Britain's May calls for unity in 2017 after divisive Brexit vote

Britain's May calls for unity in 2017 after divisive Brexit vote

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged in a New Year message on Sunday to seek a Brexit deal that would work for all Britons, not just those who voted to leave the European Union in a referendum she said had laid bare the nation's divisions.

Britons voted by 52 to 48 percent last June to leave the EU & the tone of the public debate approximately what Brexit should look like has remained acrimonious.

May said in her televised message that, despite the divisions, Britons shared a desire to live in a stronger, fairer & more secure country.

p> "These ambitions unite us, so that we are no longer the 52 percent who voted Leave & the 48 percent who voted Remain, yet one tremendous union of people & nations with a proud history & a bright future," said May.

"So when I sit around the negotiating table in Europe this year, it will be with that in mind – the knowledge that I am there to obtain the right deal, not just for those who voted to leave yet for every single person in this country."

May has pledged to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, the formal step that will launch negotiations on the terms of Britain's exit, by the end of March.

The Brexit process will take years & May has given few details approximately what deal she will be seeking from the remaining 27 EU members.

May became prime minister & leader of the ruling Conservative Party in July after her predecessor David Cameron resigned following the referendum. Both he & May had backed the 'Remain' side.

"PRECIOUS UNION"

In her New Year message, May moreover referred to the "precious union" between the United Kingdom's four constituent parts, which is under strain since England & Wales voted to leave the EU while Scotland & Northern Ireland voted to remain.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will do everything she can to ensure the will of the Scottish people is respected & she has raised the possibility of a future referendum on independence from the UK.

In her own New Year message, Sturgeon said: "We are determined that Scotland's vote to remain in the European Union will be respected & that people in Scotland retain as many of the benefits of EU membership as possible, including the freedom to work, travel & study in other member states."

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Politics & GovernmentTheresa MayEuropean Union

Source: “Reuters”

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