May warns of ‘difficult times’ ahead over Brexit
Warning that post-Brexit will not be “plain sailing”, Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday said Britain will face “difficult times” as it moves to leave the European Union (EU) after the June referendum.
In her first major interview since she assumed charge at Downing Street in July, she told BBC that Brexit will not be “plain sailing” - but that she remains optimistic.
“We have had some good figures and better figures than some had predicted would be the case. I’m not going to pretend that it’s all going to be plain sailing. I think we must be prepared for the fact that there may be some difficult times ahead. But what I am is optimistic,” she said, insisting the UK will “make a success” of leaving the EU.
Speaking before travelling to China for the G20 summit, May said formal EU talks will not begin until 2017, but vowed the process will not be “kicked into the long grass” .
She also ruled out a snap election, saying the UK needs “stability”. The PM said she wanted “an independent Britain, forging our own way in the world”.
According to her, the referendum result had shown voters did not want “ free movement to continue in the way that it has done in the past”. “People also want to see the job opportunities, to see the economic opportunities, and so getting a good deal in trading goods and services is also obviously important for us,” she added. May said she was “very clear” that she expected the status of British citizens in other EU countries to be guaranteed and will “ guarantee the status of EU citizens living here”.
She said the government will not trigger Article 50 – which will begin the formal two-year process of leaving the EU – before the end of this year. However, she added: “I’m very clear also that the British people don’t want the issue of Article 50 being triggered just being kicked into the long grass because they want to know we’re getting on with the job of putting Brexit into place and making a success of it. “Brexit minister David Davis will make a statement to the House of Commons this week on work the government has done over the summer,” she said. Britain’s economic growth last month had picked up speed in the second quarter, but economists have expressed concern about the longer-term impact of Brexit.