Cabinet row over Theresa May delay request to EU
Theresa May is writing to the EU to ask for Brexit to be postponed until 30 June with the option of a longer delay. The prime minister says the UK will need a short extension to get the necessary legislation through Parliament, if MPs back her withdrawal deal. Although a longer extension will be needed if the deal does not get through Parliament. Whatever the length in delay, this will have to be agreed by all 27 EU member states. At the cabinet meeting today, one minister told the BBC that there was “no agreement” around the cabinet table.
Brexit extension this week depends on UK goals, Barnier says
The EU’s consent to delay Brexit will depend on “the reason and usefulness of the extension,” chief EU Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier has said, two days ahead of a meeting of national leaders. “Extension will extend uncertainty — and uncertainty costs,” he said. “We can’t prolong uncertainty without having a good reason for it.”
Labour steps up backing for second Brexit referendum
Jeremy Corbyn is backing an amendment by two of his party’s MPs that would put any deal to the public for a “confirmatory referendum” after it is approved by parliament. The two MPs originally proposed backing Mrs May’s deal in return for a referendum on the agreement. However, an aide to Mr Corbyn has said that the amendment, which has since been tweaked, would now not imply support for the prime minister’s deal.
UK universities’ and farmers’ EU payments at risk as no-deal contingency delayed
UK students, researchers, businesses and farmers could have their EU payments disrupted under a no-deal Brexit, now that EU negotiations to continue the payments have been delayed. EU governments’ failure to reach an agreement on the regulation forced the European Parliament Budget Committee to postpone its vote on the measure until the beginning of April, after Britain’s scheduled departure.
Post-Brexit tariffs will ‘wipe out businesses’ near Irish border
Local firms worry border closure and duties will lead to smuggling and chaos. They, along with a number of business leaders, are alarmed by the UK tariff proposals unveiled last week, as it is believed they will cause industrial-scale smuggling across the border. The UK government’s decision not to apply tariffs on imports from the republic in the event of no deal is an existential threat, they fear, since Ireland, as an EU member, will be obliged to impose steep duties on goods from outside the single market. That differential could wipe out farms and manufacturers facing tariffs when they export to Ireland and unable to compete with tariff-free goods entering from Ireland.
Assets worth EUR1.2 trillion, 24 banks moving from UK to eurozone, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the ECB says
Brexit has caused seven large banks and 17 smaller ones, and 1.2 trillion euros in assets, to move to the EU single currency area, the European Central Bank’s head of banking supervision has said in an interview, adding that he was not concerned by the relatively small number of lenders whose license wouldn’t be ready by the end of March. Andrea Enria also said he opposed the idea of creating large banking “champions,” adding that a merged Deutsche Bank-Commerzbank would have to be solid and sustainable, and could face extra requirements for regulatory capital.