• Brexit donors predict UK will stay in EU as Theresa May faces Commons defeat over deal (Independent): Peter Hargreaves and Crispin Odey, two of the biggest donors to the Leave campaign both now believe that Brexit will not happen. Mr Odey said he was positioning his hedge fund for the pound to strengthen if Brexit is cancelled. Mr Odey said “My view is that it ain’t going to happen…I just can’t see how it happens with that configuration of parliament”. He also took aim at Brexiteers saying “almost nobody is leading the Brexit charge…which is a problem”. Mr Hargreaves, co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, said he believed the government would extend article 50 and then call a second referendum. He said “I have totally given up. I am totally in despair, I don’t think Brexit will happen at all.”
  • UK ministers see Brexit delay beyond 29 March (Reuters): Unnamed senior ministers have reportedly told the London’s Evening Standard that Brexit looks increasingly likely to be delayed beyond 29 March because of the backlog of legislation that needs to be passed. One said “Certainly, if there was defeat on Tuesday and it took some time before it got resolved, it’s hard to see how we can get all the legislation through by 29 March.”
  • Jeremy Hunt warns on Brexit ‘paralysis’ ahead of vote on May’s deal (FT): The UK foreign secretary warned Eurosceptic MPs into supporting the prime minister’s deal by warning that if they vote down the deal they could paralyse parliament and prevent Brexit from happening. He said “If this deal is rejected, ultimately what we might end up with is not a different kind of Brexit but Brexit paralysis – and that could ultimately lead to no Brexit”. The FT reports that the prime minister has promised to pass seven Brexit-related bills before the UK leaves the bloc, covering trade, agriculture, fisheries, healthcare, immigration, financial services and the withdrawal agreement. But a Conservative official said there was a contingency plan, whereby only the withdrawal agreement would be passed if time ran short. A Number 10 spokesperson insisted today that there would be no extension of Article 50 and government whips have warned rebel MPs that they could extent the Commons’ schedule, forcing sittings on Fridays and through the February recess.
  • Delay Brexit if deal is rejected, Dominic Grieve tells Theresa May (BBC): Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve has urged the prime minister to delay Brexit if her deal is rejected on Tuesday. Mr Grieve said she could remove the 29 March date from UK legislation and ask the EU for more time. He said that cabinet ministers who oppose leaving the EU without a deal had a “duty to resign” if she refused to do so. He added “I think the options are very limited and the reality in my view is the only way out of this difficulty is go back to the public and ask for their opinion”.