Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday implored Germany and France to pave the way for a Brexit compromise, while again reassuring that the UK was ready to leave the European Union without an agreement on 31st October. Johnson’s government said Monday that it would “immediately” end the free movement of people in case of a Brexit without agreement on 31st October, a rather hard position compared to the one from the previous regime.
After less than two weeks in office, Boris Johnson appears to have failed his first electoral test as Britain’s Prime Minister. Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election on Thursday, defeating embattled Tory incumbent Christopher Davies by 1,425 votes, and cutting the government’s majority in the Commons to just one. That includes the Conservative Party’s shotgun partners from Ulster, the Democratic Unionist Party. With fears of a no-deal Brexit very real, and very much back on the table, that number could shrink even further by the end of the week.
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on Monday doubled an offensive to boost his Brexit goals. On the one part, he announced an investment plan of 300 million pounds (329 million euros) in Scotland, a territory mostly contrary to an EU exit, especially without a pact. On the other hand, the conservative leader’s office sent a harsh message to the EU, warning that Johnson will not negotiate with Brussels if the safeguard included in the exit agreement is not withdrawn before avoiding a hard border in Ireland.
The new British Government “is working with the assumption of a Brexit without agreement,” reiterated Michael Gove, responsible for exploring, if possible, a negotiation with Brussels but, above all, supervising the preparations for an exit from the EU. This was stated by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, during his inauguration and his deputy has ratified it in a platform published in The Sunday Times: “The no-deal (no agreement) is now a very real perspective.”
Turbulent months are expected in the European Union (EU) with Great Britain. It is likely that the day after tomorrow, Boris Johnson will become the new British prime minister, and with his coming to power there is a complicated panorama for the bloc: a Brexit without agreement or a new postponement.
Conservatives who govern Britain will announce tomorrow who will be the new party leader, replacing Theresa May. The chosen one will automatically become prime minister the next day. A little more than three months later, on October 31, Britain is expected to leave the European Union (EU).
And then there were two. The race to replace Theresa May as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is down to its final candidates. Heavily-favored Boris Johnson will face the surprising Jeremy Hunt, who took Johnson’s job as Foreign Secretary when he resigned in protest of May’s Brexit deal. The winner will be decided by the party’s 160,000 grassroots members some time late next month. It is a contrast in styles, abilities, and Brexit itself.
The race for arguably the least-desirable job in global politics may be turning in to a cakewalk. Boris Johnson, former London Mayor, Foreign Secretary, and current brash Brexiteer, appears to be cruising to 10 Downing Street, to succeed Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Johnson easily topped his rivals in the first round of voting among Tory MPs Thursday. Eventually, all but two candidates will be eliminated, giving the party’s 160,000 faithful the final choice. As is typically the case in electoral politics, winning the job will be the easy part.
Early Friday morning, outside the steps of 10 Downing Street, Theresa May brought the unmitigated disaster of her premiership to an abrupt and ignoble end. Three years ago, the day after 52% of Britons voted for divorce from the European Union, May inherited a deeply divided populace, a disintegrating political party, and a country flung into chaos by its own hand. By every measurable metric, she has left the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Conservative and Unionist Party with it, in a worse state than when she found it.
The Brexit deal nobody likes is back, and characteristically, there’s something in it for everyone to hate. A ten-point plan presented to MPs by Prime Minister Theresa May contained many of the same promises and compromises she had previously offered. Vague language about “alternative arrangements” and “keeping Northern Ireland aligned” aren’t any more likely to win over Conservative Brexiteers, or her Democratic Unionist partners, than they were before. At least one item, per The Guardian, seemed placed for no other reason than to round the list up to ten.
In a possible dress rehearsal for European elections later this month, British voters took out their frustrations on the two major parties in local elections on Thursday. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives got the worst of it, losing some 1,300 city councilors, and more than 40 councils, compared to their 2015 figures. Labour fared no better, dropping about 80 councilors, and losing control of a half-dozen city councils. For good measure, even pro-Brexit UKIP, big winners four years ago, lost almost all their seats Thursday night.
- A popular measure of the strength of the U.S. dollar is inching toward its highest level in almost two years, having carved out gains in the past two months. As the greenback marches higher, analysts who predicted its rise in the first quarter, have turned more bearish on bucks, making the case that “the top is in” for the U.S. dollar.
