Shares and sterling were higher this morning as Britain’s Brexit deadlock showed no signs of easing.
On a dramatic Saturday, the first weekend sitting of Parliament for 37 years, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was prevented from progressing with his Brexit deal by a motion, passed by MPs, stating that approval could only be given when the legislation implementing the agreement had been passed.
Speaker to decide on vote
Because the deal was not approved, Mr Johnson was required to ask Brussels for an extension to the withdrawal period, which expires on 31 October. He did this by sending an unsigned letter, making it clear that Parliament, and not the Government, was making this request, and that he hoped it would be refused.
Now, the Prime Minister wants “a straight up-and-down vote” by MPs on the agreement. Whether this is allowed will be decided by the Speaker, John Bercow, widely thought to be hostile to Brexit.
The FTSE 100 index was up 0.06% in early trading to 7,155.03 and the FTSE 250 gained 0.16% to 20,261.36. Both indices mirrored a trend across Europe, with shares higher in Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Madrid.
Against the euro, the pound rose 0.34% to 1.1633 and against the yen it gained 0.56% to 141.205 yen. It rose 0.14% against the dollar to $1.2990.
Boris Johnson “proved the doubters wrong”
Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session, meets later today to decide whether by not signing the extension letter and by sending the second letter, the Prime Minister had broken the law passed against the Government’s wishes requiring him to seek a delay if no deal had been approved by 19 October.
Britain’s constitutional crisis around Brexit has seen Parliament acting as an alternative quasi-executive and the controversial politicisation of the judiciary.
Trade UK 100 - UK100 CFD
Mr Johnson’s deal would see the whole of the United Kingdom leave the European Union’s customs union, allowing Britain to strike trade deals with other countries. In theory, there will be a customs border between the Irish Republic, which remains in the EU, and Northern Ireland. In reality however, a border will run down the Irish Sea, with goods being checked before entry into the province.
Northern Ireland will stick to EU rules on product standards and safety, as part of an all-Ireland regulatory zone, while the rest of the UK will be free to go its own way.
EU law on value-added tax will apply to goods in Northern Ireland but not to services.
This morning, the BBC reported that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the Prime Minister had "proved the doubters wrong" by securing a new Brexit deal with Brussels and he was confident the UK would still leave on 31 October, without the need for an EU extension.