Theresa May delivered her Brexit plan B announcement yesterday, but in truth very little has changed since before Christmas. The prime minister assured the Commons that she would seek assurances from the EU regarding the backstop, but that has failed to materialise. Indeed, it is difficult to see what steps May has taken to win support following her crushing defeat in the Commons last week. Time is running out and the patience of MPs is wearing thin.
There looks to be an increased chance of Parliament taking over, as MPs will be free to put forward amendments on the next Brexit steps. While amendments are not legally binding, if any of them were to gain majority support, then there would be significant pressure on the government to act on the will of MPs. Possible amendments could include stopping a no-deal Brexit, through to a second referendum. Some will be more popular than others, but with the government dragging its heels on offering anything new, MPs from different parties could well come together to enact real change.
Today we will see the claimant count change for December, as well as the public sector net borrowing figures. The deficit is expected to have narrowed sharply. We will also see the employment change figures for October, unemployment rate for November, and average earnings for the same month. They are expected to have held steady at 3.3%.