A senior member of the European parliament’s Brexit steering group (BSG) has again insisted the institution will not consider ratifying the Brexit deal until it has been passed UK MPs.
Danuta Hübner spoke exclusively to this website after a meeting of the BSG in Strasbourg late on Monday.
Monday saw a string of meetings around the thorny issues of Brexit including an extraordinary meeting of the conference of presidents - Parliament’s group leaders - with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. The assembly’s constitutional affairs committee also met with Barnier.
Hübner said, “There was practical unanimity on us waiting on starting the consent procedure in the European Parliament until ratification by the UK parliament is completed.
“I will be watching with attention today the undoubtedly fascinating voting in the House of Commons, in particular the timeline motion.”
She joked that she was waiting for “somebody to call us from London and call it all off.”
Her comments come with UK PM Boris Johnson set to make a final bid on Tuesday to force Brexit through by the 31 October “do or die” deadline, amid growing signs he will make a renewed push for a general election whether his deal passes or not.
Johnson has already requested a delay to Brexit, by sending the letter to Brussels required by the so-called Benn act after MPs declined to support his deal on Saturday – something he said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than do.
“I will be watching with attention today the undoubtedly fascinating voting in the House of Commons, in particular the timeline motion” European Parliament Brexit steering group member, Danuta Hübner
But if the UK government can force its Brexit bill through parliament in time, the UK could in theory still leave the EU by next Thursday’s Halloween deadline.
Reacting to the latest events in the UK, European Parliament David Sassoli said , “For our part, the European Parliament will now begin the process in the constitutional affairs committee, which will examine the deal. We are on track, we are doing our duty, and we will meet again on Thursday to discuss the latest progress.”
He insisted, “The European Parliament will be the final actor to have its say on the withdrawal agreement.”
This will follow the UK Parliament’s examination and approval of the agreement, he said. “Once they have done so it will be up to the constitutional affairs committee,” he added.
“On Thursday, the conference of presidents will again discuss the latest state of play. We will continue to act in a calm, responsible manner and move forward rapidly when needed. This is our duty. I repeat that the European Parliament will be the final actor to have its say on this matter.”