U.K. Says Deal `Almost Within Touching Distance’: Brexit Update

By Bloomberg 13 November 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May says talks are in the “endgame,” but she’s not yet ready to force her Cabinet to get behind her.

No Vote on ERG Amendment on Legal Advice (11:35 a.m.)

The pro-Brexit European Research Group amendment to Labour’s motion on the withdrawal agreement wasn’t selected for House of Commons business. That means lawmakers will vote on the Labour version, which tries to force the government to release its legal advice on its proposal for the Irish backstop.

Labour had said the ERG amendment watered theirs down, but it was more likely that Brexiter Tories would vote for it rather than be seen to be backing the opposition. The expectation now is that they’ll abstain, meaning the government still faces defeat on the issue — and therefore could back down.

EU Steps up No-Deal Planning (10:25 a.m.)

The European Commission is launching a series of no-deal seminars to prepare member states and their industries for the worst, according to an agenda obtained by Bloomberg.

Financial services will be tackled on Nov. 15, and air transport on Nov. 22.

Irish Envoy Doesn’t Expect No-Deal Brexit (10:10 a.m.)

Adrian O’Neill, Ireland’s ambassador to the U.K., said he doesn’t expect a no deal scenario to emerge, echoing Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. Intensive talks are continuing, O’Neill said in London. But interestingly, he said a hard Brexit could contribute to a turning of the dial on support for a united Ireland.

U.K. Sees Deal This Week ‘Possible But Not Definite’ (8.40 a.m.)

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, effectively May’s deputy, has been sharing his optimism about a deal with the BBC. He said talks went through the night again, that a deal is “almost within touching distance.” But the problems that remain are the “knotty” ones.

He refused to be drawn about reports in various newspapers about the unhappiness of pro-Brexit Cabinet members, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. “There will have to be give and take on both sides,” Lidington said. “Nobody’s going to get exactly what they wanted.”

On Monday, the opposition Labour Party set out plans to try to force the government to release its legal advice over the proposed withdrawal agreement. And this morning, members of the pro-Brexit European Research Group have tabled an amendment to Labour’s motion.

Labour says it waters it down, but the amendment’s backers say rebel Tories are more likely to support a Tory motion. In any case, that looks like a government retreat or defeat by the time of the vote at around 4 p.m.

And if that weren’t enough, Brexit opponents led by Labour’s Chuka Umunna and the Tory Anna Soubry have tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill, which implements last month’s Budget. It calls for the government to publish an assessment of the economic impact of its proposed Brexit deal. It’s been signed by more than 30 lawmakers, including nine Tories — enough to defeat the government, if Labour backs it.

Earlier: Brexit Negotiations Going All Night as They Enter ‘Endgame’ EU Sees Little Chance of Brexit Deal This Week, RTE Says U.K MPs Propose Amendment for Brexit Impact Study Before Vote Brexit Bulletin: How Long Can An Endgame Last? DM



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