Highlights: UK ministers quit over Brexit draft, pound and bank stocks tumble, May vows to fight


LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May battled on Thursday to save a draft divorce deal with the European Union after her Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, and other ministers quit in protest and eurosceptic lawmakers stepped up efforts to topple her.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab gestures during a press briefing after a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Vidal/File Photo


– May held a news conference to underline her determination to stay the course, saying: “Am I going to see this through? Yes.”

– Sterling fell 1.8 percent against the dollar GBP=D3 [GBP/] – Against the euro EURGBP=D3, it was down 2 percent, its biggest fall since shortly after the 2016 Brexit referendum.

– Credit rating firm S&P Global warned it could cut Britain’s AA credit rating again if the risk of a “disorderly” Brexit became more apparent.

– The cost of insuring exposure to Britain’s sovereign debt rose to its highest level in almost two years. British gilt yields plunged.

– Environment Secretary and Brexit advocate Michael Gove is willing to replace Raab as Brexit secretary only if he can renegotiate the deal and a Nov. 25 EU summit to endorse it is scrapped, the Daily Telegraph’s deputy political editor tweeted, adding that Gove is still weighing up whether to quit the cabinet.

– May said she would will announce cabinet appointments in due course.

– The Financial Conduct Authority said it was in regular contact with financial firms as shares in major banks tumbled on worries over future access to the EU market.

– Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) were down 9.6 percent, their biggest one-day fall since the June 2016 referendum. Barclays (BARC.L) and Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) dropped 4.1 and 5.0 percent respectively.

– France led calls among EU states for changes to the draft deal.

– A leadership challenge to May could be completed in weeks, eurosceptic lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said.

– The BBC reported Conservative lawmakers have not yet submitted enough letters to trigger a confidence vote in her.

– A vote is triggered if 48 Conservative lawmakers (15 percent of the total) write a letter of no confidence to the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee, Graham Brady.

– May’s spokesman said she would fight for her premiership if such a vote was called.


– Brexit-sensitive British stocks slid. Housebuilders, retailers and banks all fell, dragging the mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC index down 1.3 percent, while the exporter-heavy FTSE 100 .FTSE managed to hold flat, supported by a plunge in the value of sterling. [.L]


– Nerves among British government bond investors forced the debt agency to accept low bids for a 20-year bond at auction to an extent not seen since March 2009.

– Data from Refinitiv showed the spread between 10-year GB10YT=RR and 30-year gilt yields had ballooned by more than 11 basis points.


– British financial regulators held a conference call with major banks seeking feedback on market conditions after the pound and financial stocks sank following Raab’s resignation, sources said. One source said the call was a direct request from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. The central bank declined to comment.

– Britain’s financial services industry greeted the draft agreement with weariness and worry, spooked by a political revolt that could topple the government and bring fresh troubles to a sector already reeling from upheaval.

– Euro zone banks that issued large amounts of loss-absorbing debt under English law could have more time to meet requirements after Brexit, according to the bloc’s agency responsible for winding down failing lenders.


– Dominic Raab: Brexit Secretary

– Esther McVey: Work and Pensions Secretary

– Shailesh Vara: junior Northern Ireland minister

– Suella Braverman: junior Brexit minister

– A parliamentary aide to education ministers and a Conservative Party vice chairman also quit.


– “We have been preparing for no-deal and we continue to prepare for no-deal because I recognize that we have a further stage of negotiation with the European Council and then that deal when finalised … has to come back to this House.”

“The choice is clear: We can choose to leave with no deal, we can risk no Brexit at all, or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated.”


– German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

“We have a document on the table that Britain and the EU 27 have agreed to, so for me there is no question at the moment whether we negotiate further … You have to see the alternatives and then ask: is what we have a basis?”

– French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe

“We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

“It will escape no one that the current political situation in Britain could fuel uncertainty… over the ratification of the accord.”

Compiled by David Stamp and Kevin Liffey