Pound slips as May faces leadership pressure
In an attempt to win support from European businesses for her goal of moving the negotiations on to trade talks before Christmas, British Prime Minister Theresa May will be meeting with EU business leaders today to discuss the future of UK-EU trade after Brexit.
During the meeting in Downing Street today, May will be setting out her vision of a “bold and deep economic partnership” between the UK and the EU after Brexit. Businesses on both sides of UK-EU have been pressing for information about future relations as they want to ensure Brexit doesn’t restrict the £554bn of trade that flows between the two countries.
Today’s meeting comes just days after Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, warned that the bloc is drawing up contingency plans in case Brexit talks collapse. He said that failing to reach a deal with the UK was not his preferred option but was a “possibility”.
“Everyone needs to plan for it, member states and businesses alike. We too are making technical preparations for it. On 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will become a third country,” he told a French publication.
In a related development, the pound has fallen to less than $1.31 amid reports that 40 Conservative MPs are prepared to sign a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
With EU set to withdrawal from the bloc in March 2019, the divorce bill is the biggest stumbling block in the negotiations.