Posts Tagged ‘Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union’

Theresa May, Coughing and Caught by a Prankster, Endures a Speech to Forget

October 4, 2017

MANCHESTER, England — First there was the prankster, theatrically handing her a notice that she was being fired. Then her voice went, a persistent cough disrupting her delivery, making her speech often painful to the ear.

Politics can be a cruel business, and just when Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, needed a rousing, commanding speech to restore her authority over her warring Conservative Party, she had a nightmare.

Ending a party conference dominated by speculation about her fragile leadership, Mrs. May struggled her way on Wednesday through her set-piece address, the audience periodically giving protracted applause to allow her time to rest her croaking voice.

A prankster handing Mrs. May a job dismissal notice during her speech on Wednesday. Credit Carl Court/Getty Images

She repeatedly drank from her glass of water, and at one point the chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, handed her a cough lozenge. Sometimes she seemed almost to be reduced to a faltering whisper.

Then, toward the end of the address, letters began to fall from the slogan behind her onstage.

The speech highlighted the problems confronting Mrs. May — her battle to complete it seeming to some like a metaphor for her struggling premiership, the set of mishaps overshadowing the messages she hoped would dominate the news.

The four-day conference in Manchester is the first since Mrs. May gambled by calling a general election in June, in which her Conservative Party lost its majority after an unexpectedly strong performance from the opposition Labour Party, destroying much of her authority in the process.

Under the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s anti-austerity message struck a chord, particularly with younger voters, who turned out in greater numbers than usual, leaving many Conservative activists in Manchester wondering how to compete.

As the debate about the Conservative Party’s future has unfolded at the conference center and beyond, Mrs. May’s potential successors have had a chance to grab the limelight, and none took that opportunity more ruthlessly than the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, who has made two interventions undermining Mrs. May’s strategy for negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, known as Brexit.

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Bank of England Makes Gloomy Economic Predictions Amid Brexit Uncertainty

August 3, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The Bank of England has cut its forecasts for British growth due to Brexit
 

LONDON (AFP) –  The Bank of England cut Thursday its forecasts for British growth due to Brexit, as it left interest rates at a record-low 0.25 percent.

The news, which followed a regular monetary policy meeting, sent the pound slumping as policymakers appeared to shift away from raising rates any time soon.

Sterling had already collapsed in value since Britons voted in June 2016 to exit the European Union in a shock referendum.

“Households looked through Brexit-related uncertainties initially, but more recently — as the consequences of sterling’s fall have shown up in the shops and squeezed their real incomes — they have cut back on spending, slowing the economy,” BoE Governor Mark Carney told a press conference Thursday.

“Businesses have been somewhere in between but since the referendum they have invested much less aggressively than usual.”

The BoE cut its estimate for 2017 gross domestic product growth to 1.7 percent from a forecast of 1.9 percent given three months ago, it said in a report accompanying the latest monetary policy update.

And it expects GDP growth to fall back to 1.6 percent next year, down slightly on the previous expectation of 1.7-percent expansion.

In minutes from its latest meeting, the BoE said GDP “remains sluggish in the near-term as the squeeze on households’ real incomes continues to weigh on consumption”, as Britain gears up to exit the EU against a backdrop of high domestic inflation.

Sterling slumped against the euro and dollar on news that the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 6-2 to keep interest rates unchanged in August.

The MPC had voted 5-3 to freeze borrowing costs at its previous gathering in June.

– Sterling plunges –

The European single currency soared to 90.15 pence — its highest level since November 2016 — as dealers predicted a hike was now unlikely this year.

“The market took the decision as pretty dovish, probably because the … vote suggests the MPC is a little further away from hiking than it was last time,” said ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson.

Policymakers agreed however to increase its cheap lending for retail banks before the expiry of the Term Funding Scheme next February.

Recent official data showed that Britain’s economy advanced slightly in the second quarter, pulled higher by the key services sector despite high inflation and uncertainty over Brexit.

The rise in prices sits alongside weak average earnings growth in the country, reducing the chances of a rate hike from the BoE this year that would mirror the policy of monetary tightening in the United States.

British inflation is being supported by a Brexit-fuelled slump in the pound pushing up import costs — although the annual rate managed a slowdown to 2.6 percent in June from a near four-year high of 2.9 percent in May.

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Brexit uncertainty is dragging the UK economy down and people’s wages with it, says Mark Carney

August 3, 2017

he Bank of England Governor said the economy is slowing because households and businesses are not spending as much

By Joe Watts Political Editor

The Independent

 

carney.jpg

Brexit and the uncertainty around it has already hit people’s incomes and is weighing down the economy, the Governor of the Bank of England has said.

