British Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that Donald Trump had suggested that she should sue the European Union instead of negotiating with the 28-member economic bloc on Brexit.
During a joint press conference at the British Prime Minister’s Chequers retreat, Trump had told reporters that he had given May a suggestion on how to deal with the EU but she probably found that “brutal” and “too tough”.
“He told me I should sue the EU – not go into negotiations,” May told the BBC, on being asked what that suggestion was.
During the interview, May laughed off the president’s legal action suggestion, saying she would carry on with negotiations, but added: “Interestingly, what the president also said at that press conference was ‘don’t walk away’.
“Don’t walk away from those negotiations because then you’ll be stuck. So I want us to be able to sit down to negotiate the best deal for Britain.” Trump had declined to spell out what his advice to May had been, in an interview with US TV network CBS, but added: “Maybe she’ll take it, it’s something she could do if she wanted to.
“But it was strong advice. And I think it probably would have worked,” Trump said.
The UK voted in 2016 to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.
Days ahead of Trump’s visit, Prime Minister May faced a major political crisis when her Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned, saying it would not deliver the Brexit people voted for in the 2016 referendum.
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.
Meanwhile, May went on to defend her controversial new White Paper for Brexit, which has shaken up her government with high-profile Cabinet resignations, and urged critics, both in and out of her own Conservative party, to back it.
“Interestingly, what the President also said at that press conference was ‘don’t walk away’. Don’t walk away from those negotiations because then you’ll be stuck. So, I want us to be able to sit down to negotiate the best deal for Britain,” she said, urging people to “keep their eye on the prize” of Brexit.
Her message comes ahead of crucial votes in the House of Commons on trade and customs policy in the coming week, during which the government is likely to be under pressure to get them through Parliament.
Trump, who began a four-day visit to the UK on Thursday, will conclude the private leg of his tour in Scotland today to head to Finland for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki tomorrow.
“The weather is beautiful and this place is incredible. Tomorrow I go to Helsinki for a meeting with Vladimir Putin,” he said in a message on Twitter.
He played a few rounds of golf at his Turnberry golf course on the Ayrshire coast, where he arrived on Saturday after tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.
Protests have followed him around the UK, with campaigners also gathering around the perimeter of the golf course as he played on Saturday afternoon. He waved as they heckled him from a hill overlooking the Ailsa championship course of his golf resort.
In Edinburgh, thousands of people marched through the city in a demonstration against the US President and waved placards as they gathered in the Scottish capital’s Meadows, where two giant nappy-clad baby Trump balloons were inflated.
Police Scotland are on the hunt for a protester who paraglided into the no-fly zone just yards from the US President at his golf resort with the banner “Trump: Well Below Par”. Environmental group Greenpeace have claimed responsibility for the stunt.