Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that the United Kingdom wanted the negotiations on its exit from the European Union to be successful, but would be ready to manage things if they failed.
She was speaking at a conference of her Conservative Party in the city of Manchester, northwest England.
“I believe it is profoundly in everyone’s interest for the negotiations to succeed,” May said in her closing address. But “it is our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality. And let me reassure everyone in this hall – that is exactly what we are doing.”
Little progress has been made at the Brexit negotiations on the three priority issues identified by the European Union (EU): the rights of European citizens in Britain; the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom; and accounts London will need to settle with regard to the current EU budget and various other commitments.
While the Tory conference was wracked by divisions over the objective of the Brexit negotiations, with some advocating a pure and simple break with the EU, Mrs May stressed once again that she wanted “a new deep and special partnership”.
“A partnership that allows us to continue to trade and cooperate with each other because we see shared challenges and opportunities ahead,” she explained. “But a partnership that ensures the United Kingdom is a sovereign nation once again.”
On Tuesday, the European Parliament deplored the lack of progress in the Brexit negotiations and concluded that it was not yet possible to launch discussions on the future partnership between Brussels and London.