Brexit Bulletin: The Hardest Word

Brexit Bulletin: The Hardest WordBrexit Bulletin: The Hardest Word

Days to Brexit deadline: 88

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Today in Brexit: As the U.K. prepares to enter a five-week election campaign, Boris Johnson makes a surprise apology.

What’s happening? On the final weekend before the U.K. enters a grueling election campaign, Prime Minister Boris Johnson looked to address his past missteps, admitting he’s at least partly responsible for failing to deliver on his “do or die” pledge to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 and apologizing for not being able to get it done.

The admission comes  after weeks in which Johnson has blamed Parliament for thwarting his Brexit plan, and said an election is the only way to break the deadlock. Still, speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Johnson said he also bears some responsibility for failing to deliver Brexit by Halloween, saying it was “a matter of deep regret.”  

In what may become a theme of the campaign, the weekend also saw signs of how the prime minister may use his newly minted Brexit deal to broaden his appeal. In an interview with the pro-Brexit Sunday Express, Johnson promised to push his deal through Parliament “very fast” if his Conservative Party wins the general election on Dec. 12. Meanwhile, the Times reported that the Tories will seek to reach voters in the center-ground by removing the threat of a no-deal Brexit in their election manifesto, promising instead to deliver Johnson’s accord.The five-week election campaign kicks off in earnest this week. While polling companies have a spotty recent history in the U.K., most currently show a sizeable lead for Johnson’s party, although some show Labour already eating into that gap.

One man who won’t be standing in the December election is Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Farage said Sunday that he wouldn’t make an eighth attempt to run for Parliament. Still, some are still worried he could prove a major factor in the campaign, with Steve Baker, the chairman of the Conservative European Research Group, warning Farage could help create another hung parliament, and so become the “man who threw away Brexit.”

Today’s Must-Reads

Parliament is electing a new speaker today — a role that could continue to prove pivotal in how Brexit plays out. Here’s our guide to the process of replacing John Bercow. The latest bout of Brexit turmoil is creating problems for the Bank of England, giving its forecasters a fresh headache and leaving the appointment process for the next governor in disarray. As the election nears, the Guardian has put together a guide to 10 key marginal seats that may define the outcome.

Brexit in Brief

Labour Ambiguity | Labour’s business spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey on Sunday repeatedly refused to confirm that the party would support a remain position in a second referendum. Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge, she said the party would hold a special conference with its members to decide whether it would back any Brexit deal that leader Jeremy Corbyn negotiated with the EU, if he were to be elected. Meanwhile, the Guardian reports Corbyn has warned his shadow cabinet to obey him on Brexit.

Remain Alliance | The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party plan to announce an election cooperation strategy to bolster opposition to Brexit, according to The Sunday Times. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson later confirmed discussions had been taking place to build such an alliance in certain seats.  

Forecasts Cut | U.K. economic growth is set to slow to the weakest pace in a decade next year amid a weaker global environment and elevated political uncertainties, according to the EY Item Club. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the BOE to also downgrade its outlook later this week.

Clash of the Radicals | Bloomberg’s Jess Shankleman explores why there may be no room for moderates in next month’s election battle, as populists push all parties to the extremes.

Corrected Text | The Daily Telegraph was this weekend forced to publish a correction on an article written by Boris Johnson before he was prime minister in which he misinterpreted a pile of data to suggest the British economy was set to outperform the rest of Europe. It’s the third time this year the newspaper has issued a correction to one of Johnson’s columns, according to the Guardian.

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To contact the author of this story: David Goodman in London at dgoodman28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Caitlin Morrison at cmorrison59@bloomberg.net, Leila Taha

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