LONDON – The Latest on Britain's exit from the European Union (all times local):
Further evidence has emerged that British manufacturers are building up their cushions against the possibility the country crashes out of the European Union without a deal.
Financial information firm IHS Markit found that Brexit stockpiling is giving a boost to production — at least temporarily.
According to the firm, its purchasing managers index for the sector rose to a 13-month high in March to 55.1, up three points from the previous month. Anything above 50 indicates an expansion in output.
Stockpiling has become increasingly prevalent over the past few months as Britain's exit looms — originally scheduled for March 29 but since delayed at least to April 12.
Given the uncertainty, firms have stored up on raw materials and on those products they need from elsewhere in the EU.
Prime Minister Theresa May's chief disciplinarian says the government should have told people they would have to accept a softer form of exiting the European Union after May lost her majority in the 2017 general election.
Chief Whip Julian Smith, whose job is to ensure Conservative Party lawmakers vote for the government, makes the comments in a BBC documentary to be broadcast Monday.
Smith says May called the election to strengthen her hand in delivering Brexit, but was weakened when she lost her majority. He says the government "should have just been clearer the consequences of that, the parliamentary arithmetic, would mean that this would be inevitably a kind of softer type of Brexit."
The comments come after Parliament rejected May's EU withdrawal deal for a third time on Friday.