Sterling falls as Brexit talks between the UK's two main parties collapse – CNBC


Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the State Opening of Parliament on June 21, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.

Stefan Wermuth | WPA Pool | Getty Image

Hopes that the U.K.’s two largest political parties can hash out a Brexit agreement have ended.

Six weeks of talks between the most senior lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party and main opposition Labour party have ended with no deal. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday that talks had “gone as far as they can go” and his party will now oppose her Brexit proposal.

Corbyn added that the lack of support behind May and the likelihood that she will soon be replaced as prime minister had undermined talks.

“The increasing weakness and instability of your government means there cannot be confidence in securing whatever might be agreed between us,” he said.

As skepticism grew over a cross-party deal, the pound has embarked on nine straight sessions of losses versus the euro, marking the longest unbroken run of losses this century. Versus the dollar it dipped to $1.2760 on Friday, marking a four-month low. This after almost reaching $1.34 as recently as March.

It is now expected that the U.K. government will put various options, known as indicative votes, to Parliament instead. The last time lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament — the House of Commons — held such a series of votes on Brexit there was no majority preference for any outcome.

According to ITV’s political editor, a document shows that Prime Minister Theresa May will hold these indicative votes next week, before the EU parliamentary elections.

One of the motions that the government would reportedly like to put to a vote would ask members to agree that any deal should not be subject to a second Brexit referendum.

Speaking on BBC Radio Friday, the chair of a cross-party committee designed to probe the Brexit process said a failure of talks meant a second vote would be more likely.

“There are only two ways out of the Brexit crisis that we’ve got: Either parliament agrees a deal, or we go back to the British people and ask them to make the choice,” Hilary Benn said.

“This brings the prospect of a confirmatory referendum closer, although there’s not yet a majority for that in parliament,” he added.

May’s attempts to agree a deal with Labour appears to have been the final straw for lawmakers within her own party who are demanding that she spell out her resignation date.

On Thursday, May met with a powerful committee of MPs (Member of Parliament) within her own party, with reports suggesting that she has been told to depart by June 30 at the latest.

May must have passed her withdrawal deal before this date in order avoid British members of the European Parliament  taking up their seats.So far she has failed on three attempts to get a majority of lawmakers to back her deal.

A large number of Conservative candidates are in the race to be the next U.K. leader but bookmakers put the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as favorite. Johnson confirmed his candidacy on Thursday.

Johnson, a supporter of Brexit, has been hugely critical of May’s attempts to agree a deal and has said that Britain has “nothing to fear” from leaving the trading bloc.

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