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Germany sees no reason to delay Brexit

The centre-left Social Democratic Party politician added that he hoped a no-confidence vote on Wednesday fails to topple PM Theresa May’s government.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Picture: United Nations Photo

FRANKFURT AM MAIN - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday that delaying Brexit beyond 29 March would make no “sense”, after a vote in London brought a crushing defeat for a withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU.

“It would only make sense (to extend the deadline) if there is a path to the goal of a deal between the EU and Great Britain,” Maas said in an interview on Deutschlandfunk public radio.

For now, “that is not the majority view in the British parliament,” he added.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also this week argued that Brexit should not be pushed back, although she did not rule it out completely.

Maas added that he was doubtful any significant improvements could be made to the draft withdrawal agreement on the table - negotiated over two years since London notified Brussels it would quit the European Union.

“We have a compromise,” Maas said. “If more could have been offered, it would have been done weeks ago.”

The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician added that he hoped a no-confidence vote on Wednesday fails to topple May’s government.

“We need a stable government for the negotiations,” he said.

May’s hard-fought Brexit deal suffered the worst defeat for any British leader in history on Tuesday night, as 432 MPs voted against and just 202 in favour - leaving the country’s future foggy with its legally binding departure date just 10 weeks away.