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Johnson Tries to Build Commons Majority for Deal: Brexit Update

By Bloomberg 18 October 2019
Caption
epa07927451 President of the European Comission Jean-Claude Juncker (R) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shake hands during a press conference on the Brexit deal in Brussels, Belgium, 17 October 2019. According to reports, the EU and the British government have reached a deal for Brexit. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

(Bloomberg) --U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is spending the day talking to MPs from his own and other parties as he tries to build a majority in Parliament for the Brexit agreement he reached with the European Union on Thursday. Under a law passed last month Johnson would be forced to request a delay from the bloc if he can’t win approval for his deal -- something he has repeatedly pledged not to do.

Must read: Two Crisis Phone Calls Unlocked the ‘Impossible’ Brexit Deal

Key Developments
Johnson to meet with cabinet in London at 4 p.m.
Johnson Sells Brexit Deal to Parliament Before Knife-Edge Vote
DUP reaffirms its 10 MPs will vote against Johnson’s deal
BNP: U.K. Stocks Could Drop 10% If Vote Lost (12:20 p.m.)
Stocks with heavy exposure to the U.K. economy could wipe out the rally seen over the past week if MPs reject Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal on Saturday, according to BNP Paribas.

The bank forecasts downside of as much as 10% for the FTSE 250 index in such a scenario, with the exporter-heavy FTSE 100 gaining amid weaker sterling, strategists including Edmund Shing wrote in a note to clients.

Read More: U.K.Stocks Could Drop 10% If Deal Fails, BNP Says

Johnson Goes on Charm Offensive (12 p.m.)
With Saturday’s vote looking incredibly tight, Boris Johnson and his team are spending the day trying to persuade MPs from all parties to back his Brexit deal.

Labour MPs are being offered more assurances on workers’ rights in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which would be brought to Parliament next week if Johnson wins on Saturday, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

The Prime Minister’s personal focus is on winning around hard line Brexiteers in the European Research Group, and that operation is starting in earnest today, the person said.

The government currently thinks about 17 or 18 of the 21 rebels who were expelled from the Tory party last month will back the deal, the person said. Many of them are seeking a way back into the party and want assurances any MP who votes against the government this time around will also be expelled.

DUP Affirms Opposition to Deal (10:30 a.m.)
Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesman, extinguished any hopes his party will pivot toward supporting Johnson’s deal. “We will definitely be voting against it,” he told Sky News.

Wilson said he’s disappointed Johnson “folded to the unreasonable demands of the EU,” especially since the DUP had given him a “fair degree of latitude” on temporary Northern Irish regulatory alignment with Europe.

While acknowledging tariffs on goods coming into Northern Ireland from the U.K. would be refunded if they are proven not to have entered the Republic of Ireland, Wilson said the cash-flow problems this would create for local businesses would be damaging.

At Least 10 Labour MPs Back Deal, Mann Says (Earlier)
As speculation mounts over the way votes will fall on Saturday, Labour’s John Mann said at least 10 Labour MPs are likely to vote for Johnson’s deal. Asked on Ireland’s RTE radio how many of his party would back Johnson’s Brexit proposal, Mann responded that he expected the total to be in the “double digits.”

Mann, who will vote for the plan, supported former prime minister Theresa May’s deal and is a vocal critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has called for Labour MPs to reject the deal.

Earlier:
Johnson Sells Brexit Deal to Parliament Before Knife-Edge Vote
London Bankers Ready for Wave of Debt Deals If Johnson Wins Vote

–With assistance from Peter Flanagan.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Greg Ritchie in London at [email protected];
Jessica Shankleman in London at [email protected];
Joe Easton in London at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Tim Ross at [email protected]
Thomas Penny

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