‘UK will be ready for Brexit in March’

Cyprus Today - - UK -

BRI­TAIN will have im­ple­mented the nec­es­sary leg­is­la­tion for Brexit be­fore the coun­try leaves the Euro­pean Union in March, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s spokes­woman said yes­ter­day af­ter a news­pa­per quoted a min­is­ter as say­ing the exit could be de­layed.

“We are ob­vi­ously mak­ing progress with the leg­is­la­tion re­quired in ei­ther sce­nario and we will en­sure ei­ther way we will have passed the nec­es­sary leg­is­la­tion. We will make sure the time is made avail­able,” she told re­porters.

She added that the prime min­is­ter had ruled out ex­tend­ing Ar­ti­cle 50, which the gov­ern­ment trig­gered in 2017 to launch two years of di­vorce talks with the Euro­pean Union.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to un­named se­nior min­is­ters cited by Lon­don’s Evening Stan­dard, Bri­tain’s exit from the EU looks in­creas­ingly likely to be de­layed be­yond the sched­uled date of March 29 be­cause of the back­log of leg­is­la­tion that needs to be passed.

“The leg­isla­tive timetable is now very tight in­deed,” a se­nior min­is­ter told the news­pa­per yes­ter­day. “Cer­tainly, if there was de­feat on Tues­day and it took some time be­fore it got re­solved, it’s hard to see how we can get all the leg­is­la­tion through by March 29.”

Mean­while two of the big­gest donors to the Brexit cam­paign said they now be­lieved the project they had cham­pi­oned would even­tu­ally be aban­doned by the gov­ern­ment and the United King­dom would stay in the Euro­pean Union.

Pe­ter Har­g­reaves, the bil­lion­aire who was the sec­ond big­gest donor to the 2016 Leave Cam­paign, and vet­eran hedge fund man­ager Crispin Odey said they ex­pected Bri­tain to stay in the EU de­spite their cam­paign vic­tory in the 2016 ref­er­en­dum.

Mr Har­g­reaves, who amassed his for­tune from co-found­ing fund su­per­mar­ket Har­g­reaves Lans­down, said the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment were de­ter­mined to scut­tle Brexit and this would lead to a gen­er­a­tion of distrust of Bri­tain’s po­lit­i­cal classes.

The gov­ern­ment, he said, was likely to first ask for an ex­ten­sion to the for­mal exit process from the EU and then call for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

“I have to­tally given up. I am to­tally in de­spair, I don’t think Brexit will hap­pen at all,” said Mr Har­g­reaves, 72, who is one of Bri­tain’s wealth­i­est men and do­nated £3.2 mil­lion to the leave cam­paign.

“They [pro-Euro­peans] are bank­ing on the fact that peo­ple are so fed up with it that they will just say ‘sod it we will stay’. I do see that at­ti­tude. The prob­lem is when some­thing doesn’t hap­pen for so long you feel less an­gry about it.”

Mr Odey, who runs hedge fund Odey As­set Man­age­ment and do­nated more than £870,000 to pro-leave groups, said while he did not believe a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum would take place, he did not think Brexit would hap­pen ei­ther.

“My view is that it ain’t go­ing to hap­pen,” Mr Odey said. “The un­for­tu­nate thing is that al­most no­body is lead­ing the Brexit charge, so it’s lead­er­less, which is the prob­lem.”

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