May says further Brexit talks with EU in coming days

Brussels (AFP) –


Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that Britain and the EU would hold more talks in the coming days, denying reports that bloc leaders refused her plea for reassurances on her Brexit plan.

She welcomed a statement issued by the other 27 EU leaders restating their position on arrangements for the Irish border, which has caused MPs in Britain to threaten to reject the deal.

"As formal conclusions, these commitments have legal status and therefore should be welcomed," she told reporters after a Brussels summit, but added: "MPs will require further assurances."

After talks with EU Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and others in Brussels on Friday, she said further discussions would take place next week.

"I note there has been reporting that the EU is not willing to consider any further clarification. The EU is clear -- as I am -- that if we are going to leave with a deal this is it," she said.

"But my discussions with colleagues today have shown that further clarification and discussion following the Council's conclusions is in fact possible.

"There is work still to do and we will be holding talks in coming days about how to obtain the further assurances that the UK parliament needs in order to be able to approve the deal."

May, meanwhile, confirmed her government would be "talking further" about its preparations for the possibility Britain leaves the EU on March 29 with no agreement in place.

"I believe it's better to leave with a deal, with a good deal and I believe the deal we have is a good deal," she said.

May was speaking at the end of a week that saw her forced to postpone a vote by MPs on the Brexit deal due the strength of the opposition, face a confidence vote within her own parliamentary party and then confront EU leaders.

"Throughout all of this I've been clear, there is a job to be done here... it's a job for delivering on the vote of the British people in the referendum," she said.

She added: "I never said it was going to be easy. Negotiations like this are always tough, there are always difficult times. And as you get close to the very end then that can be even more difficult.

"But this is what drives me to carry on doing this and making sure we deliver, is that this is what is right for the British people."