5 December


5 December

Good morning,

Back in June, when her party was racing against time to deliver a sustainable government following a disastrous general election, Theresa May was warned by the DUP that it could not be "taken for granted" as the prime minister sought to strike a deal between the two parties.
A deal was eventually agreed to the tune of £1bn, but this warning must have been ringing loudly in the prime minister’s ears yesterday as she battled in Brussels to salvage a Brexit deal.
While progress seems to have been made on the status of expat citizens and the cost of the divorce bill, May said that differences remained on “a couple of issues” that prevented the two negotiating sides from moving the talks on to the next phase, an understatement in anybody’s book given how yesterday panned out.
Earlier in the day, a draft deal negotiated between Dublin, London and Brussels – under which Northern Ireland would effectively remain in the EU's customs union and single market was all but agreed – only for it to be scuppered when Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, picked up the phone to May to say that her party would not accept any deal that "separates" Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
Despite May’s best efforts to ease her concerns, Foster remained resolute and the prime minister was forced to break off talks with European Commission President Jean Claude Junker.
So what now for the embattled prime minister? She is racing against time to ensure sufficient progress is made before next week’s meeting of European leaders in the Belgian capital. A deal is still expected to be made later this week, but the fact the prime minister remains hostage to a party of 10 MPs shows the fragility of the pact arranged back in June, particularly at a time when the stakes could not be higher.
The next phase of talks will seek to set out the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It might just be the case that the PM has to also smooth over another partnership much closer to home.


President Donald Trump's travel ban on six mainly Muslim countries can go into full effect, after the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of the administration. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the ruling "a substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people", which will see the policy put in place against travellers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
A new report by the Home Builders Federation has found that one in six builders are from the EU, as they call for the introduction of a permit system for skilled workers to build more homes and ease the country’s housing crisis. The report was the first extensive survey of the sector and showed that builders would need continued access to skilled EU workers following Brexit to deliver the government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year.

French President Emmanuel Macron has become the latest leader to tell Donald Trump that he is "concerned" the US leader could unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Macron’s warning comes after similar statements from a number of Arab and Muslim nations following reports suggesting the US president will recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week. The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians, with both sides claiming the city as their capital.

Business and Economy

The Irish government has reached an agreement with Apple to start collecting the €13bn owed by the tech giant, a year after the European Commission ruled that tax benefits received by the tech company were illegal under EU rules. The Irish government, which was referred to the European Court of Justice in October for failing to collect the back taxes, must now put the sums in a blocked bank account while it waits for the separate appeals of both Apple and the Commission.

Starbucks is making its biggest investment in the Chinese market by building a 30,000 sq ft coffee roaster. The Seattle-based company operate 3,000 stores across more than 130 cities in China, with founder and executive chairman Howard Schultz saying the country could become Starbucks’ biggest market within a decade. (£)

New figures have shown that Black Friday sales failed to fundamentally shift underlying trends in spending. Sales in stores and online rose 0.6%in value terms in November on a like-for-like basis compared with the previous year,with this growth driven entirely by food purchases. Spending in other areas fell in the past year. (£)
Benny Higgins, who will step down as chief executive of Tesco Bank next year, is to chair a financial services technology company. Higgins will join the board at Kyckr in March. The company has offices in the Republic of Ireland but is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. (£)


What happened yesterday?
Progress in US tax reforms gave stock markets a boost worldwide, and the FTSE 100 was no different. The UK’s blue-chip index recovered from a two-month low to gain 38.48 points to 7,338.97, up 0.5%.
Banking stocks were the big winners on the day, with Barclays up 2.4% and RBS 1.5% higher by the close of trading. News that Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has re-opened talks with Walt Disney saw shares in Sky finish nearly three per cent higher.
On the currency markets, it was a topsy-turvy day for the pound as its fortunes aligned closely with developments in Brussels. It pushed through $1.35 as financial analysts concluded that the “clouds of uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future relationship with the EU parted.” However, as it became clear that no agreement was to be reached, the pound shed its earlier gains to hover around the €1.1360 mark against the euro – a 0.3% rise on the day. Against the dollar, it was down nearly 0.2% on the day at $1.34 as analysts expect new terms will be thrashed out in a few days time.

JPMorgan Chinese Inv Trust
Victrex plc

Collagen Solutions
Consort Medical
Gateley (Holdings)
IG Group Holdings
Iomart Group
Tatton Asset Management
Vianet Group

UK Economic Announcements
(08:30) Halifax House Price Index
(09:30) PMI Services

International Economic Announcements
(08:55) PMI Composite (GER)
(08:55) PMI Services (GER)
(09:00) PMI Composite (EU)
(09:00) PMI Services (EU)
(10:00) Gross Domestic Product (EU)
(10:00) Retail Sales
(13:30) Balance of Trade (US)
(14:45) PMI Composite (US)
(14:45) PMI Services (US)
(15:00) ISM Non-Manufacturing (US)

Columns of Note

Writing in the Evening Standard, ITV’s News at Ten anchor, Tom Bradby, writes about his experiences as a young journalist covering Ireland during the Troubles and says the border is about emotion as well as economics. Bradby concludes that the issue will need to be settled but it was ”more than possible that the Irish question will end up shaping British politics for another generation”.
Writing in the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh remarks on the surprising realism shown by Brexiters. Ganesh says this is best embodied by David Davis, as the Brexit secretary has contradicted his candidness of less than a year ago by accepting many of the recent compromises such as the EU exit fee and the sequence of negotiations. (£)

Did you know?

Each year, 28 million tonnes of dust (100,000 lorries’ worth) is picked up by wind from the Sahara desert, carried across the Atlantic and dropped on the Amazon basin.


House of Commons

Oral questions
Justice (including Topical Questions)

Opposition Day Debate
A debate on Universal Credit on a motion in the name of the Official Opposition

House of Lords

Oral questions
Rural poverty - Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
The EU and proposals on the Irish border problem - Lord Dykes

Future of UK trade and customs policy in the light of the Government’s white papers on the Customs Bill and on Trade Policy on those issues -Baroness Fairhead

Scottish Parliament
Ministerial Statement
Planning and Inclusive Growth

Public Petitions Committee Debate
PE1517 Polypropylene Mesh Medical Devices


House of Commons

Oral Questions: Scotland

Prime Minister's Questions

House of Lords

Oral Questions
Government priorities concerning health policy in the Brexit negotiations - Baroness Quin

Scottish Parliament

Portfolio Questions
Communities, Social Security and Equalities

Scottish Liberal Democrat Party Debate: Justice

Scottish Liberal Democrat Party Debate: Finance