21 March

Stuart Taylor

21 March

We woke this morning to hear that Martin McGuinness, who was Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister until January this year, has died at the age of 66.

It is understood he had been suffering from a rare heart condition.

McGuinness was a pivotal, but extremely polarising figure in Northern Irish politics, as he transitioned from leader of the paramilitary organisation, the IRA, to become one of the defining architects of the peace process in the country for Sinn Féin.

Born in 1950 in Londonderry, he was drawn to the civil rights movement and the IRA’s push for an independent Northern Ireland. In 1972, aged just 21, he rose to become second in-command when 14 protestors were killed by British soldiers on what became known as Bloody Sunday.

The paramilitary organisation kept up an intense campaign of violence over the coming years, which eventually led to his arrest and subsequent jail sentence.

McGuinness maintains he made the move into politics in 1974, though many are convinced that he remained involved with the organisation during the darkest days of the Troubles; a time of high profile incidents including the IRA hunger strikes and the Brighton bombing during the Conservative party conference.

He became the chief negotiator as the country worked towards a political solution to its problems. It was during this time that he forged an unlikely alliance with Ian Paisley, the DUP leader who was the fiercest opponent of the republican movement. The two would take the top jobs in the newly-formed Assembly, and developed such an affinity in their years in government that they became known by the nickname The Chuckle Brothers.

His divisive legacy will now command many column inches over the coming days, between those who will remember him as the staunch republican who ended up shaking hands with the Queen, and those who will never be able to reconcile McGuinness, the deputy first minister, with the firebrand of the past.

 

NEWS

Ivanka Trump has been given her own office in the West Wing, confirming her position as an integral member of her father’s White House team. The president had said she would play no formal role in his administration, but will now be granted clearance to access classified information.

The US government are to introduce a measure to ban electronic devices from cabin baggage on flights from eight mainly Middle Eastern and North African countries. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to make an announcement today, with the policy reported to be sparked by intelligence gathered abroad.

Data from the the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons has found that there has been a 24% increase in the number of baby teeth being removed from children. Sugary diets are being blamed for the rise in extractions, with the lead researcher for the data concluding it is having a” devastating effect” on the state of children’s teeth.

 

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

The European boss of Google has apologised after online adverts for major brands appeared next to extremist material, but stopped short of saying whether the internet giant would begin to actively seek out such content and take action against it.

With Theresa May ready to invoke Article 50 next week, the German city of Frankfurt appears to be leading the competition to secure jobs from the city of London. Being the home of the European Central Bank has given the city an edge over its financial centre rivals. (£)

Microsoft founder Bill Gates once again topped Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, though it was bad news for Donald Trump. Mr Gates’ fortune rose to $86bn, from $75bn, but the US president fell 220 places to 544 with a fortune of $3.5bn.

 

MARKETS

The news that Article 50 was to be triggered later this month halted Sterling’s morning rise against the dollar. By midday, after May’s announcement, the pound fell 0.1% against the dollar at $1.2387. Against the euro it dropped 0.2% to 1.1521 euros.

On the stock market, the FTSE 100 was down 7.45 points at 7,417.51, with Primark owner Associated British Foods the biggest riser at 1.7%.

Finals

888 Holdings, Accesso Technology Group, Augean, EnQuest, Fevertree Drinks, Gamma Communications, Goals Soccer Centres, Huntsworth, Hansteen Holdings, IQE, Judges Scientific, Mears Group, NAHL Group, SafeCharge International Group Limited (DI), Smart Metering Systems, Sinclair Pharma, Ubisense Group, Vectura Group

Interims

Bellway, Earthport, SCS Group

UK Economic Announcements

(09:30) Consumer Price Index

(09:30) Producer Price Index

(09:30) Public Sector Net Borrowing

(09:30) Retail Price Index

(11:00) CBI Industrial Trends Surveys

Int. Economic Announcements

(12:30) Current Account (US)

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

“Tough-minded, abrupt, likable, human” is how Martin McGuinness is described by Alastair Campbell in today’s Guardian. Tony Blair’s former Director of Communications writes about his relationship with the man he worked closely with to help deliver peace to Northern Ireland, an act Campbell says took real courage from McGuinness.

Janan Ganesh turns his attack on the “Three Brexiteers” of Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis in today’s Financial Times. He charges the trio with manipulating the public debate over Brexit to such an extent that “even vigilant observers of politics are only semi-conscious of how far the country has been led.” He goes on to say that they continually over-promise on what leaving the EU will look like for Britain, and seamlessly talk their way out of trouble when “reality finds them out.” (£)

 

DID YOU KNOW?

In 1946, Hungary experienced the worst case of hyperinflation — a very high accelerating rate of inflation — in modern history. Inflation reached a mind-boggling 13.6 quadrillion percent per month, causing prices to double every fifteen hours. The largest bank note denomination was 100 quintillion.

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Health, including Topical Questions

Debate

Fuel poverty

House of Lords

Oral Questions

Public health in Occupied Territories of Palestine and international action to keep Gaza Strip habitable — Lord Hylton

Scottish Parliament

Topical Questions

Scottish Government debate: Scotland’s Choice

TOMORROW

House of Commons

Oral Questions

Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, including Topical Questions

Prime Minister’s Questions

Debate

Exiting the European Union and global trade

House of Lords

Legislation

Digital Economy Bill — Report stage (day 3) — Lord Ashton of Hyde

European Union Committee

Oral Evidence Session: David Davies MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Department for Exiting the European Union