Honestly, I’m not really sure where we go from here.
Boris Johnson has had the rug ripped from under him, his last card in this very long, very dull game of political poker has been torn to smithereens in front of our eyes.
Tory rebels and opposition MPs have taken control of the agenda. This means they will today bring forward a bill to delay our exit from the EU to 31 January, unless a new deal or a vote in favour of a no-deal is agreed by 19 October.
If it passes, Boris Johnson will press on with efforts to call a general election. In his view, if all MPs want is “more dither, more delay, more confusion”, then the people must decide. In the meantime, Tory MPs are dropping like flies, with defections, resignations and deselections all over the place.
Still, it’s nice to know in the face of such uncertainty there is at least one thing we can rely on: Donald Trump will play golf, no matter what.
Through political unrest and global economic turmoil; fractured societies and estranged families; hurricanes, floods, fires and mass shootings, one thing doesn’t change. Trump is just a can of Coke and a Big Mac away from jumping into those Bermuda shorts and heading straight for the fairway.
London mayor Sadiq Khan was vocal in his disapproval this week, particularly considering Hurricane Dorian was ravaging a path to the east coast just as Trump was teeing off.
The two have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat Twitter flirtation for months. Khan criticises his penchant for golfing; Trump claps back with some quip on rising knife crime in the British capital (while simultaneously spelling both of Sadiq Khan’s names wrong).
Still, the mayor is not alone in criticising Trump’s golf habit. In fact, there’s an entire website dedicated to his golfing stats, including up-to-date data on how much it costs the economy, how many hours he played and what he tweeted while he was there.
In a new low, the president had cancelled a trip to Poland to join commemorations for the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion this weekend so that he could be present and correct for the impending storm. He was later spotted at his Virginia golf club.
Obviously, the move is abominable and totally tone-deaf.
Still, are we really surprised? Isn’t it time we were less shocked when the president does what he always does? After all, a touch of Trump’s dependability wouldn’t go amiss in the House of Commons right about now.
The death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to at least seven in the Bahamas. The storm was stationary over the island nation for a considerable time. While the storm has now finally moved away from the Bahamas, prime minister Huburt Minnis said the country should “expect more deaths”. The hurricane is currently moving parallel to the coast of Florida and has been weakened to a category two storm.
Heroin with a street value of more than £120 million has been discovered hidden among towels and dressing gowns on board a container ship after it docked at Felixstowe on 30 August. The National Crime Agency said the haul, weighing nearly 1.3 tonnes, represented the largest ever seizure of the class A drug in the UK.
China has called protesters in Hong Kong “political terrorists bent on seizing power” in their latest warning. Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office warned that China would not tolerate chaos indefinitely, following the worst violence since the demonstrations began in June. The remarks suggest that the political crisis has entered a new phase. (£)
Business & Economy
The completion of the UK’s new HS2 high-speed railway line from London to northern England will be delayed by up to seven years, according to the government. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement yesterday that costs will soar from £55.7 billion to £88 billion. (£)
The government’s spending review will be unveiled by chancellor Sajid Javid today, giving details of how much money will be allocated to different departments during the 2020-21 financial year. The government is expected to emphasise their commitment to public spending in health, education and policing – key problem areas for the Conservatives during the 2017 general election.
Marks & Spencer is set to drop out of the FTSE 100 for the first time since the blue-chip index was created 35 years ago. Shares in the retailer fell 1.5% yesterday, valuing the company at £3.64 billion. This makes M&S only the 115th most valuable London-listed company. Chairman Archie Norman played down the exit: “our eyes are on the goal, not the scoreboard.” (£)
What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 lost 0.5% yesterday after prime minister Boris Johnson raised the stakes over Brexit, threatening to call a general election on 14 October rather than cave in to demands to extend the exit deadline beyond 31 October.
And the situation was not much better elsewhere. European and Asian markets slipped across the board amid the US-China trade war and Brexit concerns. A recent report stated that Chinese and US officials were struggling to agree a timetable for further talks this month. Meanwhile, the latest batch of tariffs took effect on Sunday.
In the US, stocks tumbled more than one per cent after data showed that the domestic manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in three years during August. The decline was led by the energy sector, down 1.9% after a slide in oil prices, and a 1.6% fall in industrial stocks.
The pound made gains on the currency markets yesterday after Boris Johnson lost his majority in the House of Commons. Tory MP Phillip Lee’s defection to the Liberal Democrats boosted Sterling to above $1.20 and €1.10. Earlier in the day the pound had reached its lowest level since October 2016, before its bounce back.
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Columns of Note
In an enlightening piece for the Guardian, Gabrielle Jackson explores why doctors tend not to trust women. Her book Pain and Prejudice details her struggle with a diagnosis of endometriosis, a disease that we still know very little about. Medicine has for a long time been a male-only sphere, with women often subcategorised as “hysterical, overly emotional, anxious and unreliable”. As a result, women have rarely been studied in medical science, having been excluded from clinical trials until the 1990s, thus left with drugs made for men and forced to rationalise chronic pain as psychological.
Madeline Allbright sheds some light upon the future of Afghanistan for women in the Financial Times. After nine years of violence, an initial peace agreement appears imminent. The Taliban and US officials have been discussing a ceasefire at length and now the end is in sight. But will women fundamentally have to pay the price for peace? The return of Taliban supremacy could threaten progress in human rights and put democratic institutions in jeopardy. (£)
Did you know?
For just $89-a-night you can rent a van with a mattress in New York City on Airbnb.
House of Commons
Prime Minister’s Question Time
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Compulsory Purchase and Planning – Emma Hardy
Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill: remaining stages
Treasury funding for the Department of Health and Social Care – Robert Halfon
House of Lords
Ensuring food imports after Brexit are held to the same animal welfare, environmental and food safety standards as those required of British farmers – Lord Carrington
Progress on human rights issues working with the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia – Baroness Anelay of St Johns
Number of people covered by personal health care budgets or Independent Living Fund payments in Sheffield – Lord Blunkett
The collapse of Bury Football Club and enquiry into possible reforms of the ownership and governance of professional football – Lord Greaves
Liaison Select Committee Report 'Review of Investigative and Scrutiny Committees: Towards a new thematic committee structure' – Lord McFall of Alcuith
Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill [HL] – Committee stage – Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth
Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill [HL] – Report stages – Lord Keen of Elie
High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – Second reading – Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
Scottish Government Business
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
House of Commons
Existing the European Union (including Topical Questions)
Business questions to the Leader of the House – Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg
Select Committee Statement
Twentieth report of the Science and Technology Committee on Clean Growth: Technologies for meeting the UK's emission reduction targets, HC 1454
Debate on a Motion on The Future UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Drew Hendry
Debate on a Motion on The British Housebuilding Industry – Siobhain McDonagh
Skerne River and the Discover Brightwater project – Phil Wilson
House of Lords
Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in England over the last ten years – Lord Black of Brentwood
Funding of the National School Breakfast Programme – Lord Curry of Kirkharle
Funding of the National Maritime Information Centre and the Joint Maritime Operations Coordination Centre – Lord Mountevans
Reforming the management and treatment of offenders in prison and the community – Lord Ramsbotham
Threats posed by pests and diseases to native trees in the UK – The Earl of Kinnoull
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
First Minister’s Questions
Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity