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May steps down and Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill delayed (again)

Following a tumultuous 24 hours, Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that she will resign on June 7th. This comes twelve hours after the Government announcing that May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill will not be published or debated until early June, if at all. May faced a groundswell of pressure to resign from her own MPs after announcing 10 guarantees within the Bill, including a confirmatory referendum. Commons leader Andrea Leadsom stood down on Wednesday night over May’s Brexit policy, stating in her resignation letter ‘I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result’. The leadership contest will commence on 10th June and with MPs choosing candidates to be voted on by the Conservative party membership.  The process is likely to take at least a month, putting even more pressure on the Brexit timeline.

State of the economy: British Steel and Jamie’s Italian

This week has seen two large British employers in disparate industry’s go into administration, putting thousands of jobs in peril. Jamie’s Italian, the casual dining behemoth, has closed 22 of its 25 restaurants, making one thousand people redundant. Oliver blamed the ‘well-publicised struggles of the casual dining sector and decline of the UK high street, along with soaring business rates’ for the closures. British Steel has also been placed in compulsory liquidation following a breakdown in rescue talks between the Government and private equity firm Greybull Capital. This has put 5,000 jobs at risk and endangered 20,000 in the supply chain. The search for a buyer has already begun and trade will continue as normal in the meantime. The Labour Party – and indeed even the Daily Mail – have called for British Steel to be taken into public ownership; As we face uncertainty around the leadership of the country, the outcome of Brexit and the global economy, these will probably not be the last big names in British business who go to the wall.

European elections

The European Elections in the UK took place yesterday, and the results are expected to illuminate whether the surge in far-right populism across Europe is rhetoric or reality. With the Brexit Party set to win the most votes; a position that will have been strengthened by the estimated 2 million EU nationals living in the UK that were unable to vote. An ‘administrative error’ made by councils whereby citizens who had registered to vote, and in many cases confirmed by telephone their eligibility, were turned away at the polling booths. There have been calls on the Government to launch an urgent investigation into how so many EU voters have been denied their democratic rights. The mass disenfranchisement is in direct contravention of several EU treaties, meaning that EU citizens could take the matter straight to court to sue the UK Government. With results expected on Sunday, the Europe-wide election results will show whether Europe is having its own ‘Trump moment’ or whether Macron’s vision to rebuild the foundations of the EU will prevail.