October 19, 2018 / 6:18 PM / a month ago

UK's May tells business leaders EU wants autumn Brexit deal

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium. REUTERS/Yves Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May told business leaders on Friday she had come away from this week’s European Council meeting in Brussels with a sense that EU leaders wanted to reach a Brexit deal as soon as possible this autumn, her office said.

“She acknowledged that there were a few significant issues that were still outstanding, but said that the very real sense she had from leaders around the table at the Council was that they wanted to reach a deal as soon as possible this autumn,” her office said in a statement.

In a conference call, she had also spoken of the so-called Northern Irish backstop designed to prevent the erection of a hard border on the island of Ireland, it added.

“If required, this would ... only be necessary for a temporary period to act as a bridge to the future relationship,” she had said on the call.

Reporting by Stephen Addison, editing by David Milliken

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