23 July 2018

Charlie Peters

23 July 2018

Good morning, 

It’s no secret that British politics has endured an especially turbulent few months. Mrs May’s plane has been stuck in a nasty weather pattern for some time and the Cabinet crew have struggled to deliver a first-class service. In light of this, I find it useful to check up on the interior affairs of our friends and neighbours for any drama that might distract from our own nightmares.

But where should one start when looking for some baffling political controversy? The answer, of course, is France. And boy, have they delivered. A former aide to French President Emmanuel Macron has been charged with beating protestors during the annual May Day protests. Alexandre Benalla, who worked for Macron’s En Marche party, was sacked on Friday after his identity was revealed in footage of the violence.

Look West, and there is more marvellous ex-aide news to satisfy your belief that things could be much worse. Carter Page, one of Donald Trump’s former foreign policy aides, has been forced to deny that he was a Russian agent. The FBI alleged that Mr Page was supplying the Russian government with information during the 2016 election.

Say what you like about Theresa May’s team, but at least no one is being charged with grievous bodily harm or facing allegations of working for the KGB. It’s almost enough to make you feel that everything is going swimmingly.

News

Dominic Raab, who has been Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union since the 9th of July, believes a deal with the EU can be reached by October. Mr Raab made the claim on the Andrew Marr show, where he argued that the key to a good deal will be “energy, ambition and pragmatism.”

The British government has tacitly abandoned its blanket opposition to the American death penalty and Guantanamo Bay in order to allow for two members of the “Beatles” group of ISIS terrorists to be sent to the US. Following Donald Trump’s recent visit to the UK, The Telegraph leads on this important development in UK-US relations. It is understood that Sajid Javid sent a letter to Jeff Sessions, the US attorney general, outlining that he required “no assurances” that the pair would not be executed.

Jake Meyer has become the tenth Briton to reach the summit of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. Mr Meyer, a mountaineer and army reserve officer, managed the feat on Saturday morning following three abandoned attempts over ten years.

Business & Economy 

There is trouble on the London Underground as train manufacturing companies Hitachi and Bombardier have launched a legal battle to prevent Transport for London (TfL) from giving a contract to a rival firm. TfL awarded a £1.5bn contract to Siemens to replace the decades-old Piccadilly Line trains, but Hitachi and Bombardier suspect that TfL did not carry out a proper procurement process.

French Finance Minister Brune Le Maire has claimed that trade war is now a reality, as G20 ministers prepare to gather at the Argentina summit. Mr Le Maire argued that the current US policy of unilateral tariffs is based on “the law of the jungle.” US Trade Secretary Steve Mnuchin, apparently unaware of the contradiction, defended the tariffs whilst also urging that the EU and China should open their markets for competition.

Ofcom has urged Virgin Media and UKTV to re-establish a working relationship following a row about fees led to 10 channels being cut in more than four million homes over the weekend.

Markets

The week ahead 

Japan has this morning been forced to deploy a rarely used mechanism to stabilise bond prices, after they fell for a second straight session. The recent dip comes amid speculation that Japanese monetary policy could be adjusted. On Friday, a Reuters report claimed that the Bank of Japan has been in discussion with policymakers about whether to change their quantitative easing programme.
 
China Tower Corporation, the world’s largest telecommunications tower group, is seeking to raise $8.68bn in a Hong Kong IPO which is expected to be the largest the city has seen for eight years. The company made a pre-tax profit of $400m in 2017, but was lossmaking as recently as 2015.
 
There are more important Brexit-related market developments this morning as Brussels has rejected the UK’s proposals on how to govern the City of London’s access to the European market after Brexit. They argue that Theresa May’s proposals would remove the EU’s “decision-making autonomy.”

Finals
SRT Marine Systems
Tungsten Corporation

Interims
Ascential
Microgen
McColl's Retail Group
SThree

Trading Announcements
JTC Paragon Banking Group
Petra Diamonds Ltd.

AGMs
Active Energy Group
B.S.D Crown Ltd
Castleton Technology
Ethernity Networks Ltd
Global Resources Investment Trust

Int. Economic Announcements
(15:00) Existing Home Sales (US)

Columns of Note 

Chief economist at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, writes in the FT on the Bank’s introduction of diversity targets for the workplace. Haldane comments that viewing diversity versus merit is a false choice, and balancing representation in the workplace should be considered a new indicator of success. (£)

Clare Foges comments in The Times that the propensity of illiberal “strongmen” such as Trump, Putin and Duterte to live up to their voters’ demands could teach other political leaders some lessons. Foges notes that whilst many of their campaigns hinge on introducing autocratic measures, their core message is one of optimism, which western democracies currently lack. 

Did you know?

More than 68,000 people in Japan are over 100 years old.

Parliamentary highlights 

TODAY

House of Commons
Oral questions
Housing, Communities and Local Government (including Topical Questions)
 
General Debate
Strengthening the Union

House of Lords
Oral questions
Preventing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in junior and amateur sport - Lord Addington

Human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir - Lord Hussain 

Enabling citizens to enter into a same-sex marriage in British Overseas Territories - Baroness Barker
 
Amending the Apprenticeship Levy to take account of the concerns of the creative industries - Lord Foster of Bath 
 
Debate
Preparations and negotiations connected to the UK’s exit from the EU - Lord Callanan

TOMORROW

House of Commons
Oral questions
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
 
Ten Minute Rule Motion
 
Civil Aviation (Accessibility) - Helen Whately
 
Motion
Third Report of Session 2017-19 from the Committee on Standards - Andrea Leadsom
 
General debate
Matters to be considered before the forthcoming Adjournment
 
Adjournment
First tier tribunals, section 24 powers and enforcement on freeholders - Jim Fitzpatrick
 
House of Lords
Oral questions
Updating the cost estimate and business case for HS2 Phase One - Lord Berkeley
 
Implications for the Government's proposed domestic abuse strategy of the default payment of universal credit to couples - Baroness Lister of Burtersett
 
What assessment the Government made of the precedents for Parliament providing them with a mandate for international negotiations - Lord Lea of Crondall
 
What progress the Government have made towards establishing an online pensions dashboard - Lord McKenzie of Luton
 
Legislation
Registration of Marriage Bill [HL] - Third reading - The Lord Bishop of St Albans
 
Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill - Third reading - Baroness Donaghy
 
Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill - Third reading - Lord Knight of Weymouth
 
Home Education (Duty of Local Authorities) Bill [HL] - Third reading - Lord Soley
 
Non-Domestic Rating (Nursery Grounds) Bill – Second reading - Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
 
Orders and regulations
Draft Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 - Motion to approve - Baroness Williams of Trafford
 
Higher Education (Transparency Condition and Financial Support) (England) Regulations 2018 - Motion to approve - Viscount Younger of Leckie
 
Higher Education (Fee Limits and Fee Limit Condition) (England) Regulations 2018 - Motion to approve - Viscount Younger of Leckie
 
Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (Cooperation and Information Sharing) Regulations 2018 - Motion to regret - Lord Watson of Invergowrie
 
Motion
To move to resolve that, notwithstanding the announcement by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 17 April (HL Deb, cols 1074–5), following the adjournment on this day the House do next sit on Monday 6 August. - Lord Adonis

Scottish Parliament
Recess until 5th September