To sell British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy to leaders of the European Union, the UK government is embarking on a summer of lobbying.
While the prime minister is on holiday in Italy, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, are due separately in France in the coming days for meetings. Other ministers are also scheduled to go on trips, reported The Guardian.
Downing Street will also make renewed overtures to local Conservative associations, after it emerged that seven party chairs in areas represented by cabinet ministers have expressed scepticism at May’s painstakingly drafted Chequers plans and associated white paper.
Before May headed to northern Italy for her holiday, she stopped off in Salzburg on July 27, as a guest of the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
She also held talks in Austria with the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, the Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas, and the president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
“Those four meetings were all felt very positive,” a Downing Street source said. “They listened to the prime minister as she talked though the headlines of the white paper and engaged positively. And getting it to the informal European Council is going to be an important point for all European leaders to discuss that future relationship.”
As reported by The Guardian, with the UK’s House of Commons in recess until September 4, May has some respite at home. However, lingering disquiet is likely to peak at the Conservative party’s annual conference at the end of the month.