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October 13, 2023

News diary 16–22 October: Dorries and Pincher seat by-elections, asylum seekers return to Bibby Stockholm

A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News.

By Foresight News

A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News.

Leading the week

After the two largest parties spent the last couple of weeks in prep mode for their election campaigns, it’s back to the day-to-day business of Westminster politics on Monday (October 16) as Parliament returns from conference recess. First up in the House of Commons is Michael Gove’s levelling up department, though the currently scheduled business is likely to be overshadowed by a statement from the government on the situation in Israel/Gaza (more on that below) and a possible update from Rishi Sunak on his attendance at last week’s European Political Community meeting. The Israel conflict is sure to come up at cabinet on Tuesday (October 17), before Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer go head-to-head on Wednesday (October 18) in a session of PMQs that is likely to feature both parties’ freshest post-conference attack lines and inevitable digs at Starmer for serving in the shadow cabinet under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

With conference messaging to maintain and an escalating conflict to respond to, the Prime Minister could probably do without the distraction of another potential by-election upset next week; sadly for Sunak (but happily, one imagines, for Nadine Dorries), there are two very losable ballots coming up on Thursday (October 19). The outcome is anyone’s guess in Dorries’ former constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire, where the former Culture Secretary’s absenteeism could affect Conservative voter turnout, while the Liberal Democrats will be hoping to capitalise on a run of eye-catching by-election victories and Labour will hope to see a repeat of its vote share turnaround in Selby. In Tamworth, meanwhile, Labour are favourites to overturn a near-20,000 majority in a ballot triggered by the resignation of former government whip Chris Pincher after a Parliamentary standards investigation. Results for both votes are expected to be announced in the early hours of Friday (October 20).

Asylum seekers are set to return to the Bibby Stockholm on Thursday (October 19). It will be déjà vu for the group of 39 after they were ordered onto the boat in Portland, Dorset, earlier in the year, only to be evacuated after five days due to an outbreak of legionella. After being slammed by a number of charities who have described the vessel as not fit for purpose, the Home Office believes it is habitable again and free of contagion. Home Secretary Suella Braverman will be hoping the vessel can accommodate more people, with the government’s Rwanda deportation strategy yet to get off the ground. The plan to send undocumented asylum seekers to the African country was previously defeated in the courts, and anyone hoping for a speedy resolution after this week’s Supreme Court hearing will have been disappointed to hear that judges do not expect to issue a decision until December at the earliest.

Looking abroad

The situation in Israel following the unprecedented Hamas attack last weekend will dominate news next week amid the increasing likelihood of a ground operation in Gaza following days of intense air strikes in the densely populated Palestinian enclave and fears of a wider regional conflict. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who landed in Israel yesterday and is due in Jordan today, widened his trip to include stops in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt this weekend. Blinken was joined in Israel today by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, and the German, Italian and Canadian foreign ministers, as the UN announced that Israel has given 1.1 million Gazans 24 hours to evacuate south of the Wadi Gaza river.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping will host representatives from over 130 nations for a two-day summit in Beijing starting on Tuesday (October 17). The gathering, formally titled the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, is China’s biggest diplomatic event this year. It comes as the Belt and Road Initiative (formerly known as the One Belt, One Road initiative) marks its 10th anniversary. The project’s massive infrastructure investments, mostly in Asia and Africa, are viewed as part of China’s efforts to challenge America’s global dominance. Although a final list of which countries plan to send leaders has yet to be announced, Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly accepted his invitation, and a bilateral meeting with Xi is likely.

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Argentina holds presidential and legislative elections on Sunday (October 22) with all eyes on right-wing libertarian candidate Javier Milei, who has described himself as an ‘anarcho-capitalist’ and surprised many by winning the most votes in the open primary in August. The prospect of a Milei presidency has rattled markets, and in recent weeks the value of the country’s currency has fallen sharply as Milei continues to tout his plan to dollarise the economy as a solution to the country’s chronic inflation. Earlier this week, the country’s current president, Alberto Fernández, filed a judicial complaint against Milei after he described the peso as ‘worth less than excrement’, accusing Milei of ‘public intimidation’. As it stands, the election looks likely to head to a November 19 runoff, with current Economy Minister Sergio Massa and former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich leading among rival candidates.

