"The proposal to amend the European Union Withdrawal Bill to specify the date and time on which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union – 11.00PM on 29th March 2019 – is a terrible gamble.

The gamble that the Prime Minister is taking is that whatever happens – including a breakdown in negotiations and the hardest of hard Brexits – by 11.00PM on 28th March 2019 the United Kingdom and the EU 27 will have taken all steps to avoid any catastrophic breakdown in arrangements in Europe. These include the UK, the EU and potentially individual member states passing any necessary legislation to preserve existing contracts (including their enforceability), to maintain arbitration mechanisms and maintain the legality of providing banking and insurance sectors across borders. 
Neither the Bank of England (including the Prudential Regulatory Authority or PRA) nor the ECB know precisely what the value of derivatives held by banks and potentially affected by Brexit is. No stress tests have been conducted and none planned to find out whether the banks are adequately prepared for the hardest of hard Brexits on 29 March 2019. Actually nobody has tested to make sure that all the big banks have done enough to be sure that even a softer Brexit will not cause huge disruption."

Read the full paper by Joseph Egerton below.

The views expressed in this paper are the author’s and published by the Conservative Group for Europe as a contribution to an ongoing debate.