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Tuesday's Business and Politics round-up

23 Jul 2019

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Good morning!

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks poised to become the first leader since the fall of communism to have an overall majority in the country’s parliament, having only registered his political party last year.

Servant of the People – named after the TV sitcom which he starred in – is on track to secure around 250 of the 450 seats in parliament. 

Zelensky triumped in April’s general election but he has since been unable to appoint the ministers of his choice. A decisive victory will mean he can more easily push through his proposed policies. He has said the key issues are investment, democracy and safety. 


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On the verge

The results of the Conservative Party leadership contest are expected to be announced just before noon. The outcome of the ballot of around 160,000 party members follows weeks of campaigning by hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
 
Johnson is the clear favourite to succeed Theresa May, who will chair her last cabinet meeting this morning. She will officially tender her resignation tomorrow afternoon and her successor will take office shortly afterwards.
 
Backbencher Dominic Raab said Johnson was “best placed” to unite the Conservatives, as he won over half the votes in the first round of voting. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said Johnson is the “right person to get a deal with Europe”. 
 
However, some Conservative MPs including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Justice Secretary David Gauke and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart have said they would not serve in a Johnson-led cabinet. 
 
Sir Alan Duncan, Foreign Office Minister, resigned from his position yesterday in anticipation of a Johnson premiership. He called for MPs to vote on whether they actually back Johnson forming a government, although this request has been declined by Speaker John Bercow. 

Jo-vial

Jo Swinson has been elected the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. The 39 year-old is the youngest person to run the party, as well as the first female to do so. 
 
Swinson told party members that she would do “whatever it takes to stop Brexit”.  She described Tory leadership candidate Boris Johnson as “unfit to be Prime Minister” and said that she was ready to lead the country. 
 
In her victory speech she appealed to disillusioned Conservative, Labour and independent MPs, saying her “door was always open” to those who wish to combat the rise of “nationalism and populism”. 
 
She has been deputy leader of the party since 2017 and served as a business minister in the Lib Dem-Conservative government. She succeeds party veteran Sir Vince Cable. 
 
The Lib Dems said that 72% of its 106,000 members had voted in the leadership contest. The results saw Swinson winning by a decisive 47,997 votes to Sir Ed Davey’s 28,021. Last night Davey said "These are historic times and [the Lib Dems] are needed more than ever before”. 

Not the Wright time

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has said the government is delaying its decision on whether Huawei should be excluded from the rollout of 5G networks in the UK.
 
Wright said the Government was “not yet in a position” to make a decision on the controversial Chinese tech company. He added that the impact of the recent decision by the US to ban its companies from dealing with Huawei was unclear. 
 
The comments come days after MPs called on the Government to make a decision on Huawei as “a matter of urgency”. Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson said the Government’s handling of Huawei has led to “confusion”. 
 
The company has repeatedly denied accusations that the use of its products poses security threats, and insisted it is independent from the Chinese government. 
 
In May the US banned companies from selling components and technology to Huawei and a list of 68 related firms, citing national security concerns. It later issued a temporary license to enable some companies to continue supporting existing Huawei networks and devices. 


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