But May’s offer to parliament raises hopes Britain can avoid leaving the EU without a transition period in place to minimize economic disruption. It comes after opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Monday his Labour party would back a second Brexit referendum.
That had all helped push the pound to its highest level against the euro since May 2017. It rallied as much as 1 percent to 85.88 pence.
After May spoke to parliament sterling edged down from the day’s high against the euro and dollar. Against the greenback it fell below $1.32 from $1.3235, though still up 0.7 percent on the day. Versus the euro, it eased to 86.15 pence.
“While a delay … doesn’t solve anything itself, markets are taking solace in the fact that such a move would delay a ‘cliff-edge’ no-deal scenario,” said Michael Brown, an analyst at FX payment provider Caxton.
Parliament will vote on Brexit amendments on Wednesday and could seek to exert further control over the process.
Some analysts say a short delay on Brexit negotiations is priced in, however, and further gains for the pound will be difficult.