Brexit protests in London

Hundreds of thousands take to streets in London demanding second Brexit vote


LONDON/BELFAST (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the European Union marched through London on Saturday in the biggest demonstration so far to demand that the British government holds a public vote on the terms of Brexit.

The protesters waved the blue and gold flag of the EU and held up “Bollocks to Brexit” banners under sunny skies to call for another referendum on the eventual deal on how Britain will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc.

The march comes after another tumultuous week for Prime Minister Theresa May in which she failed to agree a divorce deal with EU leaders in Brussels and infuriated members of her own party by making further concessions in the talks.

With just over five months until Britain is due to leave there is no clarity about what a future trade deal with the EU will look like and some rebels in May’s Conservative Party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one.

James McGrory, one of the organisers of the march, said voters should have the chance to change their minds because the decision will impact their lives for generations.

“People think the Brexit negotiations are a total mess, they have no faith in the government to deliver the promises that were made, partly because they cannot be delivered,” he said.

At the march, demonstrators carried placards saying “Brexit is pants”, “Time for an EU turn” and “European and proud.”

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-brit ... SKCN1MU0JJ
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EU withdrawal deal is 95% settled

EU withdrawal deal is 95% settled, Theresa May to tell Commons

Prime minister takes unusual step of briefing planned Brexit remarks to MPs in advance

Theresa May will highlight all the specific areas of agreement already reached. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Theresa May will tell the Commons on Monday that 95% of the Brexit withdrawal agreement and its protocols are settled as she seeks to demonstrate to anxious MPs in her own party that she is making headway in the increasingly fraught divorce talks.

The prime minister is expected to confirm she has resolved with the EU the future status of Gibraltar, developed a protocol around the UK’s military base in Cyprus and agreed a mechanism for resolving any future disputes with the EU.

Taking the unusual step of briefing planned remarks to the Commons in advance, May will conclude that “taking all of this together, 95% of the withdrawal agreement and its protocols are now settled” in talks that she has until now largely insisted on keeping secret.

The prime minister is scheduled to make a statement on Monday afternoon, after intense criticism from the Tory right for appearing to have made no progress other than indicating at last week’s European summit that she was open to extending the post-Brexit transition period, prompting renewed speculation about a leadership challenge.

A clearly rattled Downing Street held two conference calls with cabinet ministers over the weekend to update them on the European summit before a cabinet discussion on Brexit on Tuesday. Concerns were raised about the transition period and time-limiting the Irish backstop. “No one is in the mood to be bounced,” said one cabinet source.

May intends to show the progress made by highlighting all the specific areas of agreement already reached, including settling the divorce bill at £39bn, having an implementation period until at least the end of 2020 and recognising the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa.

The withdrawal agreement covers the legal agreement or treaty that the UK will sign with the EU to conclude its exit by 29 March, the end of the article 50 period. May will say that the shape of the deal across “the vast majority” of its text is now clear.

Restive Conservative backbenchers will meet on Wednesday night at a meeting of the 1922 Committee, which will be addressed by the party chair, Brandon Lewis. A total of 48 of them have to write to the committee’s chair, Graham Brady, to demand a confidence vote in May if they are to trigger a leadership challenge that No 10 is desperate to avoid as the Brexit talks come towards their final critical stage.

Two key issues remain unresolved in the Brexit talks: how to ensure that the so-called backstop designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland has an end point and that it does not allow for Northern Ireland to be separated from Great Britain via a customs border.

Last week, May indicated she could accept extending the transition period in which the UK would remain subject to the customs union and single market beyond December 2020 in an attempt to reach a free trade agreement that would prevent the backstop being used.

Earlier on Sunday, the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, conceded that Conservative backbenchers had become jittery about the Brexit negotiations but insisted “now is the time to play for the team” as speculation about May’s leadership swirled.

“We need to hold our nerve; the end is in sight in terms of a good deal – the prize that we want: a good deal with the EU,” Raab said.

Officials from both sides will continue talks this week in the hope of a breakthrough after last week’s summit where EU leaders agreed they would try to find a way to strike a deal with May.

When asked if May was hanging by a thread, Raab said it was a pretty strong thread and that there were reports every week that nearly 48 Tory MPs had written to Brady demanding a vote of no confidence.

Underlining the difficulties that May faces with her own party, it emerged on Sunday that 41 MPs have now indicated they would not sign up to a Brexit deal if it was based on her Chequers trade proposals, enough to block any final deal being approved without opposition support.

Trudy Harrison, the MP for Copeland, was the latest to sign up to the Stand Up 4 Brexit campaign that opposes any future trade deal based on Chequers, which would sign up the UK to a common rulebook for food and goods after Brexit to ensure a free flow of trade across the border in Ireland.

The former Brexit secretary, David Davis, touted by some as a successor to May, wrote in the Mail on Sunday that “even the most charitable verdict on last week’s Brexit talks in Brussels can hardly describe them as a success”, because May appeared to endorse extending the transition period beyond December 2020.

Critics of May used aggressive language in anonymous briefings at the weekend. One told the Sunday Times that the prime minister had entered “the killing zone” this week, while another told the Mail on Sunday that she should “bring her own noose” if she went to the 1922 Committee meeting.

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, said: “Language like this debases politics. Get a grip, Tories.”

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said there was a real lack of confidence that May could bring back “anything by way of a good deal” because the government was so divided. He said Tory infighting seemed “to have gone to another level”.

