LABOUR “doesn’t exist to stop Brexit”, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday as he defended the party’s approach to the European elections.

But at the same time European Council president Donald Tusk told reporters he thought there was a “20-30% chance” that the UK might not leave the EU at all.

Labour is trying to appeal to both sides of the Brexit debate, insisting that the real divide in the country is between normal workers and the wealthy rather than Leavers and Remainers. Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon acknowledged it was a “difficult road” that the party had chosen “but it’s the right thing to do”.

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In comments which could cause further tensions within Labour between those calling for a second referendum and others who want to secure a soft Brexit deal, Burgon insisted the party was not trying to prevent the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“The Labour Party doesn’t exist to stop Brexit,” he said.

“Other parties have been formed that think that is their only purpose politically.”

Talks between Labour and the Tories aimed at reaching a Brexit agreement will resume on Monday but little concrete progress appears to have been made. But some in Europe think Brexit may not happen at all.

EU chief Tusk told a Polish newspaper: “After the British referendum in 2016, I thought that if we recognise that the case is closed, it will be the end.

The National: Donald Tusk

“Today the chance that Brexit will not happen is, in my opinion, 20-30%. That’s a lot. From month to month, it is becoming increasingly clear that the UK’s exit from the EU will look completely different than the Brexit that was promoted,” Tusk added. “I see no reason to capitulate.”

Another major EU figure, the European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, joined the LibDems on the campaign trail yesterday.

Verhofstadt was with LibDem leader Vince Cable in London on Friday as he predicted a Remain surge in upcoming European Parliament elections.

Verhofstadt insisted his presence was not foreign interference in the UK’s elections as he was “a LibDem” and backing the party because it opposed Brexit. “We want to show by coming here a message to the continent to say never repeat Brexit again,” he said. “We want to be the alternative for nationalism and popularism. What I think is there will be a huge support for Remain. I’m not here as a Brexit negotiator, I’m here as the leader of the liberals and democrats for Europe.”

Asked if his presence could be seen as foreign interference, Verhofstadt said: “This is Europe. Europe, it’s all Europe.”

Meanwhile, has called on young Scots to vote SNP in the European election and tell Theresa May not to cut them off from opportunities in Europe.

The National: Mhairi Black MP 

Both major UK parties want to end freedom of movement, which would remove the right to live, work and study across the EU from Scots.

More than a quarter of full time research staff at Scottish universities are EU nationals, while Scottish students are able to study across Europe as part of their degree under the Erasmus+ scheme.

Black said: “Young people in Scotland don’t want Brexit – yet, if Theresa May gets her way, they’ll have to pay the price. Our message to Theresa May is simple.

“We won’t let you cut us off from Europe. The European elections are an opportunity for people in Scotland to make clear they will not stand for this mess – and to demand a way out.”