Last week Hugh Savill of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said an extension to Article 50 seemed inevitable… now the EU Council has agreed to delay the UK’s departure from the European Union, but that means the ball is right back in Britain’s court.
“After a lengthy discussion, the council today also agreed, subject to a successful vote next week, that in order to provide time for the UK Parliament to agree and ratify a Brexit deal, the date of our departure will now be extended to May 22,” said Prime Minister Theresa May in her March 21 press statement at the EU Council.
“If Parliament does not agree a deal next week, the EU Council will extend Article 50 until April 12. At this point we would either leave with no deal, or put forward an alternative plan.”
May has not had success in getting support for her now twice-rejected proposed withdrawal agreement. The silver lining for her though is that more Members of Parliament aren’t in favour of leaving without an exit plan in place.
Meanwhile the UK Prime Minister stressed how crucial it is for the House of Commons to pass a Brexit deal in order to put a stop to the uncertainty and facilitate a smooth and orderly divorce with the EU.
“I hope we can all agree, we are now at the moment of decision,” stated May. “I will make every effort to ensure that we are able to leave with a deal and move our country forward.”
Last month ABI director general Huw Evans called choosing the no-deal scenario an act of economic recklessness the UK would live to regret, asserting that exiting the world’s single biggest trading block with only the World Trade Organisation rules to fall back on would be wholly inadequate.
This despite the insurance industry having done “everything possible to prepare for no deal, including transferring an estimated 29 million insurance contracts and the establishment of nearly 40 EU subsidiaries and branches to minimise disruption to customers.”
Meanwhile a ‘Revoke Article 50’ petition, which is pushing for Britain to remain in the EU, has now gathered over two million signatures.