>> Queen Elizabeth has weighed in on the somewhat uncouth political brawl that's tearing her kingdom apart. She didn't mention Brexit, but all understood a speech she gave Thursday as royal speak for stop one's bickering. The Queen told a Women's Institute meeting, off-camera, she preferred that people speak well of each other, respect different points of view, seek common ground, and never lose sight of the bigger picture.
Those notions sound quaint in a country rife with division, weeks before it's due to leave the EU at the end of March with no divorce deal yet in sight. Britain's Finance Minister Phillip Hammond warned Friday that the world's fifth largest economy will take a severe hit if it quits without an agreement with Brussels.
That sits uneasily with Prime Minister Theresa May's insistence that the no-deal scenario can't be ruled out. She's engaged in an 11th hour bid to get support for a tweaked deal.
After lawmakers crushed her last effort. Avoiding custom's checks on the Irish border, which many fear could ignite unrest, is a major sticking point. Brexit remains unpredictable, with options ranging from crashing out in disarray to a deeply divisive second referendum that would attempt to reverse the whole thing.