Brexit LIVE: Pound SOARS as May rallies Cabinet and Trump while German growth PLUMMETS

Posted on Sep 25 2018 - 5:44pm by admin

In early London trading, sterling rose a quarter of a percent to $ 1.3153 as traders covered some of their short positions.

Fund manager Constantin Bolz of wealth manager Portfolio Concepts said: “We are starting to see some movement from London and Brussels towards a Brexit deal and that is helping sentiment.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s growth forecast for this year has been slashed over uncertainty surrounding Brexit  and Donald Trump’s trade policy.

Demand for German products are down and export forecasts have also been lowered as the impasse in Brexit talks clouded the outlook for Europe’s biggest economy.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) group said the German economy is now expected to grow by 2.0 percent this year, down from a previous estimate of 2.25 percent.

6.20pm update: Merkel REJECTS May’s Chequers proposal and wants ‘different, sensible’ alternative 

Angela Merkel has dealt a massive blow to Theresa May by rejecting her Chequers proposals, urging Britain to come to the negotiating table with a “different, sensible” Brexit plan. 

Speaking to business leaders at the Federation ofGerman Industries conference in Berlin, the German Chancellor warned Britain could not cheerypick elements of the EU’s single market. 

She also warned the 21-month Brexit transition period will not be long enough if the terms of a future trade deal with the UK are not made clear over the next eight weeks. 

Ms Merkel said: “We are entering the decisive phase of negotiations in autumn.

“There is likely to be a special council of European heads of state and government in November on which the resignation agreement must be finalised. This may succeed in October.

“At any rate, future relations with Great Britain must be described as concretely as possible.

“For if a political declaration on future relations is too general, then the transitional period can quickly become too short, so that a reasonable agreement, which, in the light of things, must be a very intense free trade agreement, can barely be passed in the appropriate time.”

She added: “I think playing for time does not help the economy either. After all, you need clarity and the ability to see how you shape your future relationships. That’s why we now have six or eight weeks of the toughest work to do in making the policy.

“Of course, this also depends on what Britain really wants. Even there, the discussion is not quite clear.”

Angela Merkel

German businesses are worried out the outcome of Brexit talks (Image: GETTY)

Exports will rise by 3.5 percent in real terms, below the BDI’s initial forecast of five percent, the group added.

BDI president Dieter Kempf said: “The trade policy of US President Trump, but also the approaching Brexit are dampening investment activity worldwide and with it German export business.”

The UK is Germany’s fifth most important export destination.

Follow Express.co.uk’s latest Brexit updates below…

6.10pm update: Labour APPROVES motion that could open door for second Brexit vote

Labour has overwhelmingly approved its Brexit motion which could pave the way for a seconf EU referendum. 

Only a few members of the party voted against the motion, which would open the door for MPs to reject any deal with the EU  that fails to meeet its six ‘tests’ it says any Brexit deal must pass.

These are:

  • Does it ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU?
  • Does it deliver the “exact same benefits” as we currently have as members of the Single Market and Customs Union?
  • Does it ensure the fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities?
  • Does it defend rights and protections and prevent a race to the bottom?
  • Does it protect national security and our capacity to tackle cross-border crime?
  • Does it deliver for all regions and nations of the UK?

5.57pm update: Corbyn dodges question over whether he would vote Remain in second referendum 

Jeremy Corbyn has sidestepped questions over whether he would vote Remain in a second EU referendum. 

Speaking to reporters at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool, he refused to answer “hypothetical questions on a hypothetical referendum”. 

The Labour leader told the BBC: “Well we don’t know what the question is going to be in the referendum so that is a hypothetical question. I can’t answer that question because we don’t know what the question is going to be.”

And he told Five News: “It depends what the question is in a referendum. You don’t know what the question would be any more than I do.

“We will decide as a party when the referendum comes what our position will be.

“It’s a hypothetical question on a hypothetical referendum, when the Government has not yet concluded the negotiations. The six tests are urgent and important because we are leaving on March 29 under the current proposals.”

Brexit Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn refused to say whether he would vote Remain in a second referendum (Image: GETTY)

5.32pm update: EU ready to offer May free-trade area but insist on customs border – leaked document 

EU negotiators are ready to offer Theresa May a free-trade area following Brexit but insist there must be a customs border that will make trade less “frictionless”.

