The last #Week In Politics has been largely overshadowed by the ever-expanding culture of #Sexual Harassment allegations within Westminster. However, there have been some other important highlights and issues to arise. The Conservatives lost a vote on the release of 58 individual reports on the impact of Brexit, The #Bank Of England raised its benchmark rate for the first time in 10 years, a national insurance hike for the self-employed and a backtrack on PIP payments by ministers.

Meanwhile in America, Robert Mueller has issued his first indictments over Russian influence in the 2016 election and the Republicans unveiled their tax-reform plans.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Spain imposed direct-rule on Catalunya and issued a European arrest warrant for President Carles Puigdemont.

UK news

The Bank of England raised the benchmark interest rate for the first time in 10 years, from a low 0.25 to 0.5 percent. The central bank stated that the future increases will be gradual and to a limited extent. Sterling and government bond yields slipped following the rise however, major lenders rates kept on hold. The government have scrapped a tax-cut that was heralded as a boost for self-employed. Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) were due to end in April but they will stay in place until 12 months later in the latest government U-turn.

Following a high-level legal ruling in March DWP secretary, David Gauke, has had to rewrite the rules on Personal Independence Payments (PIP), this means that 10,000 people will see their benefits boosted by between £70-£90 each week by 2023.

Advertisements

On Wednesday Labour used an arcane parliamentary procedure, that is traditionally seen as binding, to force the government to release 58 individual files to the cross-party parliamentary Brexit committee. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour because the Conservatives flout parliamentary democracy by not voting and then usually claiming they didn't lose. Except, this time the speaker John Bercow told the MPs that motions like this have been binding in the past, but the government have said that they would reflect on the implications of the vote.

The Conservatives have also used their parliamentary power to filibuster a vote on whether the voting age should be lowered to 16, coincidentally five Conservative MPs spoke for 95 minutes for a bill on forcing police to wear body cameras when restraining people, this was the bill prior to the bill to give 16-year olds the right to vote. Theresa May also welcomed Israeli PM to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the agreement that led to the foundation of Israel.

Advertisements

The sexual harassment allegations are coming thick and fast with Scottish minister, Mark McDonald resigning over allegations in his private life and Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, also faces allegations of pressuring young researcher to go on a date with a wealthy friend. There have also been fresh allegations that a male Conservative MP assaulted a male Labour MP in a taxi after a night out drinking, it has been alleged that the date-rape drug was used. Furthermore, Labour MP, John Mann, is compiling a list of sexual harassment and rape allegations to give to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

World news

The special counsel investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 American Presidential election, Robert Mueller, issued his first indictments. Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign manager and associate Rick Gates have denied conspiracy and money-laundering. Junior Advisor, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying about separate approaches to Russians. The Republicans unveiled their tax reforms, they plan to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to four, reducing corporate tax from 35% to 20% and phasing out estate (inheritance) tax. The reforms themselves will favour big companies and the rich.

Following Catalunya's declaration of independence, Spain imposed direct rule on them with their administration forcibly ousted, with eight cabinet ministers detained for sedition and a European arrest warrant issue for President Carles Puigdemont. The tensions flared after Catalunya held an independence referendum and Spain sent in police to stop people from voting after they declared it illegal. Spain have been systemically blocking the rights of the Catalunyians since the end of Franco despite attempts by Madrid to portray otherwise by giving them a semblance of autonomy.