People react while watching the Brexit deal vote on a television in Brussels, Belgium.Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg
By Ian Wishart
January 16, 2019, 12:06 AM GMT+3 Updated on January 16, 2019, 12:33 AM GMT+3
- European Commission’s Juncker tells May: ‘Time is almost up’
- Macron: EU won’t help fix U.K.’s ‘internal political problem’
The European Union said it was horrified by the massive scale of the U.K. Parliament defeat of the Brexit deal agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May but said there was no option to renegotiate.
Diplomats said they were stunned by the extent of the loss. As they tried on Tuesday night to plot the EU response, they said they think there’s little more they can do to help May and fear that the U.K. tumbling out without agreement in March has now become a real prospect.
Despite only 10 weeks to go until the U.K.’s scheduled departure, officials in Brussels ruled out the prospect of an extraordinary summit of the 27 EU leaders any time soon. They said there’s little to discuss if lawmakers in the U.K. can’t decide what they want.
European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker told the U.K: “Time is almost up.” French President Emmanuel Macron chimed in also to remind May that the EU won’t offer concessions to solve “an internal U.K. politics problem.”
‘I will be very vigilant on that,” Macron told reporters in Normandy, northern France. “ We went as far as we could.”
By Tim Ross , Jess Shankleman , Robert Hutton , and Kitty Donaldson
November 13, 2018, 9:02 PM GMT+3 Updated on November 13, 2018, 10:37 PM GMT+3
- Negotiators have reached an agreement on the divorce treaty
- May has to get it past critics in her Cabinet and Parliament
The U.K. and the European Union have agreed on a draft divorce deal. Now Prime Minister Theresa May puts it to her Cabinet, who have to decide whether to back it or resign.
Negotiators have settled on a text after working through the night this week in Brussels, according to three people familiar with the situation. May’s ministers have started filing into her office to read it and are due to meet Wednesday at 2 p.m. to sign off.
EU officials cautioned that the deal isn’t done until it gets political sign-off in London.
While the pound rose on this breakthrough — talks had been at impasse for months — there are more obstacles ahead. Cabinet is the first hurdle, but her hardest task will be to force it through the House of Commons, where the arithmetic is looking increasingly challenging. Her critics in Parliament — whose votes she will need — were quick to criticize the deal on Tuesday.
May’s Cabinet has been long divided on what Brexit should mean. Many have reservations that she’s given away too much and that the U.K. won’t be able to escape the EU’s orbit for years, in a betrayal of the referendum in 2016.
She’s survived the loss of some of key figures in her Cabinet — former Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. If more high profile figures quit, her life becomes complicated again. Even if they don’t, getting it through Parliament remains a struggle.
Representatives of EU governments are expecting to be briefed on Wednesday on the deal — which includes the draft separation agreement and also an outline of what the future relationship should be. That part isn’t binding and is expected to include more warm words than detailed decisions. They will meet at the same time as the Cabinet.
If all goes well, and it still might not, then a summit could be called toward the end of November — officials said Nov. 25 was a likely date.
Theresa May Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
By Robert Hutton
November 9, 2018, 8:00 AM GMT+3
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is edging closer to a Brexit deal. But before anyone cracks open the English sparkling wine, she has to get it past Parliament, where she doesn’t have a majority and her Conservative Party is split. So how will she cobble together the votes?
There are 650 members of Parliament in the House of Commons, known as MPs. Of these, the Speaker and his three deputies don’t vote. The seven members of Sinn Fein don’t take their seats. That leaves 639 MPs, so if everyone votes, 320 are needed for a majority.
Voting With May
- Conservative Payroll Vote: around 150
These are the 95 Conservative MPs who have some kind of paid government job, and then around 50 more who work unpaid as a ministerial assistant. They would have to resign from this job to vote against her.
- Conservative Loyalists: around 85
These are the MPs who don’t care very much about Brexit, or want to move the national conversation on to other things, or hope to further their careers, or who are just loyal. May should be able to count on them.
That’s 235. May needs another 85. Now things get hard.
