German minister pleads with UK to 'stop playing games' as he warns time for Brexit deal is running out

Prime minister Boris Johnson leaves the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London

Prime minister Boris Johnson leaves the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

Germany's minister for Europe has pleaded with the UK to "stop playing games" and produce a fairer basis for negotiations.

Michael Roth said time was running out for both sides to reach a deal before the end of the Brexit transition period in December.

Speaking with DW News, Roth called on Downing Street to ditch controversial provisions in the internal market bill.

The bill, if enshrined into law, will override key aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by both sides earlier this year.

"We are really, really disappointed with the results of the negotiations so far. The so-called internal market bill extremely worries us because it violates the guiding principles of the Withdrawal Agreement and that is totally unacceptable for us," he said.

"Please dear friends in London - stop the games."

He warned that time for a deal was running out and that the UK needed to bring a "fair basis for further negotiations", adding the EU was ready waiting.

Roth's warning comes as former Tory prime minister Theresa May said she would not be supporting the bill.

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She told MPs in the Commons the bill would cause "untold damage" to the union.

"The government is acting recklessly and irresponsibly with no thought for the long-term impact on the standing of the United Kingdom in the world," she said.

"This will lead to untold damage to the United Kingdom’s reputation, it puts the future of the United Kingdom at risk and, as a result, with regret, I have to tell the minister I cannot support this bill."

Last week, prime minister Boris Johnson yielded to backbench demands to give parliament the final say on when controversial sections of the bill can be invoked.

Johnson said the amendments were included to "protect" trade between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

But critics argue the bill directly contradicts the Withdrawal Agreement and would amount to breaking international law.

Yesterday, May questioned Johnson's claims, stipulating the Agreement had an arbitration process etched into it.

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