LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s plan for leaving the European Union has not changed, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday, despite a disastrous election gamble that has plunged British politics into chaos days before formal Brexit talks begin.
May failed to win a majority in parliament at the election last week, prompting calls for her plan to leave the EU’s single market to be watered down, and for some rival lawmakers to demand that the Brexit process be delayed.
“Our position is clearly set out, it is clearly set out in a number of places and there has been no change to that,” May’s spokesman said, adding that the Brexit minister David Davis had set out the same position earlier on Monday.
“Obviously there will be discussions in cabinet but he (Davis) also set out very clearly that we have set out our plans clearly and there is no change to those.”
The election result forced May to search for a deal with a small party of Northern Irish politicians, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to prop up her government and vote through vital legislation.
“The talks are ongoing with the DUP, good progress is being made,” the spokesman said.
The first test of any deal is expected to come at the Queen’s Speech - a formal occasion at which the government asks parliament to approve its legislative agenda.
The speech was scheduled to take place on June 19, but the spokesman said an update would be issued on that subject, without commenting on whether it might be delayed. The BBC reported that the speech would be pushed back a few days.
The spokesman said May was still committed to completing the Brexit process inside two years, as originally planned, and that Britain would still be prepared to walk away from negotiations without a deal if necessary.
“Our position remains that we want to get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom, we are confident of doing that but of course what you wouldn’t wish to do is to agree to anything which would be harmful to the interests of the whole United Kingdom,” he said.
“We are confident of securing a deal which is good for the whole United Kingdom. You obviously wouldn’t want to accept a deal which was worse than leaving without a deal.”
Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden