21 August


21 August

Good morning,

The front pages of many of the national newspapers this morning carry tributes to “energetic, funny and cheeky” Julian Cadman. The seven-year-old boy was confirmed to be the youngest of 13 people killed in the terrorist attack in Barcelona last Thursday.
The schoolboy, who had dual British-Australian nationality, had become separated from his mother when the van ploughed into crowds on Las Ramblas. His disappearance in the aftermath of the attack led to a widespread search to find the missing child with many, including British officials, believing he was missing. However, the worst possible news was confirmed by Catalan police yesterday afternoon.
The police also said the manhunt for the van was ongoing, as they probe a link between the attack and previous atrocities in Brussels and Paris.
It is understood that Abdelbaki Es Satty, the imam suspected of masterminding Thursday’s terror, often travelled to Belgium and had been in the country in the three months before the Brussels airport and Metro station attacks that killed 32 people in March last year.
Furthermore, having discovered the car used in the Cambrils attack last week was caught speeding in Paris shortly before, suspicions have been raised about the extent of the connection between Thursday’s events and the attacks on France’s capital in 2015.
As police try to piece together the details, the rest of us are left to try and understand, yet again, why someone would want to carry out such a barbaric attack on innocent people. The needlessness of the attack is best summed up by a young 10-year-old boy visiting Barcelona from the UK who, at a vigil for the victims last night, said “people come here to have a nice holiday and, suddenly, they die”.


Ten sailors are missing and five injured after a US destroyer collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, the US Navy has said. The collision happened this morning after the USS John McCain prepared to perform a routine port stop in Singapore.

One of Europe’s leading judges has proposed plans which would allow Europe to retain access to the single market without answering to the EU’s court. The plans put forward by Carl Baudenbacher, president of the court of the European Free Trade Association, would allow the UK government to maintain close links to the EU’s programmes and markets while also withdrawing from the European Court of Justice. (£)

Hate crimes online will be treated as seriously as those that occur face to face under new plans announced by the Crown Prosecution Service. Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, will seek stiffer punishments for those who post abuse on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.


In the latest attempt to restore support in its Republican base, the Trump administration will ramp up its pursuit of tax reform and dial down a controversial national security investigation into steel imports. The move comes in the wake of open criticism from business leaders in relation to Trump’s reaction to the violence in Virginia. Many in the White House believe a more streamlined policy process can be achieved following the departure of chief strategist, Steve Bannon, on Friday. (£)

Crawford Falconer, the man tasked with negotiating the UK's trade deals once Brexit is finalised, will take up his position as chief trade negotiation adviser at the Department for International Trade this week. A New Zealander, he has represented New Zealand at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and held various posts in foreign and trade affairs in his home country in a career that has spanned 25 years.

Research by Deloitte has shown that the pay given to chief executives of FTSE100 companies has fallen by almost 20 per cent in the past year, a trend that the accountancy firm believes indicates policies introduced to limit bosses' pay appeared to be working. The median pay fell to £3.5m in 2016, from £4.3m a year before.


The week ahead
There are two key economic announcements to look out for this week.
The first is the release of public sector net borrowing figures. With the financial year only just getting into full swing, public sector finances have not diverged much so far from the forecasts produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility in March. However, tax receipts figures will offer a good indicator of the overall health of the UK economy.
Finally, while it is not expected that initial estimates of 0.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth will be revised, on Thursday economic growth figures for Q2 will be announced.


Writing in The Sunday TimesKevin Pringle says that the way to best honour those killed recently in Charlottesville and Barcelona is for people to build civility and tolerance towards others. Citing Robert Kennedy’s speech on the day of Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination, Pringle argues that words do make a difference and only when we show love, wisdom and compassion when pursuing political debate will we begin to achieve better outcomes. (£)
In The TimesBrexit Secretary David Davis has declared Britain ready to take a leap forward in the UK-EU Brexit talks. Davis says the early rounds of negoitations have shown that discussions around Britain exit cannot be separated from our future relationship with Europe but instead are “inextricably linked”.


The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris on this day in 1911. Incredibly, Pablo Picasso was questioned as a possible suspect for the theft.


House of Commons
In recess until 5th September

House of Lords
In recess until 5th September

Scottish Parliament
In recess until 3rd September