Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Economy | By

May appeals for party unity at 'toughest phase' of Brexit

May appeals for party unity at 'toughest phase' of Brexit

U.K.'s Prime Minister Theresa May is to give a speech Wednesday created to boost confidence over the country's future once it leaves the European Union (EU) - and to brush off her biggest critic and rival, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Theresa May has been told she will have to find at least £20billion to fulfil her conference pledge to end austerity measures.

But she did her best to appear carefree as she sashayed on to the stage to the Abba hit Dancing Queen - a reference to the much-shared video of her dancing on a trip to Africa - and joked about the coughing fit and collapsing stage backdrop which marred her calamitous conference speech in Manchester past year.

But Johnson's recent comments about her Brexit plan, calling it "deranged" and saying it strapped a suicide vest to the British constitution, have angered many fellow MPs.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip greet supporters after her speech at the Conservative Party conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham, Britain October 3, 2018.

"If we all go off in different directions in pursuit of our own vision of the flawless Brexit, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all", she said, a rebuff to eurosceptic MPs who have published their alternatives plan for leaving the EU. In an upbeat message to activists and voters, she declared: "If we come together, there is no limit to what we can achieve".

Its chairman Lord Porter said: "Our national housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face and it is clear that only an increase of all types of housing, including those for affordable or social rent, will solve the housing crisis". "What we are proposing is very challenging for the EU".

"If we stick together and hold our nerve, I know we can get a deal that delivers for Britain".

But while Mrs May made 10 mentions of the word "build", she did not mention "rebuild" once, unlike Mr Corbyn who said it 12 times.

But unease in the party over her Brexit plan - agreed at Chequers in July - was illustrated by backbencher James Duddridge, who told the BBC's Today programme the PM was "not listening".

She also tried to return to the message she gave when she was appointed prime minister in 2016, promising to help those who feel "left behind" and pledging to end her government's austerity push after almost a decade of spending cuts.

It was one of the biggest speeches of her political career. "Firmness of objective, clarity and conviction - European Union friends do not underestimate!"

"I think the whole country will be listening and the whole country will be saying here is a guy that was deeply involved in securing Brexit in the first place who is basically saying that Chequers is a constitutional outrage, and it is".

"It was a great speech, he was optimistic, he talked about Conservative values, and he talked about the opportunities if we do Brexit properly", Richard Tice, co-chairman of campaign group Leave means Leave, said after Johnson's speech. Sometimes it comes out, sometimes she hides it away, but she is a really strong woman, a really strong prime minister and I really hope that comes across in the speech. Taking back control of our borders, laws and money. She says her plan is the only way to protect jobs and trade while also avoiding physical checks on the land border between British Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

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