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Lawmakers: Should Postpone Brexit      03/18 10:13

   LONDON (AP) -- Britain should consider postponing Brexit because there may 
not be enough time to strike a deal with the European Union before the U.K. 
leaves the bloc a year from now, a key committee of British lawmakers said 

   The House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee said if major aspects of the 
future relationship with the EU remain unsettled by October, Britain should 
seek a "limited extension" of its EU membership.

   Britain and the EU want a deal on future relations settled by the fall so 
national parliaments can approve it before Britain officially leaves the 
28-nation bloc on March 29, 2019.

   In a report published Sunday, the lawmakers said a proposed transition 
period of about two years should be able to be extended if needed. The two 
sides have agreed in principle that Britain will continue to remain part of the 
bloc's structures and rules until the end of 2020.

   Seven pro-Brexit members of the 21-member, all-party committee refused to 
back the report, preparing an alternative version that took a more 
uncompromising tone toward the EU.

   The majority-backed report said it is worrying that there has been "little 
progress" in solving the key issue of how to maintain an open border between 
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.

   Britain and the EU agree there must be no customs posts or other 
infrastructure along the all-but-invisible border, but the committee said 
Britain has yet to put forward credible proposals for how this could work.

   "We know of no international border, other than the internal borders of the 
EU, that operates without checks and physical infrastructure," said the 
committee's chairman, Labour lawmaker Hilary Benn.

   The pro-Brexit dissenters' alternative document accused the EU of taking an 
unhelpful approach to the border issue. They suggested that new technology and 
"streamlined" customs arrangements can deliver a frictionless border.

   Rather than having Britain seek to extend its EU membership, the minority 
group said the U.K should walk away without a deal if talks bog down.


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