Wednesday 24 May 2017

Donald Tusk: Brexit is like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller

President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Photo: Reuters
President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Photo: Reuters

Arj Singh, Press Association Political Correspondent

PREPARATION for Brexit negotiations will continue "exactly as it is" despite Theresa May calling a snap general election on June 8, Downing Street has said.

The Britsh Prime Minister said there is now a "one-off chance" to hold a vote as the European Union agrees its negotiating position, and stressed the need for "unity" in Westminster before exit talks begin in earnest.

Her official spokesman said the Government's work in advance of the negotiations will continue as officials, secretaries of state and ministers will remain in place in the run-up to the election.

The two-year exit timetable set out under Article 50 of the EU treaties and the schedule for talks will be "exactly the same", he added.

"Everything continues as at present," the spokesman told a regular Westminster briefing.

European Council president Donald Tusk revealed he had a "good phone call" with Mrs May after her announcement, and likened Brexit to an Alfred Hitchcock thriller.

Using his personal Twitter account, Mr Tusk said: "It was Hitchcock, who directed Brexit: first an earthquake and the tension rises."

A European Commission source said the EU has "some hope" that the election "will lead to a strong leader in London that can negotiate with us with strong backing by the electorate".

The source also backed Downing Street's assertion that the election would not change the Brexit timetable.

"This does not change things," they said.

"We are ready. Early June was always the calendar."

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