The chair of the European Parliament’s EPP Group poured cold water over possible British participation in May’s crunch election – in the event Brexit was delayed – during a spirited defence of the European Union’s future. In an interview with German news magazine Spiegel, Mr Weber warned the “British tragedy” could ultimately end up feeding the populists. He said: “Participation of British citizens in the European elections is unthinkable for me.
“I can not explain to anyone in Germany or Spain that citizens who want to leave the EU should once again play a significant role in shaping its future.
“I can not allow the British tragedy to infect the rest of the EU and ultimately feed the populists.”
Mr Weber also launched a stinging broadside against any plans to postpone Brexit, claiming he would have “no sympathy that would only prolong the chaos in London”.
The EEP’s leading candidate also voiced his frustrations at the slow pace of negotiations between London and Brussels.
Mr Weber told the CSU publication: “We’ve been talking to the British for almost three years and we’re hardly getting anywhere, so I have no sympathy for a postponement that would only prolong the chaos in London.
“If we do not get a clear statement on what should happen during this extension of the Brexit deadline, we will not agree.”
He did however concede an extension to the Brexit process would be possible, but it would only have to be for a short period of time.
This would only be conceivable “if Mrs May brings the withdrawal agreement through her parliament and at the end only lacks a few weeks for the technical implementation”.
Last month, Mr Weber also warned any extension to Article 50 would have to be short.
He told Euronews: “To have any kind of prolongation makes only sense in the Brexit case if we know what we want to achieve in the next period of time.
“For the moment I don’t see any activity or any further proposal of what we should achieve during this additional time period.
“For the European elections it is clear – Great Britain decided to leave the European Union. I regret this, but this is the decision.
“That means for me for the future of the continent, for the future of the European Union, Great Britain cannot have any more say.
“That means for me, in the next European elections, Great Britain cannot participate.”
He added: “For any kin doc extension, for any kind of prolongation of the clocks, the deadline is for sure July this year. Then the next European Parliament will start.”
All members of the European Union would have to unanimously agree to the extension of Article 50.
But Mr Weber has thrown his support behind a second Brexit referendum, something Mrs May has so far insisted won’t happen, despite pressure from rebel MPs for one to take place.
He told Spiegel: ”I welcome everything that provides clarity in London – a referendum could be a way out of the UK’s blockade situation, but that’s the decision of the British themselves.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.