Brexit ‘to be delayed eight weeks until May 24 even if May’s deal gets through Commons’

Brexit ‘to be delayed eight weeks even if May’s deal gets through Commons’: Cabinet discusses putting leaving date back until May 24 to allow more time for MPs to pass necessary bills

  • EXCLUSIVE: Britain’s date to leave EU could be delayed from March 29 to May 24
  • The proposed eight-week delay was discussed by cabinet, it emerged last night
  • New date would allow MPs more time to get necessary bills through Parliament 

Commons leader Andres Leadsom suggested a Brexit extension two weeks ago

Brexit could be delayed for up to eight weeks even if Theresa May gets her deal through the Commons, it emerged last night.

Cabinet Ministers have discussed pushing the date back to allow time for essential legislation to pass through the Commons.

An eight-week delay would mean leaving the European Union on May 24 instead of March 29.

There are several Bills – on issues including immigration and trade – which must pass through both the Commons and the Lords before we leave, as well as hundreds of other pieces of minor legislation.

Two weeks ago, Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom suggested the date could be extended ‘by a couple of extra weeks’ to ensure the Bills could be passed.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said ‘extra time’ may be needed if talks with the EU drag on.

May's Cabinet discussed delaying the EU leaving date by eight weeks, it emerged last night

May’s Cabinet discussed delaying the EU leaving date by eight weeks, it emerged last night

And on Friday, Chancellor Philip Hammond told ITV News: ‘If we do get a deal and we need a little bit more time to put all the legislation in place, everybody on both sides will take a reasonable approach to that.’

Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg also said an extension was ‘not impossible’ if a new deal is agreed.

But Downing Street has insisted Brexit must happen on time. The Prime Minister told Cabinet yesterday we ‘have to leave’ on March 29.

Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith is also understood to be determined to get the legislation through so Brexit happens ‘on time’.


A no-deal Brexit would be worse for Ireland than the UK in the long term, say leading economists.

Trade disruption and uncertainty would deliver a major hit to the Irish if we leave the EU without an agreement, they believe.

In the worst case, Ireland’s economy could be almost 6 per cent smaller in 2030 if there is No Deal, compared to if an agreement is reached, according to data publicised by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.

The hit to Britain would be a little over 4 per cent at worst, while the German economy could be nearly 2 per cent smaller, says the Bank of Belgium study highlighted by Niesr. 

The EU economy as a whole could be about 1.5 per cent smaller.

Niesr expects the UK economy to grow by 1.5 per cent this year, assuming a Brexit deal is signed.



Ministers are poised to cut taxes and slash tariffs on food imports if there is a No Deal Brexit, it emerged last night.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said plans for sweeping cuts in import tariffs had been agreed ‘unanimously’ at a Cabinet meeting last year. He said the move would give consumers a ‘shot in the arm’ and help counter the threat of post-Brexit inflation.

Mr Raab said there are also plans to slash taxes, particularly on business, in a ‘fiscal stimulus’ for the economy.

Meanwhile, Liam Fox has reportedly drawn up plans to slash all import tariffs to zero. The International Trade Secretary told business leaders the move was needed to head off inflation if the pound drops after a No Deal.

Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, who was at the meeting, described the plan as ‘foolhardy’. Downing Street said final decisions had not been taken.