Trump advised May to quit negotiating and "sue the EU"

Hannah Rogers
July 16, 2018

Theresa May was accused of mounting a Remainer "coup" last night as she admitted that Downing Street has been considering a "common rule book" with the European Union for months.

"We would make a tremendously big deal" with Britain, Trump said in the interview, published by the Daily Mail, apparently trying to smooth over a firestorm created ahead of his visit.

By warning that Brexit itself is in danger, Mrs May is sending a blunt message to the dozens of hardline Brexiteers in her party that if they sink her premiership then they risk squandering the victory of an European Union exit that they have dreamed about for decades.

Britain must ensure it is free to cut a trade deal with the United States in its Brexit agreement with the EU, US President Donald Trump said in an interview out Sunday.

Asked to rate U.S. -U.K. relations, Mr. Trump gave them the "highest level of special".

However, the proposals have enraged hardline Brexiteers, prompting the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson from her Cabinet, as well as junior Brexit minister Steve Baker.

Trump said last week in an interview with The Sun newspaper that he had given May advice, but she did not follow it.

U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May address media questions during a joint news conference at Chequers, in Buckinghamshire, England, on Friday, July 13, 2018.

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Asked what that advice was on the Andrew Marr Show, Mrs May said: "He told me I should sue the EU".

May's comments comes at a politically perilous moment for the prime minister, who is facing calls for a confidence vote over her leadership of the Conservative party, The Guardian commented.

He told the BBC's Sunday Politics: "The government unfortunately believes that Brexit is not a good thing in itself, it seems to think it has to be tempered by non-Brexit". "We're going into negotiations - but interestingly - what the president also said at the press conference was 'Don't walk away'". And as has been his pattern, he defended North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that while the two men are probably "ruthless", he knows "plenty" of other people who are ruthless too.

In a separate intervention yesterday, Mr Davis said it was "astonishingly dishonest" for No 10 to suggest that Brexiteer ministers had offered no alternative to the Chequers plan.

May said her proposal is the only way to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit, while also protecting supply chains and the jobs that depend on them.

That won't happen of course, but the president's initial concern about the UK's ability to strike free trade deals can't be dismissed so easily.

"What Trump is saying [is] litigation is a weapon, it's a tool, it's when you go in hard, and I think what Donald Trump told her is that a deal like this has gotta be done hard, it's gotta be done fast, it's gotta be clean, and it can't take a long time", he explained.

With a laugh, she added: "Actually, no".

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