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Friday's Business and Politics round-up

24 May 2019

Person reading the IoD's news round up with breakfast

Good morning and happy Friday!

European elections took place across the UK yesterday and it looks like the process wasn’t a smooth one. Thousands of EU citizens living in the UK were reportedly turned away from the polls and unable to vote by being told they hadn’t registered despite having done so.

The Electoral Commission has blamed the “very short notice” from the Government about the UK’s participation in the elections. As a result, many citizens received their registration forms late or they were not processed in time by their local authorities.

#deniedmyvote was trending on Twitter soon after the polls opened yesterday morning – not a good look for the government for sure.

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Season finale

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench MPs, the 1922 Committee, this morning to outline her timetable for departure from Number 10. Mr Brady is expected to warn Mrs May that if she refuses to go, she will be toppled.

MPs reportedly expect that Mrs May’s formal departure would take place the week of 10 June, soon after President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK on 3-5 June.

Pressure for Mrs May to resign has been increasing steadily over recent months, with many in her party unhappy with the Brexit deal she had negotiated with the EU. She outlined her plans for the new withdrawal agreement bill, which was set to be published today but has now been delayed – whether it will ever see the light of day in the current form is another question.

The announcement of the bill was followed by further backlash from Tory MPs, particularly about the fact that it included parliament having a vote on the second EU referendum. Several cabinet Ministers, including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary Sajid Javid, told the Prime Minister yesterday that it had to be dropped.

Social currency 

Facebook has revealed further plans to launch its own crypto-currency next year, which would be available for use in about a dozen countries initially. The currency, which is known internally as GlobalCoin, is aimed at providing secure and affordable ways to make payments from all over the world and regardless of whether the person has a bank account.

Facebook will also be partnering with banks and brokers for the project to enable users to change various international currencies into its digital coins and has reportedly been in talks with numerous online merchants to get them to accept the currency as a payment in exchange for lower transaction fees.

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly met with the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to discuss the opportunities and risks associated with the crypto-currency. The company has also sought advice from officials at the US Treasury.

Fair trade?

Huawei is dominating the headlines once again this morning, after President Donald Trump said that the company could be part of a trade deal between the US and China.

Mr Trump has previously called the company “very dangerous” and has banned US companies from acquiring technology from Huawei without the government’s approval. This has come alongside escalating trade tensions between the US and China.

Meanwhile, a top Chinese diplomat issued a warning to the UK, saying that there could be “substantial” repercussions for China’s investment in the UK if Huawei was banned from developing Britain’s 5G network. She added that Huawei’s investment was “a vote of confidence in the UK economy”.

UK government is still in the process of reviewing the policy and could potentially allow the Chinese firm to supply “non-core” 5G components.

Huawei has faced a backlash from many Western countries over concerns about the company’s ties to Chinese government.

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