Jeremy Corbyn met with feared Brussels official Martin Selmayr during his visit to the EU capital to discuss Brexit, The Independent understands.
The Labour leader held meetings with Mr Selmayr as well as Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, who is in charge of day-to-day negotiations.
The meeting is sure to raise eyebrows because Mr Selmayr, a former chief of staff to president Jean-Claude Juncker, has a reputation in Brussels for backroom deals and intrigue.
He is widely nicknamed “The Monster” in Brussels because of his ruthless and abrasive political style – a name publicly bestowed upon him by his by his own boss Mr Juncker.
Now the head of the EU’s civil service, he has been put in charge of no-deal planning for the bloc in the event that an agreement is not reached with Theresa May’s government.
His meeting with Mr Corbyn and Labour’s Brexit chief Keir Starmer comes after Labour ruled out going ahead with a no-deal if it comes to power and said it only would support an agreement struck by Ms May in Parliament if it included a customs union.
Mr Corbyn played down suggestions Labour might be conducting parallel negotiations with the European Commission. Speaking to reporters outside the organisation’s Berlaymont headquarters he said Labour was “not negotiating” with the EU.
“We’re obviously not negotiating, we’re not in government, we’re the opposition, but it was interesting to note what our views are and the six tests that we’ve laid down by which we will hold our government to account in the future,” he said.
He added: “We set out the views of the Labour party on issues surrounding Brexit following the conferences speeches made by both Keir Starmer and myself.”
But the meetings come just 24 hours after he told Theresa May that if she could not reach a deal with Brussels, Labour would step in. Read more
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