife Grace, who was expelled from the party.

Mugabe looks to be in the dying embers of his presidency and if he does not resign by the deadline set by his party, will almost certainly be impeached tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a little closer to home, Angela Merkel is having problems of her own. In a surprise announcement, the liberal FDP confirmed it had pulled out of coalition talks with the German chancellor, citing that it has "no basis of trust" to move forward into a coalition with the CDU/CSU bloc and the Greens.

This spells trouble for Merkel, who will now struggle to find the support needed to form a coalition and function as a majority government. If she cannot persuade the FDP to come back to the negotiating table, she may be forced to call another election following September's result.

Political uncertainty in Germany could come at a cost, as the September election saw many voters move away from the mainstream parties to the far-right AfD. This shift delivered the AfD its first seats in parliament and, despite its internal divides, the party would expect to do even better in a re-run of September's vote.

News

The cult leader Charles Manson has died in the United States at the age of 83.He had spent four decades in prison after directing his followers to commit seven murders in the late 1960s. The murders were designed to advance a race war in the United States, through which Manson believed he would emerge as the leader of a new social order.

Theresa May is expected to offer an improved divorce bill settlement to the EU on Friday, following discussions with her Cabinet today. The proposals will be put to ministers for sign off and are expected to be approved, with the move seen as an attempt to push forward Brexit negotiations and begin discussions on a trade deal before the end of the year.

Police are treating the death of teenager Gaia Pope as 'unexplained' following the discovery of her body 11 days after she had gone missing. Dorset Police said in a statement that there were no injuries to suggest someone else had been involved in her death.

Business & Economy

Proposals put forward by the work and pensions select committee would see companies facing large fines for falsely classifying their workers as self-employed. The proposals would be the first significant crackdown on the so-called 'gig economy' and would put the onus on the employer to prove a worker was self-employed.

Hyperoptic, a broadband firm backed by investors such as George Soros, is working with the UK's largest developers to lay high speed fibre-optic cables into newly built flats and houses. Hyperoptic raised £150 million in its latest round of funding and hopes to compete with the UK's traditional broadband providers BT and Virgin Media.

The UK is to allow road tests of driverless cars by 2019 as part of a large group of measures designed to improve the UK's technology and science sectors. The chancellor is expected to announce the measures in his Budget on Wednesday as he looks to improve innovation and productivity in the UK economy.

Markets

The week ahead
The markets will be looking closely at Philip Hammond's second Budget on Wednesday, to see if the "tinkering chancellor" can produce some bold policies.

Hammond appeared on the Sunday politics shows yesterday, interviewed first by Andrew Marr and then by Robert Peston. What is clear is that there will be action on housebuilding, although the chancellor was clear that there is no "silver bullet" solution to the issue.

Instead, he managed to mire himself in some controversy. When asked by Marr about unemployment, the chancellor replied "where are the unemployed people?". I think it would be quite a stretch to imagine that the man in charge of the pursestrings was unaware that some people in the UK are unemployed, but his choice of words was cumbersome.

In America, Wednesday will see the release of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee minutes from October. The Committee kept rates interest rates the same in the US, amongst the backdrop of strengthening labour market figures and the upward trajectory of the US economy.

To round off the week, Friday marks the return of the annual Black Friday, which marks the start of the Christmas shopping season with a day of sales and online deals. However, predictions point to a fall in Christmas sales for the first time since 2012 amid Brexit uncertainty and stagnation in real wages.

Finals
Diploma
Progility

Interims
Bonmarche Holdings
Mitie Group
Nex Group
Trading Announcements
TT Electronics
William Hill

Int. Economic Announcements
(07:00) Producer Price Index (GER)

Columns of Note

John Harris, writing in the Guardian, argues that Michael Gove was right to call for increased computer literacy. He believes we are failing our children by persisting with analogue education when the future is digital.

Rana Foroohar, writing in the Financial Times, believes that if Donald Trump really wants to put America first, he should compare the US trade practices to those of China and learn from their strategy.

Did you know?

Emmerson Mnangagwa was demoted by Robert Mugabe in 2005 from Speaker of the House Assembly to Minister for Rural Housing. However, he regained favour after helping Mugabe maintain power following the 2008 power sharing agreement with Morgan Tsvangirai.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

Oral Questions
Home Office (including Topical Questions)

Motion
To approve a Ways and Means Resolution relating to the Taxation (Cross-Border) Trade Bill

Adjournment
Companies House and transgender persons - Nicky Morgan

House of Lords

Oral Questions

Impact of the UK’s exit from the EU Open Skies Agreement on the UK’s tourism industry - Baroness Doocey

Contribution offsite manufactured housing can make to the Government proposals for fixing our “broken housing market" - Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Closing down VAT evasion by overseas sellers trading in the UK through online marketplaces - Lord Lucas

Centre for Entrepreneurs calculations that 600,000 start-up companies were founded in 2016 - Viscount Ridley

Short Debate
Reviewing the operation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the devolved administrations - Lord Empey

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled

TOMORROW

House of Commons

Oral Questions
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (including Topical Questions)

Legislation
Continuation of consideration in Committee of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - day 3

House of Lords

Oral Questions
Legislation to control the use of drones - Baroness Randerson

Human rights situation in Indian-held Kashmir - Lord Hussain

Target number of additional social homes to be built by 2022 - Lord Shipley

Improving the performance of the Student Loans Company - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Scottish Parliament

Ministerial Statement
UK Supreme Court judgment on minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland

Scottish Government Debate
Suicide Prevention in Scotland