Brexit secretary forgets date the UK is meant to leave the EU

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who has admitted it will be a "challenge" to get Theresa May's dea

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who has admitted it will be a "challenge" to get Theresa May's deal with the EU through Parliament as scores of MPs say they will vote against it. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay appeared not to know when the UK is leaving the EU as he was being grilled on the withdrawal process by MPs.

Barclay, who took over the role after the resignations of Dominic Raab and David Davis, said Britain was quitting the bloc on March 31 rather than the actual date of March 29.

The Brexit secretary made the mistake as he answered questions from the Commons Exiting the European Union Committee on the UK's future trading relations with Brussels.

Barclay said: 'It is the legal process in Europe that a permanent relationship, a permanent trade arrangement, cannot be reached until we have left.

'And, I am committed to ensuring, and the Prime Minister is committed to ensuring, that we do deliver on that, we do leave the EU on March 31.

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'And, by that point we are then in a position to be able to agree a trade agreement.

'But we can't do that before we have left.'

Barclay follows Dominic Raab in admitting he did not know about the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing and David Davis being accused of being 'just plain stupid' for not understanding the withdrawal process.

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