74 Days to Go

(Bloomberg) -- Today in Brexit: On the eve of the crunch vote, May makes a last-ditch attempt to sell her Brexit deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May used to say it was her deal, no-deal or no Brexit. Now that Parliament is flexing its muscles to prevent no-deal and possibly even force closer ties to the European Union, her argument has become starker: It’s my deal or no Brexit at all.

That’s the message May takes today to Stoke-on-Trent, a pro-Brexit city that voted overwhelmingly to leave in 2016, where she will warn of the risks to faith in democracy if Brexit is thwarted. The deal she negotiated with Brussels over 18 months finally goes to a vote in Parliament on Tuesday. It’s set for a thumping defeat.

“We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum,” May will say. If the deal is rejected, she will argue, it’s more likely that Brexit will be thwarted than the no-deal outcome feared by business but championed by hardline Conservative euroskeptics.

As May heads to Stoke to try to at least reduce the scale of the defeat on Tuesday, the European Union is also expected to make a half-hearted effort to help May swing the vote. It plans to sending a letter outlining that the much-loathed Irish backstop would only be temporary if it were triggered. The problem is, it isn’t expected to be very convincing, and won’t make the deal easier to swallow. So what happens after she’s defeated?

  1. Delay: There’s a growing consensus that Brexit might have to be delayed. EU officials talk openly about an extension being inevitable and July being a new deadline.
  2. Vote of no-confidence: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promises one. When? “Soon.”
  3. Get Corbyn in the tent: Ministers are urging May to bring the Labour leader into No. 10 and forge a common Brexit policy if she loses on Tuesday.
  4. Second referendum: Pro-EU members of Parliament will publish draft legislation on Monday that would try to force a plebiscite, the Telegraph reports.
  5. A British “coup”: The Sunday Times reports that MPs are plotting to change Commons rules so motions proposed by rank-and-file lawmakers take precedence over government business. That would leave May unable to govern.

Today’s Must-Reads

  • Theresa May is heading to Stoke to make her last-ditch pitch. We were there last week, speaking to voters about a second referendum and the risk it would pose to faith in Britain’s democracy.
  • Parliament is trying to take control of Brexit. But who is leading the charge? Meet six veteran politicians who want closer ties to the EU. And what are the alternatives to May’s deal? Here’s a rundown.
  • The Times breaks down the various factions in Parliament ahead of the vote.

Brexit in Brief

What Will the Pound Do? | Depending on the vote and May’s response to it, the currency could jump to the strongest level since May 2018 or plunge to its lowest level since the referendum in June 2016, according to a Bloomberg survey. The pound traded at $1.2847 early on Monday.

What Companies are Doing | How are businesses preparing for Brexit? Bloomberg is tracking their plans, from stockpiling to relocations and closures.

Another Win for the Netherlands | Discovery Inc. is applying for broadcast licenses in the Netherlands to keep pay-TV channels such as Animal Planet from going dark in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It also is establishing a European operational headquarters there.

Who Owns the Airlines? | The EU has asked the 27 remaining member states to detail how their airline licenses would comply with ownership rules after Brexit, the Financial Times reports. The FT cites a letter sent last week by Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, who says ownership and control requirements under each possible Brexit scenario have not been fully detailed. IAG, which owns British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, is in discussions with the EU over its ownership structure.

The View From Germany | German Justice Minister Katarina Barley said the U.K. should hold a second referendum. “No one could have foreseen the consequences of Brexit at the time of the first vote,” Barley told Tagesspiegel in an interview published on Saturday. “A hard Brexit would have devastating consequences for the Brits and the EU.”

Welcome to Portugal | Portugal won’t require U.K. citizens to get a visa if there’s a no-deal Brexit, as it tries to avoid disruptions to the flow of British tourists. It’s hoping for reciprocal treatment on this and other measures, Internal Administration Minister Eduardo Cabrita said on Friday. 

Brexit Means Soccer | The Brexit debate hit the Premier League at the weekend, with Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock declaring his position in no uncertain terms. “I think we'll be far better out of the bloody thing. In every aspect. To hell with the rest of the world.” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had a different view.

Want to keep up with Brexit?

You can follow us @Brexit, join our Facebook group and tell us your Brexit story. For all the latest news, visit bloomberg.com/brexit. Got feedback? Send us an email.

Know someone who’d like the Brexit Bulletin?Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here, and our new newsletter, the Brussels Edition, offers in-depth coverage of the EU.

For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.

To contact the author of this story: Emma Ross-Thomas in London at erossthomas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at ablenford@bloomberg.net, Jones Hayden

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.