Brexit: Czech EU minister hints European Union will renogiate
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Speaking after the latest EU Summit in Brussels, the Czech minister admitted the European Union is “not really” likely to reopen talks on the Brexit withdrawal agreement but appeared to hint member states may agree to new “discussions.” Ms Hrdinková insisted the bloc wants to conclude negotiations “as soon as possible” and reiterated her approval of the deal, despite MPs rejecting the proposal three times in Parliament. Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether she could see “any possibility of a change to Europe’s refusal” to renegotiate, Ms Hrdinková said: “Not really. I mean, the withdrawal agreement is actually a very good deal. Leaders have very much commented on that.”
But the Czech politician also said: “There may be some discussions but I think there is actually a strong appetite to finish the whole thing as soon as possible.
“I strongly believe the withdrawal agreement should be approved and then it will be important to talk about the political arrangements.”
The withdrawal agreement Theresa May agreed with Brussels in November 2018 sparked the ires of Brexiteers concerned the backstop included in the deal could be used to keep Britain closely aligned to the single market and the customs union.
Mrs May quit her position in June following months of mounting criticism toward her Government and her resignation opened up the way to other members of the Conservative Party to go head to head for the top job.
Brexit news: Hrdinková suggested the EU may agree to new “discussions” with the UK (Image: GETTY•YOUTUBE)
Brexit: We won’t leave EU in October predicts Portillo
After four rounds of votes, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his successor Jeremy Hunt emerged as the top contenders to become the next Prime Minister.
The pair are expected to confront each other on their proposals for the future of the party and the country in a televised debate on July 6.
Mr Johnson has insisted he would be the best chance for the UK to finally leave the European Union as he pledged to deliver Britain out of the bloc “with or without a deal”.
Mr Hunt has appeared more constrained on his support for quitting the union without a formal arrangement but admitted he would be willing to leave on a no deal basis “in extremis.”
The Foreign Secretary acknowledged he is the outsider to become the next Tory leader but stated "in politics surprises happen".
Brexit news: Johnson has emerged as the favourite to be the next Prime Minister (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)
He wrote on Twitter: “I’m the underdog – but in politics surprises happen as they did today. I do not doubt the responsibility on my shoulders – to show my party how we deliver Brexit and not an election, but also a turbo-charged economy and a country that walks tall in the world.”
The winner is expected to be announced in the week beginning July 22, after nearly 160,000 members of the party will have cast their vote to select their next leader.
The grassroots and members are widely believed to be hardline Brexiteers and keen on voting for Mr Johnson following his pledge to deliver Brexit on October 31 with or without a deal in place.
The two Tory leadership hopefuls worked together to deliver the 2012 Olympics with Mr Johnson being London Mayor and Mr Hunt being Minister for the Olympics whilst holding the culture portfolio.
Mr Hunt has his current portfolio after being moved from Health due to Mr Johnson's resignation following the Chequers agreement.
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