Belfast Telegraph

Sticking to March deadline for Brexit is reckless: Robin Swann

Extension call: Robin Swann
Extension call: Robin Swann
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

The Ulster Unionist leader has urged the Government to delay triggering Brexit.

Robin Swann MLA said without a deal in place it was now "reckless" to stick to the March 29 deadline to trigger Article 50.

"The Ulster Unionist Party is clear that leaving the European Union without a deal would be disastrous for Northern Ireland," he said.

"As speculation builds that the UK Government is considering an extension of Article 50, I would again appeal to the Prime Minister to move on this sooner rather than later.

"The UK risks its position being weakened by its own timeframes.

"These are decisions that will shape our future for generations to come, and so the coming weeks should not be approached recklessly."

Prime Minister Theresa May is set to put her Brexit deal before parliament again on Tuesday, despite more expectations of a heavy defeat.

Mr Swann added: "It is important that any opportunity to improve the Withdrawal Agreement is maximised and I believe that extending Article 50 provides the opportunity to prevent us being forced into either entering into a bad deal or leaving with no deal."

The foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt warned yesterday that rejecting Theresa May's deal on Tuesday would lead to a "Brexit paralysis".

Rebel Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, a former attorney general, passed an amendment that would require Mrs May to publish a plan on the way forward within three days if her deal is defeated.

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, has called for a general election at the earliest opportunity to "break the deadlock" over Brexit.

He said a government with a fresh mandate would have a greater chance of securing a withdrawal deal with the EU.

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