Here’s how politicians and markets are reacting to parliament’s Brexit vote being pulled

Louis Ashworth
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Pro-EU protestors outside parliament (Source: Getty)

Reports that Prime Minister Theresa May has pulled a highly-anticipated parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal have sent shockwaves through Westminster and into wider business world.

Sources told City A.M. tomorrow’s so-called meaningful vote, in which May faced almost-certain defeat, has been dropped after over 100 Conservative MPs vowed to vote against the government.

The PM is set to give a statement to the Commons at 3:30pm, on the topic of ‘Exiting the European Union’.

Reaction from the politicians and markets has been swift and furious.

Here’s the latest.

Delay is ‘pathetic cowardice’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn jumped on the delay, saying: “The government has decided Theresa May's Brexit deal is so disastrous that it has taken the desperate step of delaying its own vote at the eleventh hour.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused May’s government of “pathetic cowardice”. She said the deal, which her SNP colleagues in Westminster oppose, should occur so it can be voted down.

“This is a watershed moment and an act of pathetic cowardice by a Tory (Conservative) government which has run out of road and is now collapsing into utter chaos,” she said in a statement.

Nigel Dodds, deputy leader and spokesperson for the DUP, which is theoretically propping up May’s government in a confidence-and-supply arrangement that has looked increasingly shaky in recent weeks, said May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations was a “shambles”.

"What (the EU) need to be faced with is either somebody who is going to really make it clear they are prepared to walk away, or a different Theresa May who will make that explicit," Dodds told the BBC.

Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister who resigned following David Davis’s departure from the Department for Exiting the European Union, said the reported delay was “essentially a defeat” for May’s withdrawal agreement.">

Tory loyalists are pushing what appears to be the government’s new line – that it will use the EU leaders’ summit on Thursday to try, once again, to secure a better deal.

Some Tories are now warning they may stop the vote being cancelled, something Buzzfeed’s Alex Wickham says would not be possible.

As for the EU, they’ve said such a renegotiation isn’t on the table.

Sterling takes a beating

Sterling dropped sharply to an 18-month low as reports of the delay first emerged, having already had a bad morning on the back of news that the British economy had a pretty rough final quarter.

The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 index, which usually rises when sterling falls, succumbed to widespread selling pressure and has reversed as investors fret about the consequences of the political chaos for UK companies.

Analysts at Nomura said “procrastination risks are on the rise once again”, as business continue to fear the potential of the UK crashing out without a deal, something which City figures has repeatedly warned against.

On the bright side…

Obviously, social media being what it is, some people are having fun.

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