A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
Prince Harry is at the centre of another High Court case against a UK publisher as a trial gets underway on Wednesday (May 10), this time involving Reach Plc (formerly Mirror Group Newspapers). The Duke of Sussex is expected to appear personally and give evidence next month in the case, which alleges unlawful information gathering on behalf of journalists at the Mirror Group between 1996 and 2011, affecting his life from the age of 12. Part of Harry’s evidence is expected to take aim at ex-Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who was in charge of the paper at the time of some of the allegations. Ex-footballer Ian Wright, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl, the estate of George Michael, and actor Ricky Tomlinson are also involved in the case, which is expected to last for seven weeks.
The Duke has been vocal in his criticism of the press, not only in his autobiography released this year, but in other claims he has brought to High Court against the publishers of the Daily Mail and The Sun. He has also alleged that the royal family has made deals with the British press not to pursue legal cases or speak negatively about them, and that ‘the institution’ withheld cases of press intrusion into his own life from him, which he has only discovered in recent years. Reach contests the claims, arguing some have been brought to court too late.
The Bank of England will announce its latest decision on interest rates on Thursday (May 11) after this week saw policymakers in the US and Europe opt for further rises in their efforts to combat inflationary pressure that remains stubbornly high around the world. The Federal Reserve’s tenth consecutive increase brought the US rate to its highest level since 2007, and the rate-setters on the UK’s Monetary Policy Committee are expected to follow suit with another 0.25 percentage point increase to the base rate, as food prices particularly continue to bite into household budgets.
However, an unexpected upturn in house prices could be a sign that conditions are beginning to improve, and a Bloomberg survey of UK economists shows some optimism that a rate rise on Thursday could be the last for a while. The Monetary Policy Report, which is published alongside the rate decision and will reveal that Bank’s latest inflation projections, should give a clearer picture of the thinking in Threadneedle Street about what’s in store for the remainder of this year.
We should also get a clearer economic picture on Friday (May 12) when the ONS publishes first quarter GDP growth. The last quarterly release in February unexpectedly showed the UK had narrowly avoided a recession in 2022, and next week’s figures should indicate whether we’re on track for the contraction that’s still predicted by the IMF and elsewhere, or whether Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is justified in his optimism that the UK will swerve a technical recession this year.
Eurovision fever descends on Liverpool next week as the city prepares to host the competition from Tuesday to Saturday (May 9-13). Liverpool narrowly edged out Glasgow as the host city after last year’s winners, Ukraine, were deemed unable to host due to the ongoing conflict with Russia, which continues to loom large. Recent fears that pro-Russian hackers could attempt to take broadcasts off the air prompted organisers to call in experts from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) ahead of the grand final on Saturday. Sweden’s Loreen is the current favourite to win, with Finland and France also considered contenders, while bookies’ odds suggest the UK’s entry Mae Muller could finish bottom of the pile. While Muller may not be victorious, local businesses across the city are expected to reap the rewards of the extravaganza, with 100,000 visitors to the city from Europe and beyond projected to spend as much as £40 million over the course of the competition.
After US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the US could default as early as June 1 if Congress doesn’t take action to raise the debt limit before then, all eyes will be on talks between President Joe Biden and congressional leaders on Tuesday (May 9). The meeting comes amid a standoff between Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who on April 26 managed to pass legislation in that would raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion but came with a series of conditions attached including massive discretionary spending cuts and demands to reverse key pieces of Biden’s agenda, predictably rejected by the White House.
With neither side showing signs of flinching, some are pinning hopes on a long-shot plot by House Democrats to bypass McCarthy through a so-called discharge petition that could bring a vote on a ‘clean’ debt limit resolution to the House floor. Perhaps more likely, though, is a short-term extension to the debt limit, something OMB Director Shalanda Young suggested when she appeared at a White House briefing yesterday.
Despite Russian allegations of an assassination attempt on President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, the Kremlin has insisted Moscow’s annual Victory Day military parade will go ahead as planned on Tuesday (May 9), though likely under heightened security. The event ostensibly marks the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, though Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will once again dominate the narrative. It follows a dramatic week that saw fresh waves of Russian airstrikes in Ukraine while Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid surprise visits to Finland and the Netherlands, where he once again called for the establishment of a special tribunal to investigate and prosecute Russian war crimes. Tuesday’s parade also comes a day ahead the withdrawal on Wednesday (May 10) of Wagner mercenaries from Bakhmut in Ukraine, announced by the group’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin amid an escalating dispute over ammunition supplies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing what many are calling his toughest election battle to date on Sunday (May 14) as voters cast their ballots in presidential and legislative elections. His main challenger is Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) representing a coalition of six opposition parties. Erdogan has faced criticism over high inflation and the high death toll from February’s twin earthquakes, partly attributed to shoddy construction practices under his watch. But after 20 years in power, the president still has a loyal following and will be hoping he has done enough at least to force a runoff vote on May 28.