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News diary 15-21 July: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt lock horns in Sun's Tory leadership debate

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week… 

On Monday, the Conservative leadership race continues with a debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt hosted by The Sun newspaper. Johnson and Hunt will face questions live from a studio audience of Sun readers, and it marks the contenders’ last chance to publicly appeal to Conservative members before the vote closes.

The same evening, Labour MPs meet for the first time since BBC’s Panorama programme revealed claims from a number of former party officials that senior figures such as General Secretary Jennie Formby and Corbyn aide Seumas Milne interfered in disciplinary processes for those accused of anti-Semitism.

The party has been divided over its handling of anti-Semitism allegations, and is currently being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission about whether Labour has “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish”.

The UN publishes its State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, which includes estimates for the number of hungry people by region and nation as well as levels of childhood obesity. The 2018 report found that one in every nine people in the world are undernourished, a figure that has been rising every year since 2014.

The head of Facebook’s Calibra project, David Marcus, is questioned on Tuesday by members of the US Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee about the company’s proposed digital currency and data privacy concerns.

Facebook has faced heavy criticism in recent years for its use and alleged exploitation of personal data, and several US lawmakers have already voiced concerns over the launch of the Libra cryptocurrency.

European Commission Presidential nominee Ursula von der Leyen appears before the European Parliament to make her case to MEPs before they vote on her appointment. A staunch ally of Angela Merkel with a mixed record as German defence minister, von der Leyen is not a universally popular choice to replace Jean-Claude Juncker and is not certain to win the Parliament’s backing.

On Brexit, von der Leyen has publicly stated that she hopes the UK remains in the EU but that she would not reopen talks on the withdrawal agreement.

BBC director general Tony Hall makes his annual appearance before the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Wednesday to answer questions on the Corporation’s performance over the last year.

Along with the gender pay gap and the salaries of the BBC’s top stars, Hall also faces questions over the controversial decision to end free TV licences for most over-75s from June 2020.

Elsewhere in Parliament’s committee rooms, a bumper day of hearings in the penultimate week before summer recess: Home Office permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam considers serious crime with Yvette Cooper’s Home Affairs Committee, Stephen Barclay updates the EU Exit Committee on the state of Brexit, would-be Chancellor Liz Truss is questioned on the Government’s financial reporting, and Chris Grayling discusses his department’s performance with the Transport Committee.

Mexican drug boss Joaquín Guzmán, the head of the Sinaloa cartel better known as ‘El Chapo’, is due to be sentenced in a New York court following his February conviction on charges of trafficking, murder, and money laundering.

Notorious for evading justice for many years and twice escaping jails in Mexico, Guzman is estimated to have overseen the importation of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of drugs into the United States and now faces life imprisonment for his brutal crimes.

On Thursday, the Office for Budget Responsibility publishes its biennial fiscal risks report, which analyses medium-term risks to the UK’s public finances. As well as an illustration of the effects of a no-deal Brexit as set out in the IMF’s last World Economic Outlook, this year’s report considers for the first time the possible financial risks posed by climate change and may contrast with Chancellor Philip Hammond’s warning on the cost of achieving the net zero emissions target.

James Goddard is due to go on trial at Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday, facing a charge of harassment after allegedly referring to MP Anna Soubry as a “Nazi”.

The offences relate to alleged incidents between 18 December last year and 8 January of this year, though the self-styled “yellow vest” protestor has denied the charges. Goddard appears alongside a second man, Brian Phillips, who also faces a harassment charge.

Liberal Democrat leadership candidates Jo Swinson and Ed Davey take part in a BBC debate hosted by Jo Coburn, as the race to succeed Vince Cable nears its conclusion.

The party has enjoyed a resurgence in recent months after coming second in the European elections and gaining more than 700 councillors in the local elections back in May. The party’s fortunes have enjoyed such an upturn that Swinson and Davey are now being mentioned as potential king-makers in a future general election.

Pro-European groups take to the streets of London on Saturday to make their case for the UK remaining part of the European Union. The rally comes just days before the new Conservative leader is announced, with current frontrunner Boris Johnson’s having promised to honour the 31 October exit date in a ‘do or die’ scenario.

Jeremy Hunt has taken a more measured approach, whilst on the other side of the despatch box Jeremy Corbyn has vowed Labour would support remain in any future referendum on a Tory Brexit deal.

The capital also hosts athletes from around the world for the Muller Anniversary Games which get underway at the London Stadium. This year’s event features a mixed Legends Relay with former Olympians Tessa Sanderson, Mark Lewis Francis and Christine Ohuruogu alongside So Solid Crew’s MC Harvey and broadcaster Martin Lewis.

Celebrations take place throughout the week to mark the Saturday’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Among the highlights is a projection in Washington DC of the first rocket that took humans to the moon which graces the Washington Monument. A full list of events being co-ordinated by NASA is available here.

Voting takes place in Ukraine on Sunday in snap parliamentary elections called by President Volodymyr Zelensky. The former television comic announced the vote just hours after taking office, and recent polling suggests his Servant of The People Party are on course to secure victory.

Ahead of the election Zelensky has made moves to fulfil a key campaign promise by calling for peace talks with Vladimir Putin – a suggestion seemingly welcomed by the Kremlin.

A busy day of sport sees the conclusion of The Open Championship at Royal Portrush, the Netball World Cup final in Liverpool, and a brutal 4,700m of climbs on stage 15 of the Tour de France. For combat sport enthusiasts, Japan’s Grand Sumo tournament also comes to a close in Nagoya.

In political milestones Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of Tony Blair’s election as Labour Party leader. Blair led the party to three general election victories and remains Labour’s longest serving Prime Minister.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

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