Brexit Chief Hamstrung by May’s Tough Stance, Ex-Aide Tells BBC – Bloomberg

Brexit Chief Hamstrung by May’s Tough Stance, Ex-Aide Tells BBC – Bloomberg

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s inflexible position in negotiations to leave the European Union has made the task more difficult for Brexit Secretary David Davis, a former aide said in a BBC interview.

James Chapman, who was Davis’s chief of staff until last month, said May’s “absolutist” stance on ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over the U.K. is among issues that has “hamstrung” Davis as Brexit talks begin, according to the BBC report.

Photographer: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

“If she doesn’t, in my point of view, show more flexibility, show more pragmatism than she did demonstrate in the Home Office, she won’t get this stuff through Parliament,” he said on the BBC’s “The Week in Westminster” to be broadcast Saturday.

Chapman left Davis’s staff after the June general election, as the prime minister failed to win an absolute majority of seats in Parliament. May negotiated a deal with a Northern Irish party to support her government this week. The prime minister’s office and the Department for Exiting the EU declined to comment to the BBC on Chapman’s statements.

The former aide also said that some of the main supporters for the U.K. to leave the E.U., such as Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, would like to “recalibrate” the May’s position on immigration, but “at the moment she is showing no willingness to do so,” according to the report.

Separately, shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said Labour will work with other parties to demand a transitional agreement that will remain in force after the U.K. formally leaves the EU in March 2019, according to a Daily Mirror report.

He said the prime minister should acknowledge that plans for an extreme form of Brexit, including walking away without a deal, are “off the table” after her party lost its majority in the election, according to the report.

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