Top story: I’m ready to take over, says Corbyn
Good morning, it’s Warren Murray getting you started this morning.
Theresa May heads to Brussels today leaving uncertainty in parliament in her wake after she was mauled by Jeremy Corbyn over the government’s fragile grip on power. The Labour leader has responded to the Queen’s speech by vowing to use every opportunity to replace May with a “strong and stable” Labour government. Corbyn declared Labour to be a government in waiting with a policy programme endorsed by millions in the snap election. The Conservatives by contrast were a “government without a majority, without a mandate, without a serious legislative programme, led by a prime minister who has lost her political authority, and is struggling to stitch together a deal to stay in office”.
In Brussels tonight, May will set out how her government wants to handle the future rights of the estimated three million EU citizens living in Britain – whom she has been accused of using as “bargaining chips”. She will have dinner with other EU leaders – it is her first such encounter since the election and an important litmus test for how the Brexit talks will play out.
The Queen’s speech, as expected, focused heavily on Brexit legislation while austerity-driven manifesto policies such as the “dementia tax”, rationing of winter fuel payments and cuts to school meals were left out. Corbyn nonetheless promised to fight the government vote by vote: “We will use every opportunity to vote down government policies that failed to win public support and we will use every opportunity to win support for our programme.” May’s reception in the Commons was muted while Corbyn received roars of approval as he castigated “a government that has run out of ideas”.
Boris Johnson was last night accused of giving a “two Ronnies” performance when he struggled on radio to explain measures in the Queen’s speech. The foreign secretary gave stumbling answers and rifled through papers as he was asked on Radio 4’s PM about justice, anti-discrimination and education. In a later interview he insisted he would not challenge for the Tory leadership: “We have got to get on and deliver on the priorities of the people.”
Wrong cladding got past council – Sixteen inspections failed to stop flammable cladding being used on Grenfell Tower, the Guardian can reveal. The first funeral has been held for a victim of the fire: Mohammad Alhajali, 23, a civil engineering student who lived on the 14th floor. Mourners flew in from Syria. Meanwhile questions continue about how aluminium cladding with a flammable polyethylene core was allowed to be fitted during a refurbishment. It is not supposed to be used on buildings taller than 18 metres. The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea borough council, Nicholas Holgate, has been forced to resign because of the disaster. Theresa May has apologised for the “failures of state, local and national” in helping people in the aftermath, and promised to rehouse all those left homeless within three weeks.
Attack of the sea pickles – Weird gelatinous creatures that clump together in colonies known as “pyrosomes” are swamping the US west coast, clogging fishing grounds and mystifying scientists.
Marine biologists know what they are, but not why they all decided to show up at once. Normally they are found deep underwater in tropical seas. “Right now we are scrambling to learn as much as possible while we have the opportunity,” says Hilarie Sorensen from the University of Oregon.
Universities marked down – There has been a controversial start to a new system for assessing teaching quality at British universities. Institutions from the prestigious Russell Group that took part, including the London School of Economics and the universities of Liverpool and Southampton, only received a bronze rating under the government’s new teaching excellence framework (Tef). They were outperformed by newer universities including Coventry and Nottingham Trent. This is a trial year for the index (you can see the rankings here), which is meant to help students choose a good university or higher education institution, and may be used in future to determine whether tuition fees can be put up.
No poor please – Donald Trump has explained he wouldn’t want a poor person touching the economy. He told a crowd in Iowa that he made “very rich person” Wilbur Ross his commerce secretary and Gary Cohn from Goldman Sachs his economic adviser “because that’s the kind of thinking we want”. Cohn “went from massive pay days to peanuts” to join Team Trump, said the president. “I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”
Macron’s vision for Europe – France’s new president has promised to work closely with a post-Brexit Britain while insisting that negotiating the future relationship with the EU must come first. “Pragmatism” would ultimately determine France’s new relationship with the UK, said Emmanuel Macron. Europe must become an inspiration to its people and the world, and had no choice but to become the standard-bearer in the fight against illiberalism globally, he said. “The US likes freedom as much as we do, but it doesn’t have our love for justice. Europe is the only place in the world where individual freedoms, the spirit of democracy and social justice are so closely joined.”
