Angela Merkel attends a church service marking the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation at the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, Germany

RICHARD PORRITT with this week's big stories

A Brexit stalemate, no money in the coffers and polls which have a hard leftie as favourite to win the next election – the news is not good for poor Theresa May.

And now a raft of old fashioned sex scandals is set to rock her government as well.

The now-famous spreadsheet of shame – which reads like a News of the World news list from the early 1990s – is dynamite.

But the allegations of shaggers, secret liaisons and very niche sexual peccadilloes should not distract from the reason this list was even discovered. Claims of bullying and inappropriate sexual advances by MPs towards often junior staff is the real rot in Westminster. If May can address that at least something good might come from her flagging premiership.

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Lies – and the hard truth becomes more depressing by the day. This week the Bank of England warned that Brexit could cost the UK's financial sector 75,000 jobs. There are going to be a lot of pin-stripe suits, red braces and brogues in Britain's dole queues come March 2019.

That's us taking back control.


But while Canary Wharf may soon be a ghost town, Whitehall is about to get very busy. The headcount to deal with the looming Brexit chaos is set to balloon by at least 8,000. It is unlikely they will need traders or bankers though.


Good on Labour's Seema Malhotra for continuing her crusade to force the government to release the studies into the impact of Brexit.

It seems though that whereas David Davis and his band of merry Brexiteers are happy to spin yarns about the brave, new, glorious Great Britain post-Brexit they don't want the people to actually know the truth. I wonder why?

Malhotra said: 'The government's reference to needing to conduct Brexit policy-making in a 'safe place to allow for design and deliberation to be done in private' seems to be more about keeping parliament and the public in the dark.

'Parliament is not here to give the government a blank cheque on Brexit.'


Income tax might just solve the impasse that has crippled coalition building in Germany.

Five weeks after the election – which saw Angela Merkel's power diminished – attempts to create a four-party coalition have been sluggish at best.

But finally this week, something the Christian Democratic Union, Bavaria's Christian Social Union, the Free Democrats and the Greens can agree on – cutting taxes.

But how can Germany afford to offer up a tax giveaway when Merkel's chief of staff Peter Altmaier is warning there will be little room for extra spending?

In part Merkel has her outgoing finance minister William Schauble to thank. It seems the bitter austerity pill that has been swallowed by many in Germany has handed the Chancellor some breathing space. The breakthrough has calmed the nerves in Berlin but a lot still remains on the table.

A deadline set for mid-November is beginning to look unrealistic. Sound familiar? But this is unlike the catastrophe that awaits Britain if our negotiators can't close the Brexit deal. Standard & Poor's confirmed no damage would be done to the German economy however long the talks continue for and reiterated the country's triple A rating.


In Europe and across the globe Britain is in the midst of something of a PR disaster thanks to Brexit.

But at least our famed politeness remains. In Geneva this week authorities brought in actors dressed as the Queen and palace guards to teach commuters how to behave on public transport.

It appears the campaign was prompted by the famously well-observed rule that us Brits adopt on Tube escalators of standing to the right.

'On public transport the English take care to be respectful,' Geneva transport minister Luc Barthassat.

All this is very nice ... But has Mr Barthassat ever tried to get on a Central Line train at Liverpool Street at 8am? Has he ever run the gauntlet on the Number 27 through Camden Town?


And finally massive congratulations to The New European's very own Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who has won a top prize at the Asian Media Awards.

Alibhai-Brown received the Outstanding Contribution to Media Award at the ceremony held in Manchester. She said: 'This is an honour I did not expect in my lifetime. It is for me and all those Asian women and men who now shine in the media today.

'Many are friends and mentees. I know how hard it is – how much Asian and black talent has to strive to get noticed, get the breaks, to get where they want and deserve to be.' Hear, hear.

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