British PM under pressure over Brexit dinner row


British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy came under fresh scrutiny Tuesday following reports of a disastrous meeting with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
The report came just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Britain that it should have no “illusions” that it could continue enjoying the benefits of EU membership while outside the bloc.
May responded by accusing the other 27 EU countries of lining up against Britain, in a sign of hardening positions on both sides.
Formal negotiations will not begin until after Britain’s election on June 8, in which May is expecting to return to office with an increased parliamentary majority.
“As we have seen in recent days, it will not be easy,” May wrote Tuesday in a regional newspaper.
“Across the table from us sit 27 European member states who are united in their determination to do a deal that works for them.
“We need that same unity of purpose here at home to ensure we can get a deal that works in Britain’s national interest too.”
EU leaders unanimously backed a tough Brexit strategy at a summit on Saturday, their first since May triggered the Brexit process on March 29, starting a two-year countdown to leaving.
By contrast Britain’s opposition parties have seized on the leaks to accuse May of “reckless handling” of the negotiations, and of having “no clue”.
The European Parliament’s chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, said it was “time to get real” in a mocking tweet that twisted May’s election promise that she offers “strong and stable leadership”.
“Any Brexit deal requires a strong & stable understanding of the complex issues involved. The clock is ticking — it’s time to get real.