The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator insisted the 585-page withdrawal agreement is off-limits for new talks if Theresa May is offered another Brexit delay by EU leaders tomorrow. Mr Barnier repeated claims that Brussels is ready to discuss the political declaration on the future agreement, but only if Britain wants to form a close relationship with the bloc. Speaking in Luxembourg, Mr Barnier said a customs union could be agreed within hours if the UK requests to discuss such an agreement.
He told reporters: “The withdrawal agreement is not going to be reopened and is not up for negotiating.
“The political declaration can be improved and can be provided with increased level of ambition if that is the wish of the United Kingdom.”
He said this can be done “rapidly within a few hours or days”.
Mr Barnier said Britian’s future is in its own hands and can even revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit if the country wishes to do so.
Mr Barnier was quick to rubbish reports from London that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was going to allow Britain to make changes to the hated Irish backstop.
According to the BBC, a Brexiteer claimed Germany could insist on a five-year time-limit to the backstop at tomorrow’s emergency Brexit summit in Brussels.
Mr Barnier replied: “I have no information to that effect.”
The French eurocrat’s demands end the hopes of Boris Johnson, who is vying to succeed Mrs May at prime minister.
The former foreign secretary has pinned his hopes on uniting the Conservative party by reopening Mrs May’s failed Brexit deal.
Today bookmakers installed his as favourite to takeover in the Downing Street hotseat.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of eurosceptic Tory backbenchers, said: “I think very highly of Boris Johnson.”
The Brexiteer claimed Mr Johnson could could unite the party and win an election.”