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Britain’s May downplays notion of party divisions over Brexit

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British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a press conference with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario, September 18, 2017. Lars Hagberg / AFP

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday she still holds control of her government and is steering Brexit negotiations after divisions in her ruling party surfaced over Britain’s split with Europe.

“The UK government is driven from the front and we all have the same destination in our sights — and that is getting a good deal for Brexit with the European Union,” she said during a visit to Canada.

Her remarks in Ottawa come after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stirred up colleagues and put pressure on May by laying out his own vision for Brexit.

The foreign secretary was accused of “backseat driving” by a fellow minister over his demand for a clean break with the EU.

While his position drew praise from eurosceptic members of Britain’s ruling Conservative party, others saw it as an attempt to force May’s hand ahead of a speech in the Italian city of Florence on Friday, when she will give an update on her plans and the progress of negotiations with the EU.

May said she is seeking with the EU “a good trade deal and (an) ongoing relationship with other matters like security.”

Maintaining a “deep and special partnership” with the EU, she added, “is not only in the interest of the United Kingdom but in the interest of the remaining 27 member states of the European Union as well.”

“And that is what we’re working for.”



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