The internal EU document seen by Reuters, containing three pages of “defensive points” for EU officials to make against Mrs May’s proposal on future ties, quotes European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker on September 12 as saying the Prime Minister’s push for UK goods to remain in the EU market under a “common rulebook” is an unacceptable bid to stay “only in parts of the single market you choose”. 

Last weekm EU leaders rejected May’s Chequers plan at a summit in Salzburg, with the Prime Minister complaining Brussels had not detailed reasons for opposing it. 

But according to Reuters, the EU paper concludes Chequers would “give the UK an unfair competitive advantage”, and stresses officials “welcome proposals to develop an ambitious new partnership” for which the Chequers proposal of a “free trade area” should be “the starting point”. 

It adds Britain’s goods could only get total access to the EU’s maket if it remains “fully bound by the EU acquis ccumulated legislation in the same way as other single market members, including supervision and enforcement”. 

Britain has repeatedly uled that out as it still plans to leave the EU’s single market and customs union, so the document says a free trade agreement (FTA) – such as the ones the bloc has with Canada and Japan – is the only remaining option.

The document says: “An FTA cannot ensure entirely ‘frictionless’ trade.

“As a result, the UK’s goods trade will over time be less closely integrated economically with the EU than it is now. For example, cross-border supply chains will not operate seamlessly.” 

Brexit Theresa May

May said Labour will oppose any deal she agrees with the EU and accept any put forward by them (Image: GETTY)

4.48pm update: May blasts Labour’s policy on Brexit 

Theresa May has hit out Labour’s Brexit policy, claiming they will oppose deal any she agrees with Brussels and accept any agreement the EU puts forward. 

She said: What I do know is that we have a Labour Party whose position in this is clear.

“Labour will oppose any deal I bring back regardless how good it is for the UK.

“They will accept any deal the EU gives regardless of how bad it is for the UK. That is not in the national interest, what we are doing is in the national interest.”

4.39pm update: May wants to see counter-proposals from EU to progress with Brexit talks

Theresa May has reiterated her preference for a no-deal as opposed to the offer currently on offer from the EU, adding Britain needs to see counter-proposals from Brussels to move forward with Brexit negotiations. 

When asked whether a no-deal Brexit was better than one similar to the exiting Canada-EU trade deal, she told reporters on her way to attend the UN General Assembly in New York: “I’ve always said no deal is better than a bad deal. I think a bad deal would be a deal that broke up the United Kingdom. 

The Prime Minister’s spokesman later confirmed she was specifically referring to the type of deal the EU is currently offering on future trade, which Mrs May believes will split England, Wales and Scotland from northern Ireland by insisting the latter adhere to different customs rules. 

Mrs May also welcomed a subsequent acknowledgement from European council President Donald Tusk that the bloc still wanted to strike a deal, despite EU leaders rejecting her Chequers proposals at a summit in Salzburg last week.

She said: “I think what he’s clarified is that there is hope and expectation and desire for a deal on the side of the European Union.”

But the Prime Minister insisted the onus is still on Brussels to break the deadlock on Chequers. 

Mrs May said: “If they have concerns, they need to detail those concerns to us and if they have counter-proposals, let’s hear the counter proposals and then we can discuss those and take it forward.” 

Sir Keir Starmer

Brexiteers accused Sir Keir of trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn (Image: GETTY)

4.33pm update: Thornberry wants Article 50 extension and general election

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thonberry has said Article 50 needs to be extedned “as we cannot leave in the current circumstances”. 

She wants plans set out in the Labour manifesto for the next general election. 

Speaking at the Times Red Box fringe event, Ms Thornberry said: “We should have a general election and our manifesto should say we will abide by the result of the referendum but we can’t obviously leave in the current circumstances.

“We need to extend Article 50 and essentially turn up in Europe and say ‘the grown-ups have turned up now’.”

4.18pm update: Starmer unsure if Brexit will be delayed 

Sir Keir Starmer has said he is unsure whether Brexit day will be delayed. 

Speaking at a Labour conference fringe event, he said: “I don’t know whether Article 50 will have to be extended or not.

“I do know we are running out of time.”

4.13pm update: Irish Prime Minister warns over Parliamentary approval of Brexit deal 

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has warned Brexit negotiators should not assume that any Brexit deal agreed between Britain and the EU will be ratified by Parliaments on both sides. 

