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Britain likely to delay Brexit, former EU chief Barroso says

FILE PHOTO: Former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is likely to delay Brexit and not leave the European Union in March, former EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday, adding the bloc would likely accept a request to extension to sort out the details of departure.

“I think the most likely scenario is not to do that in March of this year. We need more... preparations,” Barroso, who now serves as a non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs, told Sky News when asked when if he thought Brexit would happen as currently scheduled on March 29.

“Even if there was a positive deal now, from a practical point of view, it’s obvious that everything is not ready. So I think the right thing to do is to have some extension, and I believe that if the UK demands an extension of Article 50, European Union countries will naturally accept it.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout and Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton