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Thursday's Business and Politics round-up

05 Sep 2019

Person sat at a table reading a newspaper

Good morning!

The Prime Minister’s historic defeat in the Commons last night is appropriately covered on today’s front pages, although developments in the early hours of this morning mean even newspapers are already behind.

Yesterday’s antics saw Boris call Jeremy Corbyn a chlorinated chicken. Some might argue this was a paltry jibe. 


The morning's top stories, rounded up for your convenience. 

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Chicken coup

The Government has stated that the bill intended to block a no-deal Brexit will finish its Lords stages tomorrow. It comes after a busy day in Parliament which saw peers sitting until 1:30am to hold a series of votes on the proposed legislation.
 
It had been thought that Brexit-supporting peers would try and filibuster the bill in order to stifle its progress, but instead there was a breakthrough in cross-party talks. Chief whip Lord Ashton of Hyde said all stages of the bill will be completed by 5pm on Friday. 
 
Earlier yesterday, Boris Johnson suffered other major setbacks in the Commons, including when MPs voted 327 to 299 in favour of the bill and when he failed to win enough votes in the chamber for his plan to hold a general election. 
 
The no-deal bill, presented by Labour’s Hilary Benn, gives the Prime Minister until October 19 to either pass a Brexit deal in Parliament or gain MPs’ approval for no-deal. Following this deadline, he must request the EU for an Article 50 extension to January 31. 
 
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who backed the bill, is on record as saying the legislation must receive Royal Assent before the party would consider backing Johnson’s call for a general election. This sign-off would not take place until next week. 
 
Johnson is under pressure from factions within the party to reinstate the 21 Tory rebels that had the whip withdrawn on Tuesday for voting against the government. One minister is quoted as saying “We’ve got to bring them back if we want to win the coming election”. 
 
A Conservative MP says Johnson is being “held hostage” in Downing Street following yesterday’s defeats. Meanwhile, EU Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier reportedly told EU ambassadors in Brussels that negotiations are “in a state of paralysis”. 

Still thirsty 

The Chancellor Sajid Javid yesterday declared an end to a decade of austerity, as he took to the dispatch box to announce details of the Spending Round. The IoD said that although he certainly turned on the taps, businesses are left wanting more. 
 
Javid outlined £13.4 billion in investment for the period 2020-2021. The 4.1% increase in extra day-to-day spending constitutes the fastest increase in government spending for 15 years. The backdrop is of course a looming autumn election and Britain’s exit from the EU. 
 
Major promises include an NHS funding increase of £6.2 billion next year, £7.1 billion for the education budget by 2022-2023 and £750 million for 20,000 police officers. He pledged £2 billion in Brexit preparedness funding, on top of the £2.1 billion already announced. 
 
Responding to the Chancellor’s statement, IoD Chief Economist Tej Parikh said the additional Brexit funding is a “necessary precaution” but businesses want more details. He added firms need one-off support such as business rates reliefs or a moratorium on some regulations. Tej’s comments feature in the Telegraph and the i

Yesterday’s event was a spending round, not a spending review – the difference being the plans are a one-year strategy rather than the usual three-year plan, due to on-going uncertainty related to Brexit. 


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Euan Holmes, Press Officer

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