EU President Nominee Booed By Brexit Party After Saying She's Happy To Delay Brexit

16 July 2019, 10:46 | Updated: 16 July 2019, 10:50

European Commission president nominee Ursula von der Leyen announced that she would be prepared to extend Britain's exit from the EU beyond the 31st October deadline if it were necessary.

Speaking in the European Parliament this morning, Ms von Der Leyen said: "I stand ready for further extension of the withdrawal date should more time be required for a good reason."

The announcement was not met favourably by pro-Brexit members of the European Parliament who jeered at her comments.

Ignoring heckles from the Brexit Party, she told MEPs that she is ready to "fight" for Europe after becoming the first woman nominated to lead the Commission.

Ursula von der Leyen would be prepared to extend Brexit
Ursula von der Leyen would be prepared to extend Brexit. Picture: PA

She also claimed she knew she was a European citizen before understanding she was German.

Ursula von der Leyen stressed that Brexit was "a serious decision. We regret it but we respect it".  

She added that Withdrawal Agreement provides certainty and peace and stability in Ireland.

In her speech, she pledged for greater unity between EU countries: "We must first rediscover our unity, if we are united on the inside nobody will divide us from the outside," she said.

"If we close the gaps between us, we can turn tomorrow’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities."

Ms Von der Leyen is addressing the 751 members of the European Parliament this morning in an attempt to become the EU Commission President in a ratification vote tonight.

She also discussed climate change and promised that Europe would become the first climate neutral continent in the world by 2050.

Speaking about her aim to push for fair minimum wages across the EU, the president nominee said she wanted to help build a "more tolerant, fair and equal society" and an unemployment benefit scheme.

Ursula von der Leyen also confirmed she will resign from her position, irrespective of whether she becomes Commission president or not.