It's Could's deal or lengthy Brexit delay, UK's chief negotiator says in a bar

LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers will face a stark alternative between Prime Minister Theresa Could’s Brexit deal or a protracted extension to the March 29 deadline for leaving the bloc, Could’s chief Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins was overheard saying in a Brussels bar.

Olly Robbins, senior civil servant and Europe adviser to Prime Minister Theresa Could, arrives on the Cupboard Workplace, in London, Britain January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Except Could can get a Brexit deal authorised by the British parliament, then she must resolve whether or not to delay Brexit or thrust the world’s fifth largest financial system into chaos by leaving and not using a deal.

Could has repeatedly mentioned that the UK will depart on schedule, with or and not using a deal, as she tries to get the EU to reopen the divorce settlement she reached in November.

However her chief Brexit negotiator, Robbins, was overheard by an ITV correspondent at a resort bar in Brussels saying that lawmakers must select whether or not to simply accept a reworked Brexit deal or a doubtlessly important delay.

“Received to make them consider that the week starting finish of March… Extension is feasible but when they don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a protracted one,” ITV quoted Robbins as saying within the resort bar on Monday throughout a personal dialog.

ITV mentioned Robbins made clear that he felt the worry of a protracted extension to Article 50 – the method of leaving the EU – may focus lawmakers’ minds.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay mentioned he didn’t need to touch upon conversations heard second hand in a loud bar however that the federal government’s place was that the UK would depart on March 29 however needed to take action with a deal.

The spectacle of one in every of Could’s most senior officers undermining her negotiating place in a resort bar in Brussels signifies the dimensions of the UK’s Brexit disaster that has shocked each traders and allies alike.

It’s unclear why Robbins, an skilled civil servant, would make such feedback in a resort bar, although his remarks will deepen the considerations of Brexit-supporting lawmakers that Could may finally delay leaving the bloc.

Robbins mentioned that essentially the most controversial a part of the divorce deal, the Northern Eire backstop, had been conceived as a ‘bridge’ to the long-term buying and selling relationship between the UK and EU.

“If the PM decides we’re leaving on 29 March, deal or no deal, that may occur,” Brexit-supporting Conservative Celebration lawmaker Steve Baker mentioned. “Officers advise. Ministers resolve.”

However Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage mentioned Robbins needs to be sacked.

“Olly Robbins represents the civil service fifth column in our nation,” Farage mentioned. “He needs to be sacked instantly for a mixture of treachery and incompetence.”

Writing by Man Faulconbridge; Modifying by Alistair Smout

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