Mark Carney said the Bank is helpless to prevent the “weaker real incomes” accompanying Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

He also said that households had cut back on spending and businesses on investment, slowing the economy’s growth.

It comes as the Bank downgraded its forecasts for the British economy this year, just days after EU statistics indicated the eurozone is growing at twice the rate of the British economy. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee also voted to keep interest rates at record low.

Mr Carney said: “The UK economy is beginning the process of adjusting to a new and as of yet uncertain economic relationship with the European Union.

“Monetary policy cannot prevent the weaker real incomes likely to accompany the move to new trading arrangements with the EU.

“But it can influence how this hit to incomes is distributed between job losses and price rises, and it can support UK households and businesses as they adjust to such profound change.”

Mr Carney has previously clashed with Theresa May over monetary policy, and his words on Thursday came amid cabinet divisions over the UK’s approach to Brexit.

In particular, there has been on-going uncertainty over the Government’s preferred approach to what kind of transitional arrangements there will be between leaving the EU in March 2019 and beginning a new trading relationship with the bloc.

The Governor went on: “Financial markets particularly sterling marked down the UK’s relative prospects quickly and sharply.

“Households looked through Brexit related uncertainties initially, but more recently as the consequences of sterling’s fall have shown up in the shops and squeezed their real incomes they have cut back on sending, slowing the economy.

“Businesses have been somewhere in between, but since the referendum they have invested much less aggressively than usual in response to an otherwise very favourable environment.”

He added: “In the MPC forecast, uncertainty about the eventual shape of the UK’s economic relationship with the EU weighs in the decision of businesses and households and pulls down both demand and supply.”

The Bank confirmed that it now expects the economy to grow by 1.7 per cent this year, down from a previous forecast of 1.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, growth is now tipped to slow to 1.6 per cent in 2018, down from a previous forecast of 1.7 per cent.

Michel Barnier seeks clarification over key issues in Brexit talks

Eurostat’s “flash” estimate showed on Tuesday that the eurozone’s GDP grew at twice the rate of the UK’s in the second quarter of 2017.

Growth in the 19-member single currency bloc was 0.6 per cent, double the 0.3 per cent estimate for the UK from the Office for National Statistics last week.

See also:

Carney warns Brexit uncertainty is building (From the BBC)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40811712

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Pound plunges as Bank of England holds interest rates and cuts growth forecast (The Telegraph)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/03/bank-england-super-thursday-dominates-markets-focus/

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Leaked UK memo accuses Paris of wanting to sink City of London

July 17, 2017

AFP

© Leon Neal, AFP file picture | The City of London financial district, including the Gherkin (right) and the ‘Walkie Talkie’ (front) towers.

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2017-07-17

France is pushing for a hard Brexit in a bid to weaken the City of London, the British finance sector’s EU frontman warned in a leaked report published on Sunday.

“They are crystal clear about their underlying objective: the weakening of Britain, the ongoing degradation of the City of London,” Jeremy Browne, a former government minister who is now the City’s Brexit envoy, said in a memo.

The leaked report, published by the Mail on Sunday tabloid, was written as a summary to ministers of a trip made by Browne to France in early July.

“The meeting with the French Central Bank was the worst I have had anywhere in the EU. They are in favour of the hardest Brexit. They want disruption,” he said.

Browne acknowledged there may be political benefits to France of playing “bad cop” in the negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, which began last month and resumed in Brussels on Monday.

But “we should nevertheless have our eyes open that France sees Britain and the City of London as adversaries, not partners”.

According to Browne, this approach was not confined to a few officials, but was a “whole-of-France collective endeavour, made both more giddy and more assertive by the election of (Emmanuel) Macron” as president in May”. Aside from his meeting with the French Central Bank, he did not specify which other officials he had spoken with.

Browne added that “every country, not unreasonably, is alive to the opportunities that Brexit provides, but the French go further”.

He said they are “seemingly happy to see outcomes detrimental to the City of London even if Paris is not the beneficiary”.

Many cities in running to replace London

Paris is competing with Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid and Luxembourg for an expected shift in finance jobs out of London as a result of Brexit.

With Britain at risk of losing the “passporting rights” financial firms use to deal with clients in the rest of the bloc, employees in direct contact with customers may need to be based on EU territory in future.

The day after Britain voted to leave the EU in June last year, Valérie Pécresse, the head of the Paris regional government, sent out hand-signed letters to 4,000 small, medium and large international enterprises in London, underscoring the benefits of moving their businesses to Paris.

And in October, Paris’s financial centre La Défense launched the PR-campaign “Tired of the fog? Try the frogs” aimed at attracting companies across the Channel. In November, the city of Paris, the Paris regional government and the French chamber of commerce also set up a so-called “Brexit cell”, dubbed Choose Paris Region, a team exclusively dedicated to responding to queries — many of them anonymous — from companies considering a potential move from London to Paris in the light of Brexit.

