Theresa May to reveal Brexit blueprint after winning Cabinet backing

24 February, 2018, 07:09 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • GETTY62 Tory MPs have sent Theresa May a Brexit warning

May and senior cabinet members agreed in a meeting on Thursday to Britain's plans for relations with the EU-27 after it officially leaves the bloc in March 2019.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, who met May in London earlier in the week to deliver an uncompromising call for a clear and realisable vision from the United Kingdom government, said: "As good friends [of the British], we can bring the hard messages like I did at Downing Street, asking Theresa May to be as clear as possible on what she wants to achieve on the second phase of negotiations".

The leaders of European Union nations - minus Britain's prime minister - met Friday to begin what are expected to be acrimonious talks on how the bloc will cope with a multibillion-euro hole in its budget caused by Britain's departure.

Banks in London should not rely on a transition deal or wait for full legal certainty, but submit licence applications that can be amended later on, Dombret told Reuters.

May's meeting with her so-called Brexit war committee at her 16th-century country residence was called to try to reach agreement on a preferred vision for Britain outside the European Union, opening the way for May to make the final speech in what the government has called the "Road to Brexit" series of addresses.

European Union leaders have repeatedly pressed May to provide details of her vision for future relations, but she has been hampered by divisions within her ruling Conservative Party, with some backing continued close ties and others seeking a "clean break".

The agreement among May's top ministers-who include chief Brexit-backer Boris Johnson and pro-EU Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond-now means that May can write the speech setting out her negotiating goals next week.

Her aides had suggested the meeting would not produce the fireworks some commentators expected.

However, the bloc has warned it may not that reach an agreement without an idea of the two sides' future ties, a solution to the conundrum over the border with European Union member Ireland and an agreement on the bloc's top court whose jurisdiction Britain wants to escape.

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Brexit has been described as one of the most momentous happenings in the bloc's 60-year history because it involves the departure of one of the richest and most influential of its 28 member states with a combined population of some 500 million. "There's no mixing", another European Union source added.

Juncker meanwhile said he still assumed Britain would leave as planned in 2019, despite speculation about a repeat of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

"This is because there is no escape from the binary nature of the choice over future trading arrangements".

A draft document published by the government on Wednesday incensed some hardline Brexit campaigners.

May's spokesman said it had always been government policy that Britain would be able to agree and sign such deals during the time-limited period.

But the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Austria, which all pay more into the European Union budget than they get out, are strongly opposed to increasing European Union spending.

May's spokesman was unruffled.

"We are all contributing financially to the anti-radicalisation military operations in this region and that is starting to pay dividends", she said.

But the consensus, the official said, was that leaders would retain their autonomous right to nominate the Commission head, taking into consideration the election result, as they are obliged to do by treaty.


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