- On Wednesday, Parliament voted 313-312 to require Theresa May’s government to request another extension from Brussels, and avoid leaving the European Union without a deal. The UK is set to crash out next Friday if no agreement can be achieved.
- On the day the United Kingdom was originally set to leave the European Union, it is no clearer how, when, or even if Brexit will occur. Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement was rejected on Friday, again, by 58 votes. Ms. May had, apparently, attempted to sweeten the deal by offering to leave if her agreement passed.
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- The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared victory over the so-called Islamic State on Saturday, and the complete liberation of its territory. The battle for Baghouz, all that remained of Daesh’s once vast territory throughout Iraq and Syria, dragged on for more than ten weeks.
- The European Union’s remaining 27 member states voted on Thursday to delay the United Kingdom’s planned exit. Instead of the original March 28 deadline, Prime Minister Theresa May will have until May 22— the day before European Parliament elections— to get her divorce deal through Westminster. Otherwise, the UK will be out by April 12.
- In a series of non-binding votes last week, Parliament approved a short delay of Britain’s divorce from the European Union, and ruled out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. They also resoundingly rejected both Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal and a second referendum.
- At least four people were killed, and hundreds more were injured, in a wave of violence across Venezuela this weekend. Opposition activists defied President Nicolas Maduro and attempted to bring emergency food and medical supplies into the country from Colombia.
- The slowdown in Chinese growth has become the latest looming cloud over the global economy. The advice from Beijing was not to worry. China is slowing down but it’s not going to be a disaster. “China has been able to avoid financial crisis in the last 40 years. We have a very top down approach to financial risk management.”
- Official data suggested that Germany avoided a recession at the end of 2018 but confirmed a sharp slowdown in growth last year as Europe’s largest economy cooled off from boom times. Economic growth sank to 1.5 percent in 2018 from 2.2 percent in the previous two years, federal statistics authority.
- In emerging and developing Asia, the growth forecast will dip from 6.5 per cent in 2018 to 6.3 per cent in 2019 and 6.4 per cent in 2020. Despite fiscal stimulus that offsets some of the impact of higher US tariffs, China’s economy will slow due to the combined influence of needed financial regulatory tightening and trade tensions with the United States.
- A no-deal Brexit could trigger a further slowdown in global growth, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned. The IMF fund noted the possibility of “a disruptive no-deal Brexit with negative cross-border spillovers” had risen in recent months, while increased euro-scepticism might impact European parliamentary election outcomes in May.
- Canada’s wholesale sales dropped 1% in November, the biggest one-month decline for the sector since March 2016. Factory sales were down 1.4%, the largest drop since January. Both sectors also recorded declines in volumes. The data confirm Canada’s expansion has likely entered what economists believe is a temporary slowdown that is expected to last through the first few months of this year.
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- SYRIA: Israeli fighter planes struck Syrian and Iranian targets late Sunday night and early Monday morning, according to an IDF spokesman. The attack was in retaliation to a missile launched by Iranian forces, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome.
- UNITED KINGDOM: Prime Minister Theresa May will consider amending the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland, as part of her “Plan B” Brexit deal. The plan must be presented to Parliament on Monday.
- GUATEMALA: About 500 Hondurans reached Tecún Umán, on the border of Guatemala and Mexico, as part of a new caravan hoping to reach the U.S. President Trump, meanwhile, continued to demand funding for a wall to keep them out.
- CHINA: Coming as no tremendous surprise to analysts, China announced its economy grew at 6.6% in 2018, the lowest official pace in 28 years. The announcement comes amid Beijing’s ongoing trade dispute with the United States, its largest trading partner.
- CONGO: In a surprise move Thursday, the Southern African Development Community abandoned calls for a recount in the disputed Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election. Their decision to back opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi’s victory indicates a delicate balancing act for the 16-member bloc.
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- After numerous withdrawals and delays, Tuesday appears to be D-Day for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Her agreement with the European Union will almost certainly be defeated in the long-awaited “meaningful vote” in the House of Commons.
- Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition Labour Party, is expected to table a dramatic vote of no confidence in May’s government within hours of the expected defeat. If passed, it would force an early general election.
- Less than a week before the meaningful vote, May’s government suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Commons by a vote of 308-297. If May’s agreement goes down, she will be forced to present a new one within three days.
