Britain’s weakened prime minister, Theresa May, said on Thursday she did not expect to secure a quick breakthrough in Brexit talks that would give her fractured party the reassurances needed to get her deal through parliament.Arriving in Brussels just a day after a failed attempt to topple her at home, May was met largely by readiness to help from European Union leaders but also by a warning: we will not reopen the divorce agreement struck last month.Britain’s departure from the EU, its biggest shift in trade and foreign policy for more than 40 years, is proving anything but smooth, complicated by the deep divisions in her Conservative Party, the lower House of Commons and the country. With less than four months before Britain is due to leave on March 29, May faces deadlock in parliament over the deal, which has hardened opposing positions at home, throwing up more uncertainty for businesses trying to predict what will happen to the $2.8 trillion economy. “I recognise the strength of concern in the House of Commons and that is what I will be putting to colleagues today,” May said. “I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough, but what I do hope is that we can start work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary.” EU leaders were clear. They all said they needed to know exactly what May wanted to secure in Brussels but also warned that Britain could not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. While others tried to temper their language by expressing a desire to help May, French President Emmanuel Macron was blunt. “We can have a political discussion tonight, but the legal framework and the agreement that were negotiated are not supposed to change,” he told reporters.German Chancellor Angela Merkel was less strident, saying: “We can of course talk about whether there are additional assurances but in this the 27 EU members are together and will make their interests clear, although always in the spirit that we want very, very good relations with Great Britain after Great Britain has left the European Union.” Published in Daily Times, December 14th 2018.