9 May 2019

Natalie Northridge

9 May 2019

Good morning,

The wait is over, our appetites sated. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have revealed the name of their son: Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor.

As is customary after a royal birth, many tried to guess what the Royal pair would name their child. Bookies’ favourites included Spencer, after Harry’s mother Lady Diana Spencer (4-1 odds), and Alexander (also 4-1), followed by Arthur at 6-1. Less likely bets included Donald at 200-1, and Boris at 250-1. Archie, however, did not feature prominently on the bookmaker’s lists, which suggests bookies are about as successful at predicting parental naming preferences as pollsters have been at predicting election results in recent years.

The next big question on everyone’s lips (ok, maybe not everyone) was whether the new-born would be granted a customary title. Archie could have been Earl of Dumbarton, for example (one of Prince Harry’s titles), or Lord Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor. However, the royal couple have opted against giving him a title – at least for now – in an apparent attempt to allow the boy some degree of normality in childhood,  or as much normality as you might expect when your great grandmother is Queen, and your parents are as famous as Meghan and Harry.

Yesterday was his first taste of what he’s up against on that front, as the announcement of his name also coincided with his first media appearance. He slept peacefully in Prince Harry’s arms during the short interview with his beaming parents. However, that inaugural moment in the limelight was relatively brief, as the new family were on their way to an appointment with Her Maj, who was eagerly awaiting her first meeting with her eighth great grandchild. 

A global photocall, meeting an A-list television star, a cuddle with Prince Harry, and tea with the Queen. Quite a big day for little Archie, then, and one that surely saw a few ticks marked-up on his bucket list.


Scotland is set to become the first UK nation to implement a bottle return deposit scheme. Yesterday, the environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham shared details of the scheme, which will see a 20p deposit on cans and plastic and glass bottles. The deposit will be refunded to consumers upon the return of empties to collection points in retail outlets, with all retailers selling drinks in cans or bottles required to comply with the scheme. The Scottish Government plans to introduce the legislation later in the year, and there will then be an implementation period of 12 months before the scheme is fully running.

In the US, the House Judiciary committee has voted in favour of holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of congress. The measure was put forward after Barr refused to release a non-redacted version of the Mueller report, despite the committee issuing a subpoena for the document last month. The committee voted along party lines with 24- 16 votes in favour of the measure. The next step in the process will be for the resolution to be voted on by the whole House.

Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who has spent 10 years in jail – nine of them on death row – in Pakistan over blasphemy charges, has been reunited with her family in Canada. Bibi was arrested in 2009, after she was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed in a row with her neighbours. Her case has since divided the country, with Islamist hardliners calling for her to be hanged. Though she was acquitted in October, and granted asylum in Canada, her departure has been delayed due to diplomatic tensions. Bibi and her husband landed in Calgary yesterday, and were greeted there by their two daughters.

Business & Economy

Wells Fargo has created a new position overseeing operational and compliance procedures, a move forced by its regulators following its fake accounts scandal. The role belongs to Derek Flowers, who has been employed by Wells Fargo for the past 20 years. The 2016 scandal saw Wells branch employees, working under a sales incentive scheme, opening “fake” accounts without customer consent.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry has vowed to implement “necessary countermeasures” if the US imposes higher tariffs on Chinese goods. Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he intended to more than double tariffs on $200bn (£152bn) of Chinese goods on Friday and that he might introduce fresh tariffs. He has, however, stated that a deal with Beijing is still possible. Beijing issued its own warning as US and Chinese officials prepare to meet over the next two days. The IMF has cautioned that a full blown trade war would weaken the global economy.

A sale process for Debenhams has come to an end, with no acceptable bids being put on the table, which has left the company’s creditors in full charge of the retailer. The store went into “pre-pack” administration in April, passing ownership to its lenders. A prospective buyer would have had to immediately absolve the company's debt, which amounts to more than £500m. Debenhams will close at least 22 of its least profitable stores in January 2020 and pay reduced rent on more than 100 others.


What happened yesterday?
The US markets were down last night after initial gains following confirmation that Chinese officials are visiting Washington on Friday to try and strike a trade deal. The S&P was down 0.2%, having initially been up by 0.5%, and the Nasdaq finished 0.25% down. The Dow Jones Industrial Average however finished 2.24 points up (a 0.0086% increase).

