While Tory leadership hopefuls push out their visions of Brexit, the EU is saying there will be no changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.
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Another two Tory leadership contenders laid out their Brexit wares today with vastly differing visions.
On the one hand the former Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, told us that leaving the EU by the 31st October 2019 was a 'big red line' for her, which drew some applause. But just down the corridor in another room Mark Harper, a former chief whip, said that leaving on the 31st of October was not a credible proposition.
Andrea Leadsom said that she had a plan for a managed exit from the European Union and that parliament would not be able to stop the UK from leaving, if she were the new PM.
At her official campaign launch she said:
"In all circumstances we are leaving the European Union on the 31st of October. Our country and our party cannot afford any more indecisiveness."
Her plans involve getting a temporary trade agreement with the EU together with getting contingency arrangements over the summer recess.
Mark Harper wants a short focussed extension beyond the 31st of October with the aim of leaving the EU before the local elections next year.
He also said that all the candidates should come clean about any previous involvement in substance abuse, saying he never had.
"I don’t get invited to those sorts of parties." he said.
It is also seems that the press ran out of things to quiz Harper on, so Oliver Milne of the Mirror asked him, who would win in a fight between a lion and a bear – the answer from Harper was: "Because the lion is symbol of Britain, I’ll go with the lion."
But while this goes on, over in the EU27 they are doubling down on their stance that the Withdrawal Agreement is all that's on offer and you can either take it, leave it or revoke the article 50 letter.
In the face of claims about opening the Withdrawal Agreement up for change or starting again from scratch, Germany's Europe Minster, Michael Roth said:
"The EU and its member states cannot be blackmailed.
"I see no willingness to restart negotiations from the beginning.
"The candidates would do well to bear that in mind in the course of their internal party campaigns."
And the French secretary for European affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, said that the UK could only leave the EU with a deal using the Withdrawal Agreement. “If Britain does want to leave, and if it wants to leave in an orderly fashion, then this is the way it must do it,” she said, unless there was a "totally new political line in Britain".
This was backed up by EU Commission spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, who said:
"Of course, everybody knows what is on the table, what is on the table has been negotiated successfully by the Commission and has been approved by all member states, and the election of a new prime minister will of course not change the parameters of what is on the table. That is known."
The Withdrawal Agreement is of course a non starter for Parliament and the country at large and everyone knows it, so the only reason that the EU sticks to it is obviously either in the hope we sign up to it and become the EU's first colony, or that the UK gives Brexit up and returns to the fold.
So the only way out for us is of course, the no deal Brexit, or more accurately the WTO Brexit route.
And that is of course something that the Remain biased parliament will fight all the way, helped by the ever present Speaker, John Bercow.
So the candidate who gives the most credible pledge to get the UK out by the 31st of October, with or without a deal, even if they have to prorogue parliament to do it, is surely the one to choose.
So, who do you think fits that bill?
Best question I’ve ever seen asked at a political press conference:
.@OliverMilne: who would win in a fight between a lion or a bear?
Mark Harper: Because the lion is symbol of Britain, I’ll go with the lion
— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) June 11, 2019
Taking full advantage of the 'ask me anything' format I asked Mark Harper who would win in a fight between a lion or a bear?
His answer: "Because the lion is symbol of Britain, I’ll go with the lion"
— Oliver Milne (@OliverMilne) June 11, 2019