BRUSSELS - The woman set to become the next head of the EU has announced she's willing to back a third delay to Brexit.
In her confirmation speech to the European Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen said she will back postponing Britain leaving the EU beyond October 31 if there's a "good reason".
And she said: "In any case the UK will remain our ally, our partner and our friend."
Ms von der Leyen is standing to be the President of the European Commission, the body which has led Brexit negotiations with the UK. Although this would give her influence, any decision to offer a delay would be up to the 27 other EU countries' national leaders in the European Council.
Brexit was delayed first from March 29 to mid-April, and then to October 31 this year.
Boris Johnson , who's expected to be Prime Minister from next week, has vowed to leave on October 31 "do or die".
And last night he massively ramped up the odds of a No Deal Brexit by ruling out compromises over the Northern Ireland backstop clause of the Brexit deal.
The backstop would force the UK to follow some EU customs rules in order to avoid a hard border springing up between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Brexiteers had suggested they were willing to back the deal if there was a time limit or "exit mechanism" in the backstop.
Even this would have been a big ask from the EU, which refused to agree either in talks with Theresa May.
But now Mr Johnson has declared even that compromise, if agreed, would not be enough.
He told a debate last night: "I’m not attracted to time limits or unilateral escape hatches or all these elaborate devices, glosses, codicils and so on that you could apply to the backstop."(FA)