He told Ireland’s Parliament: “While we may assume that because something is agreed at European Council with the UK that it will go through both Parliaments, we shouldn’t actually assume it.

“Of course there is a possibility we may find that it runs into ratification problems in Westminster or the European Parliament.

“We’re just going to have to manage that and see how it develops,”

Mr Varadkar believes negotiators will “get there” in November and agree a withdrawal agreement.

Brexit Leo Varadkar

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has warned over Parliamentary approval of a Brexit deal (Image: GETTY)

3.47pm update: Tory MP and ERG officers warns May over taking Chequers plan to Commons and losing

Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford Mark Francois has warned against Theresa May “trying to take Chequers to the House of Commons and losing”.  

The European Research Group (ERG) officer told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “We’ve yet to know what the final deal looks like, but if it is based on Chequers then myself and my colleagues in the ERG cannot vote for Chequers because we believe it doesn’t represent Brexit.

“We would like the Prime Minister to change tack and to move towards a more Canada-style free trade agreement, we think that has many, many advantages for the UK.

“But if push really comes to shove and they try to put Chequers through the House of Commons then I and my colleagues will vote against it.

“In those circumstances the Prime Minister would then want to renegotiate along the lines of a free trade agreement, but far better that she pivots to that free trade agreement now before trying to take Chequers to the House of Commons and losing.”

3.24pm update: May has ‘boxed herself in completely’

Labour chairman of the Commons Exiting the European Union Committee Hilary Benn claimed Theresa May has “boxed herself in completely”. adding that “ruling nothing out seems to be a very sensible policy”. 

Asked about the idea of a second Brexit referendum, he told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “If Parliament is deadlocked and there is not a general election then it may come to that.

“Now the question is what is the proposition on the table? To put it sharply, if the choice was between we leave with no deal and remain, I’m of course crystal clear as to what I would vote for in those circumstances.

“It depends on the options. Keir has said that everything should remain on the table and he said no-one is ruling out remain as an option, that’s what he said to the conference today and ruling out options is the reason we’re in this mess because that’s what the Prime Minister did at the start of this process.

“That’s why we’re facing this difficulty, this economic uncertainty for the future of our country and given the challenge of Brexit and handling it, ruling nothing out seems to me to be a very sensible policy which I hope the conference will adopt when it votes on the resolution today.”

Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Tom Parfitt.

Brexit William Hague

Lord Hague said aides planning another snap general election must be drunk or ill (Image: GETTY)

2.37pm update: Burnham warns Labour over second referendum

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has blasted Labour’s calls for a second Brexit referendum.

He said a fresh poll on the terms of Brexit should be a “last resort” if Theresa May fails to secure a deal with Brussels.

The Labour politician told Express.co.uk at the party’s conference: “As I’ve said, I have real concerns about a second referendum.

“But if it’s the last thing we can use to stop a no deal exit, then that’s when it becomes acceptable to me.

“I am worried that no deal is becoming more and more likely by the day.”

2:01pm update: Labour MP Hoey lashes out at EU

Labour MP Kate Hoey has ridiculed calls by European Union leaders to force Britain into a second Brexit referendum.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Ms Hoey said: “That’s typical EU arrogance. They have tried it over and over again in other countries.

“They have been successful with Ireland, the Lisbon Treaty, with Holland and with France.

“They always think they are going to get a second referendum. They haven’t come up against the British public before.”

1.42pm update: Labour urged to ‘heal Brexit wounds’

A second Brexit referendum should not seek to keep the UK in the EU, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner warned.

Speaking at the Labour conference, Mr Turner said the party must “heal the wounds” surrounding Brexit rather than reopen them.

Speaking in the conference hall in Liverpool, the left-winger said: “In less than six months we leave the European Union.

“That is a result of the outcome of the 2016 referendum and we have to respect it.

“We have to recognise while a majority of Labour members and trade unionists may have voted to remain, many didn’t.”

13:25pm update: Ukip’s Batten rages at shadow Brexit secretary

Ukip leader Gerard Batten also hit out at Sir Keir Starmer’s speech.

He said: “Keir Starmer is another member of the Remainer elite who thinks he knows better than the people.

“I will remind Mr Starmer that five million Labour voters also voted for Brexit.

“Labour, Liberal or Tory, it’s clear that if people want Brexit then they will have to vote for Ukip at the next general election.”

