After a turbulent week, in which the extent of the issue of sexual harassment in parliament became increasingly clear, politicians steeled themselves for what the Sunday papers might throw at them.
The Sunday Times’ lead story focused on First Secretary of State Damian Green. Citing a statement from Bob Quick, a former assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan police, the article said that pornographic material was discovered on one of Green’s parliamentary computers in 2008, when he was opposition immigration spokesman, during in an inquiry into Home Office leaks.
This follows allegations from writer Kate Maltby, who said she was left “embarrassed and professionally compromised” after a meeting with Green.
Green vehemently denies both accusations, describing Quick’s claims as “political smears”.
With the resignation of Michael Fallon – who was conspicuous by his absence from The Andrew Marr Show, where he can usually be found on a Sunday morning representing the government after a difficult week – Theresa May can ill afford to lose another senior ally. After losing its majority in June and with the biggest peacetime negotiation in the country’s history on its hands, the government had little room to play as it was.
The other big story of the weekend came in the form of the so-called “paradise papers” – a huge leak of financial documents detailing how the rich secretly invest their money in offshore tax havens. The Queen and Lord Ashcroft are amongst those that have already been dragged into the controversy. But, with 13.4 million documents being trawled by more than 100 different media organisations, there is more to come.
Expect further fireworks on both fronts in the coming days.
At least 26 people have been killed and 20 wounded in the latest mass shooting to blight the US. The gunman opened fire during a service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas yesterday around 11.30am local time. As he left the church, a local citizen grabbed his own rifle and engaged the suspect, who fled in a vehicle. Police later found the man dead in his car, however, it is not clear whether he was killed from a self-inflicted gunshot would or from injuries he sustained when fired upon by the local citizen. The incident is the worst mass shooting in the history of Texas.
Carles Puigdemont, the ousted Catalan president, and four of his former ministers have been released on bail under certain conditions by Belgian authorities, pending a court ruling on whether to action the European arrest warrant issued by Spain. The five politicians had fled to Brussels on Monday after they were removed from power by the central government in Madrid and charged with rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds for their role in organising the 1st October independence referendum.
Business & Economy
Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, has criticised the government’s industrial strategy, saying that it has being too long in coming and ministers have been unclear on what they are trying to achieve. Fairbairn’s comments came ahead of the CBI conference where Theresa May is expected deliver a speech in which she will outline a more conventional Conservative approach, having been regarded by some as anti-business. However, the prime minister is unlikely to give much detail on the contents of the industrial strategy except to confirm that it will be published in the same week as the budget.
Oil hit a fresh-two year high today following the arrests of 11 Saudi Arabian princes and dozens of senior officials and businessmen, just hours after the establishment of an anti-corruption commission led by the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men with an estimated worth of $18 billion, is among those detained. Commentators have described the developments as a power play by the crown prince as he consolidates his base and pushes ahead with radical economic reforms. There have been warnings that it could dampen investor interest in the country.
David Gardner takes a deeper look at the issue and Saudi “game of thrones” in the Financial Times.
The record high stock market valuations on both sides of the Atlantic have prompted fears of a looming correction. That is according to Graham Hacche at the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) who points to the fact that stocks are trading at levels only previously seen in the run-up to Black Tuesday and tech collapse of 2000, both of which were followed by sharp declines. HSBC’s Janet Henry echoed the warnings, saying that stock valuations in the US and Europe “are not obviously consistent with the underlying performance of the economy”.
The week ahead
President Trump’s Asia tour continues this week after he began his trip – the longest to the region by an American president since George H.W. Bush in 1991 – in Japan on Sunday. Shortly after touching down, he addressed US servicemen before hitting the golf course with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Hideki Matsuyama, the world’s number four golfer.
Seoul is next on the itinerary, followed by stops in Beijing, Da Nang, Hanoi and Manila. North Korea is set to top the agenda.
Closer to home, EU and UK officials meet in Brussels on Thursday. Thus far, sufficient progress has not been made to allow negotiations to move on to the next phase. With just 17 months until the UK’s expected departure in March 2019, how much the UK is willing to pay, citizens’ rights and the Irish border will all be up for discussion.
In company news, Imperial Brands, Marks and Spencer, Eon, Burberry and Sainsbury’s are amongst the organisations reporting results.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. GDR (Reg S)
Morgan Advanced Materials
Genesis Emerging Markets Fund Ltd Ptg NPV, Murray Income Trust, Mid Wynd International Trust
Hilton Food Group
International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)
(08:55) PMI Composite (GER)
(08:55) PMI Services (GER)
(09:00) PMI Composite (EU)
(09:00) PMI Services (EU)
(10:00) Producer Price Index (EU)
Columns of note
In The Sunday Times, Kevin Pringle argues that the writings of George Orwell, who asserted that the political class of his time was not up to the job of governing, can be applied to the current generation at Westminster and its handling of Brexit. He points to the political change that was brought about by World War II post-1945, suggesting that Brexit may have a similar impact.
In The Guardian, Kenan Malik looks at the issue of Catalonia. He criticises Carles Puigdemont for his foolish and undemocratic declaration of independence as well as for fleeing to Belgium instead of facing up to actions. However, he describes the actions of the government in Madrid as equally unpalatable, stating that the only solution is open political debate.
Did you know?
Film trailers were initially shown at the end of a feature film screening – hence the name “trailer”.
House of Commons
Oral questions: Education (including Topical Questions)
Backbench Business: Debate on a motion on British membership of the European Economic Area - Stephen Kinnock
Backbench Business: General Debate on transport in the north - Diana Johnson
House of Lords
European Commission proposals for the future of the EU - Lord Dykes
Protecting rural communities from pesticides - Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb
Discussions with farming organisations about the future of farm support post-Brexit - Baroness McIntosh of Pickering
Patrolling and enforcement of the UK’s exclusive economic zone and territorial seas after Brexit - Lord West of Spithead
Legislation: Data Protection Bill [HL] - Committee stage (day 2) - Committee of the Whole House - Lord Ashton of Hyde
No business scheduled
House of Commons
Oral questions: Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
Backbench Business: Debate on a motion on temporary accommodation - Siobhain McDonagh
Backbench Business: General Debate on matters to be raised before the forthcoming adjournment - Ian Mearns
House of Lords
Eliminating Japanese knotweed - Baroness Sharples
Digital resilience programmes and young people - Lord Cotter
Symptoms of neurotoxicity caused by prescribed prophylactic drugs - The Countess of Mar
Debate: Report from the Communications Committee 'Growing up with the internet' - Lord Best
Topical Questions (if selected)
First Minister Statement: Apology to those convicted for same-sexual activity that is now legal
Stage 1 Debate: Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill
Financial Resolution: Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill