Theresa May, U.K. prime minister (Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg)

EU Unveils ‘Essential and Urgent’ No-Deal Plans: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union is stepping up its planning for a messy Brexit without a deal. Theresa May’s government unveiled its blueprint for a future immigration regime.

  • U.K. Home Secretary says there won’t be an immigration target
  • EU details contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit

Rudd Sees Plausible Case for Second Referendum (8:30 p.m.)

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said she sees a plausible case for a second referendum if Parliament fails to accept a Brexit deal. Speaking in an ITV interview, Rudd said it’s not an option she wants, and that she favors a series of "indicative" votes in Parliament for different shapes of Brexit to "flush out" where the majority is.

EU Unveils ‘Essential and Urgent’ No-Deal Plans: Brexit Update

"If Parliament absolutely failed to reach a consensus, I can see that there would be a plausible argument for" a fresh referendum, Rudd said. "But I think it is incumbent on MPs to find the center ground in Parliament and to try to find where the majority is there, because quite frankly I don’t think the majority of people, let alone Brenda, want to be asked again how to vote," she said, referring to a voter in Bristol who achieved fame last year because of her negative reaction to being told about May’s snap general election.

The remarks from Rudd, a stalwart of the Remain campaign in 2016, are the most open any cabinet minister has been to date about the prospects for a fresh vote. May has repeatedly ruled it out, saying the government’s duty is to implement the results of the 2016 plebiscite. Rudd also compared the government’s current drive to step up no-deal preparations to putting a seat belt on when getting into a car. What the preparations have shown, she said, are "what dire consequences there could be" if Britain crashes out of the bloc.

Probable By-Election to Test May’s Brexit Plan (4:45 p.m.)

Labour lawmaker Fiona Onasanya was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by claiming someone else was driving her car when caught speeding in 2017. The Labour Party issued a statement calling on her to resign.

Her district of Peterborough is a bellwether swing seat, having previously been held by pro-Brexit Conservative Stewart Jackson. It will be the first test of how voters see May’s Brexit deal and Labour’s plans.

EU No-Deal Plans Cover Financial Services (12:20 p.m.)

The European Commission confirmed a plan to let EU banks use derivatives clearing houses in the U.K. for a year, to avoid “immediate disruption” to contracts worth trillions of euros. It also announced a plan to make it easier for firms to transfer over-the-counter derivatives trades from the U.K. to the continent.

As the EU no-deal plans trickle out, it’s worth noting some other points:

  • They won’t apply to Gibraltar, the tiny British territory to which Spain lays claim
  • All live animals and animal products would have to be checked when entering the EU
  • There are limited measures to keep planes flying but they don’t give U.K. carriers the same set of rights as they enjoy now. For example, they wouldn’t be able to fly solely between two EU countries.

EU Unveils ‘Essential And Urgent’ No-Deal Plans (11:40 a.m.)

In Brussels, the European Commission has just published its no-deal contingency plans, saying it was “essential and urgent to adopt these measures today.” They’re limited to just 14 policies. As Bloomberg reported on Monday, the concept of a so-called managed no-deal favored by some pro-Brexit lawmakers is not something the EU will agree to. European officials say the latest no-deal preparations are very limited so there will still be disruption if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.

The measures include action to prevent disruption in derivatives clearing, to avoid interruption of air traffic between the EU and U.K. and to ensure that U.K. citizens living in the EU at the time of a no-deal Brexit will continue being considered legal residents.

Javid Says There Won’t Be a Migration Target (11:15 a.m.)

Sajid Javid said the government is looking for a compromise. He wants “sustainable” immigration that serves the needs of the U.K. economy but at the same time delivers the tighter controls on migrant numbers that pro-Brexit voters wanted.

EU Unveils ‘Essential and Urgent’ No-Deal Plans: Brexit Update

“What we want to do is bring it to a level where it is sustainable in the sense that it meets first our economic need and at the same time though it is not too high a burden on our communities or on our infrastructure,” Javid said in interview with the BBC. “There is no specific target. It will be a system that will bring net migration down to more sustainable levels.”

There will be a consultation on the level of pay someone should receive to qualify as a “skilled” migrant, Javid said. The Migration Advisory Committee suggested a threshold of 30,000 pounds, but unions and politicians have warned this is below the pay level of many key workers in the health and elderly care systems, which rely on migrant labor.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.