Earlier this month, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe laid out a raft of measures aimed at boosting Paris’s attractiveness, including eliminating the top income tax bracket.

Browne, who was an MP for the pro-European Liberal Democrats until 2015, served as a junior foreign office minister in former prime minister David Cameron’s coalition government.

He was appointed special representative to the EU by the City of London Corporation, which represents the financial sector, in September 2015.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

U.K.’s Theresa May Calls Early Election, Seeking Brexit Leverage

April 18, 2017

Victory in election, scheduled for June 8, could give Mrs. May more leeway in coming negotiations with the EU

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street in central London on Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street in central London on Tuesday. PHOTO: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

LONDON—British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday said she would call an early general election on June 8 in a move that if she wins could give her more leeway in upcoming negotiations with the European Union.

Mrs. May, who took office in July after the U.K. voted to leave the EU, has a parliamentary majority of 17.

Opinion polls suggest she would increase that majority significantly in an election. That would give her more freedom of maneuver in EU negotiations and make her less dependent on the support of the euroskeptics of her Conservative Party who favor a clean break with EU.

An election is unlikely to hold up negotiations over Britain’s exit because they aren’t scheduled to start until the 27 remaining EU countries finalize their negotiating positions, which won’t be for several weeks.

The British pound rose in volatile trade after Mrs. May’s surprise announcement, up 0.6% at $1.264 against the dollar after falling ahead of the announcement.

Write to Jenny Gross at jenny.gross@wsj.com

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Theresa May calls for UK general election on 8 June “To Make a Sucess of Brexit”

April 18, 2017

Prime Minister seizes opportunity as polls give her historic lead – but must secure two-thirds majority in House of Commons for election to go ahead

Theresa May has called for a general election to be held in the UK on 8 June. Here are the latest updates:

 

Please allow a moment for the live blog to load

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-announcement-live-updates-latest-general-election-resign-syria-military-health-uk-prime-a7688361.html

The Prime Minister called for a general election to be held on 8 June, saying she had reversed her position on an early vote to ensure stability during Brexit negotiations.

For the election to go ahead, she must secure a two-thirds majority in a vote to be held in the House of Commons tomorrow.

A poll conducted for The Independent showed the Conservatives 21 points ahead of Labour on Saturday, as Jeremy Corbyn’s party continues to languish in the polls.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-announcement-live-updates-latest-general-election-resign-syria-military-health-uk-prime-a7688361.html

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See also The Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/18/breaking-theresa-may-make-statement-downing-street-1115am1/

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Britain to go to the polls in just seven weeks as Theresa May stuns Westminster by calling a snap General Election to provide the ‘strong and stable leadership’ to deliver Brexit

  • Prime Minster announced she wanted an election from the steps of No 10 to ensure ‘strong leadership’ 
  • May must win a vote in the Commons tomorrow night but this is a formality as Corbyn has said he will back it   
  • The PM made the announcement of a June 8 poll came after a Cabinet meeting of her top ministers today 

Theresa May has announced a snap general election for June 8 to give Britain the ‘strong and stable leadership’ needed to deliver Brexit.

Mrs May said weakness in Westminster would limit her hand in the Brexit negotiations and she called the poll knowing an election against Jeremy Corbyn could hand her a huge Commons majority.

In her shock announcement, she blasted opposition parties for trying to frustrate Brexit and said she was not prepared to let them ‘endanger the security of millions of working people’.

Speaking on the steps of No 10, Mrs May said Britain needed strong leadership and insisted an early poll was the ‘right approach’ and in the ‘national interest’.

The most recent polls suggest Mrs May could get a Commons majority of 100 or more. She leads Jeremy Corbyn by more than 30 per cent when voters are asked who would make the best PM.

She said: ‘We need a general election and we need it now.’

Theresa May has announced a snap general election will be held on June 8 from the steps of No 10 after meeting her Cabinet this morning

Theresa May has announced a snap general election will be held on  from the steps of No 10 after meeting her Cabinet this morning

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Mrs May said weakness in Westminster would weaken her hand in the Brexit negotiations - knowing an election against Jeremy Corbyn could hand her a huge Commons majority

Mrs May said weakness in Westminster would weaken her hand in the Brexit negotiations – knowing an election against Jeremy Corbyn could hand her a huge Commons majority

In her shock announcement, she blasted opposition parties for trying to frustrate Brexit and said she was not prepared to let them 'endanger the security of millions of working people'.

In her shock announcement, she blasted opposition parties for trying to frustrate Brexit and said she was not prepared to let them ‘endanger the security of millions of working people’.

