Cross-party talks on Brexit delay: sources
UK ministers have called for a delay in the Brexit date from March 29 until July or later to avoid crashing out without a deal.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told Welt am Sonntag that London must “get its act together” on the crisis, saying some UK politicians were “entirely unreasonable” for expecting Brussels to find solutions.
Conservative and Labour MPs have purportedly been holding cross-party talks to push back the Brexit deadline if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to get her Withdrawal Agreement through parliament, which seems likely.
Juncker said he feared the majority of UK MPs “deeply distrusted” both the EU and May.
May said talks would continue, although the rest of the EU has repeatedly stated that negotiations over her Withdrawal Agreement would not be reopened.
Juncker told the German newspaper: “It is not us who are leaving the United Kingdom; it is the United Kingdom that is leaving the European Union.
“I find it entirely unreasonable for parts of the British public to believe that it is for the EU alone to propose a solution for all future British problems.
“My appeal is this: get your act together and then tell us what it is you want. Our proposed solutions have been on the table for months.”
Juncker said it was up to the UK to decide if the final decision was put to a people’s vote.
The top Eurocrat said, however, that he was “working on the assumption that [Britain] will leave, because that is what the people of the United Kingdom have decided.
“It is being insinuated that our aim is to keep the United Kingdom in the EU by all possible means. That is not our intention.”
Cabinet ministers have reportedly discussed the option of a delay with backbenchers in both the main parties.
Pro-Remain Conservative Dominic Grieve said a decision “needs to be taken”.
“Parliament is, however, deadlocked and appears incapable of passing any form of deal whatsoever.
“It is our responsibility as parliamentarians, therefore, to recognise the nature of the impasse and give the choice back to the people in order to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit,” the centrist former attorney general said.
Pro-Brexit International Trade Secretary Liam Fox warned MPs that failure to pass May’s deal would be “incendiary” and “a matter of honour” for them to support the enfeebled May.
Pro-EU campaigners in London last year. Picture credit: Eurasia Times