Boris Johnson prepares fresh bid to push Brexit deal through parliament — latest news
Germany’s foreign minister does not rule out ‘short technical’ extension — reports
Heiko Maas said he hopes that MPs will vote on Monday to proceed with an orderly exit from the EU but that he doesn’t rule out a short extension to allow London more time to pass legislation.
“Should there be problems in Britain with the ratification, I would not rule out that there could be a short, technical extension,” Reuters reported the German foreign minister as saying.
I hope that the British lower house, showing the necessary responsibility, can take a decision on this today and that on the basis of this decision we will be in a position to achieve an orderly Brexit
Should there not be a majority in the British lower house, then we in the European Union would have to look at whether there would then be a full extension – and only then would there be a decision about that.
Tusk consulting with EU leaders on UK extension request
Jim Brunsden reports from Brussels:
A spokeswoman for the European Commission said that Donald Tusk “is now consulting leaders of the EU27” on Britain’s request to delay Brexit, adding that “it is first and foremost for the UK to explain the next steps.”
Asked about the implications of Boris Johnson’s decision not to sign the extension request, the spokeswoman said the lack of a signature changed nothing, as the request was made by the UK’s ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow.
The spokeswoman also confirmed that the EU has launched its own ratification process of the Brexit deal (although the European Parliament has been clear that it will not vote until Westminster has approved the agreement.)
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, will debrief MEPs this afternoon in Strasbourg and will update the EU commission’s leadership on Tuesday.
“We from our side will of course follow events in London very closely,” she said.
Government to introduce Brexit deal in Commons
Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is to be introduced in the House of Commons today, following the setback on Saturday, according to parliament’s website.
The big outstanding question, though, is whether Speaker John Bercow will allow a second attempt at a “meaningful vote” after rejecting similar moves by Theresa May when she was prime minister. Westminster insiders see it as more likely that Mr Bercow will knock the measure down, and that Mr Johnson will push for a “second reading” of the measure on Tuesday, which will provide insight on whether or not he has the backing of a majority in parliament.
What’s on the docket: today’s Commons order paper
Sterling rallies as traders poised for next stage in Brexit process
The pound reversed earlier losses to rise about 0.2 per cent against the dollar and euro as traders weigh the next stage of the Brexit process in parliament.
Sterling, recently at $1.2995, went as high as $1.3010 in early morning trading in London. The move brings its advance against the dollar this month to about 5.8 per cent, putting it on track for its best month since May 2009 when it rose 9.4 per cent.
So, here’s where we are up to and what we have to look forward to
Boris Johnson will make another attempt to win parliament’s backing for his Brexit deal over the next few days.
• Parliament will meet at 2:30pm London time
• Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Commons, will seek to hold another meaningful vote by MPs on the deal on Monday, but the Speaker, John Bercow, may not allow it to be debated
• Government insiders say a more likely route is the second reading of the withdrawal agreement on Tuesday: MPs will be asked to vote on whether they agree with the principle of Mr Johnson’s deal. If he wins this, Brexit is back on track
• Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the government “appears to have the numbers” to secure parliamentary approval for the legislation
• Calculations by the Financial Times suggest he will win by a slim majority of five votes
• The prime minister lost a crucial vote on Saturday — 322 to 306 — which compelled him to seek a delay
• He wrote to Brussels last Saturday seeking a three-month delay to the Article 50 exit process
Sterling wavers as traders weigh Johnson’s next moves
Sterling was steady early on Monday after a Commons defeat at the weekend left Boris Johnson scrambling to push through his Brexit deal over the next few days.
The pound was little changed at $1.2973, recovering from falls in Asian trading. It was up 0.1 per cent against the euro at €1.162.
Monday’s muted market reaction came after MPs voted in the first Saturday sitting since 1982 to approve a measure that stripped Mr Johnson of a “meaningful vote” on the Brexit deal the prime minister had negotiated with Brussels last week.
Analysts and investors said the vote injected some uncertainty into the political situation in Westminster, with Mr Johnson now having to attempt to push through his legislation on either Monday or Tuesday. However, several City of London investment banks said it appeared Mr Johnson was on track to secure a majority on his deal.
“While developments over the weekend certainly puncture some of the prime minister’s political momentum, we think they also reveal that the PM can command a stable cross-party majority in favour of his Brexit deal,” said Sven Jari Stehn, head of Europe economics at Goldman Sachs. “The decisive test of that deal has been postponed by a few days; the deal has not been defeated.”
Malcolm Barr, economist at JPMorgan, said: “Our best guess at this point is that Johnson will secure a majority for the deal, even if not on Monday, and that attempts to graft a second referendum on to the bill will fail.”
He added, however, that “visibility on the exact path ahead is low, and the political situation is volatile”.
And we’re back…
Super Saturday was well … maybe not so super after all. Boris Johnson was dealt a defeat after MPs voted on a measure that deferred approval of his Brexit pact. While it was not the outcome the prime minister wanted, City analysts are fairly upbeat this morning on the prospects his deal will pass with a slim majority early this week.
The situation in Westminster will remain fluid, however, and as we’ve seen time and again, surprises seem to lurk around every corner.
We’ll be covering the story right here on this blog and on FT.com throughout the day – and potentially late into the evening.