Yesterday, the leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, confirmed that, on Monday, Theresa May will make a statement to MPs about the next steps in the Brexit process and that she will table a motion. She went on to say that that the debate and Brexit plan B vote will be held on Tuesday 29 January. The debate is expected to last a full day and MPs will push for votes on a variety of plan B amendments.
No 10 confirmed that the Prime Minister will not change her stance on the customs union or a second referendum, and that she is determined to stick to her Brexit ‘principles’. The problem with this, of course, is that unless May is prepared to countenance some form of compromise, it is unlikely that Parliament will vote in favour of any fresh proposals. On the flipside, if the UK were to agree to remain in the customs union, this would effectively mean that the UK would be tied to a very similar arrangement with the EU, without any say in the rules it would be forced to abide by. In many ways, the exact opposite of taking back control.
Sterling made some slight gains against the euro and dollar, as the markets still look to be waiting to see whether recent developments are good or bad news for the UK. Until the vote on the Brexit plan B, it is unlikely we will see any major moves, although if May did become a bit more flexible, some sterling strengthening could be on the cards. Until the vote, the House will be in a bit of a stalemate, as Jeremy Corbyn refuses to speak with May until she agrees to take a no-deal Brexit off the table.
A Conservative MP has shaken things up by pledging to put down an amendment to May’s Brexit plan that would see MPs vote on whether to hold a second referendum. Sarah Wollaston had previously withheld her amendment because Jeremy Corbyn would not support it, but has now called on the Labour leader to support her. It could be one of many amendments put forward by MPs following May’s statement.
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