12:34pm update: Labour Brexit group’s fury at Starmer

Pro-Brexit group Labour Leave accused Sir Keir Starmer of using his conference speech to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour Leave general secretary Brendan Chilton said: “Keir’s speech today was a challenge to Jeremy’s leadership.

“It was a carefully calculated pitch, no doubt written with a team of advisers. He is undermining Jeremy, John McDonnell and millions of Labour voters, and he knows it.

“At times the speech had more in common with a leadership stump speech than a policy announcement.

“Many people will wonder whether Sir Keir is trying to line himself up as the Remain replacement for Jeremy.”

11:55am update: Sterling rises as Brexit deal edges closer

Sterling has risen for a second day as expectations of a Brexit deal grew, prompting investors to buy the pound after a selloff last week.

In early London trading, sterling rose a quarter of a percent to $ 1.3153 as traders covered some of their short positions.

Fund manager Constantin Bolz of wealth manager Portfolio Concepts said: “We are starting to see some movement from London and Brussels towards a Brexit deal and that is helping sentiment.”

Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer speaking at Labour’s conference in Liverpool (Image: SKY NEWS)

11.43am update: Union chief attacks Tory negotiating stance

GMB union chief Tim Roache said he had “no faith whatsoever” in the Government’s ability to get a Brexit deal for “working people”.

Addressing the Labour conference, Mr Roach hit out at “Bullingdon Club Tories who have never done a day’s work in their lives”.

And he said: “If Theresa May can’t get a deal that works for working people then step aside, let’s have a general election.”

11.24am update: Labour MPs praise Starmer’s speech

Remain-backing Labour MPs have praised Keir Starmer’s speech on Brexit to the annual party conference in Liverpool.

Alex Cunningham MP tweeted: “Much deserved standing ovation at Labour conference for Keir Starmer spelling out Labour’s policy on Brexit.

“A general election when the Government’s deal is rejected or failing that a campaign for a public vote, ruling out no options.”

Fiona Onasanya MP added: “People voted to leave. Many voted to take back power, not more uncertainty.

“Surely then, it is fair to negotiate the best possible deal then put it to the people to decide?”

11:10am update: Labour ‘doesn’t want to frustrate Brexit’

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer insisted Labour does not want to “frustrate” the process of leaving the EU.

He said: “If Theresa May brings back a Brexit deal that fails our six tests, and that looks increasingly likely, Labour will vote against it.

“This isn’t about frustrating the process. It’s about stopping a destructive Tory Brexit and fighting for our values.”

Iain Duncan Smith

Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith backed the Cabinet’s stance on migration (Image: GETTY)

11.04am update: Starmer ‘devastated’ by Brexit result

Speaking at Labour’s conference in Liverpool, Sir Keir Starmer said he was “devastated” about the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

He added: “Just when we need a strong government, what do we see from the Tories? Division, chaos and failure.

“No credible plan for Brexit. No solution to prevent a hard border in Ireland. And no majority in parliament for the Chequers proposals.

“I’ve got a message for the Prime Minister. If your party wants to tear itself apart, that’s fine, but you’re not taking our country with you.”

10:35am update: Hague warns against snap election

Downing Street aides who are plotting another snap general election to break the Brexit deadlock must be drunk or ill, Lord Hague said.

The Tory peer and ex-party leader voiced his concern at reports that Theresa May’s inner circle want to call another election.

He said: “If you find yourself talking, as some Tory aides were reported at the weekend as doing, of deliberately having another general election soon, you have probably had too much alcohol, or you might even need medical help.

“If the party were united on Brexit, it would be a brave idea. As things stand it is a nonsensical one.

“You can’t have an election to resolve a problem within your own party and expect anything other than a disaster.”

10:27am update: IDS backs skills-based migrant system

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said a proposed future skills-based migration system was “moving in the right direction”.

Asked if by not controlling immigration it could cost the Conservatives at a general election, he replied: “Yes, I absolutely agree about that.

“I do think that’s why we need to get out there a strong policy that gives an indication of how we would control migration.”

10:10am update: Ex WTO chief says Brexit plan ‘will be agreed’

The former director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has predicted the UK and EU will strike a Brexit deal.

Pascal Lamy said it was likely both sides would reach an agreement, although he warned it could be rejected by MPs.

