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The Shifting Sand of Brexit

15 November 2019

Tick Tock Clocks: General Election 28 days, Brexit Extension deadline 78 days. 

Brexit: where are we are this week

President-elect Ursula von der Leyen didn’t mince her words over the past week stating that with the UK technically still part of the EU its legal obligations to the bloc needed to be meant it needed to provide a UK commissioner to the EU ASAP.

With Boris Johnson having ignored her first letter Ms der Leyen went on the attack stating she said she expects a response by the end of this week. and reminded him of his government’s promise not disrupt the BAU functioning of the EU during its Brexit extension. It would also go without saying that she is also pointing out that the UK’s EU membership fees are still ongoing while it remains inside the EU.

Glass half empty on the UK data front is probably glass half full for the Tories. The gloomy economic data of the past 7 days can mainly be attributed to the detrimental impact of the uncertainty at Westminster. The latest labour market data for the U.K. was a mixed bag as the unemployment rate fell but that this was down to a falling participation rate. Overall the employment change was down significantly while vacancies posted their largest annual decline since the GFC. The labour market figure went hand in hand with the anaemic growth data. Over this coming week, the UK releases its inflation, retail sales and house prices data further clues on the strength of the economy which will, therefore, mean it will enter the election a key part of the election debate.

Brexit Party aka UKIP leader Nigel Farage this week gave the Tories a massive free kick by announcing the Brexit Party won’t fight any Conservative-held seat at the general election.

This means that 317 conservative MPs won’t have to fight a Brexit Party candidate rather their only rivals will be Labour, Lib Dem or other micro party candidates. Farage’s justification for this is that he is reassured by Johnson’s plans for a sharper split with the European Union. And that “unilaterally creating an alliance for Brexit’ would reduce the risk of ‘pro-EU politicians winning’ and triggering a second referendum to keep Britain in the bloc.

He hasn’t ruled out withdrawing more candidates from Labour and SNP held seats, if it meant it would push the Tories ‘past the post’ by winning these target seats.

To quote Farage directly:

“I have got no great love for the Conservative Party…but I can see right now that by giving Boris half a chance, by keeping him honest and holding him to account…it will be possible to deliver the Brexit he said voters want.”

This announcement was the single largest influencer on the GBP in over a month, clearly, anything that can provide a ‘clearer’ way forward or Brexit will be met it buying.


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