8 May

Stuart Taylor

8 May

Good morning,

The people of France last night chose their new president, the youngest in the country's history.

Emmanuel Macron swept to victory with 65 per cent of the vote, crushing far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and ending decades of rule by France’s established parties. It marks a meteoric rise for the 39-year old, who only formed his new centrist movement - En Marche – last year.

Speaking to supporters shortly after his victory, Macron said that a new page of “hope and renewed trust” had been turned in France’s history and vowed to guarantee unity, both at home and in Europe.

Leaders across the continent were quick to congratulate the victory, having feared a Le Pen win would bring about the dismantling of the European Union. Donald Tusk, the European Council president, congratulated the French on “choosing liberty, equality and fraternity over the tyranny of fake news”, while a phone call between the new president and Angela Merkel was said to be “warm and congratulatory”.

Prime Minister Theresa May was also quick off the mark to congratulate Macron, but may find him a vocal opponent as she navigates the UK’s exit from the EU. Macron stood on a very pro-EU platform and promised to drive a hard bargain with Britain during Brexit negotiations. As a clear sign of his affinity towards the EU, he opted to walk out to supporters to the sound of EU anthem Ode To Joy – rather than the French anthem, La Marseillaise.

The country’s parliamentary elections next month will bring Macron his first challenge as president, as he has no established party behind him.

Marine Le Pen was left to pick up the pieces from an election that delivered well below her expectations and that of her supporters. She vowed to continue the battle between “patriots and globalists”, but said that there must be the emergence of a new political force, indicating that the National Front and what it stands for remains a clear obstacle to winning a broader base of voters.

On the markets, the euro rose 0.2% against the dollar after the result as investors were reassured over the future stability of the European project, though the reaction was subdued due to a large expectation on the pro-business candidate prevailing.

News

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has claimed Theresa May is “battling for Britain” against EU officials who want to harm the Conservative election campaign. Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Hunt said we were not just voting for a prime minister for the next five years but a “prime minister who will do the Brexit negotiations that will last for generations.” (£)

President Barack Obama has spoken about his landmark healthcare legislation for the first time since leaving office as he urged Congress to find the political courage to defend his healthcare reforms. Obama reminded supporters of the audacity of junior congressmen that it took to pass the bill during a speech as he was presented the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Award at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

A study by Action on Smoking and Health has found that, for the first time, more than half of the UK's electronic-cigarette users have since given up smoking tobacco. Of a survey of 12,000 adults, it was found that 1.5 million vapers are ex-smokers, compared with 1.3 million who still use tobacco.

Business & Economy

Akzo Nobel, the Dutch paints and coatings group, has rejected a €26.9bn takeover offer by its US rival PPG Industries, saying that the offer undervalues the company. The decision to reject the offer will force its suitor to choose between making a hostile bid or walking away, as PPG aim to create an industry leader in the $130bn paints and coatings sector. (£)

A study by EY has found that the UK has reclaimed its place as the third most attractive destination for deals, with over half of UK companies expected to pursue mergers and acquisitions over the next year, a rise of three per cent from October 2016.

Facebook has ramped up its campaign to crack down on fake news by publishing adverts in the UK press. Full-page print ads will appear in four UK newspapers today, including the Telegraph, Times, Metro and Guardian, and will outline 10 tips on how to spot fake news. The move by the social media giant comes a month after similar campaigns in Germany and France ahead of each of their elections.

Markets

Finals
Altitude Group

AGMs
Centrica, Costain Group, Mobeus Income & Growth 4 Vct, PPHE Hotel Group Ltd, PureTech Health
UK Economic Announcements
(08:30) Halifax House Price Index

International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)

Columns of Note

Kevin Pringle uses his latest column in The Sunday Times to analyse last week's council elections, concluding that they represented "another turn of the wheel in the utter transformation of Scottish politics." With a possible second referendum on independence the central issue of the election, Kevin says the Conservatives have become every bit as much a party of constitutional politics as the SNP.

In today’s Financial Times, Gilles Kepel looks at what Emmanuel Macron must now do as president to heal a fractured France. Kepel says tasks in Macron’s presidential in-tray include tackling an unemployment rate that is sitting at around 10%, the increasing detachment of the young from the social and political system, and the rise of jihadism.

Did you know?

In the elections for mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 1988 the population was so unhappy with politicians, that a well-known monkey of the local zoo received over 400,000 votes.

Parliamentary highlights

TODAY

House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

House of Lords
In prorogation. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament
No business scheduled.

TOMORROW

House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

House of Lords
In prorogation. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.

Scottish Parliament

Ministerial Statement: Forensic Examination

Stage 1 Debate: Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill