U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Makes Her First Statement As The Country's New Leader

Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister, has announced sweeping changes with her first cabinet.

Meanwhile the Bank of England has surprised markets by leaving interest rates on hold. Many had been expecting a cut.

Key appointments

  • Philip Hammond (treasury)
  • Boris Johnson (foreign office)
  • Amber Rudd (home office)
  • Justine Greening (education)
  • Liz Truss (justice)
  • David Davis (Brexit minister)
  • Liam Fox (international trade)
  • Jeremy Hunt (health)
  • Damian Green (work and pensions)
  • Michael Fallon (defence)
  • Chris Graylling (transport)
  • Andrea Leadsom (environment)

Key departures

  • George Osborne (treasury)
  • Michael Gove (justice)
  • Nicky Morgan (education)
  • Stephen Crabb (work and pensions)
  • John Whittingdale (culture)
  • Oliver Letwin (cabinet office)
  • Theresa Villers (Northern Ireland)

 

Sir John Chilcot Delivers The Iraq Inquiry Report

Sir John Chilcot has released his long-awaited report on the UK involvement in the Iraq war, which has led to more than 500,000 civilian deaths in the country.

Sir John said the UK government “chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options of disarmament had been exhausted” and “military action at that time was not a last resort”.

Prime minister David Cameron tells MPs that the report is not “accusing anyone of deliberate explicit deceit” while Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, formally apologises on behalf of the Labour Party for taking the country to war.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said he stood by his decision to back an invasion and that the report “should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit.”

Key findings

  • Blair committed to an invasion almost eight months before receiving parliamentary and legal backing

  • The invasion was based on “flawed intelligence and assessments” that went unchallenged

  • The UK was “undermining” the UN Security Council’s authority in the absence of majority support for military action.

  • The inquiry did not express a view on whether military action was legal but concluded “the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory”.

 

EU summit after British referendum to leave bloc

European leaders met today to discuss the UK’s fate after it voted to leave the EU. The British prime minister, however, was not among them.

Back home the attention was on the twin battles to lead the country’s major political parties.

Key points

  • David Cameron called on Jeremy Corbyn to step down as Labour leader “for the national interest”

  • François Hollande said London should lose the right to clear euro-denominated trades

  • Liam Fox threw his hat into the ring in the Tory leadership contest; Tom Watson said that he would not enter a Labour contest

  • Stephen Crabb launched bid for Tory party leadership

  • The FTSE 100 recovered all post-Brexit losses

  • Sterling was steady at $1.35

 

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After a weekend of political ructions in both main parties, focus in the UK today has switched back to the economy and the business impact of last week’s vote. UK stocks are down, the pound is at a new 30-year low, while 10-year Gilt yields have broken below 1% for the first time.

But we have also seen a number of fresh developments inside the Labour party, where an attempt is underway to unseat leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Key points

  • Markets are rattled – with the FTSE 100 down 2.6 per cent, the FTSE 250 off 7.0 per cent, and the pound has weakened more than 3 per cent against the dollar to fall below $1.32 and set a new post-1980s low in today’s trading.

  • George Osborne, speaking for the first time since Thursday’s vote says government ‘must deliver’ on the result

  • Boris Johnson, who hopes to replace Mr Cameron, has backed BoE governor Mark Carney, and vowed to keep UK in the single market

  • David Cameron has given his first statement to the Commons since the vote to leave the EU. He ruled out holding a second referendum and made it clear any decisions on Britain’s future relationship with the Union would be an issue for his successor. Boris Johnson was not there.

  • The bloodletting in the Labour party has continued, with dozens of shadow cabinet members resigning

You can catch up on what happened yesterday here.