British Prime Minister Theresa May: Ousting me risks delaying Brexit | News | DW | 18.11.2018
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British Prime Minister Theresa May: Ousting me risks delaying Brexit

The British PM has said she would not let removal talks distract her from a critical week of negotiations. Some MPs from her own party seek to oust her after seeing the details of the contentious draft Brexit deal.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday told her critics that removing her from office would not make Brexit negotiations easier and warned that toppling her would risk delaying Britain's exit from the European Union.

May has been facing a serious challenge to her leadership since she unveiled a draft divorce deal with the EU on Wednesday. Several ministers, including her Brexit minister, have resigned and some lawmakers from her own party have submitted letters to trigger a no-confidence vote against her.

"These next seven days are going to be critical, they are about the future of this country," May told British broadcaster Sky News, referring to the number of days left before an emergency EU summit to discuss the deal on November 25. "I am not going to be distracted from the important job.

"A change of leadership at this point isn't going to make the negotiations any easier," she added. "What it will do is mean that there is a risk that actually we delay the negotiations and that is a risk that Brexit gets delayed or frustrated."

Read moreThe draft Brexit deal: What you need to know

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May said negotiating teams were working "as we speak" and she intended to go to Brussels and meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. She said she also plans to speak to other EU leaders ahead of the summit.

'Fatally flawed'

Former-Brexit Minister Dominic Raab, who resigned on Thursday in protest at the deal, suggested May failed to stand up to bullying from EU officials.

He described the 585-page divorce deal as "fatally flawed" and said he did not think it would be approved by Parliament, where May's Conservatives don't have a parliamentary majority.

"I still think a deal could be done, but it is very late in the day now and we need to change course," Raab told the BBC. "The biggest risk of no deal is taking a bad deal to the House of Commons ... it is very important to take the action now."

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party, which has 257 MPs, will not support May's deal when it comes to a vote in Parliament.

He demanded that May return to Brussels and renegotiate the divorce deal, which he described as a "one-way agreement" in which the EU "calls all the shots."

The draft agreement envisions Britain leaving the EU as planned on March 29, but remaining inside the bloc's single market and bound by its rules until the end of December 2020.

The deal also includes a contentious "backstop" solution that would keep the UK in a customs arrangement with the EU until a permanent trade treaty is signed. The arrangement is aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

ap/sms (AP, Reuters)

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