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British PM May embraces Brexit 'opportunity'

  • The PM will tell the Tory faithful the country's "best days lie ahead of us".
    Theresa May is closing the Conservative conference with a vow to hard-pressed families and a promise that the post-Brexit future is "full of promise". The PM will tell the Tory faithful the country's "best days lie ahead of us".
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Europe
Category:
Politics
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British Prime Minister Theresa May will tell her Conservative Party on Wednesday the impending divorce from the European Union is an opportunity that opens up a future of promise, assuring the faithful: “We have everything we need to succeed.”

On the final day of her party’s conference May will take aim at her critics, who accuse her of failing to embrace Brexit and of giving in to the EU.

The leader’s fragile position has been put under further pressure over the last month after the bloc rejected parts of her so-called Chequers plan and critics have stepped up calls for her to rethink her strategy for Brexit, the biggest trade and foreign policy shift in Britain for more than 40 years.

But with just six months before Britain is due to leave the bloc, she has so far weathered the Brexit storm, shrugging off a barnstorming speech by her former foreign minister Boris Johnson, which did little to hide his leadership ambitions.

“I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise,” she will say, according to excerpts of her speech.

“Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes: we have everything we need to succeed.”

The words may do little to ease the growing frustration of some Conservatives who openly say their party is directionless, but with Brexit talks entering a critical phase, few of her rivals want the top job just yet.

Less than an hour before she was due to speak, Conservative lawmaker James Duddridge said he had submitted a letter to the party’s so-called 1922 committee, calling on May to resign.

Forty-eight lawmakers would need to write such letters to trigger a vote of confidence in the leader.

“Turns out there is a plan. That plan is Boris,” Duddridge wrote on Twitter after Boris Johnson’s speech on Tuesday.

In the speech, Johnson seemed to pull his punches, backing May for now after he made a rallying cry for the party to return to its traditional values and to “chuck Chequers”.