The woman designated to be the most powerful official in the European Union said she hopes the UK changes its mind and stays in the bloc after all.
In a clear indication that she will try to prevent the UK leaving without a deal, Ursula von der Leyen, nominee for next European Commission president, told EU lawmakers that if Britain does leave it has to be on the best possible terms.
“We want you to remain,” she said, addressing a British member of the European Parliament in Brussels.
But whatever happens, “it is in our interests to have you sort things out.”
Von der Leyen was chosen to lead the EU’s executive by national leaders but she still needs the support of parliament.
She will start in post the day after Britain leaves the bloc — if it sticks to its latest deadline of October 31.
Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, said he’d take the UK out of the EU on that date “do or die.”
Von der Leyen poured cold water on the idea that the EU would consider renegotiating the Brexit agreement, which hasn’t been approved by the UK Parliament, saying it was a “good deal” that paved the way to constructive talks over the relationship in the years to come.
“In case we’re going to have Brexit, I’m convinced it is crucial how the tone is, and attitude with which Brexit happens,” she said. “Because Brexit is not the end of something, Brexit is the beginning of future relations.”
Major threatens to sue if UK parliament suspended
Former Prime Minister John Major threatened to seek a judicial review if the next premier suspends parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit — something Boris Johnson, the front-runner to succeed Theresa May, has refused to rule out.
Supporters of Boris Johnson have ridiculed former Prime Minister John Major’s threat to seek a judicial review if the next premier tries to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
“It’s a stunt,” Conservative MP Chris Philp told BBC Radio. “I don’t think it’s a serious proposition.” Philp said suspending Parliament “is not the plan A or even plan B or plan C. The main plan is to get a deal agreed with the European Union, and that’s what Boris, and I think the vast majority of Conservatives, and I suspect the vast majority of the public want.”
Prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker said in a text message that Major’s political career was “intertwined in our country’s journey to this debacle,” citing issues including the
failure to seek a public mandate to sign the Maastricht Treaty, which formally created the EU.