It’s looking increasingly likely that Theresa May’s gamble on steering a course towards Brexit in Westminster will fall at the first hurdle after a spate of resignations Thursday morning effectively scuppered her so-called Chequers deal.
May it seemed had managed to get the cabinet on side after a fractious five-hour cabinet meeting Wednesday when it was agreed to get behind the deal. But that unity has quickly dissolved Thursday morning after the resignations of Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara, secretary of state for work and pensions Esther McVey and, most damagingly, the chief negotiator for Brexit Dominic Raab.
The resignation of Raab, the man charged with getting the deal through parliament, will have hit May like a punch to the solar plexus. Known to come from the Brexit wing of the party, May had hoped that his role in the negotiations would be interpreted as upholding the spirit of the Brexit vote in June 2016. His resignation has stripped that edifice away in one fell swoop.
The task ahead for May now is less about the actual deal itself and more about whether she herself can survive the fallout. Any further resignations, and she is likely to face insurmountable odds. If she is forced to resign, that will also plunge the UK into disarray ahead of the March 29, 2019 deadline day for Brexit.
GBPUSD fell from north of the 1.30 handle Thursday morning to around the 1.2750 zone shortly after the Raab and McVey statements were released. It was at 1.2776 at 10:32 GMT.
Long way down: Sterling fell off the edge of a cliff Thursday. Source: Nordea
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