Yesterday evening, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn once again shifted the goalposts of the Brexit debate. For so long, it has appeared as if all the true wrangling for influence over the debate had taken place within the different factions at the top of the Conservative Party.
But Corbyn has given Theresa May another parliamentary headache ahead of next week's vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill, by committing Labour to retaining "full access" to the EU's single market, alongside continued engagement through "shared institutions and regulations".
The Labour amendment is designed to unite the Labour leadership and its MPs, who are overwhelmingly supportive of a soft Brexit. However, it is worth remembering that when the parliamentary arithmetic is so finely balanced, any splits in the Labour Party can be just as influential as splits on the government backbenches.
It is for this reason that some Labour MPs are disappointed with the Labour amendment. They believe a defeat of the government is less likely because Conservative rebels will not vote for a Labour amendment. Instead, they would have preferred Corbyn to whip for an amendment adopted in the House of Lords, requiring Britain to stay in the European Economic Area.
But business leaders and pressure groups who have called for a soft Brexit will be happy with the change of tone. By moving towards a position of full access to the single market, business groups argue that Labour can influence the government towards a more suitable Brexit deal that suits the needs of the business community.
This tone chimes with the experiences of business leaders who met with Theresa May yesterday and were "relieved" to find the government adopting a "realistic" tone on Brexit. We'll see if that continues in the run up to the vote on the 12th June.
Guiseppe Conte, the new Italian prime minister, has broken ranks with Italy's European allies in his debut speech to parliament. The new populist government called for an end to sanctions on Russia and for western Europe to re-engage with Moscow.
Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, has criticised Oxford and Cambridge for their lack of diversity, and warned that the universities could be fined if they fail to meet their admissions targets. Gyimah was the first black president of the Oxford Union in 1997.
The historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un, due to take place on 12th June, will be held in a luxury hotel on the island of Sentosa. President Trump stated yesterday that negotiations were ongoing about the summit and that it will be a "very important couple of days".
The fashion world is mourning the death of Kate Spade, the 55 year old designer who was found dead in her New York apartment yesterday.
Business & Economy
Matt Hancock, the culture secretary, has given the all clear to 21st Century Fox’s £18.5 billion bid for Sky, as long as the company sells Sky News to Disney or another third party. The decision clears the way for a bidding war for Sky between Murdoch and rivals Comcast.
The Financial Conduct Authority has said that TSB chief executive Paul Pester gave an "optimistic view" of the bank's IT problems when he appeared before parliament last month. He is due to appear before MPs again regarding the ongoing crisis.
Alexander Nix, former chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, has been accused of withdrawing more than $8m from the data firm shortly before it collapsed. Nix finds himself in a stand-off with investors who backed a rebrand of the company, as they pressure him to repay the money.
What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 dropped 54.49 points or 0.7% to close at 7,686.80. The drop was precipitated by a stronger pound buoyed by services data released yesterday.
A strong day for the pound saw the currency up 0.44% against the dollar to $1.3372 and 0.43% versus the euro to €1.1430. This rise was on the back of the UK services PMI report for May, compiled by IHS Markit, that showed a pick-up to 54.0 from 52.8 in the month before, beating the consensus estimate of 53.0.
RBS shares fell after the government announced it would sell a 7.7% stake in the business, at a price that would represent an over £2 billion loss from the position of initial investment.
Shares in International Airlines Group also fell following comments from chief executive Willie Walsh, who warned that air traffic strikes posed a bigger risk to the industry than rising fuel prices.
UK Economic Announcements
(08:30) Halifax House Price Index
Int. Economic Announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)
(10:00) Gross Domestic Product (EU)
Columns of Note
George Soros, writing in The Guardian, argues that if the European Union punishes Italy for its populist government, it will find itself in a very difficult situation. Instead, the EU should offer help to the Italians at a time when the EU faces threats on many fronts.
John Gapper, in the Financial Times Big Read, analyses the rise of the millennial as the world's most influential consumer. The choices of this group are changing businesses around the world, as the latter move their focus to this, the largest consumer group.
Did you know?
Lightning strikes the earth around 6,000 times a minute.
House of Commons
Prime Minister's Question Time
House of Lords
Effectiveness of the “right to rent” scheme - Baroness Lister of Burtersett
Legislation to modernise the courts system - Lord Beith
Agreement with EU negotiators on the UK's withdrawal form the EU - Lord Dykes
European Union Committee report: 'Brexit: the future of financial regulation and supervision' - Baroness Falkner of Margravine
Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Stage 3 Proceedings
Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill
House of Commons
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
Business Questions to the Leader of the House - Andrea Leadsom
Select Committee Statement
Third Report of the Scottish Affairs Committee, RBS branch closures, HC 682
House of Lords
Term extensions for UK members of the European Parliament - Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate
Appropriate imprints in online material of a political or campaigning nature to inform recipients of its promoter - Lord Tyler
The situation in the Palestinian Territories - Lord Steel of Aikwood
First Minister's Questions
Impact of Policing on Communities during the Miners' Strike
Scottish Government Debate
Lord Bracadale's independent review of hate crime legislation