The exit of Britain from the European Union may be delayed, said a senior minister.
Under the terms of Article 50, Britain is set to leave the European Union on the 29th of March 2019.
The government has previously resisted stating that it is possible to push back the said date. Theresa May informed Parliament last week that “we [will] leave the European Union on 29th March 2019,” precisely two years after Article 50 was triggered.
But Steve Baker, the Brexit Minister, told MPs that the date could be rescheduled to a later date “by mutual agreement” with the European Union.
“It could be by mutual agreement that the date changed,” said Baker to the House of Commons Procedure Committee on Wednesday.
The minister was driven by Peter Bone, a Brexit-supporting Conservative MP, to categorically eliminate delaying Brexit, after pointing out that the government’s European Union Withdrawal Bill does not include a date for when the United Kingdom leaves the bloc.
“Will the minister like to say here and now on the record that there is no chance whatsoever that the date will be extended past the 29 March 2017?” asked Bone.
Baker refused to do so, stating that only that the lack of date in the said bill “reflects the position under treaty law.”
Under Article 50’s terms, the date for the exit of a member country can be moved to a later date if all member states agree to it collectively.