European Commission president nominee Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday she would support delaying Britain's exit from the EU beyond an October 31 deadline if necessary.
(File photo: VCG)
Even if the German defence minister's Brussels appointment is confirmed later Tuesday, she would not take office until November 1, after the Brexit cut-off, but her view may carry weight.
"I stand ready for further extension of the withdrawal date should more time be required for a good reason," von der Leyen told a European Parliament ahead of a vote on her candidacy.
Von der Leyen's remarks triggered howls of derision from pro-Brexit members of the European Parliament, as said sought to tackle key areas of uncertainty caused by Britain's shock June 2016 vote to leave the bloc.
She stressed, for example, the importance of preserving the rights of citizens on both sides of the divide and maintaining peace on the island of Ireland: "These two priorities are mine too."