Radio Sputnik discussed this with John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University and President of the British Polling Council.
Sputnik: We are under the impression that the financial services deal had been almost concluded and we are also reporting that the Brexit negotiations as mentioned in the leader in that with of the French Minister Le Drian that 95% of the deal has been done. Now we are obviously hearing from the UK government that it's not the case, what's your take?
Prof. John Curtice: Well, I think the first thing to say is basically is that is a clampdown on progress report about the negotiations. To be honest, nobody is entirely sure what's going on because neither side are making any statements about what's going on. So there is ritualistic press-conferences between, for example, Michel Barnier the key chief negotiator and Dominic Raab the Brexit secretary are no more because the serious negotiations are going on between the officials.
However, what it sounds like a two things, one is something that most people expected and that is at the end of the day the year per union is going to say what actually we think the financial rules under which the markets operate in the UK, are pretty much the same as ours, therefore we will allow UK banks and financial institutions to operate inside the EU.
However, the problem with that potentially is that normally the EU will say "well, we will recognize you for now but we won't reserve the right to end (that) and like you should introduce so at no more than a month notice".
What it sounds like is that if these reports are correct that the UK government is edging towards in negotiating is an arrangement whereby actually both sides would have to agree if that in fact that rules were no longer equivalent and if that there were a dispute between the two sides it would go to arbitration.
So that's what we are planning to moved towards and obviously because of this subject but strictly in just the financial market, it has therefore helped the [inaudible]. But I mean when I have said these unconfirmed reports and the truth is because the British government is trying to keep the news calm down on the progress of negotiations, therefore, it's not going to be willing to confirm or deny that this indeed is perhaps where the negotiations have gone to.
Sputnik: Do you feel that this is heading towards more clarity on the matter? Are we getting closer to this position where we want to be where there seems to be, you know, white ticks in the box is where they have clarified and they've negotiated?
Prof. John Curtice: It is so important but it has in truth never been (the mock of) one of the most controversial part (Sputnik: Sure.) of what the UK government and the EU have been discussing.
The two crucial things about which, on the first crucial thing about which we still don't know of course remember the under Chequers the UK government is seeking basically for the UK to effectively remain inside the single market so far as goods are concerned. On that subject frankly no leaks at all, we still don't have any idea where the talks are heading.
The mood moves accordingly between the lines and interpretations of what has been coming out of the UK government suggest that [?] there is still not yet resolved but maybe, maybe they are making progress.
And in truth, the first of this is the thing that's particularly unpopular amongst Tory MP's who are in favor of a hard Brexit, and we still wait to see how Theresa May will cope with that. And the second of course is an issue on which basically the UK government is said ‘we are so far have not been happy with what the European Union has proposed. And if probably though one issue above all upon which these talks could still yet potentially flounder. Difficult, it will be for both the UK and the EU to concentrate.
Sputnik: Just the final question and obviously there are reports of seeing the British pound experience a spike in its value. Is it likely that a speculation came from London? It is quite strange from my points of view that the Times Newspaper brings this out and the pound experiences such a spike. I mean they are usually very-very weary of any type of news. It seems to be they feel this could be the case.
Prof. John Curtice: Well, I think the truth is on verifications when negotiations have either allegedly been going well or allegedly going badly. The pound, the value of the pound has proved to be quite sensitive.
The truth is the value of the pond ever since June 2016 when the UK left the European Union has primarily been the hands of the sentiment in the market as to whether or not, what kind of deal the UK is going to get and I think this is just simply the latest twist in that continuing saga as the markets try to guess whether or not from that perspective the UK is or is not going to get a good deal.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.