On this side of the Atlantic, the FTSE 100 was up by 0.2%, or 10.5 points, finishing at 7,271. The highest climber was Micro Focus International, which rose 3.9% to £18.12. Among the top 10 climbers were oil and gas companies Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP. The A and B shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC were both in the top 10 (up 1.58% and 1.75% respectively), while BP was up 0.96%.

The biggest faller was Imperial Brands, down 6.32%. The bottom 10 also included the supermarket giants Sainsburys (-2.29), Marks & Spencer (-1.48) and Tesco (-1.42). The pound also fell 0.50% against the euro, to 1.1618, and was down 0.43% against the dollar at 1.3012.

Federal Bank Ltd (The) GDR (REGS)
JZ Capital Partners Ltd
Keystone Law Group
Osirium Technologies
Smartspace Software
Toyota Motor Corp.
Vertu Motors

Jyske Bank A/S
Cardiff Property
Edinburgh Dragon Trust
Elegant Hotels Group
Imperial Brands
MXC Capital
Trading announcements
Direct Line Insurance Group
Gem Diamonds Ltd. (DI)
Grafton Group Units
Grafton Group Units
Wetherspoon (J.D.)
Morgan Sindall Group
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI)
Travis Perkins

Intl Economic Announcements
(07:00) Industrial Production (GER)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US
(15.30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Cello Health
Caledonia Mining Corporation (DI)
Charles Taylor
Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. (Singapore)
EMIS Group
Forbidden Technologies
Gem Diamonds Ltd. (DI)
Grafton Group Units
Henderson High Income Trust
Hongkong Land Holding Ltd. (Sing.Reg)
Independent Oil & Gas
Johnson Service Group
Mandarin Oriental International (Singapore)
Morgan Sindall Group
Mobeus Income & Growth Vct
Oakley Capital Investments Ltd. (DI)
Rentokil Initial
Standard Chartered
Ten Entertainment Group
Team17 Group
Travis Perkins

Columns of Note

In the wake of recent data suggesting GP shortages, Labour MP (and GP) Dr Paul Williams argues for the nationalisation of these services. Writing in the Guardian, Williams discusses the current business model of GP services across the country: though hospitals are national, GP surgeries are mostly still privately owned and many are now refusing to take on new patients because it is not in the best interests of business. Williams argues that health services should be designed around need, not business sense, and that nationalising the service would also lead to a shift away from hospital-based care and towards preventative community care.

The Labour party was quick to celebrate the loss of more than 1300 Conservative council seats in the election last week, Tom Harris says in The Telegraph, but while the narrative being pedalled is of a Conservative party in chaos (which is reflected by their huge loss), the Tories actually received the same share of the popular vote as the Labour party. Harris cautions the Labour party not to celebrate the Tory losses too soon and suggests they still have everything to play for. (£)

Did you know?

Your funny bone isn’t actually a bone at all. It is a nerve called the ulnar nerve, which runs down the inside of your elbow. The ulnar nerve lets your brain know about feeling in your fourth and fifth fingers, and controls some of the movement in your hand.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons
Oral questions
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
Church Commissioners, the House of Commons Commission, and the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission
Business Statement
Business Questions to the Leader of the House - Andrea Leadsom
Backbench Business
Debate on a Motion on Acquired Brain Injury
General Debate on the 25th Anniversary of the death of John Smith, former Leader of the Labour Party

A14 Cambridge - Huntingdon road upgrade
House of Lords
Oral questions
Increasing diversity in public appointments - Lord Holmes of Richmond
Recent developments in Nigeria, with particular reference to attacks on civilians by Fulani militia - Baroness Cox
Provision of suitable social housing for older people - Baroness Kennedy of Cradley
Issues facing people with disabilities and the potential for improved treatment and outcomes in the next 50 years - Lord Borwick
Conduct of debate in public life; the divisions which result from that in society; and the case for addressing such divisions. - Lord Harris of Haringey
Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) (Amendment) Bill – Second reading - Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury
Orders and regulations
Syria (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019; Chemical Weapons (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019; Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019; Republic of Belarus (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018; Zimbabwe (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Scottish Parliament
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
General Questions
First Minister’s Questions
Members' Business
Kenneth Gibson: Changes to Pension Credit Could Cost Mixed-age Couples £7,320 Annually
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Ministerial Statement
The Scottish Government’s Response to the Sturrock Review
Portfolio Questions
Stage 3 Proceedings
Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Business Motions
Decision Time


House of Commons

No business scheduled

House of Lords

No business scheduled

Scottish Parliament

No business scheduled