Brexit: MPs debate next steps ahead of indicative vote – BBC

  • Four options have been chosen by the Speaker to be voted on later, including a customs union and a referendum.
  • Labour MPs are being urged to back a plan to keep the UK in a Norway-style relationship with the EU.
  • Under the Common Market 2.0 proposal, the UK would leave the EU, but retain freedom of movement and make contributions to the EU Budget.
  • The Common Market 2.0 motion – put forward by Tory MP Nick Boles – may also be backed by the SNP.

Dozens of ministers prepare to back customs union tonight after being given a free voteThe Guardian ; The Telegraph

  • Britain could be out of the EU by 22 May if the Commons backs a customs union in Monday night’s indicative votes, according to officials close to the Brexit negotiations in Brussels.
  • The writing into the deal of a customs union, an idea tabled by the former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke, lost by only six votes when it was voted upon last Thursday alongside seven other ways forward, with both the SNP and the Liberal Democrats abstaining.
  • Speaking in Berlin, Jean-Claude Juncker called for MPs to coalesce around a post-Brexit vision.
  • Liz Truss insisted a no-deal Brexit should remain a possibility. “We are well prepared for no deal, I don’t have any fear of no deal,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “We are in an era of difficult choices.”

Julian Smith: Chief whip attacks cabinet’s post-election Brexit strategyBBC

  • Julian Smith has told the BBC that the government ought to have admitted after the election that it would inevitably have to move to a softer Brexit, saying ministers should have been clearer about the consequences of losing their majority then.
  • The interview with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg airs tonight at 21:00 BST. A link to the documentary should be available here, shortly after its broadcast.

Brexit is turning Britain into a laughing stock, says Siemens UK boss The Guardian

  • UK chief executive (Jürgen Maier) of German manufacturer urges MPs to pursue softer exit from EU.
  • Jürgen Maier said Britain was wrecking its reputation for business stability, putting investment in the country at risk and threatening the economy. A no-deal Brexit would inflict further damage, he said, while urging MPs to reach a consensus and back a customs union with the EU.
  • The head of Siemens UK, which is one of the country’s biggest industrial firms with annual revenues of £5bn and 15,000 staff, said political turmoil over Brexit was making it harder for him to win support for British investment from the firm’s managing board in Germany.
  • The warning came after official figures showed business investment slumped last year, declining in every quarter for the first time since the last recession in 2008, as companies put spending decisions on hold due to the lack of clarity over the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.

Brexit costs UK £600m per week, says Goldman study FT

  • Brexit has cost the UK around £600m every week since the 2016 referendum, according to a report by Goldman Sachs that highlights the economic impact of the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU.
  • Goldman Sachs’ estimates suggest that the UK economy has underperformed other advanced economies since mid-2016 as a result.
  • Sven Jari Stehn, Goldman economist in London, said the “output losses have been concentrated in investment and private consumption”.

Sterling rises as May faces pressure to go for soft BrexitRTE

  • The British pound rose today as investors prepared for parliament to vote on a series of Brexit options.
  • This suggests some investors have priced out the prospect of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal and instead expect a long delay to the exit or Brexit to emerge eventually where closer ties are maintained to the trading bloc.
  • Sterling rose 0.3% to $1.3076 while the pound was flat at 86.035 pence per euro.