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News Brexit - Press releases

Monday's Business and Politics round-up

09 Dec 2019

Person reading the news on their smartphone on a train

Good morning!

A volcano has erupted in New Zealand, killing one person and leaving several more unaccounted for. 

White Island, also known as Whakaari, is one of the country’s most active volcanoes having last erupted in 2016. Despite this, the island is a popular tourist destination. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said police have started a rescue operation but persistent falling ash has so far impeded attempts to get to the site. 

In other world news, Finland is set to appoint the world’s youngest Prime Minister after the Social Democratic Party chose 34-year old transport minister Sanna Marin to take the helm.

Marin will lead a centre-left coalition of five parties all run by women although she has brushed away questions around her gender and age, saying "I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate”. 

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Northern promises

Boris Johnson is to spend the last three days of the general election campaign in Labour heartlands, otherwise known as the “red wall” of constituencies that have historically backed Labour. 

The Prime Minister is set to tell voters that they face a “great betrayal” if Labour is elected, as Labour MPs won their seats on a “false prospectus” of enacting Brexit but instead “stuck two fingers up” to the public.   

Johnson will visit Sunderland, north Wales, the Midlands and the northwest, before ending the campaign in Labour marginals Yorkshire, Lancashire and the East Midlands. The Tories have been focusing on Labour-voting seats that backed Brexit. 

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to spend the last 72 hours of the campaign in Bristol, Gloucestershire and the West Midlands, the northeast and Scotland. He said yesterday Labour will “change the course of political history in Britain”. 

Polls over this weekend indicated the Conservatives have a ten-point lead over Labour, similar to their standing at the start of the campaign. Polling expert Sir John Curtice predicts the Tories will secure a majority of 40 or 50 seats. 

Eastern promises 

Tesco is considering selling off its stores in Asia, in a move that would mean a near-complete retreat of the company from international markets. 

The UK’s biggest retailer is mulling the sale of its Tesco Lotus stores in Thailand and Malaysia, where it has 2,000 outlets in total and employs around 60,000 people. In a statement it said it has begun a review of its Asian businesses "following inbound interest". 

The news comes as the firm shifts its focus as part of a turnaround programme that began five years ago. The recovery plan was in response to an accounting scandal and against the backdrop of competition from rival supermarket chains and online competitors. 

Tesco’s only other international stores – aside from those in Ireland – are its loss-making European unit which covers the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. 

The retailer has sold off several of its international businesses in recent years, including retreating from South Korea in 2015 and in the past Japan, China and the US. 

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