Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

WE'RE TAKING BACK CONTROL, SAY MPs; MPs FLEX MUSCLES OVER BREXIT AS STUDY SAYS WE'LL LAG BEHIND ITALY FOR GROWTHMPs: We'll Work across Divide to Get Brexit Deal That Promotes Growth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

WE'RE TAKING BACK CONTROL, SAY MPs; MPs FLEX MUSCLES OVER BREXIT AS STUDY SAYS WE'LL LAG BEHIND ITALY FOR GROWTHMPs: We'll Work across Divide to Get Brexit Deal That Promotes Growth

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy and Nicholas Cecil in Westminster Sarah Collins in Brussels

SENIOR MPs moved closer to taking control of key Brexit decisions today as Theresa May's Cabinet was slated by business leaders for dithering and a report consigned Britain to the slow lane of European growth.

Ex-ministers on both sides of the Commons said cross-party talks were under way towards forging a consensus in Parliament for a "pragmatic" and pro-business exit agreement. Concern that the Government is failing to set out a clear plan increased as 11 members of a special Cabinet committee gathered in Downing Street to agree what one government source said privately was "a grand fudge" that could actually postpone critical agreements on tariffs and trade.

The damage to UK prospects was highlighted by a new European Commission study saying Britain will have the EU's slowest growing economy this year and next, even trailing Italy. While the EU will grow 2.5 per cent this year and 2.1 per cent in 2019, the UK will slow to a "subdued" 1.4 per cent in 2018 and 1.1 in 2019, down from 1.8 per cent last year.

The UK forecast for this year was revised upwards slightly from 1.3 per cent, reflecting the mild boost from improved global growth. But Pierre Moscovici, the EU's economic and tax chief, boasted: "The euro area is enjoying growth rates not seen since before the financial crisis."

Stephen Jones, head of the UK Finance group, pleaded for a deal enabling the City to keep trading in Europe. He Continued on Page 4 Continued from Page 1 said: "Any EU-UK trade agreement must go beyond what is set out in existing trade deals around the world." Adam Marshall, of the British Chambers of Commerce, said some UK firms were "activating" contingency plans to move staff and some were postponing investment. "All those big decisions are being affected by the lack of clarity from the Government," he said. "We need the Prime Minister to take a grip of that." He said the Cabinet was debating "at 35,000 feet, [while] businesses are at ground level".

In Parliament, however, senior MPs said they would co-operate across the political divides to vote for a Brexit deal that would promote jobs and growth. …

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