8 June 2017

Most polls show wide lead for Conservatives as UK votes in general election

The final election poll by ICM for The Guardian shows the Conservative party on course to secure a 12 point lead over Labour, with the parties predicted to take 46% and 34% of the vote respectively. Similarly, ComRes for the Independent predicts the Conservative will emerge 10 points ahead of Labour, on 44% and 34% respectively. ComRes also estimates the Conservatives’ lead will translate into a 74-seat majority, the largest for the party since Margaret Thatcher. YouGov’s final poll for The Times predicts a slightly slimmer Conservative lead of 7%, on 43% against Labour’s 35%.

However, the final poll by Survation for ITV predicts a much narrower result, with the Conservatives on 41.3% and Labour on 40.4%. Equally, YouGov’s final Election Centre projection of seat distribution estimates the Conservatives will fall short of securing a parliamentary majority, obtaining 42% of the vote and 302 seats. The model results show Labour taking 38% of the vote and 269 seats. Most of the differences between polls are due to assumptions made on voter turnout.

Polling stations will close at 10pm tonight, at which time GFK and Ipsos Mori will publish its exit poll for BBC News and Sky News. Open Europe’s Stephen Booth will appear on BBC after the exit poll to discuss what the result will mean for Brexit negotiations.

Source: The Independent The Guardian The Evening Standard YouGov

OECD expects slower UK growth in 2018, but suggests strong UK-EU trade linkages post-Brexit would improve forecast

The latest OECD forecast suggests UK growth is expected to slow in the next two years compared to 2016, due largely to Brexit uncertainty and decreases in consumer spending and business investment. The OECD projects growth at 1.6% for the rest of 2017 and 1% for 2018, down from 1.8% last year. The report says, “This projection critically assumes that [World Trade Organisation] ‘most favoured nation’ treatment will govern UK trade after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in 2019,” but adds, “Swift progress in negotiations and an outcome that retains strong trade linkages with the European Union would lead to better outcomes than projected.” The report also called for more public borrowing and investment in infrastructure.

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No delay to Mifid II implementation in spite of hopes of Brexit respite

Discussing the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments directive (Mifid II), which aims to increase transparency of trading costs, Steven Maijoor, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) chair, said, “Contrary to some recent coverage and commentary, Mifid II will come into effect on January 3, 2018, there will be no further delay in its implementation.” Some UK financial figures had hoped for a postponement in light of the need to prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

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EU unveils future defence plans and funding

The European Commission yesterday published a reflection paper on the future of European defence, which set out three proposals for increasing EU integration in defence and security. Under the first scenario, cooperation would be “strengthened” on a voluntary and case-by-case basis. Under the second scenario, member states would pool certain financial and operational assets to “increase solidarity in defence.” The final scenario envisages a “greater level of integration of member states’ defence forces.” Such forces would be pre-positioned and be made “permanently available for rapid deployment on behalf of the Union.” The Commission also unveiled a new European Defence Fund for the purpose of helping member states develop and acquire defence capabilities.

Speaking at the launch of the paper, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said that the EU is not seeking to “substitute” or “replicate” NATO. She added, “The EU is not a military alliance and is not going to turn into a military alliance.”

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Greece calls on Eurozone to break impasse by agreeing on debt relief and growth incentives

Yesterday, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos laid out the “main principles” for a “clear solution” on the issue of debt relief to be reached at the next Eurogroup on June 15. Amid an impasse between the Eurozone and IMF on the size of relief the country needs, Tzanakopoulos argued that growth incentives would help “find the common ground needed for a comprehensive solution sought by all sides.” He added that substantial debt relief would need to be agreed upon, in order to keep the country’s gross financing needs below 15% of its GDP. He urged Eurozone leaders to take decisions that would “lead to a stable and strong recovery of the Greek economy and [its] immediate return to the bond markets.”

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Debate begins in Poland on reforms to give parliament more control over the judiciary

The Polish parliament began debate yesterday on a law that would grant the parliament the power to pick members of the body that nominates judges for appointment and to restrict the term length of the body’s members. Robert Kropiwnicki, from the opposition Civic Platform, said, “Today is a black day for the judiciary. This law is an attempt to change the Polish constitution. Parliament isn’t omnipotent and shouldn’t overrule checks and balances to control the judiciary.” The law, which has drawn criticism from European Union figures concerned about its constitutional effects, is expected to pass quickly due to the ruling Law and Justice (PIS) party holding majorities in both houses of parliament.

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