- UK stocks held on to earlier gains on Monday in what is set to be a pivotal week for British politics, as Boris Johnson faces potential attacks on his aggressive Brexit strategy and possibly his leadership from Tory rebels.

At 1610, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 94.22 points, or 1.3%, at 7.301.40.

The pound remained under pressure from the Brexit ructions, providing a translational benefit for companies with business offshore.

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca rose 2.9% to £75.33 after it reported positive trial results for separate cardiovascular and diabetes drugs.

Animal drugs supplier Dechra Pharmaceuticals initially firmed 0.8% to £30.36 as it booked a rise in adjusted profits, driven by higher sales in the US, but profit taking in the afternoon saw it close 0.7% lower at £29.79.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust advanced 1.78% to 41.8p on news that it had appointed experienced wealth management executive Jane Tufnell to its board.

Sylvania Platinum gained 2.91% to 44.25p on the back of a 53% rise in full-year profit, boosted by higher production of the precious metal despite a downgrade earlier in the year.

Communications and managed services provider Maintel saw accelerated losses in the afternoon to finish off 10.68 % at 393p, despite reporting a swing to profit, as its sales slipped.

The company also announced the departure of chief executive Eddie Buxton at the end of December 'by mutual agreement'.

Antibiotics developer Motif Bio initially jumped 9.4% to 2.70p after lender Hercules Capital agreed to push back the company's next debt repayment to support its expansion strategy. By midday it had moved into negative territory, falling 7.45% to 2.36p.

Fertilizer developer Emmerson added 2.9% to 3.6p as it completed drilling at the Khemisset potash project in Northern Morocco under budget and on schedule, paving the way for the release of updated mineral resource estimate.

Shares in homewares manufacturer Portmeirion were fell 0.57% to 870p after it announced that chief executive Lawrence Bryan had retired, but would stay on the board. He had been replaced as CEO by finance director Mike Raybould.

Kazakhstan-focused Caspian Sunrise were flat at 10.35p on announcing that it would issue new shares at discount to raise $7m to buy drilling equipment.

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