22 June

Ania Lewandowska

22 June

Good morning,

The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council has resigned. In a statement, Nicholas Holgate said that the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, had “required the leader of the council to seek my resignation”.

The council and the government have both been criticised for the way they have responded to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, although the council leader, Nicholas Paget-Brown has praised Holgate for leading “from the front” and said it was with regret that he accepted his resignation.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister apologised for "state" failures and inadequate support made available to Grenfell Tower fire victims in the initial hours after the disaster. May admitted it was "not good enough". Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, demanded emergency funding for sprinklers in all tower blocks.

News emerged yesterday that 68 social housing flats in Kensington, just over 1.5 miles from Grenfell Tower, are to be made available to survivors of the fire. The announcement received a cautious welcome from a group supporting Grenfell residents.

With a fairly threadbare Queen’s Speech out of the way, the Prime Minister heads to Brussels today, where she is expected to outline her approach to the "hugely important issue" of reassuring EU expats about their futures in Britain at a summit that is her first Brexit test since losing her party’s majority in the Commons.

News

The Iraqi military has claimed that Islamic State destroyed the mosque where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” in 2014. The Grand Nouri mosque in Mosul, one of Islam’s most venerated sites, has been destroyed as Iraqi forces battled Islamic State militants nearby. The fighters detonated explosives inside the structures, levelling the mosque and its iconic leaning minaret. The minaret stood for more than 840 years. IS has blamed a US strike for the mosque's destruction.

Britain is now on smog alert after levels of toxic ozone gases breached EU safety limits on the hottest June day since 1976. Asthmatics and people with other health conditions have been warned to take extra care. The warnings come as the UK bakes in a near record heatwave, with parts of the country set to get hotter this week.

US President Donald Trump has told supporters that his proposed wall along the border with Mexico could have solar panels fixed to it. Speaking at a rally in Iowa, Trump suggested that a solar wall would “create energy and pay for itself”. The panels would make the wall “beautiful” he said, before praising himself by adding, “Pretty good imagination, right?”. Trump's speech also touched on healthcare, unemployment and foreign relations.

Business & Economy

Hollywood actor George Clooney and two business partners have signed a deal to sell their premium tequila brand Casamigos for almost $1bn. Drinks giant Diageo will initially pay $700m (£553m) and possibly an additional $300m (£237m) based on the performance of the brand over the next decade. Clooney founded Casamigos four years ago with Cindy Crawford’s husband Rande Gerber and real estate developer Mike Meldman. The purchase will be Diageo's biggest since it bought United Spirits for $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) in 2014. (£)

Takata Corp will reportedly seek bankruptcy protection from creditors on Monday. The troubled Japanese airbag manufacturer faces billions of dollars in liabilities, stemming from the biggest recall in automotive history. Takata shares plunged again yesterday, losing almost half of their value in just three days of trading.

Alibaba boss Jack Ma, the head of China's largest e-commerce company, is in Detroit to woo US businesses to his platform, as China looks to replace America as the world's largest consumer economy. Ma, a former English teacher turned China’s richest man, said Alibaba’s strategy is to get one million small businesses to sell goods to Chinese consumers on its website in the next five years.

Markets

The FTSE 100 fell for a second day, giving up 0.3% to end at 7,447.79.

Financial, oil and gas and consumer-goods shares closed lower, but the basic materials, consumer-services and industrial groups rose.

UK sub-prime lender Provident Financial led the fallers, down 17.6 per cent to £23.61, after the doorstep lender warned of problems switching collections to full-time managers from self-employed agents.

Investment management firm Hargreaves Lansdown fell by 2.4%, while St James's Place dropped 1.8% and Standard Life lost 1.5%.

Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn and the Costa coffee chain, was the biggest riser, up 3.4% at 3984p following the release of upbeat trading details for the first quarter.

The FTSE 250 was also down, losing 89.10 points or 0.45% to finish at 19,682.61.
On the currency markets, the pound was up 0.21% against the dollar at $1.2656.
The pound also gained against the euro, up 0.17% to 1.1360 euros.

AGMs
Adgorithms Ltd (ADGO)
Avesoro Resources Inc (ASO)
Braemar Shipping Services plc (BMS)
Cadogan Petroleum (CAD)
ECSC Group Plc (ECSC)
EVR Holdings Plc (EVRH)
Petropavlovsk plc (POG)
Pro Global Insurance Solutions plc (PROG)
Saga plc (SAGA)
Savannah Petroleum plc (SAVP)
Senterra Energy plc (SEN)
Taliesin Property Fund Ltd (TPF)
Tandem Group Plc (TND)
Tiger Resource Finance (TIR)
Union Jack Oil plc (UJO)
Universe Group plc (UNG)
Velocys plc (VLS)
Wentworth Resources Ltd (WRL)
Widecells Group plc (WDC)
Xtract Resources plc (XTR)
Interim Results
Chemring Group plc (CHG)

UK Economic Announcements
(11:00) CBI Industrial Trends Surveys

Int. Economic Announcements
(13:00) House Price Index (US)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)

Trading Announcements
Whitbread plc (WTB)

Columns of Note

Owen Jones, The Guardian columnist, tells readers today that the Grenfell Tower tragedy is a symbol of crumbling Tory order. Jones calls for a new order and says that “the Tories are desperately attempting to shore up a system that has engineered the longest squeeze in wages since the Napoleonic wars”. The author is convinced that a politicised and mobilised population can create a new society “intolerant of injustice and inequality”.

In The Times, Jenni Russell writes about yesterday’s “day of rage protest”, organised by political activists who have been accused of politicising the Grenfell tragedy. Russell recalls peoples’ generosity after the fire, and says emotions are still raw for many. She opines that Theresa May got it wrong and that she didn’t quite seem to understand the scale of this tragedy.

Did you know?

Beavers are second only to humans in their ability to manipulate and change their environment.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons

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

TOMORROW

House of Commons

No business scheduled.

House of Lords

No business scheduled.

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled.