Sterling rallied after Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the EU is prepared to give fresh guarantees that it does not want to trap the UK in a backstop arrangement after Brexit. The Irish PM made it clear European leaders would be willing to give assurances which could help Theresa May win a parliamentary vote on her deal next Tuesday. The presence of the Irish backstop proposal in the agreement - which would see the UK follow the EU’s customs union rules until a trade deal can be implemented - was cited by many as reason for opposing the plan last month.
Prime Minister Theresa May also commented saying she is trying to get further assurances from the European Union so she can win the Commons vote on her Brexit deal next week. May said that after delaying the vote last month, there was "some further movement from the EU" at December's European Council.
Labour sources indicate they will back a move by MPs to frustrate a no-deal exit after accusing ministers of trying to "run down the clock" to "blackmail" the UK into backing a "botched deal".
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