Finsbury Park attack – Counter-terror police have been allowed to extend their detention of suspect Darren Osborne as they investigate whether he was “self-radicalised” before driving a van into a group of Muslim worshippers. Eleven people were injured and one man died at the scene, although whether he had already fallen fatally ill just before the attack is being considered. Osborne, 47, was seen asleep and smelling of alcohol in a van in a Cardiff suburb 24 hours before the attack, according to a witness who said he called police. Officers attended but left the scene because no offence had been committed.
Soft fruit Brexit – Farmers are warning that the price of British strawberries will rise if they lose access to EU seasonal labour. British Summer Fruits – which represents growers of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries – says a £2 punnet of strawberries would go up to £2.75 while £2 worth of raspberries would rise to £3. Nine out of 10 seasonal pickers and packers of British soft fruit currently come from the EU – mostly Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. The UK industry is worth £1.2bn and expanding, but growers say that post-Brexit they will have to move operations to the continent unless a permit scheme is brought in for seasonal workers.
Lunchtime read: The fresh crown prince of Saudi Arabia
Has the Saudi monarch just “banked his kingdom on the world’s most powerful thirtysomething”? Middle East correspondent Martin Chulov thinks so, after King Salman installed his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as heir to the throne, turfing out his nephew in the process.
The move is highly significant because the new crown prince is seen as an agent for change as the House of Saud pushes back against the powerful clerics with which it has uneasily shared authority. The country is two years into 15-year programme of modernisation, social liberalisation and reform. Experts say ensuring that programme doesn’t outrun the country’s entrenched conservatism is just one challenge facing the future king.
The last time the All Blacks lost at Eden Park, Wet Wet Wet were at No1 in the UK singles charts with Love Is All Around and rugby union was still, officially, an amateur game. A cussed-looking Lions team with a no-nonsense physical edge has been picked in a bid to end that run when the first Test is contested in Auckland on Saturday. For the All Blacks, Kieran Read returns but a twist has been added with Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty drafted into the lineup by coach Steven Hansen, who has said he is “cool, calm and excited”, despite Warren Gatland’s suggestions his opposite number might be worried ahead of the match.
Elsewhere, Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales sent England to a comfortable win over South Africa in the first T20 international, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 74th international goal was enough to earn Portugal victory over hosts Russia in the Confederations Cup.
Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, has been getting a few things off his chest. First, he revealed he might risk a rift with his boss Mark Carney and argue for a rise in interest rates this year to head off inflation. Not content with that, he also had interesting words about how low wage growth was a back to the future moment where Britain was mimicking the pre-industrial age of no unions and piecework, leaving workers with little bargaining power. Strong stuff.
The pound didn’t pick up much from Haldane’s hawkish view on rates, sitting on $1.266 and €1.134. Stocks in the Asia-Pacific fared better than yesterday, helped by a slight recovery in crude oil. The FTSE100 looks like opening down modestly 13 points or 0.17%.
The i this morning sums up the Queen’s speech quite well, saying Theresa May used it to “clear the decks for Brexit” but faces an uphill battle to “push through her EU blueprint”. The Telegraph splash: “May warned of looming Brexit constitutional crisis” – because Labour and the Lib Dems might block her legislation in the House of Lords. The Times picks up on this too and says the Scottish parliament could mount its own Brexit blockade.
“Queen’s brave face for Philip” is the Express splash after the prince was put in hospital by a health scare. “Harry: No royal wants the throne”, blasts the Daily Mail about an “extraordinary” interview with the prince.
The Guardian leads with the failure of council inspectors to stop flammable cladding being installed at Grenfell. The Mirror says the burning Grenfell Tower insulation gave off toxic cyanide gas, poisoning victims. The FT says a “leadership vacuum” at Uber is feared after the maverick CEO of the ride-sharing company stepped aside following months of scandals.