He told the BBC: “My guess is that there will be a deal between the UK and EU. Whether this deal passes the House of Commons is an open question.”

The Frenchman also described Brexit as “trying to remove the British egg from the EU omelette”, saying it was “never going to be easy”.

9.54am update: Article 50 process ‘could be extended’

Sir Keir Starmer declined to rule out the possibility of Labour backing an extension to the Article 50 process.

Asked whether he could guarantee Britain would leave the EU on March 29, Sir Keir told TalkRadio: “Well the answer is it depends.

“We don’t know when we’re going to get a deal. The October deadline might slip to November, November might slip to December.

“I don’t know, I’m not conducting the negotiations so the timeline is not in our control.

“I don’t think at this stage anybody is talking about extending Article 50.

“But if it has to be extended quite frankly it will be because of the collapsing failure of the discussions and the negotiations.”

9:38am update: Cabinet ‘reaches united position on migration’

The Cabinet has agreed to focus the UK’s post-Brexit migration system on high-skilled migrants, according to reports.

However, the plan agreed by Mrs May’s top team yesterday would also allow some access for low-skilled foreign workers.

The agreement in principle came following the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

A Government spokesman said it would “introduce a new system” for migration “which works in the best interests of the UK”.

Theresa May

Theresa May’s Cabinet has reached a consensus over post-Brexit migration (Image: REUTERS)

9.33am update: Minister’s fury at Labour Brexit stance

A Tory minister has accused Labour of trying to take the UK “back to square one” and of wanting to re-run the Brexit referendum.

Brexit minister Robin Walker said: “Labour promised to respect the referendum result, but are just playing political games and trying to frustrate it.

“This Conservative government is negotiating the right deal for the UK, one that promotes jobs and protects security and the precious Union between the four nations of the UK.”

9.27am update: Starmer insists Labour ‘coming together’

Sir Keir Starmer has insisted that Labour is “coming together” despite the growing dispute about the prospect of a second Brexit referendum.

Labour’s conference is set to back a policy of keeping the option of a referendum on the table if there is not an early general election.

And shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir said: “We’ve got a proposition, it’s going to be put to a vote today. There’s going to be unity behind that.”

Referring to Theresa May’s deal, he said: “I think it’s going to be a very bad deal, I don’t think it’s going to meet our tests.

‘We shouldn’t be voting for a deal which we don’t think is in the national interest.”

9.12am update: German business group demands breakthrough

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) said there must be a breakthrough on getting a Brexit deal in the coming weeks.

BDI president Dieter Kempf said it was time for EU and UK negotiators to make progress to ensure a two-year transition period.

He said: “Even this amount of time will hardly suffice to negotiate a free trade agreement as the United Kingdom envisages.”

Sir Keir Starmer at Labour Party conference

Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer urged Theresa May to avoid a no-deal Brexit (Image: PA)

8:42am update: Theresa May to push for US trade deal

Theresa May will push for a strong trade deal with the US after Brexit when she meets Donald Trump in New York.

The Prime Minister is holding talks with the president on Wednesday on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly.

Downing Street sources said the one-on-one discussion will focus on future trading relations between Britain and the United States.

Their meeting is one of the final engagements on Mrs May’s schedule during the two-day trip.

8:33am update: Retail giant Next planning for no-deal

Retail giant Next has warned over the threat of port delays and increased tariffs from a no-deal Brexit.

The high street chain said it was “well advanced” in its preparations in case a free-trade agreement is not in place by next March.

It warned the biggest risk to the business was the likelihood of delays at UK and EU ports, along with a sharp fall in the value of the pound.

The group also called on the Government to ensure that customers’ procedures at ports are not affected in the case of a no-deal.

But it said the no-deal risks do not pose a “material threat to the ongoing operations and profitability” of Next in the UK or EU.

8:01am update: Starmer issues warning over no-deal Brexit

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has warned Theresa May she must avoid a no-deal Brexit.

He said: “No deal means at midnight in March we rupture our trading arrangements and this will cost jobs, I don’t doubt that the pound will begin to drop.

“We won’t have any arrangements for security and counter-terrorism – the idea that we wouldn’t have an arrangement in place for that would horrify people.

“And frankly this idea that we might have medicines stockpiled for six weeks has spooked people.

“We don’t want to face that situation and we have got a duty to do something to stop it.

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