26 March 2018

@lyle

26 March 2018

The fragile truce in the Labour Party between Corbynites and the moderate wing appeared to be unravelling before our eyes this weekend. After Jeremy Corbyn's surprising performance in the general election last year, it seemed he had managed to secure a begrudging acceptance from his critics in the party that he was here to stay. 

But this weekend his finely balanced parliamentary party appears to be on the brink of the all-out warfare, as seen at the start of his period as leader. This time, the catalyst is persistent allegations of anti-semitism, not just from the leadership within the Labour Party, but from Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Corbyn was forced to issue an apology at the end of last week, after it emerged he had questioned the removal of an anti-semitic mural in East London in 2012 on freedom of speech grounds. 

However, this apology was not enough for the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, who issued a scathing rebuke of the Labour leader in an open letter yesterday. The letter urged that "enough is enough" and that Corbyn cannot "seriously contemplate anti-Semitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far left worldview".

Corbyn has again issued an apology and has agreed to meet with leaders of the Jewish community today to address the problem, but this has not been enough for many of his moderate backbench colleagues including Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and Luciana Berger, who all took to Twitter yesterday to condemn the culture within the party.

These revelations follow a testing few weeks for Corbyn's leadership. His response to the Russian nerve agent attack was widely criticised by those in his own party and the appointment of Jennie Formby as the new general secretary of the Labour Party led to a number of resignations from party officials.
 
If the previous internal battles in the Labour Party are anything to go by, this scandal could have some way to run yet.

NEWS

The Financial Times is reporting this morning that Theresa May is leading a last-ditch effort to stop the EU locking out the UK space industry from hundreds of millions of pounds worth of contracts in Europe's Galileo satellite project. The EU claims that security elements of the project could be “irretrievably compromised” following Brexit.

Jeremy Hunt has called for a ten-year settlement to NHS funding, after what he described as a "feast or famine" approach for the past two decades. He also called for government to be open to "innovative forms of taxation", opening the door for a ringfenced NHS tax in order to sustain funding. Hunt's intervention is not thought to have been sanctioned by Downing Street.

Stephen Parkinson, Theresa May's political secretary and a senior figure in the Leave campaign, is under mounting pressure to step down from his position following allegations that the campaign flouted election spending rules by using an independent group as a proxy for campaign activities. Parkinson is also accused of outing the whistleblower as gay in an attempt to intimidate him into silence over the issue.

large fire engulfed a mall in the Siberian town of Kemerovo yesterday. Initial reports suggest that up to 53 people have been killed, and it is thought that up to 41 of these deaths will be children.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

The combined profits of the UK's top 100 restaurant chains have fallen 64% in the last year alone, from £345 million to £125 million. Of the top 100 chains, 35 are now loss-making, a rise of 75% from this period last year. The research was conducted by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young, who said the fall was due to the restaurant market growing ahead of demand.
 
The new governor of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang, has announced that for the first time ever, China will treat foreign companies in its financial sector as equals to domestic firms.In a speech at the China Development Forum, he justified the move by arguing “openness brings progress and a close market is doomed to be backward”.

According to data shared with the Financial Times by The Conference Board, the UK is set to lag behind the eurozone in a productivity revival expected to see this year's growth rates return almost to pre-financial crisis levels in the single currency bloc. The eurozone's productivity is expected to grow at 1.1% this year, in comparison to the UK at 0.8%.

MARKETS

The week ahead
Egyptian elections take place today as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi runs for another term. He is expected to win easily after his three military rivals dropped out of the race. Two were arrested and the other was forced to withdraw from the contest, meaning a little known challenger has been drafted in to prevent an uncontested election.

H&M will post its Q1 results on Tuesday, as the fashion retailer is expected to announce that revenues are lower than expected and that sales have not grown. The chain has come under intense pressure from other high street retailers and the recent poor weather is expected to hit H&M more than most.

On Thursday, UK GDP growth figures will be released for October to December. The Office for National Statistics revised down expected growth from 0.5 per cent to 0.4 per cent in its last release and further revisions are viewed as unlikely.

Also on Thursday, the US personal consumption expenditures report for February will be released. The market forecasts a 0.4 per cent monthly increase in personal income and 0.2 per cent rise in personal spending.

Finals
Instem
SpaceandPeople
Satellite Solutions Worldwide
Taptica International

Interims
YouGov

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) BBA Mortgage Lending Figures

Intl. Economic Announcements
(06:00) Import Price Index (GER)

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Kevin Pringle, writing in The Sunday Times, addresses the 100th anniversary of the Act which brought Catholic schools into the Scottish state system. He fears that rescinding such an Act now would only lead to increased anti-Catholic bigotry.

In the Financial Times Big Read, Henny Sender looks at the rise of Alibaba and Tencent to become to two biggest dealmakers in Asia. The two companies have become prolific acquirers in recent years and whilst entrepreneurs like their valuations, they fear being caught in a crossfire between both firms.

DID YOU KNOW?

The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, is worth an estimated $40 billion. Ma Huateng, the founder of Tencent, is estimated to be worth $51 billion.

TODAY
 
House of Commons
Oral Questions
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)

General Debate
National Security and Russia
 
House of Lords
Oral questions
Recent developments in Nigeria, with particular reference to attacks on civilians by Boko Haram and the Fulani - Baroness Cox
Monitoring the impact of the two-child limit policy in the child element of Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit on the well-being of children - The Lord Bishop of Durham
Removing international students from the net migration statistics - Lord Holmes of Richmond

Scottish Parliament
No business scheduled


TOMORROW

House of Commons

Oral Questions
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (including Topical Questions)

Ten-minute rule motion
Discarded Needles (Offences) - Mr Simon Clarke

House of Lords
Oral Questions
The right of return of Palestinian refugees and the resolution of the Israeli–Palestine conflict - Baroness Tonge
Brexit negotiations and recent submissions from the European Council and Commission - Lord Dykes

Scottish Parliament
Ministerial Statement
Fair Start Scotland: Launching Scotland's New Employment Support Service and Welcoming the Opportunity for Better Integration and Alignment

Local Government and Communities Committee Debate
City Regions - Deal or No Deal?