Please see below for today’s update on key Brexit news items:

  • The government has been narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill after a rebellion by Tory MPs. In a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, MPs voted to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels. The government had argued this would jeopardise its chances of delivering a smooth Brexit. The amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill tabled by ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve was backed by 309 to 305. (BBC)
  • Research conducted by the FT shows that the UK’s biggest international banks are only likely to move approximately 6% of their workforce from London. This analysis reaches a conclusion entirely different to that of accountancy firm EY (who described that over 10,000 jobs would move on “Day 1 of Brexit”). The current picture is unclear with some firms, for example BNP Paribas, stating that it is “too soon to speculate” on the movement of their London employees. (Financial Times)
  • The British government is making a last-minute diplomatic push to persuade the EU to publicly and explicitly state its willingness to hold talks on post-Brexit trade before March next year. A draft statement due to be signed off by EU leaders on Friday, along with comments from senior officials and diplomats in Brussels, suggest substantive talks can only start in spring, once the EU has published its own plan for the future. It has been engaging in a last-minute round of telephone diplomacy to persuade the EU to make clear at a summit this week that at least some preliminary talks on trade can start immediately in the new year. (The Guardian)
  • The Russia-linked troll farm that used Facebook to target Americans during last year’s election was also active in the UK ahead of the Brexit vote, the social media company has admitted. In a letter to the Electoral Commission, Facebook said accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency bought three ads in the days before the EU referendum. These ads appeared on approximately 200 news feeds in the UK before the country voted to leave the EU last year. (Financial Times)
  • Scottish fishermen have raised concerns that the EU is adopting a hardline stance over quotas as a prelude to Brexit negotiations. Annual negotiations over fishing quotas – expected to be the penultimate talks the UK participates in before leaving the EU – were concluded in Brussels early on Wednesday. (The Guardian)