'The EU’s firmly on Ireland's side' - Guy Verhofstadt expresses bewilderment at UK's Brexit process

The European Parliament’s chief Brexit official has hit out at the UK Parliament’s handling of the process.

Guy Verhofstadt was speaking the day after Westminster debated seven amendments and then instructed British Prime Minister Theresa May to go back to Brussels and seek a better exit deal.

The 27 other EU nations and the European parliament have stood united in stressing that a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement they clinched with Mrs May is out of the question.

Mr Verhofstadt said: “What needs to stop is this: an amendment with 10 votes for, then an amendment with 10 votes against, an amendment that barely pulls through, one that fails.”

He was referring to Tuesday’s Westminster session, which saw seven Brexit amendments of which two were passed.

The Irish border has proven a thorny issue for negotiators (Michael McHugh/PA)
The Irish border has proven a thorny issue for negotiators (Michael McHugh/PA)

“That is no way to build a future relationship with the EU,” Mr Verhofstadt said.

Germany’s foreign minister says Berlin is willing to continue talks with Britain but is emphasising the current Brexit agreement is the best one available.

Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group it is important that UK  politicians have spoken out against a no-agreement departure from the European Union, saying that is in nobody’s interest.

But he called for clarity on how Britain wants to change the so-called “backstop”, the safeguard mechanism proposed to regulate the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit.

He said Germany is open to talks, “but our position is clear: the withdrawal agreement is the best and only solution for an orderly exit.

“Regarding the backstop, Germany and the entire Union are firmly on Ireland’s side.

“We will not allow Ireland to be isolated on this issue.”

- Press Association

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