The European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator begged his rival Nigel Farage to come the bloc’s rescue by continuing his fight for Britain’s divorce. Addressing MEPs, Mr Verhofstadt, leader of the liberal bloc, claimed allowing Britain to delay Brexit until October 31 eliminates the pressure on Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to reach a cross-party deal. Mr Verhofstadt also said the extension shows that EU unity is finally broken while negotiating Britain’s Brexit deal.
He said: “Mr Tusk, I know this Parliament has no say in the decision you made on Wednesday. But I want to warn you of the consequences of last week’s decision.
“Until now, we kept the unity in the European Union. The unity of the EU27 and the unity of the three institutions – the Parliament, Council and Commission.”
On the six-month delay, Mr Verhofstadt added: “It is too near for a substantial rethink of Brexit and too far away to prompt any action.
“I fear it will prolong uncertainty and it will import the Brexit mess into the EU and poison the upcoming European election.”
Mr Verhofstadt insisted: “The only thing that can save us is Nigel Farage!”
But the former Belgian prime minister’s sternest warning comes that Britain’s further participation could kill the EU altogether.
He concluded: “In the aftermath of the decision, and you repeated, we may avoid Britain leaving the EU. It’s not our decision, it’s the decision of the British people.
“My fear is the decision could risk killing Europe, at least bog it down for years to come.
“We need to put all our energy into the reform, the renewal of our European Union. And that spirit was absent from you last week.”