By Nikos Chrysoloras and Silla Brush
October 30, 2018, 11:25 AM GMT+3 Updated on October 30, 2018, 5:03 PM GMT+3
The European Union said it won’t allow a no-deal Brexit to cut the bloc’s banks off from London’s crucial financial infrastructure, which would put trillions of dollars of derivatives contracts at risk.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will ensure that financial firms don’t lose access to clearinghouses such as LCH Ltd., a unit of London Stock Exchange Group Plc, even if political negotiations break down and Britain quits the bloc abruptly next March, a commission spokesman said. Banks and U.K. regulators have been warning for months that EU action is needed to avert turmoil in financial markets.
The Brussels-based commission would only ensure clearing access on a temporary basis to “address financial stability risks arising from an exit without a deal,” commission spokesman Johannes Bahrke said by email on Tuesday. Any short-term fix would be based on the EU’s so-called equivalence rules, which can allow firms outside the bloc to provide services to the single market, he said.
Banks welcomed the commission’s commitment to maintain the cross-Channel clearing link. But acknowledging the potential threat isn’t enough, according to Simon Lewis, head of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, a trade group whose members include BNP Paribas SA and Deutsche Bank AG.
Theresa May Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg
By Emma Ross-Thomas
October 19, 2018, 9:30 AM GMT+3
161 Days to Go
Today in Brexit: It wasn’t all bad news in Brussels, though Theresa May’s concessions have gone down badly at home.
The Brexit summit fell far short of the breakthrough that it was long touted to be. But a tiny glimmer of progress is emerging.
The two sides are inching toward a plan that could clear the path to a deal, Tim Ross and Ian Wishart report. The idea that’s breathing new life into the negotiations is an old one. Some might call it extend and pretend, or just taking a bit more time to get to the final destination.
Both sides now think there’s merit in keeping the U.K. inside the European Union’s full membership rules for longer after it formally leaves the bloc, with an option to extend the 21-month transition period past December 2020.
That would give negotiators more time to resolve the biggest obstacle blocking a deal: how to avoid customs checks at the border between the U.K. and Ireland, without erecting new barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.
Theresa May Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg
By Kitty Donaldson , Alex Morales , and Robert Hutton
October 18, 2018, 7:26 PM GMT+3
- Conservative, Labour lawmakers discuss voting down Brexit deal
- Defeat in Parliament is high-risk gamble to force another vote
There are those in the Conservative Party so against Brexit that they are willing to gang up with the opposition to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal in order to secure a second referendum.
How many are willing to see this scenario through is hard to quantify — there is yet no deal — but the fact that lawmakers are discussing it semi-openly is a sign of how worried the prime minister should be.
The Path to a Second Referendum
Lawmakers who want a second referendum on Brexit see three opportunities to make amendments allow a fresh public vote:
- Amend Theresa May’s motion seeking approval of whatever deal she secures — expected in December at the latest.
- If May is unable to strike a deal or if Parliament rejects the plan she’s brought back from Brussels, she must make a statement by Jan. 21 on how she plans to proceed. In theory, a motion on that statement will be “in neutral terms,’’ meaning it can’t be changed. In practice, backbenchers believe the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, will allow it to be amended.
- If May’s deal is approved, she must pass the Brexit “Implementation Bill.” Lawmakers could amend this too.
“The idea of making support for the prime minister’s deal dependent on a people’s vote is one of a number of ideas being discussed at the moment,’’ opposition Labour lawmaker Ben Bradshaw said in an interview. “Support for a people’s vote is rising particularly among undeclared Tories – even those with leave constituencies.’’
By Ian Wishart , Nikos Chrysoloras , and Tim Ross
October 14, 2018, 8:14 PM GMT+2 Updated on October 15, 2018, 7:56 AM GMT+2
- Raab-Barnier meeting ended after an hour in Brussels
- There is now the risk of a no-deal summit in November
The U.K. and the European Union are on course to miss this week’s key milestone on the road to a Brexit deal after talks broke up in stalemate on Sunday, people familiar with the matter said.
A weekend of intense negotiations — including a surprise dash by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to meet his EU counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels — failed to break the deadlock.
There will be no further attempt to resolve the impasse before EU leaders gather in the Belgian capital on Wednesday for the summit they’d hoped to use to finalize the divorce.
Officials on both sides have now all-but given up on a breakthrough this week, and are increasingly concerned that time is running out to get an agreement before the U.K.’s exit in March, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.
“Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open,” Barnier said on Twitter after his hour-long meeting with Raab. For his part, the Brexit secretary left Brussels and traveled back to London without making any comment.
