THE UK’S exit from the European Union could be delayed, a senior member of the Government has revealed.

With just 56 days until the UK is supposed to leave the EU, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said “extra time” may be needed to make sure all the necessary legislation is passed.

Hunts comments were shot down by Downing Street, who insisted Theresa May remained “determined” to ensure that all the necessary arrangements would be in place for the UK to leave on March 29.

“The Prime Minister’s position on this is unchanged. We will be leaving on March 29,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

But according to research by the Institute for Government (IFG) think tank, the UK is not ready to leave.

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The IFG predicted that in eight out of 11 broad policy areas, including health and borders, the Government would be unable to avoid “major negative impacts” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Director Bronwen Maddox told the BBC the UK is “not ready for no deal”, adding: “The disruption from no deal – simply from the lack of preparation – would be extremely damaging. It cannot be dismissed as a mere blip.”

Quizzed on the Government’s readiness, Hunt told BBC Radio 4: “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. We can’t know at this stage exactly which of those scenarios would happen.”

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told reporters he too thought a delay possible: “It is possible that there will have to be an extension in order to get an agreement because we cannot leave the EU on March 29 without an agreement.

“Crashing out would mean problems of transport, problems of medicine supply, problems of supply to the food processing industry that does just in time deliveries – and that simply is not acceptable.

“This government has had two-and-a-half years to negotiate and has failed to do so.”

It came as MPs were told they may have to cancel their February break to try and catch up on Brexit.

The National:

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said the House may need to continue to sit to “make progress on the key business”, adding constituents would expect this to happen “at this important time”.

The Commons was expected to rise at the end of business on February 14 and return on February 25. Downing Street later said that parliamentary staff who had to cancel planned holidays or faced other additional expenses as a result of the decision would be compensated, but that MPs would not be covered.

Asked whether MPs with holiday plans would be required to scrap them in order to attend the Commons, a Number 10 spokeswoman said: “The usual channels will do everything to accommodate MPs with family commitments.”

Commons authorities were not immediately able to estimate the cost to the taxpayer caused by the extra week’s sitting.

Leadsom’s remarks came after she had announced the business for next week, which included no-Brexit legislation.

Instead, next week MPs will discuss, among other things, beer taxation and pubs.

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Leadsom apologised for the disruption. She told the Commons: “The House will know that recess dates are always announced subject to the process of business.

“In this unique session of Parliament and in light of the significant decisions taken by the House this week, it is only right that I give the House notice that there are currently no plans to bring forward a motion to agree dates for the February recess, and the House may therefore need to continue to sit to make progress on the key business before the House.

“I realise that this is short notice for colleagues and House staff, but I do think our constituents would expect that the House is able to continue to make progress at this important time.”

Her opposite number in the SNP, Pete Wishart, said he had asked Leadsom last week whether the February recess would be cancelled, and she had told him: “No.”

“Just like she told me that the meaningful vote would not be delayed just before it actually was,” he added.