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Conservative rebellion unlikely to derail coronavirus tier vote as Labour set to abstain

Boris Johnson is heading for a COVID showdown with rebel Tory MPs, despite being assured of victory in a Commons vote after Sir Keir Starmer said Labour will abstain.

Around 50 Conservative MPs are predicted to come out against the government in a vote to approve the tier system of COVID curbs in England, in which 99% of the population face tough restrictions.

But in a dramatic twist on the eve of the Commons clash, the Labour leader announced that for the first time during the pandemic Labour would not support the government in a key vote.

The party will instead abstain, although a handful of left-wing MPs are expected to join rebel Tory MPs in voting against the restrictions, which come into force at midnight.

That means that even if Mr Johnson suffers a big rebellion from his own backbenchers, the so-called “payroll vote” of members of the government,

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Warren joining Business Insider’s Singapore bureau

Katie Warren

Business Insider reporter Katie Warren is moving to the news organization’s Singapore bureau, which recently opened.

Warren has been covering executive lifestyle, wealth, travel, luxury real estate, strategy, and careers. She joined Business Insider in August 2018.

She previously interned at Insider and at NBC’s television stations, where she covered Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, earthquakes in Mexico, and the Las Vegas shooting.

Warren is a graduate of the University of Montana and holds a master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

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MPs call for the break up of UK’s big high street banks

A cross-party group of MPs is calling for the break-up of major high street banks, which they say are stifling competition and exploiting vulnerable customers.

The call is part of recommendations put forward by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for challenger banks and building societies after a two-year inquiry into competition across the UK banking sector. Together, six UK lenders – including HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander and Nationwide building society – hold about 87% of the retail banking market, according to Reuters data from 2018.

The APPG report, which gathered evidence from industry associations, university professors, and challenger banks such as Monzo, concluded that the lack of competition meant big banks were able to “exploit more vulnerable customers at the expense of the better off”. It also found customers faced a loyalty penalty, where banks charged higher prices knowing that customers were unlikely to search for better deals.

“There

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