Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

May Tells World's Elite: Too Many Ordinary Citizens Feel Left Behind; French Hit Back at Boris WWII Jibe as Backlash over Brexit Plan Continues

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

May Tells World's Elite: Too Many Ordinary Citizens Feel Left Behind; French Hit Back at Boris WWII Jibe as Backlash over Brexit Plan Continues

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

THERESA MAY lectured the world's richest people today on the need to make the global economy work better for ordinary families.

She told the elite of the capitalist system in Davos that too many citizens felt anxious about being "left behind".

As she spoke, a backlash was in full swing against her Brexit strategy, although there was good news from a major bank about the City's future.

France hit back at Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's claim that Britain faced "punishment beatings" for escaping from the EU.

Europe's economy commissioner backed those who said Britain must not have too generous a deal, and said: "It cannot be better to be out than in."

The chief executive of Barclays pre-dicted: "I think the UK will continue to be the financial lungs of Europe."

Speaking at the World Economic Forum meeting at the Swiss ski resort, Mrs May said Britain had chosen the "momentous change" and "uncertain road" of leaving the European Union in order to be "in control of its own destiny once again". She said: "We must heed the underlying feeling that there are some companies, particularly those with a global reach, who are playing by a different set of rules."

Reform, she said, was "absolutely crucial if we are to maintain public consent for a globalised economy and the businesses that operate within it".

Her speech was more expansive than her address in London on Tuesday. She did not repeat her threat to "walk away" if she was refused fair terms, but said she wanted Britain to become the global champion of free trade.

Following Boris Johnson's quip about Francois Hollande resembling a Second World War prisoner-of-war camp guard, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: "There is no question of punishing the United Kingdom. That is not the position of France."

French MEP Sylvie Goulard said: "Sometimes, Mr Johnson is not a very nice neighbour. Nobody wants to punish the British people This is not punishment. …

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