Tory leadership race: EU will renegotiate Brexit package, says Hunt

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Media captionJeremy Hunt: “The risk of no Brexit…is far worse than the risk of no deal”

The EU “would be willing to renegotiate” a Brexit deal, says Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt, adding “they want to solve the problem”.

The EU has previously said the withdrawal agreement reached with the UK cannot be reopened.

Unlike the race frontrunner, Boris Johnson, Mr Hunt did not commit to leaving the EU on 31 October.

Meanwhile, fellow leadership contender Rory Stewart insisted “there is no new negotiation with Europe”.

He said the EU had made it clear they would not revisit the withdrawal agreement. Instead he proposed setting up a citizens’ jury to break the Brexit impasse.

Under his plan, a group of people representing the country’s demographics would be given three weeks to make recommendations which Parliament would then be able to approve or reject.

Dominic Raab – also running to replace Theresa May and become the next prime minister – said the Conservative Party “will be toast unless we are out by October”.

The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March, but EU leaders agreed to delay the date, after MPs repeatedly rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The current date for leaving the EU is 31 October.

Image copyright AFP/ Getty Images Image caption There are six candidates left in the race to replace Theresa May
Where do the candidates stand on Brexit?

  • Michael Gove has said he would negotiate changes to the Irish backstop and would accept a “short delay” to Brexit to achieve a deal
  • Jeremy Hunt also wants to negotiate a new deal with changes to the backstop. He says he would accept a no-deal Brexit if “there is no prospect of a deal by 31 October”
  • Sajid Javid has proposed “a new digitised” Irish border which would not involve any infrastructure on the border. He stated he cannot envisage wanting to extend the UK’s exit date
  • Boris Johnson has said the “way to get a good deal is to prepare for no deal” and has committed to leaving on 31 October “deal or no deal”
  • Dominic Raab wants to re-open the withdrawal agreement but has also argued that leaving without a deal “is far better than leaving with a fatally flawed deal”
  • Rory Stewart prefers trying to push through the current deal, agreed by Theresa May. However he says, if that failed, he would turn to the option of a “Brexit assembly” of citizens to thrash out a compromise

Brexit: Where do Conservative leadership candidates stand?

Mr Hunt told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the EU is open to solutions surrounding the Northern Ireland backstop.

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