There are 315 Conservative MPs. Under party rules May needs to win the support of just over half – 158 – to win a vote of no confidence, but many believe that she may not be able to continue as prime minister if more than 100 MPs were to vote against her.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... ay-commons
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UK wants Brexit talks ended this autumn

UK PM May’s Spokesman: UK wants Brexit talks ended this autumn

Comments by the UK PM Theresa May's spokesman, James Slack, are found below.

Key Points:

The UK wants Brexit talks ended this autumn.

Extension of Brexit transition is just an idea.

Theresa May had Brexit phone calls with Cabinet colleagues over the weekend.

Source: https://www.fxstreet.com/news/uk-pm-may ... streetnews
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Breaking: EU may offer British PM a UK-wide customs union

EU may offer British PM a UK-wide customs union

The EU will offer British Prime Theresa May a UK-wide customs union as a way around the Irish backstop issue, but it will have to be negotiated beyond the Withdrawal Agreement as a separate treaty, RTÉ News understands.

The Withdrawal Agreement will contain a specific commitment to a UK-wide customs arrangement by way of a legal article, but that commitment will say that a formal EU-UK customs union will require a separate agreement.

However, the EU, and the Irish Government still insist that a Northern Ireland-specific backstop remains in place, even if a separate UK-wide customs arrangement is negotiated.

London has long sought a UK-wide customs arrangement as a way to avoid customs checks on both the Irish land border and along the Irish Sea.

Re-worked elements of the draft Withdrawal Treaty have been seen by RTÉ News.

They appear to be in conflict with the Mrs May’s demand that the Withdrawal Agreement contain a UK-wide customs backstop that is "legally-binding" and temporary, and her position that a Northern Ireland-specific backstop remains "unacceptable".

It is not clear that London will be content with a legal "commitment" to arrange a UK-wide customs backstop if it has to be negotiated as a stand-alone agreement that sits outside the Withdrawal Agreement.

Yesterday in the House of Commons, Mrs May outlined four steps that the UK was demanding in order for an agreement to be reached, including "the commitment to a temporary UK-EU joint customs territory legally binding, so the Northern Ireland only proposal is no longer needed."

RTÉ News understands that the promise of a UK-wide customs backstop will feature prominently near the top of a re-drafted Withdrawal Agreement, and that previous references to Northern Ireland being part of the EU's "customs territory" will be dropped.

Northern Ireland will be referred to in more oblique terms further down the text, according to a draft.

However, the text will say that in the event of the Northern-Ireland specific backstop coming into effect, a separate annexe will set out how that would work.

That annexe will refer to the EU's Union Customs Code (UCC) applying in Northern Ireland, according to a draft text.

These drafts could change further when negotiations resume.

Customs remains the most sensitive issue in the negotiations, with the UK regarding any customs differential between Northern Ireland and the UK as unacceptable, and tantamount to having a customs border along the Irish Sea.

The European Commission has been attempting to "de-dramatise" the issue, by suggesting customs checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland could be electronically pre-cleared away from ports, and through the use of scanning and barcode technology.

Read more: https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2018/102 ... 13-brexit/
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GBP/USD struggling

GBP/USD struggling underneath 1.2900 as Brexit headlines continue to disappoint

- It's all about Brexit ahead of a data-thin Thursday.
- EU-UK negotiations have suddenly returned to reaching across a chasm following months of soothe-speaking from political figureheads, and confidence is evaporating rapidly.

The GBP/USD is trading just shy of the 1.2900 technical level ahead of Thursday's London market session as Brexit fears continue to drain confidence from the Pound.

Thursday is completely clear of UK data on the economic calendar, and traders will have no choice but to continue focusing on Brexit headlines, which have taken a turn for the bearish recently.

The European Union's latest counter-proposal to the UK's Prime Minister Theresa May fell far short of expectations, with EU leaders in Brussels pushing for an agreement on the Irish border dispute to be held separate from Brexit proceedings, while PM May is determined to have an Irish border workaround built into the main Brexit divorce bill, and as the clock winds down with both sides remaining at loggerheads, the UK's population and firms are beginning to batten down the hatches for a hard-style, no-deal Brexit, and concerns are on the rise that the UK will have difficulties getting essential supplies and resources into Britain's borders following a messy European exit.

GBP/USD levels to watch
The Sterling is primed for further declines on the technical side according to FXStreet's Chief Analyst Valeria Bednarik: "intraday technical readings support further slides ahead, as, in the 4 hours chart, the pair has extended its decline below its 200 EMA and 20 SMA, while technical indicators maintain their strong downward slopes within negative levels ad at fresh October lows. The pair has its next relevant support at 1.2785, September monthly low, a probable bearish target in the case the decline continues sub-1.2855, September 3 low. In the unlikely case of an agreement about the Irish border issue, the pair could reverse course and reclaim the 1.3000 level."

Support levels: 1.2855 1.2810 1.2785

Resistance levels: 1.2925 1.2960 1.3000

Source: https://www.fxstreet.com/news/gbp-usd-s ... 1810250358
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Brexit deal sealed for financial services

Theresa May seals Brexit deal on financial services

Theresa May has struck a deal with Brussels that would give UK financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit.

British and European negotiators have reached tentative agreement on all aspects of a future partnership on services, as well as the exchange of data, government sources said.

In a sign that a wider deal is close to being finalised, Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, said in a letter to the Commons Brexit committee published yesterday that the government expected to have it completed within three weeks.

Read more: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news ... -79thmrzvk
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