Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2019

Brexit LIVE: ‘EU refusal to re-negotiate Brexit is an act of self harm’ | Politics | News

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He added NOT re-opening Brexit negotiations was “an act of self-harm which could hurt for decades” – but that neither nor any other candidate would be able to convince the EU to give ground. Although many in Brussels privately accept the EU would help both itself and Britain if it were to re-open Brexit negotiations with the incoming British Prime Minister the politics of the bloc will almost certainly prevent this. Commenting specifically on fresh moves to find a technological solution to the Northern Irish border issue one insider said: “Yielding on this point the risks damaging the EU for years to come.

“It will place at stake the integrity of the single market and decimate trust that the bloc will stick by its smaller members.”

His words echo the official line trotted out by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who said of the Brexit divorce deal: “It is not a treaty between Theresa May and Juncker, it is a treaty between the UK and the EU.

“It has to be respected by whoever is the British prime minister.”

The stand-off is seen by business and industry as being in no-one’s interests as it risks triggering a no-deal Brexit – which among other things would make German cars all but unaffordable overnight.

Yet Brussels continues to insist there can be no further movement on the Irish backstop – no actual technical talks – until the exit deal has been ratified.

One EU official told the Financial Times: “It is not easy to see what more we can say – we have done it all.

“It would be hard to find even a diplomatic fig leaf to help the incoming British Prime Minister.”

Follow here for live updates: 

9:10 am update: The Attorney General’s legal advice could thwart Boris Johnson’s plan to withhold Brexit bill payments

Geoffrey Cox has warned that linking Brexit bill payments to the progress of any trade talks would be illegal.

This could mean that Mr Johnson would have to ignore existing government legal advice if he is going to withhold the £39 billion Brexit bill.

8am update: Tom Watson is to encourage Labour to back a second EU referendum – ‘Our hearts are Remain’

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson is expected to challenge Jeremy Corbyn to put Labour against Brexit in a speech today.

Mr Watson is due to say: ”Our members are remain, our values are remain, our hearts are remain.

“We must bring the public back into this decision and we must argue strongly to remain in Europe. Our future doesn’t need to be Brexit. We can change our future. But only if Labour makes the case for it – and we must.”

Mr Corbyn has consistently refused to be pressurised to embrace a second referendum and there has been confusion over Labour’s stance on Brexit.

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