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Brexit: Jean-Claude Juncker warns EU's 'patience coming to an end' as he urges MPs to find solution to impasse

European Commission chief says he wants parliament to make clear ‘which way they want to follow now’

Adam Forrest
Monday 01 April 2019 07:23 BST
Countdown to Brexit: How many days left until Britain leaves the EU?

The EU is running out of patience with Britain over Brexit, the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has warned.

In an interview with Italian state TV, Mr Juncker said he would like MPs in the UK to be able to reach an agreement over the way forward in the coming days.

“We have had a lot of patience with our British friends but patience is coming to an end,” he told RAI.

The commission president added: “So far we know what the British parliament says no to, but we don’t know what it might say yes to.”

Asked if a second referendum might be possible, Mr Juncker said that was an issue exclusively for the British people.

His words were reported by his deputy chief spokesman Mina Andreeva. She tweeted that Mr Juncker had told the Italian interviewer he would “like that the UK tells us which way they want to follow now”.

It comes ahead of a series of key votes in Parliament on Monday which could pave the way for a “softer” Brexit.

Several Tory ministers have urged Theresa May to heed the will of MPs if they manage to unite around a customs union during the second round of “indicative votes”.

On Sunday cabinet minister David Gauke told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “If parliament is voting overwhelmingly against leaving the European Union without a deal but is voting in favour of a softer Brexit, then I don’t think it’s sustainable to ignore parliament’s position and therefore leave without a deal.”

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood also signalled he would support some kind of customs union plan in the votes tomorrow.

Although there has been speculation a general election could be called to break the deadlock in parliament, most Conservatives are opposed.

Alistair Burt, who resigned as foreign office minister after voting against Ms May’s Brexit deal, said he didn't think a new election would be helpful.

“We need to stick to this task that we have in relation to the European Union,” he told Sky News on Sunday. “Settle that and then move forward, offer the public the wide range of choices that political parties do ... let's get on with doing this job in the first place.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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