May Denies Having ‘Weak Hand’ as She Prepares for Brexit Talks

  • Prime minister says U.K. not a ‘supplicant’ to EU partners
  • Says it’s in all sides’ interests to reach good Brexit deal

Theresa May denied that she’s approaching Brexit negotiations from a poor position, because European Union countries will wish to maintain both trade and other strategic ties with the U.K. after it has left their bloc.

“I don’t feel I have a weak hand,” the prime minister told the New Statesman magazine in an interview published Wednesday. “If you look at the issues around trade, they will have interests in that, as well. If you look around some of the other aspects of the strategic partnership we want and the cooperation we want, they will have interests in this, as well.

She added, “this isn’t just about the U.K. as a supplicant to the EU, it’s about arranging a partnership that works for all of us.”

Much has been made by supporters of Brexit, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, about the desire of EU-based companies to continue selling their products in Britain. May’s reference to “other aspects” could mean security and counter-terrorism cooperation.

In the interview, May also stressed that she doesn’t want to carry out her implied threat to other EU countries that a post-Brexit Britain can become a tax haven.

If a failure to reach a good deal “did happen,” she said, “this is what we would do.” But, she continued, “I don’t think we’ll get to that point, because I think it is in everybody’s interest to find an arrangement, to find a partnership between us that actually meets the needs on both sides.”

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