In modern times, the speaker of the House of Commons has not been a significant determinant of political outcomes in the UK. This makes the current speaker, John Bercow, an unusual figure. Whilst navigating the fraught Brexit process, he has authorised several procedural innovations that have enabled backbench MPs to commandeer control of the chamber from the government. This has made him popular amongst opposition MPs, on whom he has depended to maintain his position.
Global Counsel financial services practice lead, Adam Terry, talks to GC vice-chair and former UK City minister, Paul Myners, and Huw Van Steenis, whose major report for the Bank of England on “the future of finance” was published earlier this year.
Bill Gates says climate activists are wasting their time trying to encourage divestment from companies involved with fossil fuels. The impact on emissions to date, according to Gates, is probably zero. Instead, activists should focus their efforts on backing new technologies that will either slow carbon emissions or reduce their impact on the climate. In short, more financial push and less pull is needed by climate activists.
We are now 18 months on from the launch of the UK’s Open Banking initiative, which empowers consumers to demand that their bank share their financial data with third parties who can provide account aggregation or payment initiation services. The jury’s still out on whether this market intervention will provide the intended boost to innovation and competition, but already thoughts are turning to what else might be “opened” in the same way.
September 10th provided a rare boost for pro-Europeans in the euro zone’s third largest economy. Movimento 5 Stelle’s Giuseppe Conte won approval in parliament for his new government, replacing the nationalist Lega with the centre-left Partito Democratico. Former PD prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, also secured the important economic affairs portfolio in the European Commission: he will have responsibility for EU fiscal rules, the reform and application of which have existential issues for Italy for nearly a decade. Relief in Rome was echoed in Brussels this week, with a gushing reception for Conte from the EU’s outgoing presidents Tusk and Juncker. There is even speculation the 14 MEPs of the anti-establishment M5S could affiliate with the pro-European Greens. They broke ranks with Lega earlier in the summer to support incoming commission president Ursula von der Leyen, votes that proved decisive in her confirmation.
The European Commission’s new legal guidance on the participation of third country bidders in the EU procurement market sends an important signal. It signals that greater reciprocity in public procurement will be an important element of Brussels’ industrial policy agenda. As I set out in a recent GC paper, the commission is demonstrating that it is unafraid to put words into action.
The attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, has reportedly advised prime minister Boris Johnson’s new government that a no-deal Brexit cannot be prevented from occurring on October 31st by the British parliament, even if it loses a vote of no confidence. He has advised that parliament’s passing of the Article 50 act – which authorised the triggering of Article 50 - and the withdrawal act – which abolishes the European Communities Act on October 31st - legally locks-in the UK’s departure, including one without a deal.
Ursula von der Leyen’s narrow win on Tuesday - just nine seats above the required majority – has widely been interpreted as a sign of trouble ahead for her commission and its ability to push through legislation. But is this right? There are some reasons to think it might not be.
The company has long been the cornerstone of advanced capitalism, providing an imperfect but acceptable equilibrium between workers, executives and governments. In this podcast, Senior Director, Stephen Adams, and Practice Lead, Tom King, discuss how new technologies are knocking firms off balance, as elite workers seek different forms of compensation beyond the material.
Alongside our recent report produced with the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, Practice Lead Alex Dawson, Adviser Leo Ringer and Senior Director Stephen Adams discuss the challenge of how we make sure people use cars in a more efficient, cleaner, cheaper, smarter way, leading to greater use of public and active transport.