LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers will face a stark choice between Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal or a long extension to the March 29 deadline for leaving the bloc, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator was overheard saying in a Brussels bar.
Unless May can get a Brexit deal approved by the British parliament, she will have to decide whether to delay Brexit or thrust the world’s fifth largest economy into chaos by leaving without a deal.
May - United - Kingdom - Schedule - Deal
May has repeatedly said the United Kingdom will leave on schedule, with or without a deal, as she tries to get the EU to reopen the divorce agreement she reached in November.
But her chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, was overheard by an ITV correspondent at a hotel bar in Brussels saying lawmakers would have to choose whether to accept a reworked Brexit deal or a potentially significant delay.
Got - Week - End - March… - Extension
“Got to make them believe that the week beginning end of March… Extension is possible but if they don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one,” ITV quoted Robbins as saying in the hotel bar on Monday during a private conversation.
Robbins made clear that he felt the fear of a long extension to Article 50 – the process of leaving the EU – might focus lawmakers’ minds, ITV said.
Spectacle - May - Officials - Position - Hotel
The spectacle of one of May’s most senior officials undermining her negotiating position in a hotel bar in Brussels indicates the scale of the United Kingdom’s Brexit crisis that has shocked both investors and allies.
It is unclear why Robbins, an experienced civil servant, would make such comments in a hotel bar. His remarks will deepen the concerns of Brexit-supporting lawmakers that May could ultimately delay leaving the bloc.
Plots - Counterplots - Brexit - United - Kingdom
Amid the labyrinthine plots and counterplots of Brexit, the United Kingdom’s most significant political and economic move since World...
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