Dutch PM says he 'hates Brexit from every angle' and calls for form of continued EU membership for UK

Mark Rutte said he hates Brexit 'from every angle'

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Thursday 22 June 2017 15:36 BST
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte 'hates' Brexit
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte 'hates' Brexit (REUTERS)

The Dutch Prime Minister has called for a form of continued membership for the UK after it formally leaves the EU claiming, "I hate Brexit from every angle".

Mark Rutte said it could mean the UK having a new sort of relationship with the single market once it leaves the union.

His comments followed those of other European leaders who have suggested that the door remains open for the UK to stay in the EU if it wants to change its mind.

Speaking as he he arrived for a European Council summit in Brussels, he said it is "crucially important" that Britain sets out what they want from any Brexit deal.

He explained that as an Anglophile, "I hate Brexit from every angle" and then added: "I hope we'll come to some form of continued [UK] membership or relationship with the internal market."

Mr Rutte went on to say that he believed the UK's economy and pound sterling will be hit very hard by its withdrawal from the EU.

Theresa May has vowed to take the UK out of both the EU single market and the customs union, but there are senior ministers pressing for a softer Brexit, including Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Donald Tusk quotes John Lennon as he says UK could stay in EU

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar became the latest European politician on Thursday to say the "door" is open if the UK wants to stay in the EU, following similar comments by European Council President Donald Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Wolfgang Schäuble, the powerful German finance minister, sent out an identical message – saying the UK would find "open doors" in Brussels if it decided not to leave the EU.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Mr Schäuble said: "The British Government has said we will stay with the Brexit.

"We take the decision as a matter of respect. But if they wanted to change their decision, of course, they would find open doors."

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