A study by the think tank The UK in a Changing Europe said the European Parliament election results could have a significant impact on the outcome of a Brexit deal with the EU.
The elections scheduled for May 23rd are set to go ahead following Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to get Parliament to pass her withdrawal agreement after seeking a Brexit extension to the end of October from Brussels.
The report suggested European leaders might change the incentives of prolonging British membership if Nigel Farage´s newly-formed Brexit Party gain a large amount of seats.
The study said: “Should, for instance, the Brexit Party gain a large number of seats this may change the incentives of European leaders when deciding about whether to prolong British membership.”
“A more fragmented and polarised Parliament might slow down the process of agreeing any future trade deal.”
The report added: “Like it or not, convincingly or not, many people will portray the election as a proxy Brexit referendum.”
Professor Anand Menon, director of The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “There is an irony that the upcoming European elections will be the most scrutinised, watched and dissected.
“And yet it remains far from certain whether – and if so for how long – any of the British MEPs will take up their seats.”