Home / Top Stories / Andrea Leadsom STABS May in back and demands Merkel RIP UP backstop as May jets to Berlin | UK | News

Andrea Leadsom STABS May in back and demands Merkel RIP UP backstop as May jets to Berlin | UK | News

The prominent Brexiteer MP made a last-minute intervention on Tuesday and pleaded for the German Chancellor to push for changes to the controversial Brexit deal. Speaking to BBC News ahead of Prime Minister ‘s talks with the German Chancellor today, Ms Leadsom said: ”The Prime Minister is off to see Angela Merkel today and what I think would be fantastic is if Angela Merkel will try to support a proper UK Brexit by agreeing to reopen the withdrawal agreement. 

“There have been rumours over the weekend that some senior members of the German government would be willing to do that in order to get Theresa May’s deal over the line.

“The Prime Minister is seeking a delay, that is what the House has pushed upon her and she’ll be seeking a delay to 30 June.

“But as the person with the responsibility to get the legislation through, if we could get the Prime Minister’s deal over the line because the EU have decided to support measures on the backstop, then that would be the best possible outcome.”

But Downing Street has dismissed the statement from Ms Leadsom. A Number 10 spokesperson said: “The EU has repeatedly said that it cannot and will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement”.

“Any plan, going forward, would be based on the current Withdrawal Agreement.”

Theresa May will make a plea to France’s Emmanuel Macron in Paris today not to veto her request for a further delay to Brexit.

Mrs May will also hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to try and bolster support for her request to delay Brexit until June 30.

EU leaders will be under pressure to decide whether to grant Britain another delay, a decision that can be vetoed by any of the other 27 member states.

Max Hoffman, who is Bureau Chief at Deutsche Welle in Brussels, said Angela Merkel is likely to be more patient than any other EU leader.

Mr Hoffman added: “Angela Merkel is most likely one of those willing to have the most patience with the UK Government.

“She has repeatedly said that there is still time.

“And I have no doubt, just like many colleagues here in Brussels, that she will try and up until the last minute to avoid a no deal Brexit.”

Without any Brexit extension, Britain will leave the EU at 10pm on Friday with no deal. 

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was asked by reporters on Tuesday whether Mrs Merkel may accept a five-year time limit on the Irish backstop. He replied: “I have no information to that effect.”

Mr Barnier insisted the 585-page withdrawal agreement is off-limits for new talks if Mrs May is offered another Brexit delay by EU leaders tomorrow.

Speaking in Luxembourg, Mr Barnier said a customs union could be agreed within hours if the UK requests to discuss such an agreement.

He told reporters: “The withdrawal agreement is not going to be reopened and is not up for negotiating.

“The political declaration can be improved and can be provided with increased level of ambition if that is the wish of the United Kingdom.”

He said this can be done “rapidly within a few hours or days”.


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