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Britain seeks to delay Brexit until at least June

Published: Friday 15 March 2019

By Halo Financial Team

Britain is seeking to stay in the European Union beyond 29th March.

On Thursday evening, MPs agreed Prime Minister Theresa May should ask Europe to extend the Brexit deadline by at least three months.

If MPs reach a deal to put before the European Union by Wednesday 20th March, the government would seek a one-off extension until 30th June 2019.

Any extension beyond 30th June 2019, would require the UK to hold European elections in May 2019.

But Europe is likely to require a clear purpose to approve an extension.

A European Commission spokesperson reiterated that, pointing out a request for an extension of Article 50 requires unanimous agreement from the 27 member states. The European Council would consider the request, taking into account the reasons and duration.

It has been suggested that Europe may prefer a longer Brexit pause, which could infuriate hard Brexiteers, causing them to back an amended deal from Theresa May.

After significant gains yesterday in response to Parliament voting against a no-deal Brexit, Sterling initially fell in response against the US Dollar from around 1.326 to 1.322 interbank rates.
David Johnson, Founding Director of Halo Financial, says, “After the gains of yesterday, it was likely that the pound would settle down and the markets had anticipated the extension request.
“With important Brexit developments and votes due over the next week, if you are exchanging Sterling, watch the markets and obtain guidance from your currency consultant, who can also keep a close eye on the markets for you and translate what it means for you and your specific circumstances.”

Political commentators suggest Mrs May is likely to make changes to her Brexit deal and bring it back to Parliament before the 20th March deadline for a third Meaningful Vote.

A series of amendments were defeated in the House of Commons on Thursday night. A Labour amendment noting the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal had been rejected and instructing the Prime Minister to seek an extension to Article 50 was lost by 16 votes. An amendment proposing an Article 50 extension only until 30th June, was also defeated.
brexit concept - double exposure of flag and Westminster Palace with Big Ben
A bid for MPs to take control of the Parliamentary timetable was defeated by two votes.

An amendment for a second referendum was heavily defeated after it was not supported by Labour, as it believes there is a better time to push for a new people’s vote. Labour’s Ruth Smeeth resigned as parliamentary private secretary to Tom Watson to vote against a second referendum.

This was the third day in a row that there were critical Commons votes on Brexit.

On Wednesday, MPs voted against a no-deal Brexit, although further legal steps need to be taken to ensure it does not happen.

A day earlier, they turned down Theresa May’s Brexit deal. However, as we have outlined, it looks likely to be amended and come back before Parliament again.

On Thursday, US President Trump also weighed in on the Brexit saga. He says, “I’m surprised at how badly it has all gone from a stand point of negotiations but I gave the prime minister my ideas of how to negotiate it, she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine, but it could have been negotiated in a different manner.”

However, he says after Brexit, the UK could secure a very large trade deal with the United States.

Halo Financial will keep you in touch with the latest Brexit news and how it affects exchange rates.
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