Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he is ready to help the next British prime minister negotiate a divorce agreement with the European Union – but he does not take sides in the race to decide who it is.
Harper said on Saturday evening that he "is ready to help whoever is the next leader of the U.K. Conservative Party on trade issues if they want to."
But, as the current president of the International Union of Democrats, an alliance of conservative-oriented political parties around the world, Harper says he must remain "neutral in all races of party leadership."
He responded to the Sunday Times report, which states that a British conservative leader Jeremy Hunt "compiled two high Canadian politicians" to help negotiate a deal on Brexit.
The Sunday Times reports that Hunt – one of only two remaining candidates who will replace Terez May as party and prime minister – recruited Harper and former conservative deputy Ron Ambrose.
Hunt tells the newspapers that he intends to secure a so-called trade agreement with Canada "plus" with the EU, based on a comprehensive economic and trade agreement that was primarily agreed with the Harper government.
Ambrose expressed his support for Hunt as the leader in a statement on Saturday.
"Secretary Hunt and I met in our time as health ministers for our country. He is a great leader and a great friend in Canada," said Ambrose.
"We talked about the EU-Canada trade agreement and the potential for similar benefits to the U.K. -EU agreement. We have also talked about re-negotiating the NAFTA."
Ambrose said that Hunt did not do any formal duty, but they spoke informally.
Harper did not respond immediately to the request for a comment on Sunday.