May says UK 'not afraid' to leave EU with no deal

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – The U.K. is “not afraid” to leave the EU “with no deal if it has to,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Conservative Party autumn conference on its closing day, May said leaving the bloc with no deal would be tough and difficult at first with tariffs imposed, however, the U.K. would eventually prosper.

She said they need to send a clear message to the EU that the two choices offered by them, which were dubbed as Norway and Canada models, are unacceptable.

She said they need to send a clear message: the two choices offered by the EU are “unacceptable” for the U.K.

“I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise,” May said.

“Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes: we have everything we need to succeed,” she added.

May argued that “Britain will be a champion for free trade across the world,” adding that “our greatest asset is our talent.”

May used her speech to also appeal for unity within her party urging the members to “come together.”

– No confidence letter

The British prime minister said that a Labour government would accept any deal from the EU, regardless of how bad it was for the country.

Also ruling out a second referendum on Brexit, May said people voted and chose to leave the union.

If the Tories don’t unite, “we risk ending up with no Brexit at all,” she added.

May also signaled the end of austerity measures in near future which has been in place for the past ten years.

“There must be no return to the uncontrolled borrowing of the past, but the British people need to know the end is in sight,” she said.

“Our future is in our hands,” she added.

Meanwhile, Conservative MP James Duddridge, submitted a letter of no confidence vote shortly before May’s keynote speech in Birmingham.

In his letter to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of backbenchers, Duddridge said a “proper leadership election” is needed to deliver a Brexit.

He said he has come to the conclusion that May seems “incapable” of securing a Brexit based on the principles of the 2016 referendum.

– 'Too reasonable'

At least 48 Conservative MPs must send no confidence letters to the party’s 1922 committee for a no confidence vote for the party leader.

May’s leadership has come under fire since the EU rejected her Chequers deal on Brexit last month in an informal EU leaders summit.

May said in her speech that the U.K. has treated the EU with respect, echoing her foreign secretary who said the country has been “too reasonable” in Brexit negotiations with the EU in the party conference on Monday.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab had accused the EU of not matching Britain's efforts in his speech.

"We want the EU to match our ambition and pragmatism but that wasn’t on display in Salzburg,” Raab said, referring to an informal EU summit held in the Austrian city, where British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chequers plan was described as “unworkable.”

U.K. and EU negotiators will meet in mid-October and try to ink a deal on sticky issues such as the future of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, citizens’ rights, and future trade relations between the sides.

An emergency Brexit summit will be called if the parties progress on a possible deal, according to EU leaders.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.