There was mass celebrations on the streets on Zimbabwe yesterday after Robert Mugabe finally succumbed to mounting pressure from his party and resigned as president, bringing an an end to his 37 years in power.
MPs in the country had begun the long process of impeaching the president when a surprise letter from Mugabe was read out by the parliament’s Speaker. The letter outlined that his departure was “voluntary" and his wish was now to ensure a “smooth and non-violent transfer of power”. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa flew into Harare last night in anticipation of taking up the reins today.
In charge ever since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe is all many Zimbabweans have ever known and his exit leaves Queen Elizabeth II as the world’s oldest head of state. Those involved in the scenes of jubilation last night will be eager that a new era heralds a brighter future, free from the oppression that characterised Mugabe’s near-four decades in power.
In other news, Philip Hammond will later today deliver what is being described as a “make or break” Budget amid reports of rising tensions between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister. He is expected to illustrate his vision for a global Britain supported up by a “prosperous and inclusive economy”, with key policies in housing investment, teacher training and technological research and development expected to be announced.
However, following a bungled attempt to raise national insurance in March’s Budget, another flawed performance today and it might be the turn of MPs in Westminster to call for a change in leadership.
A recent intervention by Theresa May has appeared to bring new impetus to reaching a conclusion on the divorce deal, with the UK and the EU expected to strike a deal within the next three weeks. Reports suggest that the two negotiating parties have resolved the issues on a financial settlement and Northern Ireland.
The Competition and Markets Authority has ruled that a drugs company overcharged the NHS by millions of pounds for a thyroid treatment taken by thousands of patients. Concordia International faces a fine of tens of millions of pounds after the competition watchdog said it had abused its dominant position in the market.
David Cassidy, a teen pop idol in the 1970s, has died at the age of 67. The US actor and singer, who found fame in The Partridge Family, had been admitted to hospital last week after suffering multiple organ failure.
Business & News
Uber concealed a data breach for more than a year after hackers accessed the information of 57 million customers, the company has revealed. Instead of notifying the authorities and users following the breach last October, the taxi company paid $100,000 to the hackers in return for them keeping quiet and deleting the data.
Experts have said that the UK’s influence over the rules that govern European finance will diminish following the relocation of the European Banking Authority’s headquarters from London to Paris. The EBA, responsible for writing standards that EU banks should abide by, have been based in London since its creation in 2011.
Airbus UK operations chief has said that Brexit means Britain risks losing the “crown jewels” of its aviation industry to China. Speaking to a committee of MPs, Katherine Bennett said the threat of new customs red-tape and reduced employee mobility could deter long-term investment and hasten a shift to Asia.
What happened yesterday?
EasyJet were the high-flyers yesterday after it revealed that revenues at the start of its new financial year were “encouraging”. This strong performance has in part been put down to the demise of competitors, with Monarch, Air Berlin and Alitalia having all entered administration this year.
However, the airline has not been immune to a "difficult year", posting a 17% fall in full-year profits to £408m. The index overall closed 21.88 points higher at 7,411.34
In the more UK-focused FTSE 250, Aggreko shares plummeted 11% after its third quarter trading update disappointed investors.
Finally, on the currency markets, the pound dropped by 0.02% against the dollar to $1.32330 and was 0.08% higher against the euro at €1.17420
Cambria Automobiles, Countryside Properties, Euromoney Institutional Investor, Sage Group, SSP Group, Thomas Cook Group
Accsys Technologies, Biffa, Charles Stanley Group, Creightons, Eckoh, HICL Infrastructure Company Ltd, NewRiver REIT, Quiz, Syncona Limited NPV, United Utilities Group
Breedon Group, Forterra, Hill & Smith Holdings, HSS Hire Group
International Economic Announcements
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Durable Goods Orders (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(15:00) U. of Michigan Confidence (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
Columns of note
Janan Ganesh defends Philip Hammond in the Financial Times, saying the Chancellor’s critics lack the experience to know how to better improve the economic fortunes of the country. He says Hammond’s removal would force “the burden of action on to Westminster’s biggest talkers” and “might even teach them some respect for the innate difficulty of government”.
Writing in The Times, Roger Boyes concludes that Angela Merkel has repeatedly mishandled or ignored her country’s most pressing problems, and Germans need a change of Chancellor. Boyes says Merkel’s strength of offering stability and security is no longer a political asset for the country.
Did you know?
John Bercow is a familiar face in the Speaker’s seat during set-piece events in the House of Commons. However, he will vacate the seat for his deputy when Philip Hammond delivers his Budget later today. The tradition of switching the speaker for a deputy dates back to the late 17th century when MPs were concerned that the Speaker was the King’s spy.
House of Commons
Oral Questions: Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (including Topical Questions)
Prime Minister’s Question Time
Budget Statement – Philip Hammond
House of Lords
Planning and procurement for delay-free border crossings between the UK and EU immediately following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU - Lord Berkeley
Concerns raised in the Social Mobility Commission’s 'State of the Nation' report - Lord Lennie
Level of services for the collection of recycled materials and other refuse from domestic properties - Lord Greaves
Current projection for the aggregate deficit of NHS provider organisations - Lord Harris of Haringey
Short Debate: Improving the standard of wound care in the NHS - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Portfolio Questions: Education and Skills
Scottish Government Debate: Working in Partnership to Reduce Flood Risk Across Scotland
House of Commons
International Trade (including Topical Questions)
Women and Equalities (including Topical Questions)
Debate: Continuation of the Budget Debate
House of Lords
Oral Questions: Discussion with the devolved administrations establishing an intergovernmental forum to decide on appropriate competence for powers relating to devolved functions repatriated from the EU following Brexit - Lord Wigley
First Minister's Questions