Via Financial Times

Sterling hovers just below $1.30

The pound this morning has been steady, a day after it broke through the $1.30 level for the first time since May, as Boris Johnson looks to have a slender majority of five to pass his Brexit deal through parliament.

Sterling was recently down 0.2 per cent against the dollar at $1.2935 while it was down 0.1 per cent against the euro at €1.1610. Yesterday’s high against the dollar was $1.3012, according to Refinitiv data.

“The government’s Brexit deal will have to pass smoothly in the week ahead for cable to extend its advance and sustain levels above $1.3000,” analysts at MUFG Bank said in a note this morning. “Downside risks though should remain more contained now given it is difficult to see no-deal risk rising back up significantly.”

A Financial Times analysis, based on a forecast of MPs’ voting intentions, shows that 320 are expected to vote for his deal while 315 may oppose it.

“Pound volatility further out along the curve is already falling back in anticipation of Brexit risk fading in the coming months,” the MUFG analysts said.

In the three months since Boris Johnson came to power on July 24, the pound has had a choppy time. An initial tumble brought it to its lowest in that three-month period against the dollar of $1.1957 in early September. Since then it has gained more than 8 per cent against the US currency. Against the euro the dive came earlier, in August, but the gain since has been similar.

If the trend continues to the end of October, it will be on track to post its biggest monthly gain since September 2017.

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Zara Myers at UBS expects a rally to $1.35 if the deal eventually passes in parliament.

Tusk: EU should treat UK extension request ‘in all seriousness’

Donald Tusk, European Council president, has told the European Parliament it should treat the British request for a Brexit extension “in all seriousness.”

Mr Tusk’s remarks come after he consulted with EU leaders today on how to respond to the request Boris Johnson sent begrudgingly (but did not sign) earlier this week.

The EU official said on Twitter:

Barnier urges UK MPs to vote for Johnson’s Brexit deal

The FT’s Mehreen Khan reports from Brussels:

Speaking to MEPs, the EU’s top negotiator Michel Barnier urged MPs to vote with the government and support a deal he said was the “only possible agreement”.

“If Britain wants an orderly exit, which is far better than a disorderly exit, then this is the only possible agreement”, said Mr Barnier.

Where things stand on tonight’s vote

Boris Johnson is on track to win a vote in principle on his Brexit bill, according to an analysis by the FT.

Caveat emptor: these numbers are fluid and very much subject to change.

What’s in the WAB

For something easier to digest, here’s a snippet with the crucial issues in the document.

The withdrawal agreement bill details these key points: the £39bn exit payment that the UK is paying the EU; the rights of EU citizens once the UK has left the bloc; and the trade settlement for Northern Ireland.

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MPs and many other experts however have criticised the government’s decision to ram the 110-page document through all the stages by Thursday night. Second readings on bills normally take place no sooner than two weekends after the first.

Progress of the bill through parliament

So here’s what to expect for the bill to progress through to UK law:

The next step would be to vote for a second reading as the first came last night with the publication of the bill.

The second reading is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the bill, which in normal times usually takes place no sooner than two weekends after the first reading, according to the House of Commons website.

Hello for another edition of ‘What’s going on at Westminster’

Welcome back.

MPs are more than likely to have spent the night poring over the 110-page withdrawal agreement bill that Boris Johnson’s government published late last night. If you haven’t yet, do grab a coffee and take a read.

James Blitz gives a good round up for you to catch up on what to expect in coming days from Brexit

MPs will start debating around midday. Voting on the bill, the legislation that would bring Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal into UK law, is expected to take place this evening, around 7pm London time for the first one.

Parliamentary approval of the bill is critical to the Brexit process, as James Blitz writes. The treaty agreed between Mr Johnson and the EU cannot be ratified unless parliament has passed a statute to implement it.

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If Mr Johnson rustles up the numbers to get the vote in principle through, that will pave the way for a second reading. As Adam says, that will be a moment since it will be the first time parliament has voted in favour of a Brexit agreement.

Today’s docket: House of Commons order paper

Will today be the day?

Boris Johnson seems to have the votes he needs to secure a majority on a vote in principle expected this evening on his Brexit bill.

This would represent a big moment for the UK prime minister since it will be the first time the House of Commons has voted in favour of a Brexit agreement.

Mr Johnson still faces a series of big challenges in getting the measure through the next stages of the approval process. He’ll attempt shortly after the so-called “second reading” of the Brexit legislation to push through a “programme motion” that would set a breakneck timetable for formal passage of the Brexit bill.

The prime minister is expected to face a tight vote on the programme motion. If it fails, the EU may be minded to offer an extension past the October 31 deadline, potentially of a few weeks.

Team FT will be here covering all the twists and turns in real time. Stick around for an exciting day and let us know what you think in the comments section.