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Indian-origin MPs all set to gear up for tough UK Poll fight

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London, May 17, 2017: Britain’s June 8 polls are approaching and the major political parties have finalised their list of prospective candidates. Also, the ten Indian-origin MPs who went through the House of Commons in the last UK general elections are all set for a robust competition.

Over a period of time, many of those elected in May 2015 are defending comfortable margins, the changed Brexit reality since the last election means a heightened sense of ambiguity.

In keeping with opinion polls, the ruling Conservative party is considerably anticipated to have a majority under the leadership of UK Prime Minister Theresa May and make an incursion into the Opposition Labour.

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The Liberal Democrats, who faced a heavy loss back in 2015 are hoping to restore their stand by focusing only on a confined number of anti-Brexit constituencies.

Among the MPs possibly to hail the Brexit surge will be Priti Patel, UK secretary of state for international development – the senior-most Indian-origin member of the UK Cabinet.

The Tory MP for Witham is defending a large majority of 19,554 (41.5 percent) in a Conservative party haven. She was also amongst the MPs who campaigned vigorous in support of Brexit and had accentuated it was ideal for Britain.

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She has a strong backing within the Indian diaspora. She has also served as the Indian Diaspora Champion under the David Cameron-led government previously.

“The Indian diaspora in the UK are fantastic at keeping this relationship strong and work hard every day to support the UK and India reach our potential,” Patel said.

Her Conservative party colleague, India-born Alok Sharma, the minister in charge of India in the UK Foreign Office, faces a relatively tighter elective havoc as he defends a majority of 6,650 (14 percent) in his Reading West constituency.

“The UK-India ties are the ‘living bridge’ between our people, supported by 1.5 million British Indians who make up our successful and vibrant diaspora community. I have the honour to represent the government on UK-India affairs and am proud to see our partnership go from strength to strength,” he said.Shailesh

Shailesh Vara, another senior Indian-origin Tory who served as justice minister in the David Cameron-led government and is currently the co-chair of the Conservative Friends of India (CFI), defends a large majority of 19,795 (32.4 percent) in North West Cambridgeshire.

Among the Tory party newcomers in the last Parliament, Rishi Sunak – the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy – is in a Tory safe seat of Richmond.

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London-born and Goan-origin Suella Fernandes are also supporting a comfortable majority of 22,262 (40.7 per cent) in Fareham. The Hampshire-born, former Goldman Sachs analyst won the Richmond, Yorks, seat in 2015 by 19,550 (36.2 per cent).

The Opposition Labour party MPs comprise two of the longest-serving Indian-origin parliamentarians – Keith Vaz and Virendra Sharma.

While Vaz had a tumultuous year in 2016 with revelations around an alleged relationship with male prostitutes, his reputation in Leicester East seems to be competent with a previous lead of 18,352 (38.2 per cent). He has embraced the chance to go back to voters in the snap poll next month.

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“Theresa May was right to call a General Election. It is important any Prime Minister has a mandate from the British people before they begin the Brexit negotiations with the EU,” he said. “But this is not just about Brexit, it is about the vision of what kind of country we want to live in. This is an opportunity for the political parties to set out clearly how Britain will change for the better. I believe the Labour Party has the answer,” he told PTI.

His sister Valerie Vaz has an intricate fight at hand in her Walsall South constituency in the West Midlands where she won the last time with a margin of just 6,007 (14.4 per cent).

Fellow Labour MP Sharma, who is defending a majority of 18,670 (43.3 per cent) in Ealing Southall, west London, also welcomed the elections.

“It will give the country a chance to have their say on the divisive policies and hard Brexit that Theresa May is pursuing. The Prime Minister has called this election because she is scared of the Opposition that the Labour Party is mounting in Parliament,” he said.

“In Ealing, Southall we will speak to thousands of people, we will speak to the people that are being hurt by Tory policies and we will see that there is no support for a hard Brexit that punishes working people,” he added.

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The other Indian-origin Labour MPs Lisa Nandy and Seema Malhotra are supporting 14,236 (31.4 per cent) in Wigan and 11,463 (23.2 percent) in Feltham & Heston respectively.

The conservatives have covered another first-time Indian-origin candidate Resham Kotecha in Coventry North East but have come under some flak for not having adequate ethnic minority candidates on the list this time.

“The Conservative Party has a proud record of ensuring candidates from all walks of life stand for Parliament,” a party spokesperson said.

The Labour Party has over a dozen Indian-origin candidates on its list of proposed candidates concluded this week.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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Latest #IGForexChat Reveals How Brexit Negotiations Are Affecting the Forex Markets

How close is the UK to finalising a deal with the EU? Only Theresa May and Michel Barnier truly know the answer to that.

