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Brexit deal puts UK's economic success first, leader Theresa May tells British industry

Key Points
  • May's appearance at the annual conference of U.K. business leaders comes amid turbulent times in the country's politics. 
  • Over the last week, we've seen the announcement of a draft withdrawal agreement (in plain English, a draft Brexit deal) between the U.K. and European Union followed by a pronounced rebellion from both Brexiteers and Remainers in the U.K. parliament that both don't like the deal. 
Prime Minister Theresa May leaving 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of Prime Minister's Questions. 
Victoria Jones - PA Images | PA Images | Getty Images

The draft Brexit deal on offer "unashamedly" puts the U.K.'s economic success above all else, the U.K.'s prime minister told business leaders at the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Monday.

"There is one paramount issue facing our economy at the moment," May told the conference in London, referring to a crucial moment in Brexit negotiations.

"We now have an intense week of negotiations ahead of us," she said, ahead of the special European Council on Brexit this coming weekend.

"What we've agreed puts our future economic success first," she said, saying there would be zero tariffs between the U.K. and Europe and an "ambitious customs arrangement" as part of a future trade relationship.

While the U.K.'s relationship with the EU was changing, its geography was not, she said, adding that "Europe will always be our nearest goods market."

"The deal we will secure with the EU has securing jobs and prosperity at its heart," she added.

May's appearance at the annual conference of U.K. business leaders comes amid turbulent times at Westminister.

Over the last week, we've seen the announcement of a draft withdrawal agreement (in plain English, a draft Brexit deal) between the U.K. and European Union followed by a pronounced rebellion from both Brexiteers and Remainers in the U.K. Parliament that both don't like the deal.

A majority of Parliament has to approve the draft deal but as it stands, that's looking unlikely given the amount of opposition it has faced these last few days. May has more immediate problems, however, in that she could face a potential vote of no-confidence if a requisite number of her Conservative Party signal that they no longer believe she can lead with authority.

Introducing the prime minister, John Allen, the president of the CBI, said May had carried out Brexit negotiations with "resilience" and "grit."

May concluded that her job was to get the best Brexit deal with the EU. "Parliament must then examine it and act on what is in the country's best interest," she said. "It was never going to be easy or straightforward and the final stage was always going to be the toughest," but, she added, she was determined to deliver the deal.