While families across America prepared to enjoy Thanksgiving, the Brexit political declaration text was leaked to the press. The 26-page document sets out the draft framework for the future EU-UK relationship and, importantly, doesn’t appear to offer any hope over frictionless trade after Brexit. The document will now be presented to EU leaders at a Brexit summit on Sunday for their approval, although it has already come under fire from MPs from all sides of the Commons.
Jeremy Corbyn described the document as ‘26 pages of waffle’ which is the ‘blindfold Brexit we all feared’, while Iain Duncan Smith confirmed he and his Brexiter colleagues would ‘kill’ the Brexit deal in Parliament. Owen Paterson, the Tory Brexiter and former cabinet minister, asked Theresa May to consider withdrawing the backstop from the withdrawal agreement and replace it with the ‘max fac’ customs proposals. May rejected the request, saying that she was determined to have the future relationship in place by January 2021.
Whatever your thoughts on Brexit are, it looks like negotiations on the exact terms of withdrawal and final confirmation of the details of our future relationship will drag on for the next couple of years. Still, sterling jumped to its highest level against the dollar since Dominic Raab resigned as Brexit secretary, suggesting that traders think the chances of a no-deal have diminished. The pound climbed higher against the euro too, although it fell back as the day went on.
As May addressed questions and concerns from both sides of the House, it increasingly looked as if she was a lone voice. Nobody appears to be happy with what the Brexit political declaration text outlines; some MPs believe it leaves the UK much worse off. May conceded that she is committed to working towards ‘frictionless trade’, but the legal text of any new trade relationship cannot be agreed until after the UK has left. It looks as if no matter what happens, we will be in a position of limbo for some time.
Today we have a raft of purchasing managers’ indices from the US and eurozone on the schedule, as well as continued reaction to yesterday’s Brexit-related news.
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