24 January


24 January

Good morning,

The nominees for the Academy Awards were announced yesterday, with Gary Oldman tipped to win the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour.

But on these shores, it was the man who once wrote a biography of Churchill that grabbed the limelight. In our estimation, Boris Johnson is a dead cert to win the award for best political serial drama for his starring role when it comes to intervening on the issue of the NHS. Another gripping scene played out yesterday when the foreign secretary caused anger among the Cabinet by calling for a "Brexit dividend"; an additional £100m a week for the health service after the UK leaves the EU.
It wasn’t the principle of his comments that caused consternation among his colleagues, as Theresa May has already agreed that money saved from EU contributions will be made available for domestic priorities. It was instead the public nature of his intervention; the foreign secretary’s comments were widely trailed in the media ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the government.
Downing Street said that the prime minister and "a large number of Cabinet ministers" had made clear that their discussions should take place in private, while the man who controls the purse strings, Chancellor Philip Hammond, took time out from attending the World Economic Forum to remind Johnson, in no uncertain terms, that an extra £6bn was given to the NHS in November's Budget and that he was "the foreign secretary" not health secretary.
Could Johnson’s alternative manifesto be the actions of a man frustrated by the lack of ambition of his prime minister and her supporting cast? Robert Peston poses that very question, reporting that some of Johnson’s ministerial colleagues predict that he may move to the back benches in order to prepare the ground for a leadership challenge.
The fact that Johnson has ambitions to lead both his party and the country is as predictable as an Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep but his behaviour will once again raise the prospect that the long-running saga of Theresa May and her grapple to clutch on to authority is on course for yet another turbulent sequel.


Japan, Canada and nine other Pacific Rim economies said they have resolved their differences and would carry on with their efforts to agree an expansive new trade deal. The countries’ determination to sign up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership comes on the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal, which was first negotiated by Barack Obama. (£)
Figures from the BBC show that the number of prosecutions in England and Wales that collapsed after police or prosecutors failed to disclose evidenceincreased by 70% in the last two years. Last year, 916 people had charges dropped over a failure to disclose evidence - up from 537 in 2014-15.
Jeff Sessions, the US attorney-general, has been questioned by the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign’s possible links to Russia.  He is the first of Donald Trump’s cabinet to be investigated. Sessions was interviewed for hours over his role as America’s top law enforcement officer and previously as head of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team that helped shape its stance on Russia. (£)


The UK government are unable to guarantee that financial support for construction company Carillion will extend beyond the end of this month. Ministers have agreed to guarantee the jobs of Carillion’s public sector workers, for example in hospitals and schools, but are unable to say how many employees will be kept on and for how long after January 31. (£)

The National Grid has said that Ofgem proposals to cut the cost of connecting nuclear plants to the grid will hit investment. The project will require a grid upgrade of about £800m, but the energy regulator has suggested a structurethat it said could save consumers more than £100m by limiting the returns available to National Grid. (£)
Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has called on leaders of the world’s biggest corporations to hire more women and to tackle sexual harassment. Speaking from Davos, Trudeau said that promoting and retaining more women was the key to narrowing the “staggering” gap between rich and poor, and a business-as-usual approach to tackling inequality would lead to failure for everyone.


What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 closed slightly higher yesterday as a result of rising oil priced and a very good day for EasyJet.
The airline capitalized on Ryanair's pilot shortage and the demise of competitor Monarch to deliver a strong first quarter for the budget airline. This saw shares increase by 5%. Shares in Sky rose 2% following the news that regulators have deemed its takeover by Fox to not be in the public interest.
It wasn’t such a good day for mining firms, with BHP Billiton, Fresnillo and Anglo American all suffering losses of more than 2%.
The index closed 0.2% up, ending the day at 7,730.32 points.
The US government shutdown was credited as the cause for the pound hitting its highest level since the EU referendum, with it reaching $1.4019 against the dollar at one point yesterday.
In overseas markets, The S&P and the Nasdaq gained on Tuesday following a 13 percent surge by Netflix, with the video-streaming company reaching a record high of $257.71, meaning it crossed $100 billion in market value.

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UK Economic Announcements
(09.30) Claimant Count Rate

Int. Economic Announcements
(08:55) PMI Composite (GER)
(08:55) PMI Manufacturing (GER)
(08:55) PMI Services (GER)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(14:00) House Price Index (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)



Writing in the Financial Times, Martin Wolf offers his take on the World Economic Forum. He says that delegates arriving in Davos who believe in a liberal international order must consider what needs to be done to “save the model from wreckage”. He concludes by saying that they must recognise the political success of Donald Trump and work to advance better policies to those being offered by the US president. (£)

In today's Guardian, Nicky Hawkins argues that facts and figures won’t be enough on their own to stop Brexit. Instead, it needs a compelling narrative in order to connect with and motivate people on the issues that they care about. Only then will people have a clear understanding of what is at stake as the UK prepares to leave the EU.


The youngest known person to have sat in the House of Commons was Christopher Monck, elected MP for Devon in 1667 at the age of 13. He sat in the House for three years, before being elevated to the House of Lords upon his father's death.


House of Commons
Oral questions
Prime Minister’s Question Time

House of Lords
Oral questions
Safeguarding children who are not attending school - Lord Storey
What analyses the Government have carried out of the effect of the UK economy of the potential outcomes of the Brexit negotiations including (1) leaving the single market, (2) leaving the customs union, and (3) leaving the EU with no deal, on the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU; and when they intend to publish those analyses - Lord Strasburger
Hong Kong’s autonomy, rights and freedoms - Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon
Scottish Parliament
Portfolio Questions
Health and Sport
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Debate


House of Commons
Oral questions
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - including Topical Questions

House of Lords
Oral questions
Foreign policy implications of the UK's relationship with the EU post-Brexit -  Lord Soley

Role of the devolved administrations in the process of withdrawal from the EU and future opportunities for strengthening the union of the UK -  Lord McInnes of Kilwinning

Scottish Parliament
General Questions

First Minister's Questions

Stage 1 Debate: Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Repeal) (Scotland) Bill