The Brexit negotiations continue to simmer, and even start to Bubble. Yesterday we had recriminations following weekend news reports as well as and update of tabled amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
- The leak that wasn’t a leak that was a leak: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hit back yesterday and said “nothing is true” in a story in German newspaper FAZ that alleged Prime Minister Theresa May “begged” him for help on Brexit during a dinner last week.
- “I had an excellent working dinner with Theresa May,” the Commission President told the BBC’s Adam Fleming. When asked if Mrs May had pleaded with him for help, he said: “No, that’s not the style of British prime ministers.” Juncker also rejected reports he called the Prime Minister “tired” and “despondent,” saying “she was in good shape” and “she was fighting, as is her duty, so everything for me was OK.”
- According to The Times, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was ‘furious’ at the leaks, and is concerned Theresa May could be toppled and replaced during the Brexit negotiations.
- Theresa May and her most senior ministers are to embark on another round of fierce diplomacy over the coming weeks, aimed over the head of EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and squarely at the EU27.
- Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, revealed last night that work has now begun on the EU’s Brexit treaty — but that he will quit his post before trade talks with the UK are complete.
- Playing down the prospect of a no-deal scenario, Barnier told European journalists: “I am convinced a path is possible as long as we de-dramatise the discussion. My team are already starting work on a draft of the treaty for the exit of the U.K. from the EU.”
- Mr Barnier warned a trade deal with Britain would be difficult and take “several years” to complete, but said he himself will step down shortly after Brexit Day in March 2019.
- Still no appearance of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, but the list of amendments to date has been published online. The PLP were apparently briefed by Labour’s Chief Whip that the Bill will not return to the Commons until after recess, week beginning 13th November.