Not a good day to be a European bank

Bank jogs continue merrily along.

Today is not a good day to be a European bank. You may think the chance of a Greek exit would have been priced in to the markets by now, but each release of bad news brings a new hit to prices.

The worst affected is the Spanish bank Bankia, which was part nationalised last week. Reuters today reports that over €1bn has been withdrawn from the bank since the nationalisation, raising fears of a run - or jog, at least - on the bank. The news sent the bank down 12 per cent in 20 minutes, and although that has largely recovered, shares are still 11 per cent down on where they opened, hovering around €1.50. When the bank was listed in July, it was €3.75.

Bankia (BKIA). Source: Bloomberg

Other European banks are doing no better. UniCredit SpA is down 5.98 per cent, Banco Popolare 3.80 per cent, and Societe Generale 3.3 per cent.

Even things which sound European are tanking. French Connection is down 26 per cent:

French Connection (FCCN). Source: Google Finance

Oh, alright. That's actually because French Connection issued a profits warning this morning, saying:

It appears unlikely that our profit performance for the full year will meet current market expectations. . . The UK retail market remains particularly challenging and the combination of prevailing consumer caution and ongoing economic difficulties suggests that this will not improve in the second half of the year.

A man withdraws money from a Bankia cashpoint. Helping a bank jog? Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.