Sterling and share prices were generally higher today ahead of a crunch Brexit briefing tomorrow by Prime Minister Theresa May.
She will report to her Cabinet on Tuesday about the progress toward a deal ahead of Britain’s official date to leave the European Union on 29 March, with special reference to the problem of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The blue-chip Index in London was 0.35% higher this morning at 7,118.69, although the FTSE 250, which is more focused on the domestic economy, was 0.73% down at 19,185.02.
Irish border is key issue
Against the euro the pound was 0.33% higher at €1.1424, while against the it stood at $1.2995, a rise of 0.22%. Against the , it was 0.25% higher at 147.1450 yen.
November is supposed to be a crunch month for Brexit talks, with a special summit being called to finalise details of Britain’s withdrawal agreement. But while Mrs May and her supporters say a deal is 95% in the bag, others put the chance of success at not better than 50-50.
One answer to this problem would be to leave Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs union while the rest of the UK pulls out. But this would, in effect, create a border down the middle of the Irish Sea, which is unacceptable to the Northern Irish unionists, upon whom Mrs May relies to keep her government in office.