British Prime Minister Theresa May should make Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, a member of her team negotiating the country’s divorce from the European Union, a top EU official says.
In an interview with The Independent
on Monday, Guy Verhofstadt
, the European Parliament (EP)’s Brexit coordinator, said losing majority in the June 8 election was a “rejection” of May’s hard Brexit plan and now the opposition should also join the negotiations.
May had called for a snap election in hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her position before going into two years of intense negotiations with the European Union about Britain’s departure from the bloc.
But her Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority in the vote. Corbyn’s Labour, meanwhile, picked up dozens of seats.
Verhofstadt, the former Prime Minister of Belgium, said, “Brexit is about the whole of the UK. It will affect all UK citizens, and EU citizens in the UK. This is much bigger than one political party’s internal divisions or short term electoral positioning. It’s about people’s lives.”
“I believe the negotiations should involve more people with more diverse opinions. Some recognition that the election result was, in part, a rejection of Theresa May’s vision for a hard Brexit would be welcome,” he added.
On Monday, British and European negotiators reconvened in the Belgian capital Brussels to kick off the second round of marathon Brexit talks.
UK Brexit minister David Davis joined Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier at the European Commission headquarters, nearly a month after a chaotic first round that saw London make big concessions on how the talks should be held.
Guy Verhofstadt, the Parliament’s Brexit coordinator
Verhofstadt criticized the manner in which May has handled the negotiations thus far, calling her actions “somewhat chaotic”, but refused to offer any advice.
“I am not going to give Theresa May advice on the Brexit negotiations,” he told The Independent. “That is a matter for her and her government. However, in line with the European Parliament’s resolution, I do think that the negotiations need to be conducted with full transparency. But that is a general point.”
“Regarding the handling of Brexit so far, I think it has been somewhat chaotic. It has been over a year since the referendum now and we have only just started the negotiations. This delay has created uncertainty, which has not been good for anybody – not for the UK, not for the EU and not for citizens,” he stated.
May’s weakened political position following the general election has allowed Corbyn to seek a more active role in Brexit talks.
The opposition leader has said his party will be able to use its ties with other parties around the EU to get a better divorce deal in a friendlier and more respectful manner than May, who has openly threatened to leave the bloc without a deal.