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Brexit delay - NPA comment

22nd Mar 2019 / By Alistair Driver

We will not be leaving the EU on March 29, but Brexit day could come as soon as April 12, after EU leaders partially accepted the UK's request for a delay. 

Prime Minister Theresa May had asked for a delay up to the end of June, but following a meeting on Thursday to discuss it, leaders of the other 27 member states agreed to a tighter timetable.

If Mrs May can get her withdrawal deal through Parliament next week, the exit date will be pushed back to May 22 to give time to pass the necessary legislation.

But If she can't get the deal through, the UK will have to propose a way forward by April 12 for EU leaders to consider. April 12 has become the critical date because, with EU elections scheduled for May 23-26, there needs to be clarity by then about whether the UK will be participating in them.

By April 12, the UK would need to clear about whether it is leaving with or without a deal or is seeking a longer extension.

NPA senior policy advisor Ed Barker said: “While the announcement appears to remove the prospect of leaving without a deal on March 29, it does not change much.

“We still don’t know when – or even if – we are leaving and, if so, whether the terms of our departure. The prospect of a damage no deal Brexit remains a very real possibility.

“The ongoing uncertainty is damaging for pig businesses trying to plan for the future. We continue to stress that a no deal would cause significant disruption to the pig sector, which is why we continue to urge MPs to back Mrs May’s deal and end the uncertainty.”