Brexit Bulletin: Thwarting the Divorce

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347 Days to Go

(Bloomberg) -- Today in Brexit: There are plenty of ways to change the course of Brexit, according to an influential think tank.

U.K. politicians could send Prime Minister Theresa May back to the negotiating table, engineer a second referendum or even prompt a general election when a final Brexit deal comes to Parliament for approval later this year, the Institute for Government says.

The government argues that Parliament will have a choice between approving the deal or condemning the U.K. to the much-feared chaos of “no-deal.” But the IFG says Parliament will almost certainly be able to amend the motion that May puts to the House of Commons.

“This approval process could produce some of the most elevated moments of political theater in living memory,” the institute said.

May doesn’t have a majority in Parliament and her Conservative Party is deeply divided over Brexit. She has been defeated on the issue there before, when Tory rebels voted with Labour lawmakers against the government in December. The deal’s arrival in Parliament in the autumn is the moment anti-Brexit campaigners are targeting to bring about a second referendum.

In a paper published on Monday, the Institute for Government says lawmakers could amend the motion in the following ways:

  • Seeking a renegotiation
  • Telling the government to keep the U.K. in the EU
  • Telling the government to leave without a deal
  • Seeking a referendum on the deal.

Parliament could also vote against the motion, which might send officials back to the negotiating table. Or prompt a general election. It’s going to be a long autumn.

Today’s Must-Reads

Brexit in Brief

Jaguar Job Cuts | Jaguar Land Rover will announce a cull of around 1,000 posts on Monday, citing “headwinds” affecting the car industry. The job cuts will focus on the Solihull plant near Birmingham. The company already said in January that it would scale back production at its Halewood plant near Liverpool. 

People’s Vote | Lawmakers and celebrities launched a campaign for a “people’s vote” on the final Brexit deal on Sunday. Labour lawmaker Chuka Umuna and other members of Parliament chose an anti-Brexit stronghold in north London for the kick-off. 

Chuka Umunna @ChukaUmunna
Brexit is a big deal, not a done deal and it is too important for politicians alone to decide, which is why today w… https://t.co/t0QSFgSPWF

Growing Support | A new poll by Opinium for anti-Brexit group Open Britain showed solid support for a second referendum on the final deal. Fifty-two percent back a vote on the terms with 31 percent opposing, according to the poll, with support for a plebiscite highest among Labour supporters.

Customs Call | The House of Lords is expected to back an amendment this week calling for the government to remain in a customs union with the EU, the Financial Times reports.

House Price Slump | Home prices in London are continuing to fall, prolonging a slump that has seen the average property in the capital lose almost 2 percent of its value over the past year, surveys show on Monday.

Real Wage Gains | U.K. consumers are seeing a return to real-income growth, according to economists. Data this week will probably show basic pay growth climbed to 2.8 percent in the three months through February, running ahead of the inflation rate for the first time in a year.

Coming Up | We’re back to business in London and Brussels after the Easter lull. Brexit negotiations resume in Brussels today with withdrawal issues on the agenda for the first two days. On Wednesday, there will be one session on the Irish border and then one on the future relationship. May addresses Parliament on the Syria strikes on Monday, and will deliver a trade-focused message to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

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