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Sterling rebounds as Brexit breakthrough hopes grow

Boris Johnson is running out of time to get a Brexit Deal done amid the October 31 deadline Camera Icon Boris Johnson is running out of time to get a Brexit Deal done amid the October 31 deadline. Credit AP
Deanna Wagner | 09 October, 2019, 16:31

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of playing a "stupid blame game" on Tuesday after Downing street sources appeared to blame German chancellor Angela Merkel for pushing the Brexit talks between Brussels and London to the brink of collapse.

"She made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the Customs Union", the source told media.

The grim assessment from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office following a phone call between the British leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel comes just weeks before an October 31 deadline to leave the EU. Mr Johnson's official spokesman also declined to say anything about the substance of the call.

They also claimed she said a deal would never be possible unless Northern Ireland stayed in a customs union.

Riding a wave of British frustrations with the saga, Johnson is threatening to leave at any cost - with or without a withdrawal deal - on 31 October.

Otherwise, Mr Johnson is expected to set out how he plans to take Britain out of the European Union at the end of the month regardless.

"Right now, the indelicate art of trading sterling against a backdrop of Brexit mayhem and ambivalent economic trends is an exercise in gauging the extent to which risks are relatively priced or overpriced over the crosses", Ken Odeluga, chief market analyst at City Index, said in an email.

"I think it's going to be very hard to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly", Varadkar told Irish broadcaster RTE late Tuesday after a 40-minute phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"At stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom, as well as the security and interests of our people", European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted at Johnson on Tuesday, adding that "what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game".

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President Donald Trump's warning to Ankara about the scope of its planned military incursion into Syria. Lindsey Graham of SC , a close national security adviser of Mr.

Parliament is expected to be suspended Tuesday evening until October 14 to give Johnson's government the chance to set out a new legislative agenda in a "Queen's Speech".

"By allowing Northern Ireland to take the decision on whether they want to stay in the European Union or not, the market has taken this news positively as it will be a major step towards a breakthrough in the Brexit deadlock", said Lee Hardman, a currency strategist at MUFG based in London.

In London, the Guardian newspaper reported that talks over a Brexit deal are on the brink of collapse over claims Merkel was making a deal impossible.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who spoke with Mr Johnson by phone for about 45 minutes on Tuesday, said he would strive until the "last moment" to reach a deal with the United Kingdom, but "not at any cost" to his country, Northern Ireland and the rest of Europe.

"He then urged Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal Brexit planning, to "pause and reflect on the deliberate dog whistle briefing" put out this morning by No 10 against Angela Merkel". But, under the Benn Act, he also is required to seek an extension if he doesn't have a deal by October 19 - something that may still force him to seek a delay and hold a general election before going back to Brussels again.

The two leaders had a phone call, AFP added.

Downing Street has neither confirmed nor denied the source's remarks.

BREXIT BLAME GAME An array of remarks by unidentified British sources laid bare just how far apart the two sides are after three years of tortuous haggling over the first departure of a sovereign state from the EU.