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Mrs May walked back into No 10 following her historic statement, which lasted about seven minutes 

Mrs May walked back into No 10 following her historic statement, which lasted about seven minutes

Mrs May’s election call was made in the knowledge a series of polls have shown the Conservatives with historic leads in a series of opinion polls. The most recent YouGov at the weekend showed a 21-point lead

The Premier made the announcement immediately after a long Cabinet meeting with her top team. MPs will vote on holding the election tomorrow.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4420886/Theresa-make-statement-Downing-Street-11-15.html#ixzz4eb5MGpjC
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UK election talk builds ahead of surprise statement from Theresa May

April 18, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May could be tempted to go to the polls to secure her own mandate as she negotiates Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union

Theresa May took office in July after predecessor David Cameron stepped down. Photo: AFP

Theresa May took office in July after predecessor David Cameron stepped down. Photo: AFP

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May is due to make an unexpected statement in Downing Street, triggering speculation that she plans to call an early election.

May’s office says she will speak at 3.45p.m. (1015GMT) Tuesday, after the weekly meeting of her Cabinet.

Such statements are generally reserved for major news, such as resignations and election calls.

May, who took office in July after predecessor David Cameron stepped down, could be tempted to go to the polls to secure her own mandate as she negotiates Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. But she has previously said she will stay in office until the next scheduled national election, in 2020.

Under Britain’s Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, the prime minister can call an election if two-thirds of lawmakers vote for it.

Worry Grows That Britain Will Vote To Leave The European Union — “The First Move in the Disintegration of the entire European Union”

June 6, 2016

AFP

© Justin Tallis, AFP | According to recent polls, a slender majority of Britons favour “Brexit” from the EU.

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2016-06-06

With just two weeks to go before the June 23 referendum, EU countries have indicated they overwhelmingly want their British partners to reject a “Brexit” withdrawal from the European Union, according to a poll of nine member states.

In stark contrast to poll results in the UK, which show a slight lead for the “Out” camp of 43% (against 41% for “Remain” while 16% remain “undecided”) the TNS survey, conducted in nine EU countries late May, found that all these northern-European countries wanted Britain to remain a member of the bloc.

Despite an “Out” campaign that has verged on the xenophobic as it tackles the difficult subject of EU immigration and open borders, the poll found that 79% of Germans, 65% of French and 64% in Poland favoured Britain voting to remain, as well as 62% in Denmark, 63% in the Netherlands and 62% in the Czech Republic.

A separate question, which asked whether respondents believed Brexit was likely to happen, showed a widespread conviction that the UK would vote to remain: only 40% of French people, 30% of Germans and just 26% of Poles believe British will leave the EU.

Even in the UK, only 26% of respondents said they believed Britain would actually leave the EU.

Anxiety

EXPAT BRITS LIVING IN EUROPE FEAR BREXIT CONSEQUENCES

According to TNS director of political polling Edouard Lecerf, the poll demonstrates widespread anxiety in Europe that the Brexit vote comes at a time of “heightened fragility” in the EU, caused primarily by the migrant crisis.

“The fact that so many people say they don’t believe Brexit is going to happen may be down to a certain amount of denial, particularly in France,” he told FRANCE 24.

On the same day that TNS published its survey, Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and standard-bearer for the “Out” movement, told the Financial Times he hoped a Brexit would be the first “domino” in the disintegration of the entire European Union, and that other member states would do “whatever they can to stop Britain leaving”.

“The days of big, artificial blocs are gone,” he told the newspaper, adding that he wanted to see “a European continent of individual, sovereign democratic states that trade with each other”.

Bookies predict UK will remain in the EU fold

If the polls are neck and neck, Britain’s bookmakers, whom many believe are a more accurate predictor of the outcome of the referendum, have consistently placed “Remain” as favourite (with odds hovering around 1/3 on Monday June 6).

The bookies were credited with predicting a sizeable vote for Scotland to remain in the UK in last year’s referendum (the pollsters said it would be neck and neck).

BREXIT SAGA EXASPERATES EUROPE

They also accurately predicted David Cameron gaining a parliamentary majority for his Conservative party in the June 2015 UK general election, while the polls showed he would fail to form a government without a coalition.

David Cameron

Opinion pollster Lecrf cautioned that a marginal lead for Brexit in the UK should not be read as a prediction that the UK would actually vote to leave on June 23.

“Lots of factors come into play on voting day, particular in referendum, such as fear and self-interest,” he said. “Much depends on what happens in the wider EU between now and June 23, particularly in terms of Europe’s migrant crisis, to which the British are particularly sensitive.”

As for the bookies, Lecerf said that while they were an “interesting” way to look at the possible outcome of a referendum, “gamblers tend to use information from pollsters, and not the other way around”.

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