Brexit date may be delayed - report

11 January 2019

(Sharecast News) - Britain's exit from the European Union could be pushed back from the current 29 March deadline, according to a report on Friday.
Cabinet ministers said the scheduled Brexit date is likely to be delayed due to a backlog of parliamentary business, the <em>Evening Standard</em> reported on Friday morning.

A number of essential bills need to be passed in order for the UK to leave the EU, including on immigration, trade, financial services, agriculture, fisheries and healthcare, ministers told the newspaper.

One said it was "hard to see how we can get all the legislation through by March 29", while others said that most of Prime Minister Theresa May cabinet now support the idea of "staging indicative votes in the Commons to see if a different Brexit plan is supported".

Moreover, the House of Commons vote on May's Brexit plan next Tuesday is also expected to result in another government defeat, after two damaging parliamentary losses earlier this week.

The pound spiked as high as 1.285 against the dollar immediately after the report was published, but dropped back below 1.28 soon after.

May made the surprising move on Thursday night of telephoning two trade union leaders to try and barter some support for her deal, offering pledges on improving workers' rights after Brexit.

With the Conservative Party historically no advocate of extra protection for workers, it was seen as a sign of the PM's desperation to get her deal through parliament and was branded a "cynical" move by the General Secretary of one of the unions.

As the deadline ticks closer, businesses and trade associations have been queueing up in recent days to warn about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

UK economic growth would fall by up to 8% if the country exited the EU without a deal, the Confederation of British Industry was warning on Friday, with director general Carolyn Fairbairn set to deliver a major speech warning that the dangers of crashing out of bloc would be "profound, widespread and lasting".