9 November

@lyle_h_hill

9 November

Good morning,

It's finally all over for Priti Patel after what seemed like an eternity of 'will she, won't she?' speculation over her position in the Cabinet. In the end, it was a more dignified exit than many had expected as Patel was allowed to resign rather than face the sack. 

At one point during the day, over 22,000 people were tracking Patel's flight back to London from Nairobi on a plane tracking website. I don't know whether this says more about Patel's misdemeanours or the British public, but her unsanctioned meetings with Israeli officials have caused six days worth of unwanted headlines for the May government.

The writing was on the wall for Patel late on Tuesday evening, after it was discovered that she had held further unsanctioned meetings and had failed to disclose these when the initial accusations were reported.

Theresa May now faces an even more daunting predicament. A reshuffle is a thin line to tread for a prime minister with such a parliamentary balancing act to maintain. Two reshuffles in a week makes the task even more unenviable. May will be keen to avoid repeating the backlash amongst MPs when she promoted her chief whip following the resignation of Michael Fallon as defence secretary last week.

Any reshuffle would have to be palatable to both the Leave and Remain factions of her party. Her attempt to placate these critics and hold her crumbling team together for as long as possible has looked to be on shaky ground over the last seven days.

Patel was a prominent Brexiteer and Jacob Rees-Mogg has already suggested that leaks against her could have been coordinated by "disgruntled Remainers" who are still "very bitter" about the result of the referendum. Viewing every action through the prism of Brexit is standard discourse in our politics today, but it makes Mrs May's task almost impossible. The Times this morning reports that Brussels is braced for the complete collapse of her government.

Stoic May will no doubt disagree and she is expected to appoint Patel's successor over the course of today. Time will tell whether she can remain in Downing Street.

NEWS

Donald Trump has landed in China on the next stop of his tour of Asia. In stark contrast to his previous rhetoric on China, he has heaped praise on Chinese leader Xi Jingping since touching down. The US and China have announced the signing of £190bn worth of business deals during Trump's visit, but the US president has also urged China to work "very hard" to stop North Korea's nuclear advance.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has said that the health service needs a £4 billion funding boost in order to halt the rise in waiting list numbers. He argues that without the funding, up to a million more people will be stuck on waiting lists. Overall, Stevens said the NHS was £30 billion short of the funding it requires to be fit for purpose in a modern society.

The EU has given the UK a two to three week window to outline how much it would be willing to pay as a Brexit divorce settlement. EU negotiators are arguing that without a figure from the UK government, they would struggle to prepare for transition talks before the new year.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

An annual report from the Women on Boards review has found that there has been little progress on gender diversity in the leadership of the UK's biggest public companies over the last 12 months. The report found that Barclays and BP have the worst record with no women on their executive leadership teams. In contrast, EasyJet and Next have the most gender diverse leadership.

The US Department of Justice has demanded that AT&T must sell Time Warner's cable news channel CNN, in order to get its $85 billion acquisition approved. AT&T is challenging that ruling and   preparing to take the Trump administration to court in order to argue that the merger does not pose a threat to competition.

UK Steel has warned that if the UK does not match the EU's tough stance on steel dumping post-Brexit, jobs will be put at risk. The industry body warns that the UK could face an influx of Chinese steel sold below the cost of its production.

MARKETS

What happened yesterday?
The housebuilder Persimmon was the largest faller on the FTSE100 yesterday, after it issues a trading update stating that the group's sales were "in line with the prior year" and that "pricing remains firm across our regional markets". 

The poorly received update led to a slump of 4% and weighed on other housebuilders, such as Barratt Developments, which also fell 2.5%.

Other fallers included SSE, which lost 0.9% on the day following the announcement that it is pursuing a merger with Npower.

However, the day was more of a success for Marks and Spencer, which saw its shares rise following its first half results. The market was buoyed by the strong growth figures, which rose by 2.6% from the previous year. Nevertheless, pre-tax profits fell by 5.3%.

On the currency markets, the pound had a weak day, falling 0.46% against the dollar to $1.31060 and also slipping away by 0.5% against the euro to €1.13080.

Q3 Results
AstraZeneca, Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI), Inmarsat

Interims
Auto Trader Group, Burberry Group, Flybe Group, Halfords Group, National Grid, Sainsbury (J)

UK Economic Announcements
(00:01) RICS Housing Market Survey

 

International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Balance of Trade (GER)
(07:00) Current Account (GER)
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US)
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US)
(15:00) Wholesales Inventories (US)

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Iain Martin, writing in The Times, believes that Theresa May should take this opportunity to have a bold reshuffle and promote many of what he calls the "talented MPs who are itching to take on bigger roles".

Jonathan Freedland, writing in The Guardian, argues that the biggest winner from the resignation of Priti Patel is Boris Johnson. He believes that the continued revelations around her conduct have distracted away from the foreign secretary's blunder earlier in the week, and may have saved his job.

DID YOU KNOW?

The earliest written guidance to ministers was set out in the Questions of Procedure for Ministers (QPM), a confidential document that dates back to the 1980s. The QPM was released publicly by the Major government in 1992. The first Ministerial Code was produced by Tony Blair's government in 1997.

PARLIAMENTARY HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY
          
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First Minister's Questions
 
TOMORROW
 
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