Shares and sterling shrugged off Brexit uncertainty today as the countdown started to the European elections on 23 May.
With the air thick with predictions as to the imminent political demise of Prime Minister Theresa May, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.02% to 7,204.95.
“An absolute mauling”
The pound was higher against both the euro and the dollar, although weaker against the yen.
Elections to the European Parliament are expected to see heavy losses for the ruling Conservative Party and big gains for the newly-formed Brexit Party, headed by veteran UK independence campaigner Nigel Farage. The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and Green Party are also expected to do well.
Huw Merriman, an aide to Chancellor Philip Hammond, predicted the Tories will suffer "an absolute mauling" in next week's European Parliament elections.
"The public will blame the Conservative Government because we were the party that brought forward the referendum," Mr Merriman told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour on Sunday night.
"And so for those that didn't want it and wanted Remain, they'll blame us for having tried to take us out, and for those that voted to leave, they'll blame us for having not got the country out of the EU [European Union].
Talks continue between the Government and the main opposition party, Labour, to see if a compromise deal can be arranged to take Britain out of the EU. A sticking point may well be the insistence of some key Labour figures that any deal be put to the voters in a second referendum.
The party’s chief Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer warned it was "impossible" to see how an agreement between the Conservatives and his party could clear the Commons unless it guaranteed the deal would be put back to the public for a "confirmatory vote".
Lessons drawn from Canada
But Mr Farage said: "A confirmatory vote, it sounds all nice and fluffy, what does it mean?
"It means we stay in the European Union as we are, or we nominally leave and stay permanently part of a customs union and with single market rules.
A YouGov opinion poll for The Times newspaper put the Conservatives on just 10% for the European Parliament election, behind the Brexit Party on 34%, Labour on 16%, the Liberal Democrats on 15% and the Greens on 11%.
In a general election, the poll suggested the Tories would be neck and neck with Labour on just 24%, with the Brexit Party on 18% and the Lib Dems on 16%.
Parallels are being drawn with Canada’s Progressive Conservatives, which in the country’s 1993 general election went from being the governing party to losing all but two of its parliamentary seats.