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News diary 17-23 June: BBC bosses face Lords committee and Trump launches re-election campaign

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

Prince Harry and International Development Secretary/Conservative leadership hopeful Rory Stewart are among participants at a major conference hosted by Chatham House on Monday which focuses on mine clearing, conservation and economic development in Angola. The Duke is set to follow in his mother’s footsteps later this year by visiting Angola as part of a wider tour of Africa.

A decision is expected this week in an appeal by the so-called speedboat killer Jack Shepherd against his conviction for the manslaughter of Charlotte Brown in December 2015.

Shepherd was extradited from Georgia in April after fleeing his trial and being found guilty in absentia of manslaughter by gross negligence, and his appeal concerns the initial police interview which did not take place under caution. Presiding judge Sir Brian Leveson suggested at a 13 June hearing that judgment would be handed down this week.

The first week of campaigning is out of the way and the race for the Conservative leadership moves into its next phase on Tuesday with the second round of voting.

After the elimination of Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey in the 13 June opening ballot and Matt Hancock’s withdrawal the following day, the remaining six contenders must now persuade supporters of the defeated candidates to vote for someone other than Boris Johnson. The former Foreign Secretary is the overwhelming favourite to succeed Theresa May after gaining 114 first-round votes, despite refusing to deny using cocaine and appearing to stand by past controversial comments at his campaign launch.

The heads of BBC and Channel 4 appear before the House of Lords Communications Committee, fielding questions on public service broadcasting in the age of video on demand.

The beeb’s Director General Lord Hall and Chairman Sir David Clementi have both been summoned to the session, and are likely to also face a grilling over the corporation’s proposals to scrap free TV licences for viewers over the age of 75. The move has sparked widespread criticism and condemnation from political, charitable, and celebrity circles, though the BBC claims that restricting free licences to Pension Credit claimants is the “fairest and best outcome”.

Donald Trump officially launches his re-election campaign today with a rally in Florida over two years after filing his campaign with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration in 2017.

Recent polling shows that Trump is struggling to gain support among the electorate even though the economy appears strong and unemployment remains low. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the current favourite to take on Trump, with the president already directing much of his energy to critiquing Biden’s candidacy.

Climate change protest group Extinction Rebellion last month announced a planned one-day shutdown of Heathrow unless the UK Government reversed its decision to build a third runway at the airport. Coming after the group targeted London’s shopping district and rail lines, the disruption of the UK’s busiest airport would represent a major escalation of Extinction Rebellion’s tactics and a real test of its public support. A ten-day shutdown at Heathrow is planned next month if the group’s demands are not met.

On Wednesday, an arraignment hearing for Sir Philip Green takes place in Tucson, Arizona. The Arcadia Group chairman is accused of groping pilates instructor Katie Surridge and is charged with four counts of knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke. The offences carry only limited jail time and fines of $500, but a conviction would pile further pressure on Green after temporarily avoiding the collapse of his embattled retail empire.

England play their final FIFA Women’s World Cup group game as they take on former winners Japan in the south of France. The Lionesses began the tournament with a narrow 2-1 victory over Scotland, who also conclude their group campaign against Argentina in Paris. Phil Neville’s side remain on course to secure a place in the knockout rounds, though will be hoping to avoid meeting the high-scoring United States in the tournament’s later stages.

European leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday for a council meeting at which the EU’s next five-year strategic agenda, which provides the basis for the work of EU institutions up to 2024, is set to be adopted, with climate change and disinformation in elections also on the agenda. The main issue, however, remains the appointment of the next European Commission President and the bloc’s other top roles. With EPP Spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber’s candidacy apparently floundering, the possibility of another German in the role was being floated in some circles last week.

Philip Hammond makes what is likely to be his final Mansion House speech as Chancellor at the annual City of London dinner. Last year found Hammond rebutting a certain Conservative leadership candidate’s claim that the Treasury was attempting to dilute Brexit on his watch, with the Chancellor insisting that his priority was to maintain the City’s existing business and trade links.

Having reportedly thwarted Theresa May’s ambitions of leaving office with a last-minute legacy of spending commitments, Hammond appears to be enjoying the opportunity for frankness presented by the coming regime change.

A second parliamentary by-election in as many months could be on the cards as a recall petition for Christopher Davies MP closes. The Brecon and Radnorshire MP was elected in 2015 and increased his majority in 2017, becoming the first Tory to retain the Welsh constituency since Tom Hooson in 1983.

The recall petition was triggered when Davies pled guilty at Southwark Crown Court in March to charges of submitting false expenses claims. Should an election take place, the Conservative candidate would likely face a strong Liberal Democrat challenge – the seat has swung between the two parties regularly since the 1970s.

Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband returns to the UK to make an intervention on Friday when he delivers the LSE’s annual Maurice Fraser lecture on the UK’s attempt to find a parliamentary majority for leaving the EU. Miliband hit headlines in January after calling for a new Brexit referendum, saying that there was a “democratic case” for a second public vote.

On the opposite end of the Labour spectrum, MPs and Shadow Cabinet members join supporters of Momentum and other left-wing groups in London for a weekend of people powered politics at the Arise Festival. Kicking off with a rally addressed by John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, the event represents an opportunity for supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to demonstrate unity as his leadership and Brexit policy face ever more vocal criticism among sections of the PLP.

The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off with a match between host nation Egypt and Zimbabwe in Cairo. The competition was scheduled to have been staged in Cameroon this year, but security concerns and stadium construction delays led to the country being stripped of hosting rights in January.

With Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah leading the line, the hosts are among favourites to win the competition, though holders Cameroon and four-time winners Ghana are also strong contenders to take the trophy on 19 July.

The final six face Conservative Party members for the first time at the opening hustings in Birmingham on Saturday, the first of 16 such events which culminate in London next month just a week before the result is announced. As well as enjoying strong support among his fellow MPs, Boris Johnson is also the most popular candidate among Tory members, though early popularity does not always translate into victory in Conservative leadership elections, as former Cabinet colleague David Davis can attest.

Istanbul residents take part in a re-run of this year’s mayoral election on Sunday. The result of the March ballot was annulled by Turkey’s Electoral Council in May in controversial circumstances, with Ekrem Imamoglu having his victory by some 14,000 votes over Binali Yildirim struck out.

Imamoglu’s initial win came at the expense of a candidate who had been hand-picked by President Erdogan and the ruling AKP party, and a repeat result would represent a further embarrassment for Erdogan and could even spark a shift in the direction of Turkish politics.

Protestors take to the streets in Prague calling for the resignation of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who has been accused of illegally profiting from European Union funds.

Concerns were raised over subsidies granted to the €4bn business empire formerly operated by the Prime Minister, and weekly protests have taken place since police recommended that Babis face fraud charges in connection to the funding of construction of a resort near Prague. Babis has replaced the country’s justice minister in an attempt to fend off the charges.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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