In her first major television appearance, since calling a snap general election for 8th June, British Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that Brexit negotiations will be ‘tough’.
With her party’s considerable lead in the polls shrinking May also took the opportunity to make campaign assurances that a Conservative government would not increase Value Added Tax (VAT).
Responding to the EU’s “rigid” divorce terms with Britain on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, May told Britons to have “no illusions” about swiftly securing access to EU markets.
“Because this is, I think, the most important election that this country has faced in my lifetime, that when people look at this election and when they hear what the politicians are saying, they think about the national interest,” May told viewers.
“And it’s important when we go into those negotiations, and we’ve already seen some of the comments that have been coming out of Brussels, which show that at times these negations are going to be tough,” she added.
EU-27 Leaders presented a united front on Friday,agreeing on draft negotiation guidelines, issued by European Council President Donald Tusk, unanimously in less than 15 minutes.
Some of the key issues to be discussed before any trade talks can start include; Britain’s settlement of the €60bn divorce bill; EU citizens’ rights in Britain and Britons’ rights in Europe and assurances about the Irish border and peace process.
In a sign of the rising tensions, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker reportedly told Angela Merkel that Theresa May was living “in a different Galaxy” after she demanded a trade deal be drawn up before Britain’s divorce bill is paid.
In the BBC interview, May stood by previous comments that “no deal was better than a bad deal”, and cast aside claims that her negotiating stance was unreasonable.
“I’m not in a different galaxy. What this shows is that there are going to be times when these negotiations are going to be tough,” she said.