May cuts short holiday for Brexit talks with Macron


LONDON • UK Prime Minister Theresa May will fly to meet French President Emmanuel Macron at his holiday retreat to discuss Brexit tomorrow, her office said.

May is vacationing in Italy with her husband, Philip, but will leave a day earlier than planned to travel to the south of France for discussions on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU). The date suited both leaders, who’ve been trying to find time to meet, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The prime minister and her senior officials are engaged in an intense bout of shuttle diplomacy as they attempt to persuade other EU governments to support her blueprint for Brexit.

British and European negotiators are running out of time to agree to the terms of the divorce and May’s team have begun talking up the risks of a failure to strike an accord.

Last week, the EU rejected a key part of May’s plan for a trade deal with the bloc. Both sides want to finalise the exit agreement at a summit of EU leaders in October.

May is planning two vacations during the long parliamentary recess, first to Italy and then to Switzerland. After visiting Macron, she will be back at work in London as normal on Monday, her office said. Brexit negotiations in Brussels are due to resume in the week of Aug 13.

News of May’s plan to meet with the French president came as her ministers stepped up their diplomatic efforts to win backing for her Brexit proposals.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited his French counterpart in Paris on Tuesday, where he warned that an accidental failure to reach a deal in the negotiations would be a “tragedy” for Europe.