23 March

Adam Shaw

23 March

More details of yesterday’s tragic events at Westminster emerged overnight. It has now been confirmed that four people have died — including the attacker — and 40 were injured, after a man in a car deliberately struck crowds of people on Westminster Bridge before entering the grounds of the Palace of Westminster on foot and stabbing a police officer. A terrifyingly simple attack conducted with tools readily available to anyone.

The only fatality to have been named by the authorities so far is PC Keith Palmer, an officer with Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command who had 15 years’ service. He was a husband and father.

Police say they have identified the attacker but are not yet releasing his name. They have said that they believe he was inspired by international terrorism and was working alone. As messages of condolence were received from world leaders, armed police raided six properties in London and Birmingham, making seven arrests.

Parliament will sit as normal today — perhaps the most fitting response to such barbarity.

 

NEWS

Inside the House of Commons, just a few hours before those events unfolded, Jeremy Corbyn had accused Theresa May of breaking a manifesto commitment not to cut education funding. At Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour leader said the Prime Minister’s plans to shake up school funding would be “betraying a generation” by leaving about 9,000 schools facing steep cuts. This prompted a personal attack by May on members of the Labour frontbench for sending their children to private and grammar schools.

Former US president Bill Clinton and ex-Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson are expected to be among thousands of mourners as former Northern Ireland deputy first minister and Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuiness is laid to rest today. The service will take place at Long Tower Church in Derry’s Bogside neighbourhood where McGuiness lived his entire life.

Post-election communications to and from Donald Trump’s team were swept up in an “incidental collection” by intelligence agencies according to Republican congressman Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee. Nunes said that this did not support Trump’s claim that former president Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower. However, Trump has said he feels vindicated.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Airlines, including Easyjet and Ryanair, have been warned that they will have to relocate their headquarters or sell shares to European nationals if they wish to continue flying routes within continental Europe post-Brexit. This is in order to comply with rules that airlines operating on the continent must have a significant base on EU territory, or a majority of their capital shares be owned by EU nationals.

Rising inflation means that families are more pessimistic about finances than at any point in the last three years, according to a survey by IHS Markit. Meanwhile, research from the Bank of England suggests that consumer demand is waning and that this could drag down the economy.

Footwear and accessories retailer Brantano has fallen into administration, putting almost 1,100 jobs at risk. PwC, the administrator, has said redundancies are inevitable but that business would continue as normal for the moment. Brantano had been subject of takeover interest from fellow retailers Shoe Zone and Edinburgh Woolen Mill but it is unclear whether these options remain on the table.

 

MARKETS

The FTSE 100 finished the day down 53.6 points to 7,324.7, while Wall Street experienced its worst day of 2017.

Analysts attributed the falls to expected opposition to reforms promised by President Donald Trump.

Kingfisher was the worst hit, down 5.1% despite posting an 8.3% increase in annual profit.

Miners Antofagasta, Anglo American and Fresnillo were the biggest gainers.

On the currency markets, the pound rose against the dollar to $1.2480 and was up slightly against the euro at €1.1544.

Finals

Akers Biosciences, Inc., Arbuthnot Banking Group, Curtis Banks Group, Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System Public Joint-Stock Company GDR (Reg S), Frutarom Industries Ltd GDR (Reg S), Futura Medical, GVC Holdings, IFG Group, Next, PV Crystalox Solar, Regional REIT Limited, Safestyle UK, Soco International, Science in Sport, Sopheon, Secure Trust Bank, Ted Baker, Mission Marketing Group, Venture Life Group

AGMs

Crest Nicholson Hondings, Electra Private Equity, Octopus Titan VCT,

UK Economic Announcements

(09:30) Retail Sales

(11:00) CBI Distributive Trades Surveys

International Economic Announcements

(07:00) GFK Consumer Confidence (GER)

(12:30) Continuing Claims (US)

(12:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)

(14:00) New Homes Sales (US)

Source: FTSE100, The Financial Times

 

COLUMNS OF NOTE

On the day that former deputy first minister and IRA commander Martin McGuinness is laid to rest, The Times columnist David Aaronovitch contrasts the Irish terrorism the UK faced during the Troubles, with that of today’s jihadists.

Writing in The Guardian, Simon Jenkins calls for yesterday’s attack not to be used for political means and urges us not to overreact. Terrorism depends on publicity, he argues, and the media must not feed it.

 

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY

House of Commons

Oral Questions

International Trade, including Topical Questions; Women and Equalities, including Topical Questions

Business Statement

Leader of the House

Backbench Business

(i) Compensation for Equitable Life policyholders (ii) Social Mobility Commission State of the Nation report

House of Lords

Oral questions

Estimate on the level of annual funding required for nursery and early years provision, in order to ensure quality of service — Lord Storey

Ensuring that children and young people who care for family members are identified and supported — Baroness Hussein-Ece

Encouraging further premium bond sales — Lord Lee of Trafford

Famine and acute food shortages in East Africa — Baroness Hayman

Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Order 2017 — Baroness Neville-Rolfe

Legislation

Homelessness Reduction Bill — 3rd reading — Lord Best

Debate

Science and Technology Select Committee report: ‘A time for boldness: EU membership and UK science after the referendum’ — Earl of Selborne

EU Select Committee report: ‘Brexit: environment and climate change’ — Lord Teverson

Scottish Parliament

General Questions

First Minister’s Questions

Members’ Business — S5M-04130 Ben Macpherson: Justice for Yazidi People

Ministerial Statement: Expansion of Free Early Learning and Childcare

Scottish Government Debate: Consultation on the Draft British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan

TOMORROW

House of Commons

Business

Consideration of Private Members’ Bills

Legislation

Malicious Communications (Social Media) Bill — 2nd reading — Anna Turley

EU Citizens Resident in the United Kingdom (Right To Stay) Bill — 2nd reading — Tom Brake

Mutualisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland Bill — 2nd reading — Gareth Thomas

Sugar in Food and Drinks (Targets, Labelling and Advertising) Bill — 2nd reading — Geraint Davies

House of Lords

No business scheduled

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled