If the Article 50 exit date gets deferred it could raise doubts about whether the UK ever leaves

January 11th, 2019

A deferral on March 29th could lead to similar calls once the extension ends

Lots of talk today about the possibility of the March 29th Brexit deadline being deferred because the UK Parliament does not have the time left to enact the required legislation.

Apparently six bills would have to complete the parliamentary process before the article 50 deadline of March 29 when the country is due automatically under the legislation that allowed the Article 50 notice to be given.

A deferral has a number of implications the first of which is that the country might have to participate in the forthcoming European Parliament elections which take place in May. Clearly if the UK is still in the EU then its representatives will have to be elected in the May elections.

One of the issues here is that the remaining 27 countries have already carved up the UK seats that should become available once the country leaves and candidates have been selected.

A more important element is that once you have delayed the process for a first time then you can see the same issue raising its heads against again once the extension period is over.

Maybe you could even have a situation whereby the UK is permanently in the EU and permanently trying but failing to set up the institutions and other issues that will be required for an actual exit to happen in order to meet the terms of the referendum outcome.

The betting on the Betfair exchange has moved even further towards the UK not leaving on March 29th. It is now a 75% chance that it doesn’t.

Meanwhile a hedge fund manager is betting big that the UK won’t leave.

Mike Smithson