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Germany will fight to the last hour to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal and is willing to hear any fresh ideas for the Irish border backstop, the country’s ambassador to the UK has said.

Speaking at a car manufacturers’ summit in London, Peter Wittig said Germany cherished its relationship with the UK and was ready to talk about solutions the new prime minister might have for the Irish border problem.

“My country is ready to talk and the chancellor [Angela Merkel] once said she would be willing to talk to the last hour not to have a no-deal scenario,” he said.

“It’s a mindset. We are not giving up in achieving an orderly Brexit. Germany has been a very pragmatic voice in this whole tortuous Brexit process and we will continue to be that.

“Even if we have a short window while the new prime minister is in place, we will welcome any idea how to solve that famous backstop issue and we will be willing to work towards a negotiated deal which is long term the only viable and sensible option for Europe,” he added.

Asked if Germany would support another extension in the Brexit process, he said: “We can’t be more specific. It is now the turn of the UK government to come up with the plan and talk to us [the EU].

“Our mindset is to explore all pathways to come to a negotiated deal.”

The German envoy’s comments came as motor industry leaders warned that the cost of car manufacturing would go up £70m a day if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, making the British automotive industry more vulnerable to closures. Read more

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