BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May battled to unite her Conservative Party on Wednesday, telling critics to abandon their dreams of a «perfect» Brexit and «come together» as divorce negotiations with the European Union enter their tough final phase.

«If we all go off in different directions in pursuit of our own visions of the perfect Brexit, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all,» May said in a warning to Johnson and others who aim to oust her or force her to change course.

«A Brexit that might make Britain stronger 50 years from now is no good to you if it makes your life harder today,» she noted. Britain’s governing party is deeply divided over the country’s impending departure from the EU, with pro- and anti-EU camps both criticizing the prime minister’s negotiations with the bloc.

Brexit in March

With just under six months until Britain leaves the EU on March 29, the speech Wednesday was an attempt by May to solve her Brexit conundrum. The EU has rejected her proposed Brexit deal and demanded new ideas from Britain. But pro-Brexit members of May’s Conservative government oppose any softening of the U.K.’s stance.

So the negotiations with the EU have ground to a halt, U.K. businesses are growing jittery and Conservative Brexiteers like Johnson are demanding that the U.K. make a clean break with the bloc — deal or no deal.

Less than three weeks before a make-or-break EU summit in Brussels, May said divorce talks were entering their «toughest phase.» But she rejected calls by Euroskeptics to walk away from the talks, saying that «leaving without a deal — introducing tariffs and costly checks at the border — would be a bad outcome for the U.K. and the EU.»

May’s speech was a direct riposte to Johnson, who told a rapturous audience on Tuesday that May’s proposal for close post-Brexit economic ties with the EU was an «outrage» that would leave Britain unable to strike new trade deals around the world.

May defended her Brexit blueprint, which aims to keep Britain aligned with many EU rules in return for remaining in the bloc’s single market for goods. She argued that her plan would preserve the frictionless trade that many businesses depend on, while ensuring «no change whatsoever» to Northern Ireland’s border with Ireland.

The U.K. and the EU agree there must be no customs checks or other barriers along the currently invisible border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. But they don’t agree on how to achieve that, and the issue remains the biggest obstacle to a Brexit deal.

May’s speech was a triumph compared to last year’s disastrous event, when she was plagued by a cough, interrupted by a prankster and had parts of the stage backdrop fall down as she was speaking. This time, May even poked fun at her robotic public image — cemented when her awkward dance moves on a trip to Africa went viral — by busting a move as she took the stage to ABBA’s «Dancing Queen.»

She reached out to voters whose living standards have been squeezed by stagnating incomes and public-spending cuts since the 2008 global financial crisis. In a major policy shift, May said the government would abandon its long-held policy of slashing public spending in the name of deficit reduction.

But May’s future remains uncertain. Many Conservatives expect her to face a leadership challenge soon after Brexit day — or even before. Pro-Brexit legislator James Duddridge on Wednesday called the Brexit negotiations «an absolute disaster» and said he had added his name to a list of Conservative lawmakers demanding a confidence vote in the prime minister.

A vote will be triggered if 48 legislators ask for one. No one knows yet how many have already submitted their requests. «We need a strong leader and we haven’t got that at the moment,» Duddridge said, reports Associated Press.

Theresa May is trying to make a good deal for UK with EU

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  1. Nils Petter Tanderø

    Brexit ryster krftprisene

    Den siste tiden har det vært store bevegelser i råvarepriser, valuta og renter, samtidig som det har skjedd en korreksjon i finansmarkedene globalt, skriver LOS Energy i en pressemelding..I tillegg skaper Brexit-forhandlingene ytterligere usikkerhet i det europeiske utslippsmarkedet for CO2. Prisen for utslippsrettigheter i Europa er helt avgjørende for hvilken strømpris vi kan vente oss i Europa fremover. Så lenge ikke presset på nordisk vannkraft er for stor, vil også de nordiske kraftprisene være vesentlig påvirket av prisen for utslippsrettigheter. På ett år har prisen tredoblet seg, fra € 7/tonn helt opp til € 25/ tonn. Denne uken har usikkerhet knyttet til britiske CO2-kvoter og Brexit, vært med å presse ned prisen til under € 19. Disse store svingningene har forsterket bevegelsene i terminprisene, skriver LOS Energy.

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