Marine Le Pen, President of the French far-right National Rally pauses during press conference with Veselin Mareshki leader of Bulgarian 'Volya' party after their meeting at the Bulgarian Parliament in Sofia, Bulgaria, Friday, Nov. 16 2018. Le Pen is visiting Bulgaria for the first time, looking for support ahead of European elections next year. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

The Latest: France's Le Pen blames EU for Brexit

November 16, 2018 - 8:55 am

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the Brexit negotiations (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is blaming the policies of the European Union for Britain's exit from the bloc.

"If the EU wasn't what it is now, the United Kingdom would still have been a member of a structure that respects the nations, the people, that doesn't impose migration polices and deals that have very heavy consequences on our industries and agriculture," Le Pen said Friday at a news conference in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

Le Pen said it was clear that the EU wants to punish Britain by imposing "conditions that are unacceptable to a large majority of the people in the U.K. and to members of the British government."

"The idea was to do as much evil as possible to the United Kingdom so that no other nation would rise against the EU or contest the EU," she said.

Le Pen, along with other figures of the European far-right, is attending a forum of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Liberties, which discussed ways to make gains in next year's EU elections.


10:15 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has had one piece of good news as she battles a rebellion within her Conservative Party.

Environment Minister Michael Gove has decided not to follow two other Cabinet ministers and resign over May's Brexit deal with the European Union, according to multiple media reports.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey quit Thursday, saying they could not support the agreement.

May still faces the threat of a no-confidence vote, after several Conservative lawmakers said they had written letters asking for one.

Sky News reports that all Conservative whips have been summoned to London, amid rumors the number of letters may have reached 48 — the threshold needed to trigger a vote.


9:15 a.m.

France's finance minister is calling some British politicians "liars" who fooled voters into thinking leaving the EU would be easy and in their interests.

As British Prime Minister Theresa May battles to save her Brexit plan amid domestic criticism, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday "the truth is that Brexit could end with a nightmare."

Le Maire defended the European Union's single market, calling it a "considerable force" in global trade and warning that Britain could face "economic disaster" if it leaves.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government is among the strongest defenders of the EU and is trying to limit the damage to the bloc from Britain's exit and ensure that Brexit doesn't encourage other EU members to leave.

Le Maire was speaking to a conference in Paris on reforming the global trade system.


8:40 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is appealing directly to voters to back her Brexit plan, as she waits to see whether rivals within her party have gained enough support to launch a leadership challenge.

May was answering questions from callers on a radio phone-in Friday, the day after she vowed to stay in office and see through Britain's exit from the European Union.

May is battling to save her Brexit plan, and her job, after the draft withdrawal agreement between Britain and the EU sparked fierce opposition from euroskeptic politicians in her Conservative Party.

Several Conservative lawmakers are pushing for a no-confidence vote, hoping to reach a threshold of 48 to trigger a challenge.

Two ministers quit May's government on Thursday. A third, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, is considering whether to follow them.

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