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The Latest: UK to end decade of austerity policy

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May arrive at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham, central England, Wednesday Oct. 3, 2018. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
October 03, 2018 - 5:04 AM

BIRMINGHAM, England - The Latest on British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech at her party's annual conference (all times local):

1 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says her Conservative government plans to scrap years of cost-cutting austerity policies introduced after the 2008 global financial crisis.

May says that government debt- and deficit-cutting policies have worked, but after a decade of stagnating wages and spending cuts, "the British people need to know that the end is in sight."

She told the Conservative Party conference on Wednesday that next year, after Britain leaves the European Union in March, "we will set out our approach for the future," with spending on public services going up.

May said "a decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over."


12:40 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says divorce negotiations with the European Union are entering the "toughest phase" as she urged her divided Conservative Party to stop bickering over Brexit and back her plan for a future trade deal.

Addressing the annual party conference a day after her rival Boris Johnson attacked her Brexit plan, she said Britain's proposals are "very challenging for the EU."

She warned critics who want a harder break with the bloc that "if we all go off in different directions in pursuit of our own visions of the perfect Brexit, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all."


12:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May says leaving the European Union without a divorce deal would be "tough at first" for Britain, and "a bad outcome" for both sides.

May is urging her fractious Conservative Party to unite and help her seal a deal with the bloc.

With just six months to go until Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, talks are stalled and a powerful pro-Brexit faction in May's party is urging her to be tough and, if need be, walk away without a deal.

In a speech to the party's annual conference Wednesday, she says "leaving without a deal - introducing tariffs and costly checks at the border - would be a bad outcome for the U.K. and the EU" — though she refused to rule it out.

She says it would be tough at first but Britain's "resilience and ingenuity" would see it through.


9:10 a.m.

Prime Minister Theresa May is urging her fractured Conservative Party on Wednesday to unite behind "decent, moderate and patriotic" policies, a day after her rival Boris Johnson trashed her Brexit plan and challenged her authority with a crowd-pleasing speech of his own.

May is ending the governing Conservatives' annual conference with a call for the party to show that it "delivers on the issues (voters) care about and is comfortable with modern Britain in all its diversity."

The four-day conference has been dominated by divisions over Britain's impending departure from the European Union, with pro- and anti-EU camps both criticizing the prime minister's negotiations with the bloc.

Just six months before Britain leaves on March 29, negotiations with the EU have ground to a halt and May is caught between Brexiteers like Johnson and those who want to keep close economic ties with the bloc, Britain's biggest trading partner.

Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary in July, drew cheers from 1,500 delegates on Tuesday when he called May's proposal for close post-Brexit economic ties an "outrage."

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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