Theresa May heads for Italy and Switzerland after turbulent political year


Theresa May is heading to Austria for Brexit talks before heading off to Italy for the start of her summer holidays.

The Prime Minister is attending a music festival in Salzburg as a guest of the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

As well as enjoying the musical performances on offer, which include Mozart's The Magic Flute, Mrs May will hold rounds of talks with Chancellor Kurz and Czech prime minister Andrej Babis.

Theresa May
Theresa May

It is part of several meetings across Europe which the PM and her ministers are carrying out to win over support for the Chequers Brexit blueprint.

Mrs May was dealt a blow by Brussels on Thursday as its chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, rejected the customs proposals that form a key plank of the plan.

EU leaders are due to meet in Salzburg on September 20 for an informal summit that could be used to discuss Brexit developments amid claims German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes there has been "drift" in the talks.

After a turbulent political year that has seen Mrs May lose a wave of ministers for personal misdemeanours and political opposition to her EU exit strategy, the PM will be hoping for a restful time as she heads off for the summer.

Theresa May on holiday
Theresa May on holiday

The premier and her husband Philip will spend around a week in Italy before she returns to work in her constituency and Downing Street.

Mrs May is also due to attend a First World War memorial event to mark the battle of Amiens, which began on August 8 1918 and helped to secure victory.

She will then jet off for two weeks in Switzerland. The holiday plans are a repeat of last year's getaway for the couple.

Although the PM remains in charge, a number of Cabinet ministers are expected to deputise for her while she is away.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is not expected to reveal his holiday plans.