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News Brexit - Press releases

Monday's Business and Politics round-up

16 Sep 2019

Person reading the news on their smartphone on a train

Good morning,

This weekend saw former Prime Minister David Cameron break his silence over Brexit and the current government, as extracts from his memoir were published in The Times and The Sunday Times

Cameron has claimed that Boris Johnson backed Leave during the referendum campaign “because it would help his political career”, while referring to cabinet minister Michael Gove as “a foam-flecked Faragist”. Cameron said that Johnson and Gove were “ambassadors for the expert-trashing, truth-twisting age of populism”. 

Prime Minister Johnson will travel to Luxembourg for talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today, with a Downing Street source saying the Government is not prepared to postpone Brexit beyond 31 October. 

The Government is seeking to secure a deal by 18 October, after a key EU summit. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said over the weekend that an agreement was in sight and a “huge amount has been happening behind the scenes”. 

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Mission impossible

The Institute of Directors’ new member survey has revealed the ‘impossible situation’ facing business leaders over Brexit, as reported in The Times and City AM this morning. A clear majority of IoD members have repeatedly expressed concern that leaving the EU in a disorderly way would hurt their organisations. 

When presented with the options of a no-deal Brexit and a further Article 50 extension, a slim overall majority (51%) said that leaving without a deal would be more negative for their business, though this was above the 31% who believed further delay would have a worse impact. 

Meanwhile, nearly a third of business leaders surveyed were engaging with relocation as part of their Brexit contingency planning - 14% indicated that they had already moved operations or were in the process of doing so. 

With no-deal still a possibility at the end of October, the IoD has urged the UK and EU to compromise and make progress on Brexit, while also calling both sides to improve no-deal planning efforts.

More specifically, the IoD has renewed its call for targeted financial assistance to help small firms’ Brexit preparations. This comes as the analysis of the survey results showed that directors of smaller companies were notably less likely to feel fully prepared for Brexit than their larger firm counterparts. 

Stay with EU 

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to cancel Brexit if they are elected to power at the next general election, after members of the party voted in favour of the policy at the Lib Dems conference over the weekend. 

Lib Dems’ previous policy was to hold another referendum and campaign to Remain. However, following the shift in party policy, leader Jo Swinson said, “We will do all we can to fight for our place in Europe, and to stop Brexit altogether.”

This will come into force if the party wins the election as a majority government, which many have pointed out is unlikely. In the meantime, the party is committed to continue to work with opposition parties to campaign for a further referendum and to prevent a “dangerous” no-deal Brexit. 

Under attack

Oil prices have risen by as much as 20% - the most in nearly three decades - after two attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure on Saturday cut more than half the country’s production. The incident has knocked out more than 5% of global supply. 

Brent crude jumped 10% to $66.28 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate increased by 8.9% to $59.75 in Asian trading. Prices pulled back slightly after US President Donald Trump authorised release of US reserves. 

The US has put the blame on Iran for the attacks, while Iran accused the US of “deceit”. The Saudis have not gone into any detail about the attacks, but Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said they would be tapping into storage facilities to compensate for some of the fall in production. 

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Contact Press Office

Euan Holmes, Press Officer

020 7451 3280

Press office