The chance that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal is the highest since October 2017, economists polled by Reuters say, as arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson looks set to take over as prime minister next week. Johnson was the face of the 2016 campaign to quit the EU and has said he would be willing to leave on Oct. 31 without a deal. The median forecast of that happening was 30% in the July 15-18 poll, up from 25% last month and 15% in May. “The likelihood of a Boris Johnson premiership and the rhetoric which has surfaced during the campaign suggests that this outcome is more likely than we previously believed,” said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank. With Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s rival for the premiership, also keen to display his credentials as a hard Brexiteer, sterling GBP= has plunged this week to lows not seen in over two years as investors price in the growing risk of a disorderly Brexit. Lawmakers voted on Thursday to make it harder for the next prime minister to try to force a no-deal Brexit, giving some support to sterling, and a strong majority of economists polled still think the two sides will eventually settle on a free-trade deal, as they have since late 2016, when Reuters first started asking the question. But in second place this month was the more extreme option of leaving without a deal and trading under World Trade Organization rules. The third most likely outcome was the other compromise
Outgoing German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday set out her political objectives on a greener, gender-equal Europe where the rule of law continues to hold sway, in an attempt to woo enough legislators at the European Parliament to secure the job of European Commission President The Christian Democrat of the European People’s Party is seeking to become the first woman to hold perhaps the most important post in the 28-nation EU by gathering the requisite 374 votes out of 747 in a secret vote later in the day. Ursula von der Leyen was a last-minute candidate to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker that EU leaders agreed as part of a package of top jobs that were decided on early this month. Under the package, the free-market liberal Renew Europe group got Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as Council President and the Socialists won the top parliament job. France’s Christine Lagarde was put forward as head of the European Central Bank. Von der Leyen told lawmakers in Strasbourg Tuesday that the gender element will be essential if she is elected Commission President overseeing a team of 28 Commissioners. “I will ensure full gender equality in my College of Commissioners. If member states do not propose enough female Commissioners, I will not hesitate to ask for new names,” Ursula von der Leyen said. Pointing out that since its inception in 1958, less than 20 percent of Commissioners had been women, she said: “We represent half of our population. We want our
Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister, said he would withhold a previously agreed 39 billion pound Brexit payment until the European Union gives Britain better exit terms. The EU has repeatedly said it will not reopen discussion of the Brexit transition deal it reached with May last year, which British lawmakers have rejected three times, prompting May to announce her resignation earlier this month. May stepped down as leader of the governing Conservatives on Friday. Johnson, a former foreign secretary in May’s cabinet, is popular with ordinary Conservative Party members, who will decide between the two candidates who come top in a series of votes by Conservative lawmakers over the coming weeks. “I always thought it was extraordinary that we should agree to write that entire cheque before having a final deal. In getting a good deal, money is a great solvent and a great lubricant,” Boris Johnson told the Sunday Times. Britain is due to leave the EU on Oct. 31. If Parliament does not approve a deal – and the government does not ask the EU for another delay – there risks being major economic disruption from a disorderly departure. The 39 billion pounds represents outstanding British liabilities to the EU, which would be paid over a number of years according to the withdrawal agreement negotiated by May. Johnson also said border arrangements with Ireland should be settled only as part of a long-term agreement, rejecting a “backstop” which would
Michael Gove, a leading contenders to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May, said he would delay Brexit rather than rush into a no-deal exit that could trigger an election that would propel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to power. The United Kingdom could be heading towards a constitutional crisis over Brexit as many of the candidates vying to succeed May are prepared to leave the EU on Oct. 31 without a deal but parliament has indicated it will try to thwart such a scenario. Nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted 52%-48% to leave the EU, the ruling Conservative Party had its worst result in centuries in a European election last month, and opinion polls indicate a snap election would produce a hung parliament. Gove, who scuppered the 2016 leadership bid of former foreign minister Boris Johnson by withdrawing his support at the last moment to run himself, said he would seek a further delay to Brexit if efforts to renegotiate the deal were close to a breakthrough. “Would it really be in our best interests to opt for a no-deal exit when just a little more time and effort could make all the difference?” Michael Gove said in an article in the Daily Mail newspaper. Other contenders – including Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Dominic Raab and Sajid Javid – have said they would seek to negotiate a deal but, if that were not possible, they would then lead the world’s fifth largest economy out of the EU without any agreement.
“During both time periods outlined above, the (proposed) defendant repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of EU membership, expressly stating, endorsing or inferring that the cost of EU membership was 350 million pounds ($442 million) per week,” the application against Boris Johnson said.
The European Union will not renegotiate the Brexit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May agreed, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday, as concerns grew that a successor to May could trigger a confrontation with the bloc. Brexit is up in the air after Theresa May announced plans to step down, triggering a leadership contest in the ruling Conservative Party that could bring a new prime minister to power who wants a much more decisive break with the EU. One of the candidates, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said it would be “political suicide” to pursue a no-deal Brexit, a reprimand to frontrunner Boris Johnson who said last week that Britain should leave with or without a deal by the end of October. Hunt, who voted to stay in the EU in the 2016 referendum but now accepts Brexit, said he would try for a new agreement that would take Britain out of the EU customs union while “respecting legitimate concerns” around the Irish border. The EU, though, said there would be no renegotiation. “I will have a short meeting with Theresa May, but I was crystal clear: There will be no renegotiation,” Jean-Claude Juncker said before a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he believed the risk of Britain crashing out of the bloc without any divorce agreement was growing. “Well I think there is a growing risk of a no deal. There’s a possibility that the new British prime minister may try to
Theresa May became prime minister in 2016 with one overriding goal: to lead Britain out of the European Union. Three years on, the U.K. is still in the EU, and May’s time in 10 Downing St. is ending. She announced Friday that she will step down as Conservative leader on June 7, remaining as caretaker prime minister during a party leadership contest to choose her successor. She will be remembered as the latest in a long line of Conservative leaders destroyed by the party’s divisions over Europe, and as a prime minister who failed in her primary mission. But history may also see her as a leader who faced a devilishly difficult situation with stubborn determination. The daughter of a rural Anglican vicar, May attended Oxford University and worked in financial services before being elected to Parliament in 1997. She was quiet and diligent, but also ambitious. One university friend later recalled that May hoped to be Britain’s first female prime minister, and “was quite irritated when Margaret Thatcher got there first.” She was not a natural political campaigner; her stiff public appearances as prime minister landed her the nickname “The Maybot.” Her only touches of flamboyance are a fondness for bold outfits and accessories like brightly patterned kitten-heel shoes. But she soon established a reputation for solid competence and a knack for vanquishing flashier rivals. May served for six years in the notoriously thankless job of home secretary, responsible for borders, immigration and law and order. In 2016, she
Fighting back tears, Theresa May said on Friday she would quit after failing to deliver Brexit, setting up a contest that will install a new British prime minister who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union. May’s departure deepens the Brexit crisis as a new leader, who should be in place by the end of July, is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the EU and potentially a snap parliamentary election. Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, the favourite to replace May, was first out of the blocks, saying Britain should be prepared to leave the EU without a deal to force the bloc to offer a “good deal”. Current foreign minister Jeremy Hunt also confirmed he would run for the leadership just hours after May, her voice cracking with emotion, said she would resign as Conservative Party leader on Friday, June 7, setting up a contest to succeed her. “I will shortly leave the job that has been the honour of my life to hold,” May said outside her Downing Street official residence with her husband, Philip, looking on. “The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last. “I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” said the usually reserved May. May, once a reluctant supporter of EU membership who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit referendum,