Barclays profits plunged 80% in the third quarter, with its chief executive, Jes Staley blaming Brexit and the interest rates environment.
With just four working days to go until UK and EU law says Britain is out, a stand-off between Parliament and the European Union has Britain closest to a no deal exit it has ever been.
An expected decision on whether to grant a delay today has itself been delayed. France wants to know first what parliament decides on Monday to determine what length of extension to grant.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, is to table an election vote on Monday where an incredible 434 votes, out of 650, are required for it to pass.
In the current circumstances Labour said they won’t back it before it became clear France is holding its veto close. Now, Jeremy Corbyn has said:
“[Will support election] providing the prime minister comes to Parliament on Monday and makes it absolutely clear he is going to make sure that there is no crash out – because his deal includes the possibility of a no-deal exit.
He’s going to have to do that because that’s how Parliament works: we’ve got to hold him to account. I think a no-deal exit is very dangerous. If he comes on Monday and says that, OK.”
He is referring not to a no-deal exit in six weeks, but to a potential no deal exit after the transition period ends next year with this seemingly more calculated to rile up the Brexit Party, which in a most repelling twist Labour has implicitly aligned themselves with to split up the conservative vote.
Johnson’s response is currently not clear. He is campaigning in Milton Keynes, a conservative/labour marginal, after suggesting the government might go on strike if an election is not granted.
He then clarified: “We are going to be governing in the interests of the country. We are going to be continuing with our dynamic one-nation Conservative agenda, investing in our NHS, levelling up funding of education across the country, doing everything we can to take this country forward.
What we won’t do is engage in pointless ‘brexitology’ in parliament when parliament is simply committed to a delay.”
A Downing Street spokesman said they would do the bare minimum, adding: “We will pursue a general election every day and do everything we can to get it.”
Markets Move to Price in No Deal
After a mini bull run following the striking of a deal, the pound has turned downwards, dropping from $1.3 to now $1.28.
In a mirror of sorts, although slightly different time-frames, bitcoin has started to move up, while stocks are down too.
While it seemed like a no deal exit was off the table or its chances had drastically decreased, it’s not clear now how this situation can be resolved other than through a technical no deal exit with hopefully the practical understanding of a deal.
That would be a great failure of politics in some ways, and if there is an understanding then perhaps quite an achievement of diplomacy.
The Highest of Politics
It’s very difficult to see the election vote passing on Monday because the bar is so high and for many Labour MPs it’s turkeys voting for Christmas.
If the vote doesn’t pass, then it’s not clear what a three months extension would achieve as Labour is against the deal.
Libdems and SNP have to be seen to be doing everything to stop Brexit. DUP was apparently previously losing votes in Northern Ireland to remainer parties before the deal was struck. The opposition is pretty much in charge of parliament, so why would they want an election?
As Corbyn has already said, they’ll be trying to move the goalpost, asking for no deal off the table now next year.
Boris could call him bluff, say it, Corbyn would then ask for an act of parliament, more pantomime, while France looks and wonders.
Just veto it? There is a deal. Boris says parliament has passed it. It isn’t ratified, but parliament voted for it with a decent majority.
Technically it is no deal, but there could be an understanding that Britain has left on the 31st because of no extension, but that an agreement has been reached, and instead of the no deal contingencies applying, the transition period applies.
Not least because parliament having voted for the treaty, that’s that. It’s a treaty, you can’t just change it.
Obviously that’s a gamble, but there are gambles all around, with an easier approach being a short extension so as to still leave the decision to the Brits.
Yet this isn’t just about Britain. This uncertainty is affecting the European economy too. Plus Europe has to get on with other things.
Parliament has to decide. Apparently they don’t have the votes for a referendum, so they haven’t tabled it. They voted for the deal, but needed more time which is arguably fair. Time has now been granted provided there’s an election so they don’t just delay and delay the ratification.
They’re now to vote on this on Monday, but the bar is so high, if they vote it down, what exactly do they want?
A short extension might maybe give them the time to think about what they want, but such short extension would need parliament agreement with all the time maybe wasted there, so it could be nothing moves forward still.
It could be Europe has to decide for Britain as Britain arguably decided in 2016 and parliament has passed the deal, but even if there is a no-deal exit on the 31st, it’s still not too clear why the situation would change presuming the UK government and EU member states act as if the transition period has kicked in.
That’s because the polls might not change, they might even give Boris more of a lead, with such polls not automatically changing Parliament which still would be controlled by the opposition that still might not want an election.
You’d think Corbyn however would find it necessary to whip for an election if no deal – even with ‘but really a deal’ – is realistic as presumably he’d have no other choice nor any other way to get the Brexit he wants.
Likewise Libdems and SNP. They may conclude the only way to stop Brexit now might be to campaign in the election and secure power in government and in parliament.