LONDON: A key member of PM Theresa May’s government acknowledged on Thursday that Britain’s exit from the European Union may have to be delayed if negotiations on a divorce deal drag on.

UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC that while it is difficult to know whether negotiations will stretch to the final hours, a delay may be necessary to pass legislation to implement Brexit. His comments gained attention because of fears the country is simply not ready to leave — even though May’s Downing Street office insisted nothing had changed.

“I think it is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before March 29 then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation, but if we are able to make progress sooner then that might not be necessary,” the foreign secretary said.

The comments came as the British government announced on Thursday that it was scrapping MPs’ February holiday. In a rare move, MPs were warned to ditch their holiday plans in order to cram through vital legislation over the next two months as Britain careers towards the EU exit door after 46 years of membership. British lawmakers have not had their holidays pulled since they were recalled from their 2013 summer break to debate the conflict in Syria.


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