UK Prime Minister Theresa May insisted Friday she was “doing what the British people want” and going nowhere despite growing pressure from her party over her leadership and Brexit strategy.
In a BBC interview at the end of a three-day trip to China, May declined to detail exactly what she wants from negotiations on future ties with the European Union, which begin in April.
Asked whether she would favor a deal that limited disruption to trade, or one that emphasized Britain’s power to forge its own path, she said: “These are not the options we have before us.”
“The option that we have before us is to go in there with the EU and negotiate a good trade deal.”
May has faced growing public calls from across her Conservative party this week to set out her vision for Brexit more clearly, amid media reports of increasing discontent with her leadership.
Tensions were fuelled by a leaked internal government assessment suggesting that the options on the table so far for a trade deal with the EU would all leave Britain worse off.
The prime minister also sparked concern in Brussels by questioning the rights of EU citizens who arrive in Britain during a post-Brexit transition period.
“What the British people voted for is for us to take back control of our money, our borders and our laws and that’s exactly what we are going to do,” May said in Shanghai.
“We also want to ensure that we can trade across borders.
“We’re at the start of a negotiation. At the end of the negotiation a deal will be presented to parliament and parliament will have a meaningful vote on that deal.”
Asked if she wanted to be leader in the next election in 2022, May repeated what she said at the start of the trip.
“I’m not a quitter… I am doing what the British people want, which is delivering on Brexit, but also getting out around the world ensuring that we bring jobs back to Britain,” she said.
Referring to business deals struck during the China trip worth $12.7 billion), she said: “There will be more people in jobs in the UK as a result of this trip. That’s global Britain in action.”