Daily Briefing: 19 October
by Stuart Taylor
At first it looked like Britain was all in for ‘hard Brexit’, and Parliament was going to have no say over what that would look like.
However, yesterday a UK government lawyer threw doubt over Theresa May’s hardline rhetoric surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU, saying that parliament would indeed have the final say on whether to accept the country’s terms for exit.
While the hearing at the High Court ruled that the prime minister’s refusal to allow MP’s to vote on triggering Article 50 to set the exit in motion, the lawyers put the brakes on any notion that the final deal agreed from Brussels could swerve the approval of parliament.
“The view within government is that it is very likely that this treaty will be subject to ratification process in the usual way. Most of them are,” said Jim Eadie, a lawyer from the UK government.
With the prospect that parliament’s consent could rule a ‘soft Brexit’ back in, the winner of this game of political hokey-cokey was the pound, which had its best day since mid-August.
The legal interpretation of the process by the court sent the pound rallying 1 per cent to $1.23, with those in the markets taking encouragement that a more favourable trade deal being struck was possible.
However, Britain’s economic health looks set to suffer for some time yet with economic data published yesterday sparking concerns that the country is on course for a period of sustained higher inflation, as the price of imported goods start to rise.
The Office of National Statistics released information which showed that inflation had rose to 1 per cent, its highest level in almost two years. Despite this trend being the result of higher prices for oil and clothing, it came with a stark warning that we have yet to feel the full consequences of a falling pound.
As Theresa May heads to Brussels this week for her first EU summit, intent on not showing her hand to fellow European leaders, she will want to avoid a repeat of the Conservative Party conference a fortnight ago and will no doubt be actutely aware that the markets will be minutely sensitive to her every word.
The US has accused Islamic State (IS) militants of using civilians as human shields as Iraqi forces move closer to the group’s stronghold in Mosul.
Some 700,000 people are believed to still be in the city, where up to 5,000 IS fighters face the third day of the operation to retake the area. Barack Obama has attempted to dampen concerns about an exodus of civilians from the area, saying “plans and infrastructure” are in place for dealing with any potential humanitarian crisis.
Barack Obama has scorched claims by Donald Trump that the US presidential election has been rigged in Hillary Clinton’s favour, saying that he was “whining before the game’s even over.” No doubt Trump’s latest conspiracy theory will come up when he clashes with his rival in the last presidential debate tonight in Las Vegas.
A teenage couple who murdered a school dinner lady and her 13-year-old daughter as they slept have become the youngest couple convicted of murder in Britain. Aged 14 at the time and both now 15, the tabloids report that the pair had a “Bonnie and Clyde” mentality and plotted the murders for several days.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
William Hague’s article in yesterday’s Telegraph where he cast doubt over the future independence of the central bank has attracted the scorn of economists, who have said that his ideas were “totally stupid.” The group have told the former foreign secretary that politicians should stop meddling in the Bank of England’s affairs, as intervention will only add to Britain’s economic woes. Lord Hague’s intervention comes at a sensitive time, with governor Mark Carney’s relationship with Theresa May at an all-time low.
In a big shift away from its traditional asset allocation, Norway’s $88bn oil fund is being encouraged to invest billions of dollars more in equities and take on more risk, according to a government-commissioned report on Tuesday. The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund should invest 70 per cent of its assets in shares, up from today’s 60 per cent, at the expense of bonds, the report said.
Sir Philip Green has hinted that a deal over the failed retailer BHS’s pension fund is very close to being struck, as the high street retail mogul attempts to cling on to his knighthood. Speaking to Robert Peston on ITV, Green said his advisors were engaged in a “strong dialogue” with the Pensions Regulator, and stated he was “very, very, very sorry” for the collapse of the business.
Datatec Ltd. (DI), U And I Group
Monitise, Terra Capital
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) Claimant Count Rate
International Economic Announcements
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US), (13:30) Building Permits (US),(13:30) Housing Starts (US), (15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
COLUMNS OF NOTE
Daniel Finkelstein has called on Remainers to stop their “dishonest games” in today’s Times. He says that calling for Britain to stay in the single market but ditch free movement is an impossible outcome and instead serves only as a “back-door way of defying the people.” He also calls for an amnesty on the summer trend of adding “Br” in front of words, such as Brexit and Bremoaners. I’m sure, regardless of how you voted in June, you have some sympathy with that plea.
The Telegraph’s Defence Editor, Con Coughlin, has claimed that the only way the West can be sure of declaring victory in the war against IS is to commit to ground troops. He says the culture in the West that any military intervention is seen as a firm of political suicide comes with a heavy price, as it forces nations to work and put their faith in proxies in the hope that they share the same ambitions when it comes to defeating our enemies.
ON THIS DAY
Today marks a year in the job for Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. His Liberal Party swept to victory, capturing 184 of the 338 seats in Parliament. Trudeau is the country’s second-youngest prime minister and the first to follow a parent into office, with his father sweeping to power 47 years earlier.
House of Commons
Wales, including Topical Questions
Prime Minister’s Questions
Ten Minute Rule Motion
Cosmetic Surgery (Standards of Practice) — Mr Kevan Jones
Opposition Day Debate
(Scottish National Party) Subject to be announced
Car parking charges at railway stations — Mark Pawsey
House of Lords
Addressing the impact of the deregulation of short-term letting on long-term residential rental properties in London — Baroness Gardner of Parkes, Priorities for the UK’s international development aid budget
- Baroness Kennedy of Cradley, Preventing vexatious law suits against British servicemen — Lord Touhig, Registration and settlement of unaccompanied minors before the demolition of the Calais refugee camp — Lord Roberts of Llandudno
Investigatory Powers Bill — Report stage (day 3) — Earl Howe
Progress of Fit to Work scheme in enabling those with long-term health problems to return to or stay in work — Lord Luce
No business scheduled