LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May said U.S. President Donald Trump had previously advised her to sue the European Union as part of her Brexit strategy, disclosing a piece of advice Trump said last week she had ignored.
“He told me I should sue the EU,” May told BBC television. “Sue the EU. Not go into negotiations - sue them.”
May pointed out that Trump, who was visiting Britain, had also advised that now she was in a negotiation, she should not walk away.
“I want us to be able to sit down to negotiate the best deal for Britain,” May said.
Trump said in an interview published on Friday that May had not followed his advice on Brexit - one of a number of comments that were seen as a damning critique of her exit plans and added fuel to the raging debate over May’s plans to leave the EU.
The president later used a news conference with May to play down his earlier remarks, saying he understood why she had found the advice “a little bit tough”. Trump also said the United States and Britain could secure a “great” post-Brexit trade deal.
Britons voted to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016 and the issue has dominated the political landscape since.
With less than nine months to go before the country is due to leave the EU next March, the political elite and business leaders remain deeply divided over what form Brexit should take.
Reporting by William James; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge/Keith Weir