Theresa May to consult business leaders as next stage of Brexit negotiations gets underway

Rebecca Smith
The PM wants to consult businesses as Brexit negotiations continue
The PM wants to consult businesses as Brexit negotiations continue (Source: Getty)

The Prime Minister plans to meet business leaders today to talk over Brexit plans, as she looks to signal a strong grasp on her party after a week plagued by ousting talk.

Theresa May will meet the Business Advisory Council (BAC) today, with executives from HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Vodafone amongst the group, marking the second gathering of the panel May first met with in July.

It will also be the first meeting with the business leaders since May's speech in Florence, where she proposed a two-year transitional period, during which Single Market access would continue.

Read more: City chiefs blast Tory infighting as Brexit transition deadline looms

May has said the BAC was an important part of the government's preparations for departure from the bloc.

Today's meeting comes after senior City figures expressed concern that turmoil in Westminster is distracting the government from Brexit negotiations at a crucial time, and 2019 could see Britain leaving the EU without a deal.

The fifth round of Brexit talks starts today in Brussels, but progress has been slow, and May wants to convince her European counterparts to allow negotiations to move to the next stage, and move onto discussing a post-Brexit trade deal.

May has also been battling a party rebellion, after former party chairman Grant Shapps was named as the ringleader in a plot to secure a fresh leadership election. He said he had the support of around 30 MPs.

The Prime Minister has sought to quell the backlash following her party conference speech, which was marred by a prankster handing her a mock P45 and an ongoing cough.

Cabinet ministers have since thrown their weight behind May, while leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson said: "I think if the plotters were serious, they would be led by someone a bit more serious."

Read more: RBS chairman: Banks set to trigger Brexit contingency plans in March 2018

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