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May meets Rajoy amidst backlash over Irish plan

Prime Minister Theresa May greets Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for bilateral talks at Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday December 5, 2017. See PA story POLITICS Spain. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he expected Britain and the European Union to progress soon into the next phase of Brexit negotiations, despite Prime Minister Theresa May's problems in getting the political backing at home to move ahead.

Mr Rajoy met Mrs May in Downing Street yesterday after the Prime Minister failed to clinch a deal on Monday to open talks on post-Brexit free trade with the EU.

A tentative agreement with Dublin to keep the bloc's rules in Northern Ireland angered Mrs May’s allies in Belfast, the Democratic Unionist Party.

Mr Rajoy said the Prime Minister, who briefed Cabinet colleagues on Tuesday, was doing a "sterling job, fantastic job".

"The speech that was delivered by Mrs May in Florence was a very important speech, and I am personally convinced that the second stage of negotiations will begin soon," he said.

After her meeting with Mr Rajoy, Mrs May said talks with the EU had “made a lot of progress”.


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