Time for Britons to come together, urges Theresa May amid Brexit divisions

Prime Minister Theresa May said it is time to ‘focus on what really matters’ Credit: Adrian Dennis/PA

Britons should “dispense” the titles Leave and Remain and instead “find common ground”, Prime Minister Theresa May has urged.

Mrs May, who has faced a tricky 2018 with dissent to her Brexit plans from Brussels and within her own party, said it is time for differences to be put aside and “focus on what really matters”.

Writing in the Daily Express, she suggests the concerns of voters extend beyond Britain’s departure of the European Union, citing schools, the NHS and housing as examples.

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She wrote: “The sooner MPs agree the right Brexit deal, the sooner we can all get back to dealing with those issues and building a country that works for everyone.

“It won’t be easy, and there is a lot of hard work ahead of us in 2019. But I’m confident.

“Because I know that when the British people come together, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29, two years after the Government triggered Article 50.

But Mrs May still is yet to secure parliamentary approval for her Brexit blueprint and a vote is due to take place in January.

Few expect it to be approved by a heavily divided Commons, and Tory MPs including Cabinet ministers appear to have begun to polarise between those who might support a no-deal Brexit and those who would actively battle against it.

But in her letter, Mrs May likens the country to a family coming together at Christmas, saying: “It’s a time when we find it within ourselves to put aside our differences and focus on what really matters.

“Now, two-and-a-half years after the referendum, it is time for us as a country to do the same.”

Meanwhile, Tobias Ellwood, a defence minister, wrote in The Times that no-deal is “simply not an option”.

He added a lack of agreement would have implications for national security, writing: “Leaving without a deal would mean access to around 40 international security programmes would be significantly reduced.

“Exchanges of critical intelligence data would halt until new arrangements are in place.

“We would immediately reduce our ability to tackle threats from terrorism to cybercrime, modern slavery to fraud.”