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Brexit extension ‘must not be wasted’

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The UK Parliament’s decision to seek a Brexit extension presents an opportunity that “must not be wasted” to reach a deal, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says.

“This is really the only choice available given the amount of time left and the economic damage a no-deal Brexit would cause, but we should be under no illusions about the continued uncertainty an extension creates,” ABI Director-General Huw Evans said.

“Should the EU agree to it, this extra time must not be wasted. There would be no second chances in June.”

Prime Minister Theresa May is to seek an extension until June 30 after Parliament voted to defer the March 29 leave date.

Ms May still hopes to convince MPs to support her twice-rejected Brexit deal.

The ABI earlier this month warned crashing out of the EU with nothing but World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in place would be an “unforgivable act of economic and social self-harm”.

“The WTO framework is designed to provide a mechanism for states to resolve trade disputes – it is not designed to be a safety net for the world’s fifth-largest economy leaving the world’s biggest trading bloc,” Mr Evans said.

“This matters because the EU is – by a very long distance – the largest export market for the UK insurance and long-term savings industry.”