Britain ‘unlikely to leave EU in March’ say forecasters
BRITAIN IS unlikely to leave the European Union on March 29, 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 extension, 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 five per cent. Instead, the EIU said there was a 40 per cent chance Theresa 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 referendum 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.
“For all other options, the Government will need to buy more time, and we think the EU will be willing to provide it to avoid a cliff-edge situation. Mrs May and her Government are not prepared to run down the Article 50 clock and leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement and transition arrangements in place, although this remains a possible Brexit outcome later in 2019.”
She added: “However, delaying Brexit does not remove the downside risks to the process. With the time it has bought, the Government can pursue a new plan, but it will still be working towards a deadline to resolve the same deep political divisions over what Brexit should look like.”
Mrs May has warned of a “catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust” in democracy if MPs reject her Brexit deal and the UK remains in the European Union.