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Bitesize Blighty: October 4, 2018

Mark Rapaport

  • EU leaders have warned Boris Johnson they have deep concerns about his new Brexit proposals as the UK Prime Minister insisted he had made a “genuine attempt to bridge the chasm” between the two sides. Donald Tusk, European Council president, told Mr Johnson the EU was “open but still unconvinced” following the arrival of his plan to replace the Irish backstop on Wednesday. In a blunt assessment, the European Parliament’s Brexit steering group separately said the UK’s plans did not “represent a basis for an agreement to which the European Parliament could give consent”.
  • The UK is a step closer to its first recession since the global financial crisis after the services sector — which accounts for 80% of the economy and includes everything from restaurants to finance — unexpectedly contracted last month. This comes at a precarious time for the global economy, and against the backdrop of Britain's looming departure from the EU. The UK economy shrank in the three months to June; a second consecutive contraction would tip it into recession.
  • Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has sued the Mail on Sunday for publishing what her husband Prince Harry has dubbed “lie after lie” at the expense of his wife, taking the decades-long feud between Britain’s royal family and the tabloid press back to the courts. Although the duke and duchess have had a notoriously difficult relationship with Britain’s tabloid newspapers, the decision to sue and launch such a public attack is a rare step that underlines how badly relations have deteriorated.

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