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Brexit news: Juncker makes one last-ditch attempt to save Theresa May’s Brexit deal | Politics | News


On Monday, a letter from Mr Juncker is expected to try and reassure MPs the Irish backstop would keep the UK in a temporary customs union if it needed to be triggered. Mr Juncker and Mrs May are currently exchanging letters ahead of Tuesday’s vote to try and determine what can be done to help the deal pass through Parliament. One option that has been discussed is the possibility of the European Commission making additional pledges to conclude a trade deal with the UK by the end of 2021 in the hope ease Tory fears the backstop could become a permanent arrangement.

Speaking in Bucharest, the European Commission President said that he would put every effort into finding a way for Parliament to support Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement.

The EU chief also sent a stark warning to Mrs May on Friday that said she should not “confuse” their recent discussions as renegotiations.

This week, Mrs May’s Brexit adviser Olly Robbins has been in Brussels trying to secure a document that could potentially give the Prime Minister some more votes in Parliament.

However, Mr Robbins has been faced with opposition from officials who believe nothing can be done.

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In a trip to Romania for the country’s six-month presidency of the European Council, Mr Juncker asked for time to work out an appropriate solution that would suit Mrs May, saying: “Let me do it.”

He said: “We, the commission and I, are in touch on a constant basis with No 10 Downing Street and we will see what happens between now and Tuesday.

“We will see what the British legislature decides to do with the texts that have been put forward. I still hope that there will be a deal.”

He added: “I do not like the prospect of a no deal, which would be a disaster for our British friends.

“Every effort needs to be made between now and Tuesday afternoon to make sure this important issue is resolved satisfactorily.”

In response to the letter that will be received next week, Mr Juncker said: “What we have said very clearly in council and commission, in full harmony, was that there can be no renegotiation, there can be clarification.

“But that’s all we are discussing with Downing Street what these clarifications might amount to, that should not be confused with a renegotiation with regards to the backstop.”

He added: “I could become highly prominent from one hour to the next if I were to enter into the detail of your question – and it is not your concern to have me become less popular on different islands. I will resist the temptation.”

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “The ball is rolling towards the ravine and everyone is watching it without putting their foot in the way.”

There is speculation in Brussels of a Brexit summit at the end of the month following Mrs May’s defeat which could see leaders offering the PM a helping hand if she finds herself in the face of a no-deal Brexit.

EU officials have not denied this claim but suggested they would need to be led by Downing Street.



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