Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PM 'Feels in Position of Strength' Ahead of Brexit Negotiations; May to Set out Fully Fledged Plan for Talks after Pledge for Swift US Deal

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PM 'Feels in Position of Strength' Ahead of Brexit Negotiations; May to Set out Fully Fledged Plan for Talks after Pledge for Swift US Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

THERESA MAY feels she is in a "position of strength" to go into the Brexit negotiations, Downing Street sources revealed today.

In a sign of confidence following Donald Trump's pledge of a swift trade deal between Britain and the US, they said a keynote speech by the Prime Minister tomorrow will set out a fully fledged "plan" for the talks, including whether there will be a transitional deal for the City of London. The bullish tone came as former justice secretary Michael Gove, who interviewed the US president-elect, said Mr Trump wanted a trade deal to be "signature-ready at the earliest possible opportunity".

However, the pound struggled after signals that Mrs May is going for a socalled hard Brexit, with US analysts saying it could plunge to a historic low of $1.15 later this week. It was down almost one per cent at one stage this morning, at just under $1.21.

Laura Lambie, senior investment director at Investec Wealth and Investment, warned there could be turmoil on the foreign exchanges caused by a combination of Mrs May's speech, Mr Trump's inauguration speech, and interventions expected from Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve System. "There's a lot for the market to digest over the next five days, so I suspect the pound may well be a casualty of that," she said.

A No 10 insider brushed that aside and told the Standard: "We start the negotiations from a position of strength and the economy is resilient. The UK is well placed to deal with the challenges, and take advantage of the opportunities, that lie ahead as we make a success of Brexit".

The confident mood was reflected by Chancellor Philip Hammond telling a German newspaper the UK may change its "economic model" if "closed off" from the European single market.

In his first UK interview Mr Trump praised last year's EU referendum, telling Mr Gove he thought the UK was "so smart in getting out". …

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