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LONDON, Sept 24, 2018 (News Wires) - British Prime Minister Theresa May will eventually decide to abandon her strategy for maintaining close trade ties with the European Union because it lacks support, a leading eurosceptic lawmaker in her Conservative Party said on Monday.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of anti-EU lawmakers in May's ruling Conservative party, said the so-called Chequers plan is opposed by European politicians and large parts of the British public.

"The prime minister is a lady of singular wisdom and therefore is likely to recognize the reality that Chequers does not have much support either in this country or abroad," Rees-Mogg said.

Last week, EU leaders rejected May's proposal to seek a free trade area for goods with the EU and some rebels in May's party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one.



LONDON, September 24, 2018 (News Wires) - British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday that he was confident that the United Kingdom will make progress and eventually clinch a Brexit deal with the European Union.

“We keep on negotiating in good faith, we try and get the best deal we can, but we are ready for all eventualities,” Raab told TalkRadio. “We’ll keep negotiating in good faith, I’m confident we’ll get there.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that Brexit talks with the EU had hit an impasse, defiantly challenging the bloc to come up with its own plans after EU leaders savaged her proposals.

However, Raab said it was important not to overreact to the “stubborn” tone struck by Brussels and that some setbacks were to be expected.

“These blips in the world, they’re blown a little bit out of proportion, but we double down, we don’t throw our toys out the pram, hold our nerve, keep our cool,” Raab said.

“But at the same we need to be ready for the possibility ... that the ambitions that we are bringing to these negotiations to try and get a win-win deal isn’t matched by the other side and it does take two to tango.”

Sterling jumped above $1.31, leaving it up around 0.5 per cent on the day, as Raab spoke.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party will vote this week on whether there should be a second referendum on the outcome of the Brexit talks, although its finance spokesman said on Monday these would be on any final deal struck rather than on reversing the process altogether.

Raab said such a stance made it more likely they would fail to get any deal.

“What they (the EU) need to see is some unity of purpose from the UK which is why all this Labour nonsense about a second referendum is not only undemocratic but it’s the last thing we should be doing right now with our EU partners because it encourages them to offer us a lousy deal which makes a no deal more likely,” he said.

PARIS, Sept 22, 2018 (News Wires) - France still believes that a good deal on Brexit is possible but the country must prepare for the possibility of Britain and the European Union failing to reach an agreement on its divorce from the bloc, a minister said on Saturday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that Brexit talks with the EU had hit an impasse, defiantly challenging the bloc to come up with its own plans a day after EU leaders savaged her proposals.

“The British people decided to leave in a (2016) referendum, we respect that. But this choice cannot lead to the EU going bust, unravelling,” Nathalie Loiseau, minister for European affairs, told France Info radio.

“That’s the message we have tried to send for several months now to our British counterparts, who may have thought we were going to say ‘yes’ to whatever deal they came up with.”

Loiseau said May’s so-called Chequers proposals, whereby British goods would enter the EU’s single market freely, were “too negative” and would have led to “unfair competition for European companies”.

She said she still believed a good deal with Britain was possible, but that France should get ready for the possibility of a “no deal” and would introduce legislation in November to that effect.

“We are working on reaching a good deal, that’s where we spend most of our energy. It’s still possible, I believe it is, all the 27 (EU member states) believe it is. But I can’t rule out that we don’t reach an agreement in the end.”

“Let’s imagine we don’t reach an agreement. What we say is we must prepare for that,” she added.

May has said her proposals for future trade with the EU were the only way forward. EU leaders in Salzburg repeated their view that the plans would undermine their cherished single market.

CAIRO, Sept 21, 2018 (MENA) - The Egyptian Embassy in London has received a limestone artifact that had been smuggled abroad after being stolen from Karnak Temple. The ancient artifact was displayed at an auction house in London.

Its return falls within the framework of constant cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Antiquities in addition to efforts meant to retrieve Egyptian relics that had been stolen and smuggled abroad, said a press statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Friday.

The ministry extended thanks to all UK bodies that cooperated and coordinated with the Egyptian embassy in London to restore the precious artifact, the statement added.

Both ministries voiced their keenness on furthering constant cooperation and coordination to preserve Egypt's cultural heritage in particular and the human heritage in general.



LONDON, Sept 21, 2018 (News Wires) - As negotiations become fraught before Britain's exit from the European Union in March, tensions of a different kind are surfacing on the currency markets -- derivatives activity is rising sharply as investors bet on a weaker sterling.

Hopes of progress on a Brexit deal between London and Brussels have fuelled a sterling rebound to nine-week highs; yet the view broadly remains that talks will go down to the wire, setting British assets up for a volatile few months.

EU leaders' rejection this week of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan already knocked the pound on Friday, and many investors warn against banking too much on a positive outcome.

Collateral damage to the British economy could be enough to warrant holding a short sterling position even as negotiations get more intense, some investors believe.

"We are happy to hold our short pound position against the euro through currency forwards as we think there are a lot of red lines that the EU and the UK have to cross before a deal can be signed," said Kaspar Hense, a portfolio manager at BlueBay Asset Management, which runs $60 billion in funds.

The International Monetary Fund warned this week that the Britain's economy would shrink if it departed the EU without a Brexit deal but damage was inevitable no matter what terms it leaves on.

UBS calculates the economy would lose 6.9 per cent of output in the event of a "soft" Brexit, rising to a 10 per cent hit should the exit be "hard", without a trade deal in place.

Most investors, even those without a firm conviction on the final Brexit outcome or the economic outlook, say they prefer trading sterling via derivatives rather than on the spot foreign exchange market.

That's because outstanding short positions on the pound in the futures market are more than $5 billion. Such a large bet makes trading the spot pound very vulnerable to any positive headlines on Brexit negotiations because that could force speculators to exit short bets.

Indeed, sterling has rallied by 5 per cent from more than one-year lows hit in mid-August to nearly $1.33 and not far away from a 2018 high of above $1.43 hit in April.


LONDON, Sept 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Manfred Weber, Leader of the European People's Party in the European Parliament, welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit negotiating plan on Tuesday, May's office said in a statement following a meeting between the two.

"On Brexit, Weber recognised that the Chequers proposals were a step forward and stressed the priority the European Parliament placed on resolving questions relating to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as on maintaining the integrity of the Single Market," a spokesman from May's office said.

"They also discussed the Future Framework and agreed that both the UK Parliament and European Parliament should be able to vote on a precise plan for the UK-EU relationship."

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