A highly-charged weekend featuring the visit of Donald Trump has raised the stakes further in the ongoing Brexit drama.

Ahead of crucial Commons votes on trade and customs the US president said that Theresa May’s Brexit compromise deal, fashioned at Chequers last weekend, would “probably kill” a trade deal with his country. Hours later he suggested the opposite.

This ridiculous and insensitive flip-flopping can be of no satisfaction to finance directors seeking to make sense of a forthcoming Brexit deal that accommodates traded goods (but not services). At the same time Trump is creating havoc by threatening trade wars through hitting the rest of the world with tariffs.

The soft Brexit plan outlined in a White Paper last week may seem to be the best possible outcome for most UK companies- although it is being attacked by Brexiteers who would prefer a no-deal on WTO terms and arch-Remainers who see the prospect of a no-deal as the means to spark a fresh referendum. It has also requires the formal response of the EU.

If the White Paper can survive in roughly its current form it may just go a long way to ensuring trade co-operation, with no hard border for Northern Ireland, and global trade deals for the UK. But right now that’s a big ask.


Britain’s nine largest accounting firms reportedly held an unprecedented private meeting to discuss tactics to prevent the UK competition watchdog from launching a full investigation of the market that could result in a break-up of the biggest firms.

Ideas though to have been discussed in a meeting on Friday included the Big Four firms — KPMG, PwC, EY, and Deloitte — lending staff, software or expertise to their smaller rivals.