Investors hail Tory victory

Boris says no to Sturgeon as markets lifted by Tory majority

Boris Johnson speaking outside Downing Street after meeting the Queen

Boris Johnson told Nicola Sturgeon he would not agree to her demands for a second independence referendum.

Within hours of returning to Downing Street, the Prime Minister spoke to the SNP leader who said he could not ignore Scotland’s right to determine its own fate.

She called for a new independence referendum on the back of the SNP’s 13-seat gain, taking its tally to 48 of the 59 constituencies.

She said: “It is time for Boris Johnson to start listening… he has no mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union.”

However, Mr Johnson’s office issued a statement which read: “The Prime Minister made clear how he remained opposed to a second independence referendum, standing with the majority of people in Scotland who do not want to return to division and uncertainty.”

Mr Johnson’s victory signalled an end to the Brexit uncertainty and provided his government with the ability to deliver a legislative programme.

Speaking in Downing Street after meeting the Queen, he said his “People’s Government” would unite the UK and he called for the “healing to begin”.

“I say thank you for the trust you have placed in us and in me and we will work round the clock to repay your trust and to deliver on your priorities with a Parliament that works for you,” he said.

“This country deserves a break from the wrangling… here in this people’s government work is being stepped up to make 2020 a year of prosperity, of growth and hope.”

investors welcomed the election of a Conservative majority government.

Sterling rose against the dollar but has retreated from its highest levels. It was trading at about $1.35. The FTSE 100 closed up 80 points at 7,353.44 after earlier peaking 1.8% higher at 7,429.04.

The FTSE 250, a better representation of British business, performed even better, up 3.44%.

Shares in retailers, banks, utilities, housebuilders and tour groups rose as they were seen as beneficiaries of a stronger pound. FTSE 250 stock Virgin Money was up almost 20% at one point, while Stagecoach climbed almost 16%. Taylor Wimpey was the top riser in the FTSE 100, up around 15%.

Business groups immediately demanded the new UK government instigate a series of reforms on issues such as business rates, the apprenticeship levy and infrastructure spending.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The Government’s majority gives it an opportunity to think afresh about policies like the apprenticeship levy, which falls woefully short of what is needed to support higher skilled, more productive retail jobs. Here in Scotland it is little more than another employment tax.”

The government will be called on to uphold its pledges around immigration, the national living wage, income tax thresholds and the recruitment and retention of NHS staff.

US-China deal

Wall Street also enjoyed a lift after China and the US announced that after months of punitive tit-for-tat tariffs they have agreed on the text of a phase one trade deal, which will see the removal of tariffs on Chinese goods in stages.

Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said China will increase imports from the US as part of the agreement.

The comments are China’s first response to a deal signed off by US President Donald Trump on Thursday that would halt higher tariffs planned for Sunday and represent the first phase in defusing the trade war that has undermined global confidence.

President Donald Trump tweeted: “We have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China. They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more. The 25% Tariffs will remain as is, with 7 1/2% put on much of the remainder….

“The Penalty Tariffs set for December 15th will not be charged because of the fact that we made the deal. We will begin negotiations on the Phase Two Deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election. This is an amazing deal for all. Thank you!”

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