The warning comes from former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who said the departing Theresa May will “bequeath a poisoned chalice to her successor”. Mr Varoufakis, whose new party MeRA25 is contesting the Greek general election on July 7, warned any attempt to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement with the European Union will end in failure. Several candidates vying to replace Mrs May have said they would return to Brussels and ask for changes to be made to the agreement in a last-ditch attempt to get it through Parliament before the Brexit deadline of October 31.
But the EU is standing firm, insisting the withdrawal agreement will not be renegotiated, even with a new British Prime Minister in place.
This potentially increases the likelihood of a no deal exit as the current deal negotiated by Mrs May has already been resoundingly rejected by Parliament on four separate occasions.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Varoufakis argued attempts at renegotiating the withdrawal agreement would be immediately rejected, regardless of the cost to the EU of a no deal Brexit.
The former Greek Finance Minister said: “The next Tory Prime Minister must, to begin with, avoid any temptation to promise to go back to Brussels to renegotiate Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement.
“Such a negotiation would serve only to deepen the sense of humiliation bestowed upon the good people of Britain as they watch a third successive Prime Minister return from Brussels dejected and empty-handed.
“A new British prime minister arriving in Brussels to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement will be treated as a nuisance and sent packing whatever the economic cost to the EU of a hard Brexit in October.”
Instead, Mr Varoufakis urged the new Conservative Prime Minister to rally enough support from the opposition and call a snap general election.
He said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could join forces with the new Prime Minister towards staging a people’s vote, which could win back support lost to the Brexit Party and Liberal Democrats over recent weeks.
The former Greek Finance Minister even suggested if a new Prime Minister promises to take the UK out of the EU before any renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement or political declaration, Brussels could “radically rethink” its position once Britain has left without a deal.
Mr Varoufakis said: “As long as the new Prime Minister avoids a futile Brussels re-negotiation, the two main parties will be forced to put unambiguous proposals to the voters so as to regain their predominance from the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats respectively.
“The new Tory leader will have no choice, given the emergence of the Brexit Party, but to promise unconditionally and immediately to take the UK out of the EU before any renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement or the political declaration regarding the future relationship.
He added: “The merit of such a commitment is twofold. First, it does not depend on the kindness of EU negotiators.
“Second, it can be backed with a credible prediction that the EU will, once the UK has left without an agreement, be motivated – perhaps for the first time – radically to rethink its position.
“While the new Prime Minister will not be able to convince the electorate, during the election campaign, that EU officials and national leaders will reopen Mrs May’s deal while the Article 50 clock is ticking away, she or he will be able to point out that, once the UK steps out, the Commission has new emergency powers to freeze all customs checks, airline disruption etc – powers that it will most certainly use.
“That will also be the right moment for London to propose a fresh negotiation that folds into one the exit deal with an agreement for the future relationship.”
Published at Wed, 05 Jun 2019 11:55:00 +0000