The EU is working with May to thrash out ‘clarifications’ on Brexit deal before crunch Commons vote, says Juncker as he warns the UK crashing out would be a ‘catastrophe’
- Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU was still working on ‘clarifications’ to Brexit
- But he warned it was not a ‘renegotiation’ of the deal that has been negotiated
- EU Commission President wants to avoid the ‘catastrophe’ of a no deal exit
- Theresa May is facing the prospect of the worst ever Commons defeat next week
The EU is working on ‘clarifications’ to the Brexit deal to avoid the ‘catastrophe’ of Britain crashing out without an agreement, Jean-Claude Juncker said today.
Theresa May has promised to get new reassurances from Brussels on the Irish border backstop element of the divorce deal could not become a permanent solution.
The EU has insisted it wants to help her and said it does not want the backstop to be how the deal works forever.
But Mr Juncker warned today the clarifications did not amount to ‘renegotiation’ of the deal – which legal advice says could mean the backstop lasting indefinitely.
Few believe whatever the EU offers the Prime Minister ahead of Tuesday’s vote will make any difference.
Mrs May is confronting the possibility of the worst-ever Commons defeat for a Prime Minister as MPs could reject her negotiation by a landslide majority of more than 200.
The EU is working on ‘clarifications’ to the Brexit deal to avoid the ‘catastrophe’ of Britain crashing out without an agreement, Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured today in Romania) said
Theresa May (pictured last night in No 10) has promised to get new reassurances from Brussels the Irish border backstop element of the divorce deal could not become a permanent solution
Mr Juncker said today: ‘We are checking with Downing Street what the clarifications could amount to.’
He added: ‘They should not be confused with a renegotiation.’
Speaking in Romania today, Mr Juncker insisted: ‘I don’t like the prospect of a no deal. It would be a catastrophe.’
Mr Juncker’s warning came as Jeremy Hunt warned MPs that killing off the Brexit deal could well mean no Brexit today as ministers brace to be ‘smashed’ in a Commons showdown next week.
The Foreign Secretary insisted the developments in Parliament over the past few days had shown it could block the UK from crashing out without an agreement.
Accusing Speaker John Bercow of a campaign to ‘frustrate’ the government, Mr Hunt said there was now a ‘possibility in sight’ of the country not leaving the EU at all.
But he warned that failing to deliver Brexit in the wake of the 2016 referendum would be a ‘fundamental breach of trust’ with the public.
Mr Hunt conceded the Parliamentary arithmetic was ‘challenging’, and said Speaker John Bercow was clearly trying to ‘frustrate the government at every opportunity’.
Mr Juncker’s warning came as Jeremy Hunt (pictured today on Radio 4) warned MPs that killing off the Brexit deal could well mean no Brexit today as ministers brace to be ‘smashed’ in a Commons showdown next week
‘What is important is for MPs on all sides, Brexiters and Remainers, whatever our disagreements, to say “We are democrats and the most important thing now is to make sure that we really do deliver Brexit”,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Hunt said Mr Bercow had shown that he was ‘willing to frustrate the Government at every opportunity’, and it was not possible for the minority Tory administration to control what happened in Parliament.
‘I think it’s now looking much less likely that Parliament would allow a no-deal outcome anyway,’ he said. ‘We have seen from this week that Parliament has the ability to assert itself and to shape outcomes.
‘I think Parliament is very committed to try to stop no-deal, but I think we have to recognise that there is a deal on the table, it does broadly deliver the Brexit people voted for, and if we don’t find a way to get this through, we are taking some very big risks.
‘Brexit paralysis potentially leading to no Brexit is something I think would be incredibly damaging for the long-term future of this country.’