Brexit Bulletin: Clinging On

(Bloomberg) -- Today in Brexit: May faces angry rank-and-file lawmakers who want her to go.

What’s Happening?

Theresa May meets Conservative members of Parliament today who want her to set a date for her departure. But the prime minister is clinging on, hoping against all odds and evidence that she will be able to deliver Brexit by the summer and then quit with something to show for her three years in office.

“She can’t keep banging her head against a brick wall,” Ed Vaizey, a Pro-remain Tory MP, told ITV’s Robert Peston on Wednesday night, summing up the feelings of many in her party. Even May's former adviser, Nick Timothy, is calling for her to go in an article in the Telegraph today. 

The executive of the 1922 Committee, representing Tory members of Parliament, will use a meeting at the premier’s office at 11:30 a.m. to urge her to quit as soon as possible, Kitty Donaldson reports. They will ask her to step down before June 15, and if she refuses they could change the rules to allow for another no-confidence vote, Conservative MP and Brexit campaigner Andrew Bridgen said. Still, few expect the committee to actually act on those threats now — they’ve shown more bluster than action in recent months.

May has said she’ll step down once her deal is passed, but her team avoids the question of what she will do if it fails. Labour continues to sound unwilling to compromise after six weeks of talks, and there’s no sign — at least not yet — that May is willing to give the opposition party what it wants.

With Brexit in stasis, investors are losing faith that there can be a resolution any time soon, and the pound hit a three-month low on Wednesday.

The key moment now will be the result of the European elections on the night of May 26 and how the two main parties respond to what looks likely to be a surge in support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. The pro-EU parties are also enjoying a bump in the polls, and how they fare on election night could be an important factor as both main parties decide what to do next.

As we await those results, we’ve drawn a new flowchart. Is this how you see the next few months playing out? Let us know.

Brexit Bulletin: Clinging On

Today’s Must-Reads

  • What has Brexit meant for U.K. businesses? More costs, less investment, lost customers and no end in sight to the angst. Joe Mayes takes a look at the damage wrought over the last three years.
  • Brexit paralysis has created a “zombie” parliament that is left discussing kittens and circus animals, Alex Morales reports.
  • Poland gets more money from the EU than anywhere else. Yet it’s a key battleground in the European elections, and a new word has entered the lexicon: “Polexit.” 

Brexit in Brief

Indicative Votes are Dead | Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay signaled the death of a plan to put a series of Brexit options to Parliament to vote on if talks with Labour fail. He said there’s no point doing so-called indicative votes if Labour doesn’t agree to be bound by the results, and there’s no sign the opposition is willing to do that. Sounds like the government has realized that there’s no way indicative votes could create the stable majority it needs.

This Deal, No Deal, or Remain | In their efforts to rally lawmakers behind May’s deal, ministers are playing up the prospect that voting against it will mean the U.K. never leaves the bloc. Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the choices are May’s deal, no-deal or remain, and Barclay said voting against May’s deal will mean it’s “dead,” leaving the options of no-deal or “revoke.” Speaking to a panel in the House of Lords, Barclay also said the EU might refuse to extend again after October.

Merkel and Macron’s Scraps | Angela Merkel insisted her disagreements with French President Emmanuel Macron are part and parcel of a productive relationship. “Certainly we grapple with one another,” Merkel told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published late Wednesday. “There are differences in mentality between us as well as differences in how we perceive our roles.” We might see more of this as Brexit comes to a head later this year.

Farage Ahead | Survation’s latest polling numbers for the European elections put the Conservative Party on 12% and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party on 30%.

On the Markets | The pound slid to a three-month low Wednesday. As fund managers struggle to see Brexit getting resolved, sterling is the worst performer among its peers this week. The pound traded at $1.2844 early this morning. 

Brexit Bulletin: Clinging On

Someone Thinks It’s Funny | Making fun of Brexit has become a campaign slogan for Finland’s biggest party. The Social Democrats  have plastered English-language placards across the country that riff off the notion that the EU exit sought by Britain is something to be avoided at all costs. “We don’t Brexit. We fix it.”

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