21 June

Ania Lewandowska

21 June

Good morning,

The Queen's Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, a political event steeped in tradition and history, takes place today. However, the ritual will feature less ceremonial elements than usual, with the Queen setting out the government's legislative programme wearing "day dress" instead of her usual robes, due to timing issues caused by the snap election.

Stripped of many of the Tory manifesto’s most controversial policies, the Speech is unlikely to include the bill to withdraw winter fuel payments from better-off pensioners, the bill to end triple-lock rises to the state pension, and the bill to make homeowners pay for their own social care visits. The Prime Minister has also backed down over plans to axe free school meals and has promised to work with “humility and resolve”. Whether that is enough to appease protestors expected to march on parliament today in protest at her government’s handling of the Grenfell Tower tragedy remains to be seen.

There will be another bill for HS2 and electric cars, a Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill and a draft bill banning landlords from charging tenants “letting fees”. Unsurprisingly, the Great Repeal Bill, the legislation that will ensure EU laws no longer apply in the UK, is expected to dominate the government’s next term.

The DUP are expected to vote for the Queen’s Speech and save the Prime Minister any embarrassment. However, as it stands, the deal to prop up May’s minority administration is in the balance, with the delay in any agreement believed to have been caused by the DUP’s financial demands, for both higher public spending in Northern Ireland and lucrative tax breaks.

The last few months have seen an incredible turnaround in the respective political fortunes of DUP leader Arlene Foster and Theresa May. How that will play out over the next few days and weeks is still unclear.

News

Belgian troops shot a suspected suicide bomber in Brussels Central Station last night, after what the police described as a small explosion, adding that there were no other casualties and the situation was under control. The incident happened just months after coordinated terrorist attacks in the city killed more than 30 people.

The Metropolitan police commissioner has warned that her force is financially stretched and that she needs more money to “do the job” of policing the capital in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks. Separately, assistant commissioner Mark Rowley has asked ministers to reassure officers that funding will not be diverted from mainstream policing as a result of intensified counter-terrorism activity.

An American F-15E fighter jet shot down an Iranian-made armed drone, marking the third American air-to-air combat incident this month. The drone was approaching a small military base at the Syrian town of Tanf, which US, British and Norwegian special operations forces use as a staging ground to train and equip rebel groups fighting the Syrian government and Islamic State militants.

Business & Economy

Travis Kalanick has resigned as the chief executive of Uber, Silicon Valley’s most valuable private company, following months of scandal and pressure from investors. Kalanick, who co-founded Uber, will no longer lead the $70 billion firm but will remain on its board of directors.

Oil prices fell to a seven-month low last night as rising production in the United States, Libya and Nigeria foiled an Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) led effort to support the market by cutting production. Libya and Nigeria are members of Opec but were exempted from the supply cut deal because of civil conflicts that had reduced output. The latest falls mean that oil has dropped by 22 per cent since January and technically is back in a bear market.

The number of East Europeans registering for work in the UK has plunged by a third since the EU Referendum, to its lowest level in over a decade, with immigrants deterred by the weak pound and uncertainty of Brexit. Registrations for national insurance numbers fell to around 26,000 in the first quarter of 2017, compared with just under 40,000 in the same period last year. (£)

Markets

The FTSE 100 closed lower yesterday, after falling commodities prices hit mining and oil stocks.By the end of day the index had shed 51 points or 0.68% to 7,473.

Mining companies saw some of the biggest falls after copper and iron ore prices slipped. Antofagasta dived 4.7% and Glencore fell 3.9%. BP and Royal Dutch Shell both lost more than two per cent as oil prices fell on fresh fears of oversupply in the worldwide oil industry.

Brent crude fell to a seven-month low and was last trading down 2.6% at $45.70 per barrel.

Banking giant Barclays dropped 3.95p to 202.8p after the lender and four former top bankers, including ex-boss John Varley, were charged with fraud over side-deals struck during the bank's emergency fundraising at the height of the financial crisis.

On the currency markets the pound fell sharply after the Bank of England governor Mark Carney said he did not favour an interest rate rise at the moment.

Sterling was down almost one per cent against the dollar at $1.26, having slid after Carney made the comments in his Mansion House speech in London.

AGMs
Andrews Sykes Group plc (ASY)
Blackstone GSO Loan Financing Limited (BGLF)
Brave Bison Group plc (BBSN)
Cathay International Holdings Ltd (CTI)
Cellcast plc (CLTV)
Clontarf Energy plc (CLON)
Good Energy Group Plc (GOOD)
London Security (LSC)
NetScientific plc (NSCI)
PhotonStar LED Group plc (PSL)
St Peter Port Capital Ltd (SPPC)
Tarsus Group Plc (TRS)
Third Point Offshore Investors Ltd (TPOG)
UK Commercial Property Trust (UKCM)
Walker Greenbank plc (WGB)
Whitbread plc (WTB)
Xeros Technology Group plc (XSG)
Final Results
Berkeley Group Holdings plc (BKG)
Hornby Plc (HRN)
Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDH)
Sirius Real Estate Limited (SRE)

UK Economic Announcements
(9:30) Public Sector Net Borrowing

Int. Economic Announcements
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Trading Announcements
Whitbread plc (WTB)

EGMs
St Peter Port Capital Ltd (SPPC)

Columns of Note

In today’s Financial Times, David Gardner focuses on the ongoing conflict in Syria. He analyses the most recent events and concludes that after six years of conflict, on many fronts and with multiple actors, there is still widespread confusion and that even “if Vladimir Putin is seeking an exit strategy from the country, Trump is not helping”.

Asa Bennett, writing in The Daily Telegraph, says the DUP has a lot to gain from the negotiations with the Conservative Party and, by insisting it “can’t be taken for granted”, is making the Prime Minister’s life a lot harder just hours before the Queen’s Speech. This is despite the fact that the parties have been informally working together in the Commons for the last seven years.

Did you know?

The little known Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 is generally considered to be the shortest war in history, lasting for a grand total of 38 minutes.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

State Opening of Parliament

Swearing in of Members of the Commons

Queen's Speech Debate

House of Lords

State Opening of Parliament

Motion for Humble Address

Scottish Parliament

Portfolio Questions: Health and Sport

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Debate: Transparent Government

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Debate: Agriculture

TOMORROW

House of Common

Debate on the Address

Future of Kent and Canterbury Hospital - Helen Whately

House of Lords

Debate on the Address

Foreign affairs, defence, international trade and international development - Earl Howe, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Scottish Parliament

General Questions

First Minister's Questions

Members' Business — S5M-06006 Tavish Scott: Island Games, Support Scotland's Athletes

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Ministerial Statement: Provisional Outturn 2016-17

Stage 3 Proceedings: Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill