Belfast Telegraph

Delaying Brexit for prolonged period 'disaster,' says DUP MP Robinson

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson
East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson

DUP MP Gavin Robinson has said delaying Brexit for a prolonged period would be a "disaster".

The MP was speaking after a crucial vote in the Commons - which his party did not support - passed a motion to delay Brexit.

However, as the law currently stands the UK will still leave on March 29 with or without a deal and any delay will have to be approved by the EU. The prospect of a short delay of weeks has been mooted, but the EU has raised the possibility any extension lasting for 21 months.

European Council President Donald Tusk said EU leaders could be open to a long extension "if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy".

The matter is complicated by the EU elections with the UK facing the prospect of potentially having to put forward a new batch of MEPs - or remain without representation.

Former Cabinet ministers, such as ex-Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey who quit over Brexit have suggested they may reconsider backing the prime minister with the prospect of a lengthly period remaining in the EU looming.

Speaking to the BBC, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said if there was a short delay to implement an agreement endorsement in parliament it would be "pragmatic".

"If it is an interminable delay where there is no prospect of agreement, one that evokes the running of European parliamentary elections - that is a disaster." 

His comments come as the DUP is holding talks with the Government over Brexit, as the Prime Minister bid to gather support for her deal.

A source said the Unionist party was engaging in "ongoing and significant discussions with Government" on Friday.

It is understood that the Chancellor Philip Hammond is involved in the talks.

A number of Cabinet ministers - including Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Chief Whip Julian Smith - have met with the party as part of efforts to get them to support the PM's deal.

It is thought that the talks with Mr Hammond are part of an ongoing engagement he has had with the DUP.

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