Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday promised to allow parliament to delay Brexit by up to three months so that Britain would not crash out of the European Union without a deal on the scheduled departure date of March 29.
The dramatic reversal in May's steadfast Brexit strategy came after threats of mass resignations from her own ministers and calls for a second referendum on Britain's EU membership from the main opposition Labour Party.
It saw the pound rally to its highest level since May 2017 against the euro -- and since October 12 against the dollar -- as investor fears of imminent trade gridlock and financial market mayhem eased.
The beleaguered British leader told parliament she would offer MPs the chance to vote on March 14 on a "short, limited" extension of the March 29 deadline if her own divorce proposals fail to win lawmakers' support by March 12.
But she also cautioned that the extra time would not help negotiations and that she herself opposed any delay.
"Let me be clear, I do not want to see Article 50 extended," she said in reference to an EU procedure that set Brexit in motion two years ago.
"Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on 29 March," she said.
May laid out a three-step procedure with a vote in parliament on her latest Brexit proposals by March 12.