The Latest: UK minister acknowledges possible Brexit delay
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):
A key member of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has acknowledged that Britain’s exit from the European Union may have to be delayed if negotiations on the divorce deal drag on until late March.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told the BBC that while it is difficult to know whether negotiations will stretch to the final moment, it may be necessary for “extra time” to pass laws. His comments are getting attention because May’s government hasn’t been willing to entertain delaying Brexit.
Hunt says “I think it is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before 29 March 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.”
Britain’s carmakers have issued a stark warning about Brexit’s impact on the industry, warning that two-thirds of the country’s production is at risk if the U.K. leaves the European Union without an agreement on future trade.
The Society of Motor Manufacturing said Thursday that the industry is on “red alert” as the threat of no-deal increases.
The trade association says investment in the industry fell 46 percent last year and new car production dropped 9.1 percent to 1.52 million vehicles in 2018, in part because of concerns over Brexit.
But chief executive Mike Hawes says “this is nothing compared with the permanent devastation caused by severing our frictionless trade links overnight, not just with the EU but with the many other global markets with which we currently trade freely.”