UK sources confirmed that Mrs May’s strategy was still to re-pitch her deal, with a concession to the Brexiteer European Research Group and the Democratic Unionist Party when it became clear that there was no Commons majority for an alternative.
“It seems clear she is still ‘running down the clock,” the EU source, “She is still staking everything on the DUP and ERG. To coin a phrase, ‘nothing has changed’”.
Mrs May’s strategy was given a boost yesterday when Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, became the first major EU politician to concede that the EU could still re-open the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
In an interview, Mr Maas said a discussion should be held on whether to re-open the draft deal for Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, but only if all EU members agreed.
“In the end, it will be about the question (of) whether to reopen the deal which needs the approval of all 27 member states, which means that everyone has to join in. This is what needs to be discussed now,” he told the German broadcaster ZDF.
The remarks appeared to directly contradict the letter from Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission to Mrs May issued ahead of Tuesday’s vote, which had said that the EU would not agree to “anything that changes or is inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement”.