U.K. Should Seek No-Deal Brexit With Six-Month Delay, King Says

(Bloomberg) -- Britain should ask its European Union counterparts for a six-month grace period to prepare for an exit from the bloc without a withdrawal agreement, according to Mervyn King.

The former Bank of England governor, a long-time supporter of Brexit, told the BBC’s Today program that while that would be his favored approach, it would depend on how advanced officials’ contingency plans already are.

“My own personal preference would be to go back to Europe and say, ‘we have a clear strategy, which is we want to leave without a deal, but we would like to take six months to complete the preparations to avoid the dislocation,’” King said. “It depends on how far the preparations have got, and the government hasn’t been as explicit about that as they might.”

The U.K. was originally meant to leave the EU this week, though that deadline has since been extended into April amid a political impasse in London on the prospects and terms of the country’s exit. Prime Minister Theresa May is submitting part of the divorce deal she agreed with the bloc for a vote in Parliament on Friday, with the risk of defeat.

King said people shouldn’t worry about the economic impact of leaving the EU without any formal agreement.

“There would be some short-run dislocation costs,” but “the more wild exaggerated view that somehow we’re going to have queues of lorries on the M20 for five years or more is pretty absurd,” he said. “I don’t believe that with adequate preparation, or in the long term, that the economic costs of leaving would be very different from staying in.”

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