The weekend was meant to be a chance to crack the thorniest issue in talks — what to do with the Irish border — so that leaders meeting for a summit on Wednesday could declare progress and signal that a final deal could be signed in mid-November.
That timetable — which markets have started to price in — has been thrown off and there’s likely to be more talk of how to prepare for a chaotic and acrimonious no-deal split. The pound fell early on Monday.
A key meeting of EU governments scheduled for Monday was canceled and negotiations will likely to be paused for some time, according to EU diplomats.
The major sticking point remains how to avoid the need for a hard customs border at the land frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit. One proposal is to keep the U.K. inside the EU’s customs union on a temporary basis, which would mean no new checks on goods passing from Northern Ireland to Ireland would be needed.
Continued on https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-14/brexit-talks-stuck-in-stalemate-raising-risk-of-summit-failure?cmpid=BBD101518_BRUS&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=181015&utm_campaign=brussels
Theresa May Photographer: Will Oliver/Pool via Bloomberg
By Robert Hutton
September 25, 2018, 9:40 PM GMT+3
Theresa May ruled out a return to the ballot box to settle the U.K.’s political stalemate over Brexit and hunkered down on her plans for leaving the European Union.
“It would not be in the national interest to have an election” before the scheduled Brexit date in March 2019, the prime minister told reporters Tuesday en route to New York. She called a snap election in June 2017 — evoking Brexit — in a political miscalculation that wiped out her Conservative majority.
By Sharon R Smyth
September 20, 2018
- Economists says 35% home price drop in U.K. highly unlikely
- London home values to rise up to 10% in soft Brexit: survey
Economists aren’t buying Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s dire scenario of a U.K. housing crash in the event of a chaotic no-deal Brexit.
Home prices are “highly unlikely” to plunge as much as 35 percent in three years in a worst-case warning laid out last week by Carney, according to a survey of 10 economists by Bloomberg News. Values would decline 10 percent or less, according to six of the respondents. The remaining four said values could decline more than 10 percent but not as much as 35 percent.
The survey offers a more optimistic view on the prospects for U.K.’s property market as analysts and economists are trying to parse divergent signals. It adds to encouraging signs this week pointing to a rebound in home prices after the longest losing streak since the financial crisis. Data compiled by property website Rightmove this week said asking prices for U.K. house prices rose 0.7 percent in September, led by stronger sales. Nationwide, home values in August notched the first increase in five months, according a report by Acadata.
In the event of a soft Brexit, seven respondents said home prices could rise 5 percent to 10 percent in London, where demand outstrips supply. Two said they would increase by more than 10 percent while only one said they would continue to stagnate or fall.
By Lyubov Pronina
September 19, 2018
- U.K. industry group publishes report on higher vehicle prices
- Estimate is based on application of 10 percent levy on cars
A so-called Brexit without a trade deal between the U.K. and the European Union could cost the car industry and consumers at least 5.7 billion euros ($6.7 billion) a year in vehicle tariffs, according to a report by a British industry group.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said Wednesday the estimate is based on levies of 10 percent on cars exports and imports from an industry that could also suffer production halts due to the split.
By Andrew Atkinson, September 10, 2018
Brexit champion sparks Tory fury with ‘suicide vest’ comment.
Pitch for the leadership comes at key time in Brexit talks.
Boris Johnson has struck again.
The former foreign secretary cemented his reputation as the most divisive of British political figures with an attack on Theresa May in which he compared her approach to Brexit to strapping on a suicide vest and handing the detonator to Brussels. Commonly known by his first name, Boris is not backing down.
His barely disguised appeal to succeed her as prime minister triggered an immediate backlash from senior Tories — with Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan calling the remarks “one of the most disgusting moments in modern British politics.” He followed up with a warning not to raise taxes.
Though the language deployed in his latest attack was less inflammatory, his choice of topic left little doubt he wanted to inflict damage on May, who has promised more money for the ailing National Health Service but admitted it will mean a greater fiscal burden. How to pay for the extra spending — which was promised as part of the Leave campaign in 2016 — will be decided in the Autumn budget, the timing of which is awkwardly linked to Brexit.
“We must find the extra 20 billion pounds that the Chancellor has rightly promised,” Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph, which has served as a weekly platform to belittle May since he resigned in July. “But I am afraid I am not convinced that the answer is immediately to turn to the hard-pressed taxpayer.”
