Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 June 2019

Theresa May to head for more talks with the EU next week

Her office says she plans to talk to the leader of every EU member state over the coming days

Mrs May will speak to EU leaders next week. AFP
Mrs May will speak to EU leaders next week. AFP

British Prime Minister Theresa May is to hold Brexit talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker next week, her office said on Saturday.

The meetings follow this week's symbolic defeat in parliament which was widely interpreted as undermining her negotiating strength with the EU.

Mrs May's office did not give a date for the talks but said she planned to speak to the leader of every EU member state over the coming days.

On Monday, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay will meet EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, it added in a statement.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will make a speech setting out what changes would be required to eliminate the legal risk that Britain could be trapped in a Northern Irish backstop indefinitely.

Mrs May's defeat in last Thursday's symbolic vote undermined her pledge to EU leaders that she could pass her deal with concessions primarily around the Irish backstop - a guarantee that there can be no return of border controls between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

The issue has become one of the main points of contention ahead of Britain's planned departure from the EU next month after 45 years.

Mrs May's office said she had written to divided Conservative lawmakers urging them to overcome their differences over leaving the EU in the national interest.

"Our party can do what it has done so often in the past: move beyond what divides us and come together behind what unites us; sacrifice if necessary our own personal preferences in the higher service of the national interest ...," she wrote.

Updated: February 17, 2019 04:56 AM

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