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Good morning. Stephen is traveling this week, so you’ll have me for the next few days until I go on my own – in this case with Rishi Sunak to Washington. Last week saw an unusual lull in British politics — a combination of the House of Commons midterm break plus a rare summer break — but Westminster got back to work today.
Sunak’s Agenda in Washington
Rishi Sunak will kick off the UK political summer today by updating the country on his efforts to ‘stop the boats’, including tackling the refugee backlog and cut down on hotel usage. Starting to be single male sharing room is the latest wheeze.
But the big event this week will be the prime minister’s two-day visit to the United States, which will include a meeting with President Biden, conversations with political and business figures, and a trip to watch a baseball game at the United States. the home ground of the Washington Nationals. Sunak can throw the first throw.
I assume this will be his fifth meeting with Biden, after last year’s G20 in Bali, the Aukus defense summit in March in San Diego, the events in Belfast in April on the 20th anniversary of the Agreement. Good Friday and G7 last month in Hiroshima.
Bilateral relations are sometimes a little broken. Biden and the Democrats are no fans of Brexit and resent the fact that Sunak and Brexit supporters have destabilized Northern Ireland and made the UK a less influential ally in Europe.
Biden announced last month that he went to Ireland in April to make sure “The British don’t screw up” through Northern Ireland and not reneging on their commitments. British officials rolled their eyes and one said Biden had just arrived in Ireland “for the holidays”.
Interestingly, Downing Street insiders said Sunak won’t make a big deal in Washington on the Biden Inflation Reduction Act, the $369 billion green subsidy package was widely criticized by British ministers as protectionist.
When I went to Washington with Prime Minister Rachel Reeves last month, she was convinced that snipers are conservative at Biden’s flagship scheme has contributed to making Britain less relevant in the US capital.
However, the Ukraine issue has brought the two sides closer together and Biden is said to attach great importance to the Aukus defense treaty, which includes Britain and Australia. sign up for a submarine deal strengthen the Western presence in the Pacific.
Sunak’s bold political move to tackle the post-Brexit mess of the Northern Ireland protocol with the so-called Windsor framework has won respect in the US.
But there is another issue that Sunak is expected to make front and center of his visit and which he hopes can give Britain a possible global “leadership” role: what and develop artificial intelligence.
The British Prime Minister recently spent a lot of time talking to AI bosses — including ChatGPT’s Sam Altman — and is said to be excited by the prospect of seizing the opportunities and managing risks of the new technology. .
In Washington he will argue the case of international association about regulation and provide the UK as a possible hub for any new agency – perhaps modeled after the International Atomic Energy Agency – created for this purpose.
As I reported, Sunak is also interested in the idea emerging in the AI world of creating a “Cern for AI” – an internationally backed research center that operates under strict ethical control. , develop new technology safely for the benefit of mankind.
Number 10 says he’s interested in both ideas but doesn’t support any at this stage. In the first case, Sunak just wanted to reach some sort of global agreement on regulatory alignment and cooperation needs.
The argument among UK ministers is that the US should not be trusted as the center of global regulation, as it is home to big AI companies and is taking on China. And Britain can be seen as an honest broker in any legal dispute between the US and the EU, making it an ideal place to project global leadership. Behold, a benefit of Brexit!
Starmer in money
As all parties braced for the costly business of fighting for an election next year, a hitherto little-known South African-born businessman, Gary Lubner, opened his checkbook. to help Keir Starmer get to Downing Street.
New figures from the Electoral Commission on Thursday will show that: Lubner gave £500,000 to Labor in the first quarter of 2023, he gave even more in the second quarter and – according his current donation trajectory – his total support could exceed £5m before election day.
That would put him alongside longtime donor Lord David Sainsbury on the list of wealthy individuals who support Labor, and I expect to see quite a few other names appear on the official donation list. party this week.
Lubner has largely avoided the media during his business career but – because his name is about to make it to the top – he decided to do an interview to explain what is driving him. I spoke to him last Friday and it’s an interesting story.
Now try this
I can’t fit Stephen’s diverse range of recommendations – though wait until tomorrow for me to take on the special new film Reality – but I’m going to partake in one of the underrated pleasures of summer in England.
On Friday, I bombed the A303 to Taunton to watch Somerset beat Middlesex in the T20 Vitality Blast. Even non-cricket lovers will find something to enjoy from this form of microgame, usually played on weekends or after work.
Grab a beer (or cider, apparently in Somerset’s case), watch out for the six-year-olds peppering the crowds, and enjoy the spectacle. I can also recommend the Oval Office (if you can get a ticket) for a buzzing night out in South London and Edgbaston in Birmingham. But avoid the quiet old Lords.
It just so happens that Somerset, the Arsenal of the county cricket world, is on the brink of greatness in this year’s T20, having won its first six games. What could go wrong?
Today’s top stories
Yousaf bid to tackle low rape conviction rate | Humza Yousaf is stand firm against government plans introduced no-jury rape trials after lawyers in Scotland threatened to boycott the proposal.
CBI Challenger Steps Up | CBI’s business lobbying team has been affected by a The threat to its future yesterday was its rivalBritish Chambers of Commerce, has created a new group in a bold move to become the voice of the UK’s most prominent companies.
Cabinet Office reprimands Boris Johnson over WhatsApp disclosure | Johnson was warned by Whitehall that he could lose publicly funded legal support if he undermines the government’s stance on the Covid-19 investigation.
AI ‘productivity revolution’ will take time to pay off | The explosion of creative artificial intelligence and the pandemic caused Changing workplaces will usher in a new era of faster productivity growth Across the rich world, though, it could take a decade or more for advanced economies to reap the full benefits, economists say.
Argy-bargy on Labour .’s green energy plan | Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB, joined Unite’s Sharon Graham yesterday in criticizing Keir Starmer’s pledge to ban new permits for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea (here is the clip from Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday), saying that Labor was “naive”. Meanwhile, Guardian’s Kiran Stacey is the first Starmer’s Plan report has backing by a range of high-profile groups, including environmental campaigners and even the Women’s Institute.