• The Attorney General’s full legal advice on the Brexit deal has been published and can be found here. In a six-page document released today, the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, concedes that the UK could be trapped indefinitely in the Irish backstop. He stresses that the protocol setting out the backstop would “endure” even if negotiations between the two sides broke down. Without a legal exit route, unless both sides agree to a satisfactory arrangement that makes the backstop unnecessary, he says the UK would have to rely on the arrangement being politically uncomfortable for the EU because it gives the UK market access without accepting single market rules in full. (The Guardian)

 

  • May promises moves to allay concerns over Irish backstop: Theresa May has promised further moves to allay concerns among Conservative Eurosceptics over the Irish backstop, in an attempt to avert a heavy defeat in next week’s House of Commons vote on her Brexit deal. The biggest objection of Tory Eurosceptics, who held private meetings with Mrs May today, is that the backstop could leave the whole UK in a customs union with the EU indefinitely. Downing Street said Mrs May was looking at how she could “go further” to address concerns about the backstop. (FT)

 

  • Trade secretary warns parliamentary vote risks no Brexit: Speaking in front of the House of Commons International Trade select committee today, Liam Fox warned that this week’s parliamentary vote could result in no Brexit and said there was a risk MPs may try to “steal” Brexit from the British people. When asked whether he would prefer no deal or no Brexit, the minister said he believed the UK had to leave the EU because the government had been “instructed to do so by the British people”. (FT)

 

  • Service industry barometer hits lowest level since Brexit vote: Activity in the UK’s service sector has fallen to its lowest level since the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, according to a key survey of executives working in the industry. The IHS Markit services purchasing managers’ index fell to 50.4 in November from 52.2 in October. This was the lowest reading since July 2016 and below City economists’ expectations of an increase to 52.5. Respondents to the survey said that Brexit uncertainty had led to their clients delaying investment decisions alongside “subdued business and consumer spending”. (FT)

 

  • Hammond tells MPs Brexit a price worth paying: Philip Hammond told MPs today that the economic costs of Brexit were a price worth paying to ensure that those who voted for Brexit did not feel betrayed in the years ahead. Reflecting on his long-held view that people did not vote for Brexit “to become poorer”, the chancellor said he now thought he had to balance that view against any political backlash from Brexiters in a deeply polarised society. Mr Hammond said a successful Brexit that healed divisions “depends on us executing the instructions of the people from the referendum – leaving the EU – but doing so in a way that minimises the impact on our economy and maximises the opportunities in the future”. (FT)

 

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