May urges Britons to put Brexit divides aside


LONDON • Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May (picture) urged Britons to put aside the divisions that have riven the UK since the Brexit referendum in 2016, saying the country has all it needs to “thrive” after leaving the European Union (EU).

Britain will start a “new chapter” in 2019, May said in a video message, referring to the scheduled departure from the bloc in March.

The PM said the nation can “turn a corner” if MPs back the deal she’s brokered with the EU.

“The referendum in 2016 was divisive, but we all want the best for our country and 2019 can be the year we put our differences aside and move forward together, into a strong new relationship with our European neighbours and out into the world as a globally trading nation,” May said.

“We have all we need to thrive and if we come together in 2019, I know we can make a success of what lies ahead.”

For now, May’s efforts will focus on getting the reassurances she needs from the EU to win the support of Parliament for her Brexit deal.

She’s scheduled a vote in the House of Commons for the third week of January, after pulling it on Dec 10, conceding it wouldn’t pass.

May has been in talks with her EU counterparts over the Christmas break and will continue discussions this week to get the concessions she needs to win over recalcitrant lawmakers, her spokeswoman, Alison Donnelly, told reporters in London on Monday.