Both Tory leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have said they will try to renegotiate predecessor Theresa May’s thrice-failed withdrawal agreement, as they believe the Northern Ireland backstop component is unacceptable. Ms Von der Leyen admitted she thinks the EU should be willing the extend the current Brexit deadline of October 31 if there were “good reasons” to do so. She said: “We don’t want a hard Brexit, it’s a bad outcome for both sides.
“We have a good withdrawal agreement.
“A Brexit without a deal comes with massively negative consequences for both sides, not to mention what it means for Ireland.
“That’s why we need to do everything to strive for an orderly Brexit.
“And that’s why if there are good reasons for an extension coming from our British friends, I am open to listening to them.”
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8.15am update: Hammond savaged for Brexit attack on Johnson – ‘Absolute disgrace and embarrassment!’
Mr Hammond was branded an “absolute disgrace and embarrassment” to the Tory Party by angered Leave voters, after he defied a three-line Government whip and refused to reject an amendment, which aims to stop the next Prime Minister suspending parliament in the run-up to the October 31 deadline.
The Chancellor along with Justice Secretary, David Gauke, Business Secretary, Greg Clark and International Development Secretary, Rory Stewart, abstained from the vote in the Commons.
Mr Hammond – who is widely expected to be ousted as Chancellor next week – prompted a furious response from Brexiteers on social media.
One user replied: “Phil you are an absolute disgrace and embarrassment to the Conservative party.
“There are key people keeping it alive like Boris Johnson, David Davis, Andrew Rosindell, Ross Thomson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, without people like them many would have lost all hope by now. Time to leave!”
A second angered user said: “You are trying to rob the public of democracy, you have made my vote worthless.
7.31am update: Jeremy Hunt ‘accidentally’ skips no deal vote
The Foreign Secretary admitted he skipped yesterday’s crucial Commons vote because he thought he had been “slipped” – or given permission by the whips’ office to be absent.
Chief Whip Julian Smith was reportedly unimpressed, but a source close to Mr Hunt told the Telegraph he was always opposed to proroguing Parliament.
Mr Hunt tweeted: “I missed votes today because I thought I was slipped and it turns out I was not. Apologies to my colleagues & Whips Office. My position is that parliament should NOT restrict the hands of an incoming govt in this way & I remain opposed to how parliament voted.”
A Government source told the Telegraph: “Hunt and his supporters were told they would be needed and they all came back and said they understood. Jeremy was texted last week and acknowledged it.
“Now they are saying they were confused. It does make you question exactly what lies behind this.”