Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 2019. Theresa May has always insisted that Britain will leave exactly two years after Article 50 was triggered. However, Brexit minister Steve Baker told MPs the date could be pushed back. Baker was questioned about why the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill does not contain an exit date.
LONDON – Britain’s exit from the EU could be delayed, a senior minister has said.
Under the terms of Article 50, Britain is due to leave the EU on the 29th March 2019.
The government has previously resisted saying that it is possible to push back this date. Theresa May told Parliament last week that “we [will] leave the European Union on 29th March 2019,” exactly two years after Article 50 was triggered.
However, Brexit Minister Steve Baker told MPs that the date could be pushed back “by mutual agreement” with the EU.
“It could be by mutual agreement that the date changed,” Baker told the House of Commons Procedure Committee on Wednesday.
The minister was pushed by Brexit-supporting Conservative MP Peter Bone to categorically rule out delaying Brexit, after pointing out that the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill does not contain a date for when the UK leaves.
“Will the minister like to say here and now on the record that there is no chance whatsoever that the date will be extended past the 29 March 2017?” Bone asked.
Baker declined to do so, saying only that the lack of date in the bill “reflects the position under treaty law.”
Under the terms of Article 50, the date for the exit of a member country can be pushed back if all member states collectively agree to it.
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