Theresa May offers MPs Brexit delay vote (BBC): The prime minister said she will put her withdrawal agreement – including any changes she has agreed with the EU – to a meaningful vote by 12 March. If that fails, MPs will be offered two separate votes: One, on the following day, on whether MPs support a no-deal Brexit – so the UK would “only leave without a deal on 29 March if there is explicit consent in the House for that outcome”. If that fails, then MPs will get a vote by 14 March on requesting an extension to the two-year Article 50 negotiation process to delay EU withdrawal beyond 29 March.
UK risks midsummer no deal ‘if MPs fail to back Brexit deal after article 50 extension’ (Guardian): Brussels insiders fear that scenario raises the risk of no deal in the summer, because the UK would not have taken part in European elections. Most EU officials think 1 July is the last day the UK could remain an EU member state without having taken part in European elections. A three-month extension of article 50 to the end of June, coupled with missing the European elections in May, would make it legally impossible for the UK to continue as a member state, say official sources. The new parliament begins its work on 2 July.
- low of goods through Dover would be “very significantly reduced for months” under a no-deal Brexit
- food prices would probably increase
- “little evidence” that businesses are ready for a no-deal Brexit, and that small and medium-sized enterprises are particularly vulnerable
- extra customs checks alone could cost business £13bn a year under a no-deal Brexit
- it is impossible to predict the impact of new tariffs on businesses
- businesses in Northern Ireland may not have sufficient time to prepare
- some EU trade deals would not be able to carry over after Brexit
- Britons travelling to the EU could be subject to full Schengen checks
Corbyn says Labour would back EU citizens’ rights amendment (Guardian): Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would support an amendment on EU citizens’ rights that already has the backing of 130 MPs including 60 Conservative backbenchers, some of whom are Eurosceptics. The amendment seeks to ringfence the rights of all British nationals settled in the EU and those of EU citizens in the UK, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. It has been backed by the Eurosceptics Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sir Edward Leigh, Steve Baker and Sir Graham Brady, but also by staunch pro-EU backbenchers including Sir Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve.
Pound hits 21-month high as Brexit delay looms (Guardian): Sterling has jumped by around 1% against the euro to a 21-month high, around €1.164, and to a five-month high against the US dollar at $1.324.
UK importers and exporters get customs declarations guidance for no-deal Brexit (MLex): UK companies importing to or exporting from the EU will have to make customs declarations in a no-deal Brexit scenario, the UK’s customs authority said in two letters to traders today. The letters from HM Revenue and Customs provide information on making declarations and, for traders of excise goods such as alcohol and tobacco, putting them on the Excise Movement Control System. They also explain the new “transitional simplified procedures” to help make trading easier in the initial period after a no-deal Brexit, and explain changes to VAT.
UK publishes interim trade agreement with Palestinian Authority (MLex): The UK has published the text of an interim agreement with the Palestinian Authority, that replicates and modifies an agreement with the EU. Full agreement here.
UK faces long wait for post-Brexit data deal, warns EU (FT): After Brexit, the UK will have prove to Brussels it provides adequate privacy protections for EU citizens in order to allow British companies to keep transferring vast volumes of personal data across Europe. EU and British officials have privately said an “adequacy” decision could be completed in months after Brexit as the UK would be fully compliant with the EU’s privacy framework, known as the General Data Protection Regulation. But Giovanni Buttarelli, Europe’s data protection supervisor, warned negotiations could drag on for years as EU authorities would have to scrutinise how British spying agencies and the government handled the personal data of citizens and whether the UK met Europe’s robust standards on surveillance.
Bank of England more likely than not to cut rates in no-deal Brexit (FT): Mark Carney said in written evidence to the Commons Treasury select committee that he would expect the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee to provide whatever help possible in a no-deal, no-transition scenario, while still meeting its remit of keeping inflation low and stable. Until now, Mr Carney has repeatedly warned that interest rates could move in either direction in response to a chaotic Brexit. This is because monetary policy can offset a shock to demand but it cannot help if the problem is chiefly on the supply side. If a Brexit shock damaged the supply capacity of the economy — for example by limiting trade — more than it hit demand, then cutting rates would simply fuel inflation. Mr Carney has now shifted his stance. Echoing views previously expressed by Gertjan Vlieghe, an MPC member, he wrote that while rates could move in either direction, this did not mean “that . . . either direction is equally likely”. He expanded on this in oral evidence to the committee, telling MPs: “We will provide all the stimulus we can subject to delivering price stability consistent with our remit.”