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Tuesday's Business and Politics round-up

15 Jan 2019

Person reading a daily news round up on their tablet

Good morning!

Not surprisingly this morning’s front pages focus on tonight’s historic vote in the House of Commons.

But what is the Withdrawal Agreement and what does it mean? Have a read of the IoD’s briefing here.

Of course, we will be watching the vote closely. Stay tuned for our comment and analysis of what the outcome means for you and your business!

Keep up to date on the news you need to know, with the IoD round up. 

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May of reckoning

MPs are preparing to vote on the government’s Brexit agreement this evening. It comes after the Prime Minister urged parliamentarians to vote in favour of the deal or risk “letting the British people down”. 

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday in a last-ditch effort to garner support, Theresa May said “It is not perfect but when the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House and ask, 'Did we deliver on the country's vote to leave the EU?’” 

The Prime Minister also noted new written assurances from the EU on the controversial Irish backstop, which stated that in the event it were deployed it would be in place for only “the shortest possible period”. 

The government is widely expected to suffer a crushing defeat – and this is noted by plenty of front pages today. The BBC reports around 100 Conservative MPs and the DUP’s 10 MPs will join Labour and other opposition parties to vote it down. Yesterday Conservative whip Gareth Johnson resigned to vote against the government.

The deal which MPs are voting on includes the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration. The former covers ‘separation issues’ including citizens’ rights and the Irish backstop, while the latter is a framework for negotiations on the long-term trade relationship with the EU. 

MPs will continue their five-day debate on the deal before voting, which is expected to begin at 7pm. 

Ford thinking 

Ford and Volkswagen are set to strengthen ties, as today the carmakers are expected to announce they will collaborate on a number of joint projects.

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess has said the company will manufacture pick-up trucks with Ford. The move would allow the German group to launch in the US, which is the world’s biggest pick-up truck market. Trucks is an area in which Ford is strong but VW is comparatively weak. 

Ford chief executive Jim Hackett has said in an interview that the company is seeking “an alliance or two” as part of its efforts to re-strategize. He added “there is no reason to add additional risk to the balance sheet” by making investments, such as in new technologies, on its own. 

Hackett has been under pressure to share details of his $11 billion restructuring plan. Last week Ford announced it would cut thousands of jobs in Europe and slim down its product line-up. 

Further talks on the Ford-Volkswagen alliance are likely to concentrate on how Ford could license Volkswagen's electric car technology. Deiss said Volkswagen is willing to consider building electric vehicles for the American firm. 

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