Brexit Bad News: Third British Govt Minister Admits Departure Day Delay

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OLIVER JJ LANE

The British Home Secretary has privately admitted the official date of departure for the United Kingdom from the European Union may have to be delayed, according to claims.

Savid Javid, one of the most senior ministers in Theresa May’s government has reportedly said Brexit day — legally set at the 29th of March 2019 — will likely be delayed, and is said to be questioning the wisdom of the Prime Minister still advocating the promised date in public, according to claims published by the Daily Telegraph.

It is reported that several ministers have already decided that Brexit should be delayed to give the government extra days to prepare for Brexit — a remarkable failure of preparedness given the United Kingdom now voted to leave the European Union over two and a half years ago — but few have yet admitted that in public.

Given recent polling showing the rising popularity of the UK leaving the European Union on World Trade Organisation terms — what critics call a ‘hard Brexit’ without a negotiated deal with the EU and without paying the £39 billion exit bill — delating Brexit even further to avoid this outcome could prove deeply unpopular with voters.

Javid’s alleged comments follow public ones by fellow senior minister Jeremy Hunt, a remainer who has recently taken to speaking out against the European Union, who said Thursday that Brexit could be delayed. Mr Hunt told BBC radio Thursday that “If we ended up approving a deal in the days before March 29, then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation.

“But if we are able to make progress sooner, then that might not be necessary. We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.”

His comments were followed up by Justice Secretary David Gauke, who put out the emerging line Thursday when he said: “What we want is a smooth and orderly Brexit – we should deliver the referendum result.

“We are all aiming at doing that on 29th March but clearly if we got to the point where we can’t deliver that smooth and orderly Brexit on 29th March we would need to consider our options as the Foreign Secretary has said today.”

That the government is now considering extending the Article 50 process and preventing the nation leaving the European Union when it is legally obliged to do so on March 29th, will be of concern to Brexiteers who have had that automatic departure mechanism as a reassuring defence against pro-EU plotters throughout the negotiation period.

How long the delay could be is not clear, by PoliticsHome reported this week that grassroots local Conservative associations could stomach a delay of up to two months — taking Britain right to the threshold of having to hold fresh European Union parliamentary elections.

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