POLITICS
18/01/2019 10:45 GMT

Angela Merkel's Successor Leads German Plea For British 'Friends' To Remain In The EU

"Britons should know: from the bottom of our hearts, we want them to stay."

Fabian Bimmer / Reuters
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was a key signatory of the letter from German leaders 

The woman poised to replace Angela Merkel as Germany’s next chancellor has made a last-minute plea to the UK to remain in the EU, saying Britain is “part of who were are as Europeans”.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer – who took over as leader of the country’s Christian Democratic Union party after Merkel stepped down in December – was among more than two dozen leading Germans to sign a letter in The Times calling on the UK to ditch Brexit.

Europe would not be what it is today without Britain, they wrote. “After the horrors of the Second World War, Britain did not give up on us… This we, as Germans, have not forgotten and we are grateful.”

The plea comes just days after Theresa May suffered a historic defeat in the House of Commons, with MPs voting her Brexit deal down by an incredible 432 - 202.

The prime minister is now in talks with opposition parties in a bid to find a compromise on how the country should leave the EU.

But the group of German politicians, industry leaders and artists said they would miss the UK if it went ahead with Brexit.

“We would miss the legendary British black humour and going to the pub after work hours to drink an ale,” they wrote, listing “tea with milk” and driving on the left side of the road among Britain’s key attributes.

“But more than anything else, we would miss the British people — our friends across the Channel. We would miss Britain as part of the European Union, especially in these troubled times,” the letter continued.

“Therefore Britons should know: from the bottom of our hearts, we want them to stay.”

The call to scrap Brexit comes a day after a government briefing document shared with opposition MPs suggested a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit could not be held within the next year. 

The document said legislating for and organising a second referendum would take “in excess of a year”.

But the Electoral Commission, the independent body which regulates elections, said the government had not yet approached them.