TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party began gathering for its annual conference on Saturday, bitterly divided over her plans to leave the European Union which threatens to derail any deal and put her own job in doubt.
Just six months before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, May has said talks to clinch a divorce deal are at an impasse.
She has said her “Chequers” proposals are the only viable option, but EU leaders have said parts of them are unacceptable and many Conservative lawmakers have threatened to vote down a deal based on May’s blueprint.
The uncertainty has led to business concerns that there will be no deal, potentially leading to tariffs and border delays.
Japanese carmaker Toyota on Saturday warned that leaving without an agreement would hit its production and jobs would ultimately be at risk.
“Of course we want a deal,” Business Secretary Greg Clark told BBC radio, saying May and her negotiating team were determined to secure a deal and there were grounds for optimism.
“That’s why the next few weeks are going to be important to go through issue by issue what’s being proposed to address whether there are any residual concerns that the negotiators have and with a cool head and recognising the common interest in this, resolve them one by one.”
A summit of EU leaders last week ended in a blunt dismissal of May’s proposals, which they said would fail to resolve arguments over the land border of Northern Ireland, in the UK, with the Irish Republic, in the EU, one of the main sticking points to a deal.
In an interview with the Sun newspaper, Britain’s Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the Irish issue was being used by some in the EU Commission “for political purposes”, but said he was open to suggestions from the bloc.