Donald Tusk claims that Tory leadership race is ‘wasting time’ for Brexit
Donald Tusk has accused the UK of squandering the six-month Brexit postponement - as he warned the next Prime Minister they cannot reopen Theresa May’s exit deal.
The European Council president famously said as European Council granted the UK a further extension of Article 50 in April: "Please do not waste this time.”
Speaking in Brussels on Friday as the Conservative leadership battle continued, he said: “I’m afraid, yes, you wasted time.”
“But of course I can understand why.. I’m not happy with this, but I have to accept the political reality."
And he quipped: “Maybe the process of Brexit will be even more exciting than before because of some personnel decisions in London.”
However, after discussing Brexit developments with EU leaders at a Brussels summit this week, Tusk reaffirmed the European Union’s position that the withdrawal agreement thrashed out by Mrs May is “not open for renegotiation”.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Junker also insisted that there would be no changes to Theresa May’s exit deal, saying: “We repeated unanimously that there will be no renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel echoed those comments, saying: “From our point of view the exit agreement has been finalised in negotiations but we will get back to this after the election of a new prime minister.”
Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the two remaining candidates in the Conservative leadership race, have warned that the backstop – contained within the Withdrawal Agreement in a bid to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland – is the main obstacle to getting any Brexit deal through Parliament.
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