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Brexit Could be Delayed Until 2019 as State of Affairs Deemed “Chaotic”

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It’s been seven weeks since Britain voted to break up with the European Union—but when the two will part ways is anyone’s guess.

In fact, it could be late 2019 before a Brexit takes place, as sources briefed by ministers revealed to the Sunday Times, calling the situation “chaotic.”

More than half of the U.K. voted to leave the bloc on June 23, but the government has yet to activate article 50 in the EU constitution in order to start the two-year exit process. Insiders said the two new departments set up to oversee negotiations would not be ready by the beginning of 2017, when the process was initially slated to start.

“Ministers are now thinking the [article 50] trigger could be delayed to autumn 2017,” a source, who had discussions with two senior ministers told the Times. “They don’t have the infrastructure for the people they need to hire. They say they don’t even know the right questions to ask when they finally begin bargaining with Europe.”

The upcoming general elections in France and Germany—in May and September 2017 respectively—are also cited as causes for the postponement because, as the newspaper’s source said, “you can’t negotiate when you don’t know who you’re negotiating with.”

Another wrench in the works: David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has hired less than half of the 250 staff he said he needs and Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, has recruited less than 10 percent of the 1,000 trade policy experts he’s been looking for.

However, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May dismissed the rumors and said the wheels are in motion for a smooth Brexit.

“The prime minister has been clear that a top priority for this government is to deliver the decision of the British people to leave the EU and to make a success of Brexit. The PM has set out the government’s position on article 50 and has established a new department dedicated to taking forward the negotiations,” he said.

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