- Meanwhile, police have advised retailers to consider hiring extra security, should a no-deal Brexit lead to panic buying by consumers. Contingency planners are concerned disruption of ports caused by a hard Brexit could lead to shortages of goods.
- On the other side of the isle, in Thanet, reports of “Project Fear” are met with laughter by a population that can’t wait to get on with it. Put bluntly, one resident of the port town of Ramsgate said, “no deal is fine.”
- British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a leadership challenge from her own party on Wednesday, 200-117. While this ensures she can retain her job for, at least, another year, she has indicated she will stand down before the next general election.
- With her party bitterly divided, and with little to no help from other parties, Prime Minister May’s chances at passing her Brexit deal through Parliament appear more troubled than ever. The government must vote on her agreement by January 21, or come up with another plan.
- The sticking point is the Irish “backstop,” an assurance of last resort in the event of a no-deal Brexit, that a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can be avoided. However, it remains unclear to Brussels what London wants.
- The confidence vote was spearheaded by the European Research Group, a faction of Hard Brexit-supporting Conservatives. They remain firmly opposed to the Withdrawal Agreement, particularly the “backstop,” which they argue will keep the UK under EU rules indefinitely.
- Meanwhile, momentum continues to build, quietly, for a second Brexit referendum. The Scottish Conservatives are denying reports they may be on board, but Nigel Farage, former leader of the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party, has told Leave Means Leave supporters to get ready.
- PREVIOUS: World Awaits Tuesday Vote on Brexit Deal
- British Prime Minister Theresa May is widely expected to lose a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal Tuesday, perhaps by a substantial margin. The rest of the political and financial world is standing by to see what happens next.
- Cabinet ministers have warned a no-deal Brexit could mean disruption at Dover and other English Channel ports for up to six months. Britons have already begun stockpiling food and medicine, fearing this worst-case scenario.
- Brexiteer Conservative MPs remain unconvinced by what they’re calling “Project Fear on steroids.” Those advocates of a so-called Clean Brexit, like outspoken backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, have savaged May’s deal.
- Soft Brexit supporters may push for a Norway-like deal as a possible Plan B. This would keep Britain in the single market and customs union, yet relegate the UK to that of a non-voting EU member.
- A second referendum also remains a slim possibility, for which both Leave and Remain sides are quietly preparing. Yet, it’s not even clear what the ballot paper would look like, should one be ordered up by Parliament.
- British politicians in favor of leaving the EU criticized the agreement reached after more than a year and a half of negotiations. The UK has become bound to the EU under unfavorable terms and MPs floated the idea of unseating Prime Minister Theresa May.
- Come hell or high water, Britain is legally out of the EU on March 29, 2019. May’s deal would create a transition period lasting until December 2020 to give Britain and the EU time to hash out a final agreement on trade and other matters.
- The looming prospect of a no-deal Brexit is spooking markets. The Sterling tanked and the cost of U.K. government debt rose. Britain’s state-owned bank RBS fell by 9%. While a no-deal Brexit would be priced in ahead of the actual event, there would clearly be considerable market disruption.
- Experts say no chance for a second Brexit referendum. UK’s deal on the table or a ‘no deal. Option B would be to extend the deadline. This would mean that Brexit has not been delivered.
- EU and UK negotiators are hammering out a document this weekend to outline the kind of relationship they intend to have with one another. The EU is determined to keep calm and carry on with the deal.
- Gold scaled a near one-week peak as investors sought cover from market turmoil after Britain’s long-awaited draft agreement to leave the EU was thrown into chaos, helping Gold hold its ground against a rising dollar.
- Fears about a no-deal Brexit and a growing rift over Italy’s budget are putting pressure on the euro and the pound. Rising global uncertainty and a widening U.S. yield differential with other economies provide support.
- The Eurozone economy grew at its weakest pace in more than four years during the third quarter as the public mood darkened. It takes time to see a potential impact given the manufacturing process takes rather a long time until new goods are imported and exported.
- China just reported its weakest quarterly growth since the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009. “We think more easing will still be needed in order to stabilize growth,” says a senior economist who watches China.
- In Japan the pace of retail sales have slowed from the prior month. Trade data showed an unexpected drop in exports in September, raising the specter of a marked moderation in economic growth.
- Weaker-than-expected growth in South Korea’s economy is raising fresh questions about a second-straight quarterly decline in corporate capital investment and a sharp drop in hiring are evidence that the economy is losing steam.