On Thursday, Theresa May gave comments to the House of Commons liaison committee, where she claimed that extending article 50 could lead to a renegotiation of her Brexit deal with Brussels. However, on Friday, EU officials dismissed this suggestion, saying that if article 50 was extended, then the only thing that would change is the date the UK officially withdraws. There is a general feeling that EU negotiators consider the 585-page withdrawal treaty done and dusted, and it only remains to be seen whether May can win the support of Parliament.
The news acts as yet another strand of uncertainty – is May making this false claim in order to scare MPs into supporting her proposals? Does she really believe what she is suggesting? With less than a fortnight until the meaningful vote (it takes place at 7pm on 11 December), it is vital that everyone is aware of the potential consequences of their actions. It still looks likely that the bill won’t get through Parliament at the first attempt, but if the margin of defeat is narrow, then perhaps a few tweaks can be made. While that would appear to fly in the face of what EU officials are claiming, perhaps they are bluffing a bit too.
International trade secretary, Liam Fox, came out in support of May’s Brexit deal, but claimed that a no-deal Brexit would not be a disaster. Still, it is surely the least preferred outcome from all of this. Striking trade deals with other countries would be a length, time-consuming process and you do have to wonder what would happen to the economy in the interim period.
Read Smart Currency Business’ latest Brexit white paper. It helps highlight the range of possibilities and what UK businesses should be considering when planning for Brexit. Time is running out to put strategies in place, so if you need some expert guidance, then please do give WLB-member Smart Currency Exchange a call on 0207 898 0500 or email them at email@example.com.