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French noted that investment in UK assets and stocks is “waiting in the wings” to find out what those barriers will be. Pixabay

With the UK due to formally leave the European Union (EU) in less than six months, Brexit negotiations are reaching a nervous climax.  Hopes remain that the UK government will secure a deal with the EU by the end of the year, but what impact are the Brexit talks having on the forex markets? How far could the pound fall if there is no deal reached? Would the pound be affected by a vote of no-confidence within the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Theresa May being replaced?

The latest #IGForexChat outlined the potential ramifications of Brexit negotiations on forex markets. IG’s Sara Walker interviewed two leading forex experts, chief economist Simon French and market analyst Nicholas Cawley, to help forex traders understand the implications of a hard or soft exit from the EU.

If you don’t have time to watch the entire interview, here are the main talking points as to whether forex traders should buy or sell sterling in the markets in the coming months:

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May’s spokesperson said both the Prime Minister and the Brexit secretary, David Davis, said the government would be robust when the EU withdrawal bill returned to the House of Commons after completing its passage in the House of Lords. Pixabay
What will happen to the pound if we reach 31st March 2019 without a Brexit deal?

Nicholas Cawley insists that it is highly likely that the UK government will know if a Brexit deal can be reached by the end of the year. Cawley said there will undoubtedly be “clear signals” ahead of the EU’s December meeting as to whether a deal is achievable.

According to Simon French, the UK parliament will have an influential role if talks move into the New Year. French believes January will be a crucial month for parliament as the amendments within the UK’s withdrawal bill will need approval. If the majority of MPs cannot agree on the bill, they will have the right to propose a “meaningful vote”. French believes this vote could “ask the government to go back to the negotiating table” and attempt to “extend Article 50”.

French also believes it is unrealistic to expect the price of sterling to be priced on a hard Brexit “until midnight on March 29th”.

In a Tuesday radio interview International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was not acceptable for the unelected House of Lords to try to block the democratic will of the British people, who voted by a 52-48 margin in June, 2016 to leave the EU.
The Independent newspaper Tuesday night reported that May was preparing for a Brexit meeting with select cabinet ministers Wednesday at which they will try to come up with a joint position on post-withdrawal customs relations following rejection of Britain’s existing proposals. wikimedia commons
How far could the pound fall against USD and EUR in the event of no deal?

French pointed to historical analysis of previous peaks and troughs of sterling against the US dollar. The IMF bail-out of the UK in the 1970s and Lehman Brothers/Northern Rock in 2008 resulted in “20-25%” declines, leaving the pound in the “high teens” i.e. $1.17-$1.20 to the pound. French believes a hard Brexit is “no more material than those previous events” and, as such, the pound could experience a similar decline next March.

On the subject of whether the pound will end up in parity with the euro, Cawley was quick to dismiss those claims.

How will Brexit affect the pound during the transition period?

Cawley was quick to predict that, if an extension to the UK’s transition period after leaving the EU is agreed, “it will initially weaken sterling”. However, he suggested that an extension may prove useful to some business sectors that may need that time to “get their house in order”.

On the flip side, Simon French is “slightly more bullish” about the transition period. He believes the expected discussions about a free-trade agreement will eventually uncover “the materiality of what trade barriers will look like” between the UK and the EU. French noted that investment in UK assets and stocks is “waiting in the wings” to find out what those barriers will be. He believes that, once clarity is achieved in the “Treaty text”, it will be easier to price things correctly.

Brexit,  Image source: www.catholicherald.co.uk
Representational Image, Brexit.
Will the pound be affected by the replacement of Prime Minister Theresa May?

On the subject of the value of the pound being influenced by the departure of Theresa May as Prime Minister, Nicholas Cawley believes sterling “would take it quite well” and that the price “wouldn’t go down”.

Cawley was quick to temper that by saying it would ultimately depend on the “favourite” candidates to replace her. He said that the prospect of Boris Johnson would be “hated” by many in the markets, yet a more “progressive” candidate such as Sajid Javid would be viewed more positively.

Are further interest rate hikes likely from the Bank of England?

Nicholas Cawley believes there is “no reason to push interest rates up at the moment”, despite inflation reaching 2.4% this year. Furthermore, Cawley finds it hard to believe that the Bank of England would dare consider raising interest rates in the event of a hard Brexit.

Both Cawley and Simon French expect little to happen on the subject of interest rates until May 2019, when the Bank of England “may start giving some signals” based on the first quarterly inflation report after the UK leaves the EU on 31st March.

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Brexit (Representational IMage) Image source: The Street

Interestingly, French suggested that the Bank of England could yet consider a rate hike “as early as February” with the ECB’s rate policy seemingly rigid and President Trump reportedly wanting the Fed to “go at a slower rate”. French believes this would encourage investors to “buy into sterling”.

How close is the UK to finalising a deal with the EU? Only Theresa May and Michel Barnier truly know the answer to that. French noted that “the history of the EU negotiations” would suggest that the Brexit talks will inevitably “go down to the wire”. Whichever way the scales tip, the forex markets are sure to be a fascinating place to be in the coming months.