German Chancellor Angela Merkel could be willing to renegotiate Brexit with a new British PM, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has claimed, The Sun reports.
The foreign secretary said he had spoken to the German chancellor on the sidelines of D-day commemorations last week and Merkel had indicated that the EU was “willing to negotiate on the package” if the new prime minister had the “right approach”.
Speaking to Sky’s Ridge on Sunday programme, Hunt said Merkel had told him Brussels “would look at any solutions” to solve the Irish border issue that the UK suggested.
“I'm absolutely clear that, if we take the right approach to this, the Europeans would be willing to negotiate on the package.”
“She said, of course, with a new British prime minister we would look at any solutions.”
According to Hunt, European leaders might be amenable to reworking the deal once a new leader has been installed, despite EU boss Michel Barnier insisting the Brexit deal can't be reopened under a new PM.
“I think that's doable,” he insisted.
“We need to find structures that reassure people this is deliverable.”
Hunt insisted he had done deals all his life and knew how to approach them.
“I have those skills to deliver a deal.”
Going too hard would only get Britain “one step closer to a general election”, he added, in a reference to rival candidate Boris Johnson.
The former London mayor and UK foreign secretary insisted he would hold back the £39 billion divorce bill until better terms are offered, vowing to get ready to leave the EU without a deal in October, if the UK couldn't get what it sought.
Brexiteer Esther McVey also refused to rule out stopping Parliament in order to force through a No Deal Brexit – something that hard Brexit-backing Dominic Raab sparked a backlash over when he suggested it last week.
McVey told the Andrew Marr Show earlier: “That wouldn't be my priority, I wouldn't be looking to do that, no, what I've said is we would use all the tools at our disposal.”
The former work and pensions secretary accused rivals of “tearing up 400 years of history” by trying to stop Brexit.
Another party leadership hopeful, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, said MPs who had voted to start Brexit talks by triggering Article 50 should respect the result of the vote to leave the EU.
However, halting Parliament would be “wrong” and contradict “the best traditions of British democracy”.