Enda Kenny and other European leaders warn Theresa May about Brexit

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (centre) during a press conference at the British Irish Council summit. Picture by Ben Birchall, Press Association
David Hughes and Gavin Cordon

EUROPEAN leaders have warned Theresa May about the scale of the challenge she faces in negotiations with Brussels as grandees in her Tory party engaged in a fresh round of infighting over Brexit.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the process would inevitably take longer than the two years set down in the European Union's rules, while Malta's Joseph Muscat stressed that the UK would not be able to get a "superior deal" than it currently has as a member of the bloc.

Mr Kenny told Sky News that leaving the EU would throw up "more detailed and unforeseen issues than people might have imagined" and the process would take longer than the two years mandated in the Article 50 process.

"I would expect to see the divorce, as it is called, take place but that there be a transition period and then a new relationship founded between the UK and the European Union," he said.

"That transition period might actually take longer than people expect. I think it will be impossible to do all of the negotiations inside the contemplated two-year period.

"That's why I think there is a growing feeling in Europe that there should be a transition period and that that transition period might well be longer than those two years. I think it will be."

Meanwhile, pro-Brexit Tories rounded on Sir John Major after the former Conservative prime minister warned the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union must not be dictated by the "tyranny of the majority".

Sir John told guests at a private dinner that the views of the 48 per cent who voted to remain in the EU must be taken into account in the forthcoming negotiations, The Times reported.

Peter Lilley, one of the-then Eurosceptic cabinet ministers famously dubbed "b******s" by Sir John, told BBC Radio 4: "Obviously, John Major has changed his views since he used to get elected on majorities".

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