Pound & FTSE stall, gilts fall on May’s ‘lame duck’ survival

‘I recognise the strength of concern in the House of Commons and that is what I will be putting to colleagues today,’ May said in reference to her unpopular EU withdrawal deal.

|AIWA! NO!|Theresa May’s ‘lame duck’ victory took the zest out of UK currency, government bond and stock markets today as investors weighed the political complexities surrounding the prime minister as she seeks a way out of the Brexit crisis.

The pound, having dipped after May survived last night’s no-confidence vote in her leadership of the Conservative party with a 200-117 majority of her MPs, initially regained momentum but then settled back at $1.2635 against the dollar after the premier returned to Brussels to plead for concessions from European Union leaders.

Sterling strengthened slightly against the euro, which dipped to 89.88p after the European Central Bank noted weaker economic data as it confirmed it would halt its huge bond-buying stimulus policies next month but was cautious about raising interest rates next year.

‘I recognise the strength of concern in the House of Commons and that is what I will be putting to colleagues today,’ May said in reference to her unpopular EU withdrawal deal.

May’s decision on Monday to postpone a Commons’ vote on the deal, which hardline Brexiteers fear would lock the UK into a customs union with the EU as part of the ‘Irish backstop’ agreement, was the catalyst for the no-confidence ballot.

‘I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough, but what I do hope is that we can start work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary,’ May added.

Government bonds, or gilts, also see-sawed. Earlier they rose in price as investors sought out the safe havens against the UK’s political difficulties and the obstacles facing May as she tries to get her deal through Parliament.

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