25 October

Ania Lewandowska

25 October

Good morning,

The Republicans face political headwinds in the United States, with US President Donald Trump once again taking the centre stage in the latest controversy.
 
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced he will not seek re-election as he delivered a fierce attack on the president, who is already embroiled in a row with Senator Bob Corker. His decision means Flake joins retiring Corker as an outspoken critic of Trump with nothing to lose in the year before 2018's midterm elections.
 
Earlier, Trump anticipated opposition from Corker for his administration's tax plan and took to Twitter. Corker responded by going on national television, where he strongly criticised Trump, saying the president is consistently untruthful and has debased the US and damaged its standing around the world.
 
The spat continued. In his tweets, Trump claimed that Corker had supported the nuclear deal that the US and several countries struck with Iran - in fact he voted against the deal. The latest exchange between the two Republicans and the use of the hashtag "#AlertTheDaycareStaff" set Twitter on fire.
 
Corker’s support for the White House-backed tax plan could be crucial in a closely divided senate. However, relations with Iran are even more sensitive. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. While his decision to decertify Iran won’t end the nuclear deal, it may prompt other states to think twice about the US’ ability to stay the course.

News

A Conservative MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, has been criticised for sending a "sinister" letter to universities which requested the names of professors teaching about Brexit. Heaton-Harris, a Tory whip and Leave campaigner, also asked establishments to supply copies of their syllabuses and links to online lectures covering the topic. Professor David Green, vice chancellor of the University of Worcester issued a stinging rebuke and suggested the requests constitute “a British McCarthyism”.
 
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media mogul and former mayor of New Yorkhas described Brexit as “the stupidest thing any country has ever done” apart from electing Donald Trump. Bloomberg's CEO was in London to open a new £1 billion European headquarters with enough space for over 4,000 staff.
 
MPs are to carry out an inquiry into e-cigarettes amid concerns there are "significant gaps" in what is known about them and how they are regulated. Nearly three million people in the UK now "vape" regularly - four times more than in 2012.

Business & Economy

The latest UK growth figures will be released later this morning. Commenting on the expected gross domestic product (GDP) figures, Commerzbank Economist Peter Dickson told the BBC's Today programme, that while the expected 0.3% growth in third quarter is "okay", if that is translated into an annualised figure, it reaches 1.2-1.3%. Given that the UK's average annual GDP growth is around 2%, "that's quite a shortfall".
 
The public consultation on the planned third runway at Heathrow has been reopened due to new evidence. The Department for Transport (DfT) published a series of fresh reports into the impact of expanding the west London hub, including updated noise analysis and a new air quality plan. The consultation initially closed in May, but will now be reopened until December.
 
Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to build a new city and business zone - a project that will be backed up by more than $500bn (£381bn) in investment. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the 26,500 sq km (10,232 sq mile) NEOM zone will be developed in the north-west, extending to Egypt and Jordan. It will focus on nine sectors including food technology and, energy and water.
 
Rent-to-own company BrightHouse is to pay £14.8 million to almost 250,000 customers after an investigation by the regulator found it had failed to be a "responsible lender". The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the redress scheme after finding that the ways in which the firm assessed some customers' ability to repay and collect payments may have been unfair, particularly to those at higher risk of financial difficulty.

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London's main share index ended barely in positive territory despite a sharp fall for Costa and Premier Inn owner Whitbread.
 
The FTSE 100 was 2 points higher at 7,526.5.
 
Whitbread was the biggest faller on the index, down nearly 4.8% after it reported slowing sales growth at its Costa coffee chain.
 
Antofagasta was the FTSE's biggest riser, up 2.8%, after Barclays raised its price target for the Chilean copper mining firm.
 
Shares in Hunting jumped 8.8% after the oil services group said revenues in the past quarter had strengthened, and it now expected full-year revenues to be about $700m (£530m).
 
FTSE 250 was down over 15 points, to stand at 20,131 as Brexit worries continue to persist.
 
On the currency markets, the pound slipped 0.55% against the dollar to $1.3125 and fell 0.7% against the euro to €1.1153.

 

AGMs
GCP Student Living plc (DIGS)
Photo-me International plc (PHTM)
Redde plc (REDD)
Tlou Energy Ltd (TLOU)

Trading Announcements 
Centaur Media plc (CAU)
Cobham plc (COB)

UK Economic Announcements 
(9:30) BBA Mortgage Lending Figures 
(9:30) GDP (Preliminary) 
(9:30) Index of Services

International Economic Announcements 
(9:00) IFO Business Climate (GER)
(9:00) IFO Current Assessment (GER)
(9:00 IFO Expectations (GER)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(13:00) Durable Goods Orders (US)
(14:00) House Price Index (US)
(15:00) New Homes Sales (US) 
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US) 

Interims
Lombard Risk Management Plc (LRM)

Columns of Note

Commenting on the situation in the Middle East and the US relations with Iran, David Gardner writes in The Financial Times that the US administration has no real plan for Syria or Iraq after Isis is defeated.
 
In The Guardian, Polly Toynbee lists “ten scandals since 2010 that show Britain is ruled by the loony right”.

 

Did you know?

A bolt of lightning can travel at up to 136,000mph and reach temperatures of 30,000 °Celsius — hotter than the surface of the Sun.

Parliamentary Highlights

TODAY

House of Commons
Oral questions: Scotland
Prime Minister’s Question Time
Opposition Day Debate: Social Care
Opposition Day Debate: Supported Housing
 
House of Lords
Oral questions
Official announcements relating to terrorism focussing on perpetrator's creed rather than their crime - Baroness Afshar
Protecting members of the armed forces from repeated inquiries into the same incident - Lord Trefgarne
Legislative arrangements giving rise to the Register of Hereditary Peers who wish to stand for election to the House of Lords - Lord Grocott
Legislation
Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill [HL] - 3rd reading - Earl Howe
Air Travel Organisers' Licensing Bill - Report stage - Lord Callanan
European Union (Approvals) Bill - 2nd reading
 
Scottish Parliament
Portfolio Questions: Communities, Social Security and Equalities
Ministerial Statement: Common Agricultural Policy Convergence Monies due for Scottish Farming
Scottish Government Debate: Scotland and EU-UK Negotiations on EU Exit

TOMORROW

House of Commons

Oral Questions
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
Church Commissioners and House of Commons Commission and Public Accounts Commission and Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission
Business Statement - Business Questions - Andrea Leadsom
Backbench Business 
General Debate on Implementation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 -Vernon Coaker
General Debate on Global LGBT rights - Nick Herbert

House of Lords
Oral Questions
Staffing levels in the NHS during the coming winter period - Lord Clark of Windermere
Sharing of analysis and co-ordination between UK and its allies to ensure enhanced security - Lord Triesman
Sustainability of current funding for police forces in England and Wales -Lord Harris of Haringey
Debate
Intergenerational fairness and Government policy - Baroness Smith of Newnham
Short debate
Supporting the Rohingya refugees currently displaced in Bangladesh -Baroness Helic

Scottish Parliament
General Questions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
First Minister's Questions

Members' Business: S5M-07684 Jeremy Balfour: Scottish Disability Sport
Ministerial Statement: STEM Strategy for Education and Training
Scottish Government Debate: Scotland: The Hydro Nation, Maximising the Abundant Benefits of our Water Resources