The furor he’s stirred comes weeks before what is set to be a bruising Conservative Party conference in Birmingham and at a critical phase in the Brexit negotiations. The two sides are aiming for a divorce deal by mid-November and more positive noises have been emerging from the European Union of late.
Johnson, 54, has positioned himself as the standard-bearer of the Conservative wing demanding a clean break from the EU. He resigned in protest at the so-called Chequers plan, under which Britain would stay closely tied to EU trade rules after Brexit, and has since used his newspaper columns to accuse May of capitulating to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
Speculation is rife that euroskeptics are gathering the signatures needed to trigger a vote of no-confidence in May. The number required to challenge her is 48 Conservative lawmakers, though to win the vote her opponents would need to mobilize 158, around half the parliamentary party.
The nightmare scenario for both sides — and for financial markets — is that May fails to get any Brexit deal through Parliament, precipitating a crisis just months before Britain leaves the EU on March 29.
By Gregory Viscusi
September 8, 2018, 3:36 PM GMT+3
David Lidington, the U.K.’s de facto deputy prime minister, reiterated that the Brexit agreement is 85 percent complete with the Northern Ireland border the main outstanding issue.
In an interview at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy, Lidington said he’s confident that a deal can be reached by November to allow for parliamentary approvals by March. “It will need a lot of work, but we can’t make the mistake of thinking there is unlimited time,” he added.
Lidington said he hopes Northern Ireland backstop is never used. “The real answer is a long-term agreement,” he said.
By Ian Wishart, Tim Ross, and Robert Hutton
September 7, 2018, 2:29 PM GMT+3 Updated on September 7, 2018, 7:08 PM GMT+3
EU chief negotiator says “lots” of White Paper is useful. Barnier’s words add to evidence EU focused on getting deal.
European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier said “lots” of the U.K.’s blueprint for post-Brexit relations are “useful” and that he’s open to new ideas to fix the Irish border problem. His positive spin on the divorce talks boosted the pound.
“In the White Paper there are lots of positive things, lots of useful things, just to make that absolutely clear,” Barnier told a delegation of U.K. lawmakers on Monday, according to an official transcript. “I did not just reject the White Paper outright; that is just not true.”
Barnier also told Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that 90 percent of the divorce agreement is complete, according to a government official speaking on condition of anonymity. Brexit is being done in two parts: first the divorce deal, which needs to be settled in the next few months to ensure an orderly exit. Alongside that, the two sides will agree to an outline of what their future relationship should look like. Once the U.K. has left, that agreement will be fleshed out into a detailed trade deal.
The EU negotiator also reiterated that he is open to alternative suggestions for keeping the Irish border open after the split. That’s a major hurdle that needs to be overcome before a divorce agreement can be reached. Still, he went on to say there were “major problems” with the U.K.’s vision for a future customs arrangement and its plan to pick and choose parts of the bloc’s single market.
Barnier’s comments add to evidence that the two sides are working on getting a divorce deal secured, and could be willing to postpone some of the more difficult decisions about what the future relationship should look like until after exit day.
By Emma Ross-Thomas
September 6, 2018, 9:30 AM GMT+3
Some of the hurdles to a deal with Brussels are starting to fall. What happens when Prime Minister Theresa May brings the deal back to Parliament is becoming the bigger question.
The path to a deal with Brussels is starting to emerge. And as many Brexit-watchers have long predicted, it involves postponing some of the toughest decisions until after exit day.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Germany has dropped a demand that the future relationship should be set out in detail alongside the separation. The U.K. is also now willing to settle for less detail on what future ties should look like. What this means is that all the opposition to May’s vision for Brexit – the so-called Chequers plan – doesn’t necessarily stand in the way of getting a divorce deal. Chequers is all about the future, and the two sides are now focused on just getting their split over the line.
Remember that Brexit is in two parts: first the separation agreement to ensure an orderly exit and to secure the transition period that companies desperately want. What follows is the future trade accord, which won’t be negotiated until after the U.K. leaves. The divorce agreement will be accompanied by a political statement on expectations for the future relationship. This document was once expected to run to 100 pages, but some officials now see something just a 10th of that size. European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier has long said that Britain still has wiggle room on its future relationship even after the country has left – as long as the changes come before the end of the transition period.
Dominic Raab wants business as usual after a ‘no deal’ Brexit https://t.co/DAoNJnpiPj
— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) August 22, 2018