Also look out for:

October 16

  • High Court hearing in Donald Trump case against MI6 agent over ‘dirty dossier’
  • Depute leader Keith Brown addresses SNP conference
  • US Senate reconvenes
  • Albania hosts Berlin Process Summit
  • Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, subject of an ICC arrest warrant, holds press briefing
  • Sergey Lavrov visits China
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah visits Berlin
  • BMA ballot on strike action closes for SAS doctors

October 17

  • Humza Yousaf delivers SNP conference speech
  • UK labour market and wage statistics
  • UN Human Rights Committee CCPR session on the US
  • Court of Appeal hearing for Cpt Tom Moore’s daughter over spa demolition
  • England v Italy EURO 2024 qualifier

October 18

  • Inflation data for September (pension and benefits uprating)
  • Sentencing of trans butcher convicted of sexual assault
  • EFRA committee hearing on XL bully dogs ban
  • Deadline for CMA decision in the Microsoft-Activision merger deal
  • Mark Zuckerberg speaks at STAT Summit
  • Confirmation hearing for new US Ambassador to Israel
  • JCPOA Transition Day: France, Germany, and UK maintain measures over non-compliance

October 19

  • OBR forecast evaluation report
  • Counter-extremism commissioner speech at RUSI
  • Duane Davis in court charged with murder of Tupac Shakur
  • Winner of Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought announced
  • RIBA Stirling Prize Awards

October 20

  • Joe Biden hosts US-EU summit
  • Extraordinary session of Japanese Diet
  • Brazilian foreign minister chairs UNSC session on conflict prevention
  • Riga Conference
  • Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final
  • Rolling Stones release Hackney Diamonds album
  • One year ago: Liz Truss announced resignation

October 21

  • Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan and addresses mass rally
  • Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final
  • Merseyside Derby in the Premier League
  • Cricket World Cup: England v South Africa

October 22

  • Yvette Cooper addresses Jewish Labour Movement conference
  • Federal elections in Switzerland
  • Opposition primary ahead of Venezuela presidential election
  • Nawaz Sharif due in court after return to Pakistan
  • United States Grand Prix

Statistics, reports and results:

October 16

  • Rightmove House Price Index
  • CPRE Local Green Spaces Report

October 17

  • Universal Credit statistics
  • Register of political donations
  • Launch of RUSI report on the UK’s role in Northern European security
  • IFS Green Budget
  • BSI survey on trust in AI
  • Results from: Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson, Ericsson

October 18

  • UK House Price Index and private housing rental prices
  • Producer price inflation
  • China GDP and economic data press conference
  • EU inflation
  • Results from: Tesla Motors, Netflix, US Bancorp, Morgan Stanley, Whitbread plc, United Airlines, Alcoa, United Airlines, Procter and Gamble

October 19

  • Secondary school performance tables 2022/23
  • Quarterly update on crime in England and Wales
  • Quarterly stats on CPS performance
  • NHS Digital personal social services adult care survey 2022/23
  • Annual ORR figures on rail infrastructure
  • FCA data on customer complaints against regulated firms
  • Results from: Metro AG, Roche, Nokia, American Airlines Group, L’Oréal, Nestle, Renault Group

October 20

  • Public sector finances
  • Retail sales
  • Moody’s UK sovereign review
  • GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer
  • China Loan Prime Rate announcement
  • Results from: Barclays, Schlumberger, American Express, InterContinental Hotels Group

Anniversaries and awareness days:

October 16

  • World Food Day
  • World Anaesthesia Day
  • National Dictionary Day
  • Restart a Heart Day
  • Boss’s Day
  • UK Coffee Week (to October 22)
  • Recycle Week (to October 22)
  • Six years ago: Daphne Caruana Galizia murdered
  • 100 years ago: The Walt Disney Company founded

October 17

  • International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
  • National Pasta Day

October 18

  • World Menopause Day
  • Anti-Slavery Day
  • EU Anti-Trafficking Day

October 19

  • International Credit Union Day

October 20

  • World Osteoporosis Day
  • Wear It Pink Day
  • 50 years ago: Sydney Opera House opened

October 21

  • Trafalgar Day Parade
  • Two weeks ago: Hamas launched attack on Israel

October 22

  • Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) Day
  • Pope Saint John Paul II memorial day
  • World Mission Sunday
  • International Stammering Awareness Day
  • World Energy Day

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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