This week the Conservative leadership caravan moves from parliament to the country membership. Ballots are expected to land on the doormats of 150,000 Tory party members over the next few days as finalists Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak face off in the second televised debate on Sky News at 8pm on Thursday.
But have Tory members made up their minds yet? Polls have shown that Truss is leading the former chancellor among Labor. Stephen Bush, who runs the Inside Politics newsletter, warns that Sunak has limited time to close the gap with Truss as “most Conservative members will be voting as soon as their ballot papers arrive”.
Whoever wins the leadership race will inherit a wave of industrial discontent. Thousands of BT staff will walk out on Monday in the second of two strikes led by the Communications Workers Union over a pay dispute. In response to BT’s £1,500 pay deal offered to staff in April, the CWU said company bosses had given workers “two fingers up”. Dockers at the largest container port in Great Britain are also expected to strike in August.
Across the Atlantic, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will speak at a conservative political action conference in Dallas despite an international backlash after his speech on race led to the resignation of one of his close aides, who called him a “pure Nazi”.
Speaking of controversial international travel, Kathrin Hille reports that China is pulling out all the stops — including the possible military — to dissuade House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from visiting Taiwan in the next few days.
Past the doom and gloom we can look forward to a weekend of revelry. As well as International Beer Day on Friday, the streets of Brighton will be awash with glitter as one of the UK’s biggest Pride events gets underway. Thousands of people will flock to the south coast of England for the annual LGBTQ parade. And don’t miss it Fire of love on the big screen, writes our film critic Danny Leigh.
The Bank of England will be under pressure on Thursday as its monetary policy committee weighs how high to raise interest rates to bring inflation down to its 2 percent target. It is currently at a 40-year high of 9.4 percent, and is expected to climb even higher. Gov. Andrew Bailey said a half-percentage-point increase was on the table — which would be the biggest increase in 27 years.
The BoE is under pressure to step up efforts to tame inflation after the US central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.75 percentage points for the second consecutive month on Wednesday. The White House will tout all the good news on US jobs this week to ease fears of a recession. The economy contracted for the second quarter in a row, and “core” personal consumption expenditures rose 0.6 percent in June.
The August lull in earnings is not yet upon us. After last week’s madness, things will calm down just a little in the coming days, says FT corporate commentator Cat Rutter Pooley.
The narrative of consumer goods and drinks groups raising sales forecasts on rising inflation is firmly in place ahead of Heineken’s results on Monday and Kellogg’s on Thursday.
A windfall earned by oil and gas groups was also a major highlight of the earnings season. After Shell posted a record $11.5 billion profit in the quarter, it’s BP’s turn to step into the political storm on Tuesday. The UK has introduced extra taxes on energy companies this year, but a new round of record profits could increase calls for more levies.
And while the major US banks have released their updates that seem like eons ago, the reports from the European banking sector are still coming in. HSBC will report on whether lockdowns in China continued to affect its profitability in Asia, while Bank of Ireland and Commerzbank reported on Wednesday.
Read the calendar for the whole week ahead here.
“Alcohol scholar. Hardcore tv junkie. Wannabe bacon enthusiast. Twitter fanatic. Subtly charming travel guru. Pop culture specialist.”