British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a keynote speech at the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in London, Britain, on Nov. 19, 2018. Theresa May on Monday enlisted British business leaders to back her much-criticized Brexit deal, insisting that she would not make any change to the draft divorce agreement between London and Brussels. (Xinhua/Ray Tang)
Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday enlisted British business leaders to back her much-criticized Brexit deal, insisting that she would not make any change to the draft divorce agreement between London and Brussels.
Speaking at the annual Conference of British Industry (CBI), the prime minister said: "We have in view a deal that will work for the UK. And let no one be in any doubt. I am determined to deliver it."
Business is one of the key fields to be most affected by the British departure from the European Union (EU) as Brexit creates more uncertainties on the economic and financial connections between Britain and continental Europe.
May, acknowledging that Brexit is the one paramount issue facing the country at the moment, said "I know it is the number one concern of the CBI."
Meanwhile, the prime minister also used her speech at the conference to move her defending campaign into British business world in order to defy Tory rebels as Brexit enters a crucial week.
At present, she is fighting to defend her Brexit plan, neutralize the efforts to topple her and finalize the framework of future relations with the EU.
She wanted to drive home her message that the terms of the UK departure from the world's largest trading bloc have been "agreed in full" and the only thing left to discuss is the future trade deal.
The prime minister made the statement at a time when some Tory members of the parliament continue to press for late changes to the deal.
During what she said an intense week of negotiations ahead, May said: "I expect us to hammer out the full and final details of the framework that will underpin our future relationship and I am confident that we can strike a deal at the European Council that I can take back to the House of Commons."
The prime minister is expected to travel to Brussels this week to hammer out the final details of the political declaration on Britain's future relationship with the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker.
By withdrawing their support for the draft deal, two of the British cabinet ministers resigned last week over the proposed deal while some others are believed to be trying to change its wording.
Meanwhile, speculation continues over whether the number of Tory members of the parliament submitting letters of no-confidence in May will reach 48 -- required to trigger a confidence vote on her leadership of the Conservative Party.
It is May's hope that the whole package, which also includes the withdrawal agreement containing the backstop, can be approved at a special EU summit on Nov. 25. The draft 585-page withdrawal agreement are set to be finalised and signed off at an EU summit this weekend.
However, May also tried very hard to make it crystal clear that Brexit means just a divorce from the EU as an organization, but not the continent as a market.
"While the world is changing fast, our geography is not," she said. "Europe will always be our most proximate goods market and ensuring we have free-flow borders is crucial."