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May Seeks Time for EU Talks, Vows Feb. 27 Vote: Brexit Update

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 2/10/2019 Lucy Meakin and Robert Hutton

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May wants more time to renegotiate her Brexit deal with the European Union and in return is promising lawmakers a further chance to take control of the process before the clock runs out.

With a vote due Feb. 14 and no prospect of agreement, May will ask Parliament this week to reaffirm its desire to remove the contentious Irish backstop clause from current deal, according to an official, who declined to be identified. If she hasn’t brought a new deal to Parliament by Feb. 27, she’ll say there will then be another opportunity to vote, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said in a BBC interview.

Key Developments:

Brokenshire confirms Feb. 27 vote plan Austria’s Kneissl flags near-term trade disruption Truss says agreement will be reached on Brexit

Labour Backs Referendum if Talks Fail: Watson (10:55 a.m.)

Deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party Tom Watson tells the BBC “we’re now at the point where we can have meaningful talks to get a deal between the main political party leaders, or the only way to break the impasse is a public vote, and that remains our policy.”

Brokenshire Says Feb. 27 Vote to Give Clarity (10:40 a.m.)

Reaching a deal is “profoundly” in the interest of the U.K., Brokenshire told BBC Television’s “Andrew Marr Show,” but it is also important to give a sense of clarity and purpose, which he believes May’s new vote pledge will do.

“The government will commit that if the meaningful vote, in other words the deal coming back, has not happened by the 27th of February, then we would allow a further motion -- votable in parliament -- to take place, to give that sense of assurance as to the process moving forward.”

Austria Minister Kneissl Warns on Trade (10:25 a.m.)

Austria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Karin Kneissl has pointed to the risks already facing British exporters as the U.K. draws closer to the March 29 exit date. With the U.K. yet to roll over the majority of the beneficial trade terms around the globe it gets through EU membership, goods being readied for dispatch that take as long as six weeks to reach destinations in Asia could end up sat in quarantine or face disputes over who pays any new customs duties.

“Any ship that leave a U.K. port next has to know what kind of customs paper they will take along,” Kneissl said on the BBC. “It could be that when arriving in the port of destination, that either the U.K. will be out of the EU or inside. So the uncertainty is not something that will happen in early April, it is something that is with us.”

Truss Says Lawmakers Will Reach Accord by (9:50 a.m.)

Chief Secretary to the U.K. Treasury Liz Truss tells Sky there won’t be any need to extend Article 50 -- which sets the deadline for leaving -- because lawmakers will reach an agreement in time.

“In any negotiations, any piece of work, as the deadline approaches, minds get focused and a deal gets done. Extending the deadline, that doesn’t create any new information, all that does is delay things so that would be a very bad idea,” she said.

She also added that the U.K. is prepared to leave without a deal, should it be “absolutely necessary.”

Blair: Devastating Impact of No-Deal on Ireland (9:20 a.m.)

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said leaving the EU without a deal could be devastating for the Northern Ireland peace process and that a second referendum on Brexit might still happen.

“It would be economically very, very dangerous for Britain, and for the peace process in Ireland it would potentially be devastating,” he said in a Sky News interview. “A no-deal Brexit means a really hard border between north and south in Ireland, it’s contrary to the Good Friday Agreement and it will cause an enormous fissure within the United Kingdom."

Earlier:
Labour Seeks Renewed Brexit Vote in February, Sunday Times Says 
U.K. Scraps No-Deal Ferry Contract for Company Without Ships 

To contact the reporters on this story: Lucy Meakin in London at lmeakin1@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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