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28th May 2019

EU president tells Tory leader candidates Brexit withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation

Jean-Claude Juncker don't play games

Oli Dugmore

Jean-Claude Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker, unlike the Tories, does not play games

The president of the European Union’s Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has warned Conservative leadership candidates they will not be able to renegotiate the UK’s draft Brexit deal.

He said: “I was crystal clear. There will be no renegotiation.”

Several Tories have suggested they would try and revisit the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May, given the historic batterings it receives every time the House of Commons votes on it.

The EU is in the process of replacing Juncker, whose final day in office is October 31 – the date for the UK’s delayed departure.

Any new prime minister would therefore be forced to negotiate with him unless they extended Brexit day again. Hard Brexit supporters like Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson and Esther McVey are loath to do this.

Lame duck May was in Brussels for a meeting with Juncker. She warned leadership hopefuls to stay off the no deal sauce.

She said: “I continue to have the view that it’s best for the UK to leave with a deal.”

Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, said today no deal amounted to “Wizard of Oz” thinking.

The Conservative party is reeling from its worst electoral performance ever. Ever. In its 185-year history. In the European elections Nigel Farage’s Brexit party walked to victory, the Tories a sorry fifth.