BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to seal a deal to prop up her minority government and is facing calls to soften her stance on Brexit days before negotiations on leaving the EU begin.
May’s team are in talks with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on a deal to secure their support in parliament after May failed to win an outright majority in last Thursday’s snap election that she had called to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks.
Instead, the devastating blow has left May weakened among her Conservative Party and thrown open her Brexit strategy to criticism from peers, some of whom are not in favour of the current plan to leave the European Union single market and customs union.
May said on Tuesday that talks with the DUP had been productive – a view shared by DUP leader Arlene Foster – and that Brexit negotiations would begin as planned next week.
‘I think there is a unity of purpose among people in the United Kingdom,’ May said following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.
‘It’s a unity of purpose, having voted to leave the EU, that their government gets on with that and makes a success of it.’
May will face pressure in the remaining days before the EU divorce talks begin to find a position that satisfies both pro-European and eurosceptic factions of her party if she wants to remain in power.
May will also be reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.
France’s Macron said the EU’s door was still open for Britain as long as the negotiations were not finished, but that it would be difficult to reverse course.