The young Chancellor hit out at demands from MPs concerned by the terms negotiated by Mrs May and insisted the UK’s divorce deal is a good offer from the European Union. Speaking ahead of a crucial European Council summit in Brussels today, Mr Kurz warned the British parliament is deeply divided over Brexit. Asked what changes would need to be made to Mrs May’s deal to help through the House of Commons, he said: “That’s a difficult question to answer. Since some sceptics are not really using rational arguments.
“I think there are different opinions and groups in Great Britain, some are against Brexit, some are against a hard Brexit and those who are supporting May and her deal anyway, therefore it is not that easy to answer.”
Brexit has been added to the agenda at today’s summit as Mrs May desperately attempts to secure further concessions from EU leaders.
The bloc has dug in its heels over renegotiating the legally binding aspect of her Withdrawal Agreement but says it will try to provide clarity and reassurances over the contentious Irish border backstop.
Brexiteers and Mrs May’s unionist allies in Northern Ireland have refused to vote for her deal amid fears the backstop safety net could trap Britain in a customs union with the EU indefinitely.
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Echoing the EU line on the possibility of making clarifications to the UK’s exit terms, Mr Kurz said “there is a bit of scope” to make minor revisions to the wording of the non-binding political declaration aspect of the deal.
He said: “I believe the exit agreement is a good one, for this there were negotiations for a year and a half after all.
“And in addition to this there is an agreement, or text, which is to regulate the future relationship, and here maybe some things can still be explained a bit better or defined a bit better, be more detailed.”
But Theresa May has played down the prospects of an “immediate breakthrough” on the Northern Ireland backstop in today’s talks.
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Arriving in Brussels following yesterday’s bruising confidence vote of – which saw her win but with the backing of just 63 percent of her MPs – the Prime Minister acknowledged there was a limit to the progress she could make on the issue during this week’s two-day summit.
She said: “My focus now is on ensuring that I can get those assurances that we need to get this deal over the line, because I genuinely believe it’s in the best interests of both sides – the UK and the EU – to get the deal over the line, to agree a deal.
“But I recognise the strength of concern in the House of Commons and that’s what I will be pushing to colleagues today.
“I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough, but what I do hope is that we can start work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary.”