UK ‘un­likely to leave EU in March’

The Scotsman - - Brexit - By HAR­RIET LINE

Bri­tain is un­likely to leave the Euro­pean Union on 29 March, the Economist In­tel­li­gence Unit has pre­dicted.

The fore­cast­ing group said it ex­pects the Prime Min­is­ter will lose the crit­i­cal “mean­ing­ful vote” on her Brexit deal on Tues­day, and the Gov­ern­ment will then be forced to re­quest an ex­ten­sion to Ar­ti­cle 50.

The EIU be­lieves Brus­sels will agree to an ex­ten- sion, mean­ing Bri­tain will re­main in the trade bloc be­yond the planned exit date.

Crash­ing out of the EU with­out a deal is the least likely out­come, ac­cord­ing to the fore­cast, which put the prob­a­bil­ity of a no-deal exit at 5 per cent.

In­stead, the EIU said there was a 40 per cent chance Mrs May’s deal would even­tu­ally be ap­proved by Par­lia­ment in a sub­se­quent vote, af­ter gain­ing fur­ther as­sur­ances from Brus­sels. And it pre­dicted a 30 per cent prob­a­bil­ity of a se­cond vote be­ing called to break the po­lit­i­cal dead­lock.

Danielle Har­alam­bous, UK an­a­lyst at the EIU, said: “Time is sim­ply run­ning out, and we’re at a stage where Brexit can prob­a­bly only hap­pen in late March now in the un­likely event that Par­lia­ment ap­proves Mrs May’s deal on Jan­uary 15th, or if Par­lia­ment sup­ports leav­ing with­out a deal.”

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