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Friday's Business and Politics round-up

17 Mar 2017
Business person stood up, reading a newspaper

IoD in the news

Financial Times - City fears repercussions of Philip Hammond’s mauling
CityAM - IoD is reviving its Brussels branch to forge connections ahead of Brexit
Economia - Will regulating privately-owned companies make a difference?
The Daily Telegraph - Unilever's M&A stance stirs Marmite-like reaction

Go Stur-crazy

Theresa May has frustrated Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes of a second Scottish independence referendum before Brexit, speaking in an interview yesterday the Prime Minister made it clear that “now is not the time”.

The PM said she wanted to focus her energy on getting the best possible deal for the whole of the UK. Mrs May said “It would be unfair to the people of Scotland that they would be being asked to make a crucial decision without the information they need to make that decision”. The prime minister also said the country should be “working together, not pulling apart”.

Nicola Sturgeon had announced a referendum to be held sooner rather than later and will not be pleased with the outcome so far. On Monday, she said the vote would be held between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019 – before it was “too late”. Sturgeon called May’s announcement yesterday a “democratic outrage”.

Speaking to the BBC, the Scottish First Minister, said the remarks concluded the argument for independence “in a nutshell”, she added “Westminster thinks it has got the right to block the democratically elected mandate of the Scottish government and the majority in the Scottish Parliament”. Ms Sturgeon also said that history may look back and see it as the day the “fate of the union was sealed”.

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, backed the PM saying the people of Scotland should have the right to see how the UK was working after leaving the EU before deciding whether or not they wanted independence.

The story appears on almost every front page this morning, but the Daily Telegraph will have some more bad news for the SNP as it warns the second vote may not happen for another six years. It explains that the PM ‘will not begin talks on a referendum until Brexit has had time to bed in - likely to be a period of two years. It could then take another 18 months to complete the formalities needed for the referendum to take place, pushing it back as far as 2023’. This is crucial as Scottish elections are due to take place in 2021, and this will be a good indicator for the mood in Scotland.

Scotland voted by 55% to 45% to remain in the UK in a referendum in September 2014 – but Sturgeon wants to hold a second referendum as she claims the environment has changed and the country’s future is at stake.

MSPs are due to vote next Wednesday on whether to seek a section 30 order from the UK government, which would be needed to make any referendum legally binding. The parliament currently has a pro-independence majority, with the Scottish Greens pledging to support the minority SNP government in the vote. If this goes ahead in Sturgeon’s favour, it could cause considerable problems for Number 10. It is hard to deny a clear message from Holyrood.

Shine bright like a Diamond 

Bob Diamond, the former chief executive of Barclays, is reportedly set to launch a takeover bid for Panmure Gordon, one of the UK’s oldest stockbrokers.

Mr Diamond has a way of making the headlines, and today he is back after Sky New reported the bid yesterday. The move is expected to be formally announced in the coming days and would see Panmure delisted from the London stock market and taken private.

It is thought Diamond's private equity firm, Atlas Merchant Capital (AMC), and QInvest, a Qatari investment bank that currently owns 43% of Panmure, will team up to make an offer.

The bid could see the return of Mr Diamond to the London Square Mile. He established Atlas Merchant Capital after he was ousted from Barclays over the Libor interest rate rigging scandal in 2012.


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