Candidate for top EU job 'ready' to extend Brexit deadline

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The candidate set to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission has said she would be willing to grant another extension to the Brexit deadline.

Ursula von der Leyen - who has been nominated to take over the role - told MEPs she was "ready" to delay Britain's withdrawal date.

The UK is currently due to leave the bloc on October 31, six months after the original departure date of March 29.

Ms von der Leyen is now seeking support from the European Parliament to secure her appointment as European Commission chief, requiring 374 votes out of a possible 747 in a vote taking place today.    

She is the outgoing German defence minister and was a last minute candidate for the top job after EU leaders rejected the candidates put forward by the European Parliament earlier this month.

But Brexit Party leader and MEP Nigel Farage has called for members to vote against her and “strike a blow for democracy".

Addressing the European Parliament this morning, he said: “She wants to build a centralised, undemocratic, updated form of communism”.

Other candidates for top jobs  include Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel for European Council president and former French cabinet member Christine Lagarde to head up the European Central Bank.

When and how Brexit will be delivered remains the top talking point in the Conservative leadership contest.

In the race to become the country’s next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has vowed to leave on October 31, deal or no deal, while Jeremy Hunt hasn’t ruled out an extension to the deadline.

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