Britain will not appoint a new EU commissioner despite demands from Brussels to do so, the Government has confirmed.
Britain’s ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow sent a letter to European Commission headquarters on Thursday confirming the decision.
A Government spokesman said: “We have written to the EU to confirm that pre-election guidance states the UK should not normally make nominations for international appointments during this period.”
Boris Johnson has repeatedly vowed that he would not appoint a new commissioner despite his failure to take Britain out of the EU by the deadline of October 31.
The incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has twice written to Mr Johnson demanding he provide a nomination to the new commission, in line with its obligations as a member state.
European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant said they were considering how to respond to the UK letter.
It is an exceptional situation, we haven't been there beforeDana Spinant, European Commission
She said it was still Ms von der Leyen’s intention to go ahead with the formation of a new College of Commissioners on December 1, even though legally all member states are required to supply a commissioner.
“We have had a few hours to consider the answer provided by the United Kingdom. This is a very special and complex situation,” she told reporters in Brussels.
“It is an exceptional situation, we haven’t been there before.
“Therefore all options and avenues are being discussed right now to see how we can – based on the position the UK has taken – achieve the forming of the next commission and have the commission in place by December 1, which remains our objective.”