EU Parliament chief negotiator: Brexit deal must kick in by 2019

The man charged by the European Parliament with leading its negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has insisted on a speedy conclusion, suggesting Brexit should be delivered by 2019.

Commenting on Twitter, Guy Verhofstadt, an influential MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister, has suggested that the Brexit deal must be finalised and in place when the EU enters a “new cycle” in 2019 and the EU Parliament begins its new mandate. Mr Verhoftadt’s comments were made ahead of the State of the European Union Address to be delivered by Jean-Claude Juncker.

Mr Verhofstadt’s appointment as the Parliament’s chief negotiator attracted criticism amongst some British ‘leave’ campaigners, although former UKIP leader Nigel Farage suggested his appointment could lead to a speedier conclusion of negotiations.