Donald Trump 'told me to sue the EU' over Brexit says Theresa May

Theresa May has said Donald Trump advised her to sue the EU in the Brexit negotiations.

Sunday, 15th July 2018, 1:15 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 4:46 pm
Prime Minister Theresa May on The Andrew Marr show this morning. Pic: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire.
Prime Minister Theresa May on The Andrew Marr show this morning. Pic: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire.

Appearing on BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show, the Prime Minister said: "He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them."

She added: "What the president also said at that press conference was 'Don't walk away. Don't walk away from the negotiations. Then you're stuck'."

Prime Minister Theresa May on The Andrew Marr show this morning. Pic: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire.

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Mrs May also insisted that her controversial blueprint for Brexit represents a "good deal" for the UK.

Amid mounting Tory anger over her proposal for a "common rule book" with the EU on trade in goods, she acknowledged she had been forced to make changes to her original plans by Brussels.

However, she said that result was a plan that would deliver "benefits" for Britain, protecting jobs and ensuring there would be no need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mrs May defended her revised Brexit plan, agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers, which led to the resignations this week of David Davis and Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister Theresa May says US President Donald Trump advised her to 'sue the EU' over Brexit. Pic: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

"This is a good deal for the UK. In this one area we needed to make a change - the question of trade in goods in relationship to the frictionless border - we needed to make a change," she said.

"We needed to come forward with another option too, in order to ensure that we can get those negotiations on trade. The clock is ticking.

"But this is a deal that has benefits. Our companies will abide by these rules anyway. Giving them frictionless border means that the jobs that depend on that frictionless trade will be protected.

"It means we deliver on the Northern Ireland border. It means we have got benefits out of this deal. This is a good deal for the UK."

Prime Minister Theresa May on The Andrew Marr show this morning. Pic: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire.

Mrs May said she had come forward with her revised approach after the EU offered two options for a deal - neither of which was acceptable to the UK.

"The European Commission's proposals that it put forward were no good. On the one hand it what would have been for us a very poor trade deal and would have kept Northern Ireland in the customs union, effectively carving Northern Ireland out in these terms of the UK. That is unacceptable to any government here in the UK," she said.

"On the other hand what they call EEA (European Economic Area) plus, which would have meant accepting free movement and accepting being in the customs union. Both of those are unacceptable. They are what people voted against.

"Faced with that we had an option. We could go for no deal - no deal is still there, it is still possible - but I think the best thing for the UK is to have deal that sets a good relationship with our trading partners in the future.

"So if we were going to find something that was Britain's interest, that delivered on the referendum and that was negotiable, we had to make what is a compromise but is a positive in terms of the benefits it gives us."

The Prime Minister acknowledged that there were strong feelings regarding the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

"Many people voted from the heart to leave the European Union. My job as Prime Minister is to deliver for them," she said.

"But also I have got to be hard-headed and practical about this and do it in a way that ensures we get the best interests for the UK."

Mrs May denied that Mr Davis, the former Brexit secretary, had been "cut out" of the plan and therefore had no choice but to resign.

"No department was cut out of these discussions. Discussions have been taking place for some considerable time," she said.

"David Davis was discussing with [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier. Michel Barnier had made clear to him the unnegotiability of the position that we had, so we had a choice.

"We could have said 'Let's stay where we are and see what happens' and risk actually ending up with a chaotic leaving which I don't think is in people's interests."

Mrs May denied that the plan would prevent Britain striking free trade deals around the world.

"That is wrong. It does allow us to do new trade deals," she said.

She added: "Let's just keep our eyes on the prize here. The prize is delivering the European Union in a way that is in our national interest," she said.