THE new president of the European Commission has said she would grant another extension to the Brexit deadline if the UK needs it to assure an orderly withdrawal from the bloc.

Ursula von der Leyen was approved last night by MEPs as the first female president of the body.

Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor told MEPs she would be prepared to extend the UK’s departure from the EU “should more time be required”.

The UK is due to leave the EU on October 31, seven months after the original date of March 29.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's plot to force through a no-deal Brexit

Von der Leyen, the outgoing German defence minister, addressed the European Parliament as she made her pitch to MEPs to become European Commission president.

The centre-right Christian Democrat, part of the European People’s Party, promised parliamentarians she will put climate and social issues at the heart of her programme over the next five years.

Von der Leyen was a last-minute candidate to succeed Juncker which the EU leaders agreed upon as part of a package of top jobs that were decided earlier this month.

Under the package, the free-market liberal Renew Europe group got Belgian prime minister Charles Michel as council president, while the Socialists’ David Sassoli won the top parliament job.

Parliamentarians have not so much objected to Von der Leyen personally as voiced their anger that they were sidelined in the appointment process.

Their candidates for the Commission post, arguably the most important of all the jobs, were rejected by EU leaders.

The German defence minister was confirmed in the role by a European Parliament vote of 383-327, with 22 abstentions. The move required an absolute majority under EU rules.

She was expected to get the majority of votes from the EPP Christian Democrats, the S&D socialists and the RE liberals in the secret ballot.

The Greens and German socialists said they would reject her. “This is about much more than a personnel issue,” senior Social Democrat MEP Katarina Barley told ZDF television.

“In the election campaign, we called for the EU to become more democratic – including with the ‘lead candidate’ principle. We think it is very important that the Council cannot simply throw that in the trash with loud applause from right-wing populists.”

The ballot announcement came after von der Leyen had clashed with Nigel Farage in the European Parliament as she said she would allow another Brexit extension beyond October 31 if there were good reasons.

The National: Ann Widdecombe, stood next to Nigel Farage, during her speech to the European Parliament (EuropaTV/PA)

The in-coming Commission president said she respected but regretted the UK’s decision to leave the EU. “We cannot talk about Europe without talking about our friends from the UK,” she said.

“For the very first time, in 2016 a member state decided to leave the EU.

“This is a serious decision, we regret it but we respect it.

“Since then, together with the current government of the UK, the EU has worked hard to organise the orderly departure of the UK.”

The withdrawal agreement negotiated with Theresa May’s administration by Michel Barnier “provides certainty where Brexit created uncertainty”, Von der Leyen said.

“However, I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date should more time be required for a good reason.”

The new president also referenced the significance of her potential appointment ahead of the vote. “Finally, a woman is candidate for the European Commission,” she told MEPs, earning applause.

She then immediately addressed what she sees as the biggest challenge: climate change.

“I want Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050,” she said, adding she would work out a “green deal for Europe” in her first 100 days in office.

She added “it will need investment on a major scale”, and funds would be made available for nations, mainly in eastern Europe, still dependent on polluting fossil fuels.

During debate, the leader of the EPP group, Manfred Weber, who had been the EPP’s Spitzkandidat, or lead candidate, for Commission president, pledged support to von der Leyen.

“The time has come now to elect the president of the European Commission,” Weber said, noting that the EPP had come first in the Parliament election, winning the most seats. “The promises we made must be delivered on,” he said.

“She is convinced European,” Weber said of the nominee, adding, “We will be extending our full support to Ursula von der Leyen.”

Her declared opponents included the 74 Green MEPs as well as the 41 MEPs from the far-left alliance, the European United Left/Nordic Green Left. Some member parties of far-right Identity and Democracy group, which has 73 MEPs, also said they would vote against von der Leyen.