28 Feb 2019
Brexit: Cooper amendment passes overwhelmingly
The latest developments on Brexit saw MPs vote on a number of amendments overnight. Most notably MPs voted overwhelmingly to back the Cooper amendment (amendment F), which had effectively given PM May a deadline of the 13 March to pass a Brexit bill.
It was announced ahead of the vote that the UK government had accepted the amendment, given that it put forward a very similar path to that outlined by the Prime Minister earlier this week. The amendment was passed with a vote of 502 MPs in favour. Labour’s Brexit plan which sought a Brexit deal involving a customs union was defeated by 323 votes to 240, which subsequently saw the announcement from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that the party would formally back a second Brexit referendum.
MPs also approved PM May’s Brexit update she delivered to the House of Commons on Tuesday. Overall the votes last night do not materially alter the path of Brexit, predominantly as the PM had conceded several of the points from the Cooper amendment earlier this week when she outlined the government’s plans to hold a “meaningful vote” on or by the 12 March and layed out a path for further votes on “no deal” (on or by the 13 March) and a Brexit extension (on 14 March). The question now remains what exactly will any extension look like? It appears, at least for the moment, that the UK and the EU want two completely different timeframes. Mrs. May has been vocal in her favour of a shorter (end of May) extension in order to try and avoid any UK involvement in the upcoming EU elections. The EU on the other hand are reported to be looking at a much longer time frame, somewhere in the region of two years, another bone of contention to throw in on top of the backstop issue.
UK Gfk Consumer Confidence Index surprisingly high
Although business confidence has dived as many companies continue to hold off making significant business decisions until the outcome of Brexit is clearer. The Gfk consumer confidence index unexpectedly climbed to a level of -13.0 in February, compared to a level of -14.0 in the prior month, its lowest since July 2013. This is surprising considering the continued parliamentary disarray, leaving open the possibility of a disorderly Brexit in just one month’s time.
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