Justin Welby says chances of Brexit by 2019 "infinitesimally small"

Catherine Neilan
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The Archbishop Of Canterbury Takes Part in The March Of Witness
Can politicians put the UK first, Welby asked (Source: Getty)

Senior politician religious leader Justin Welby has waded into the debate around transition, claming the chances that the UK will have exited the European Union by 2019 are "infinitesimally small".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who sits in the House of Lords, urged MPs to put party politics aside in order to reach a consensus on the many thousands of separate agreements needed.

“There are literally thousands of separate agreements to come to. If each one of those has to be argued as a point of confidence on the floor of the House of Commons, the chance of getting this done in what’s now roughly 18 months is infinitesimally small.

“There has to be the political leadership that says we have major questions that are political, huge political decisions – the obvious one is the Single Market and Customs Union, but there are thousands of other decisions that can be made.

“Can the politicians not put at the front of their minds the needs of the United Kingdom to come out with a functional, working system for Brexit, and agree that certain things that, as it were, ‘off the political table’ and will be decided separately in an expert commission, or commission of senior politicians led by someone that is trusted in the political world?”

Welby has previously called on Theresa May to set up a cross-party commission to advise her on Brexit to “draw much of the poison” from negotiations.

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