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UK prime minister Theresa May used a public appearance on Friday afternoon to play down expectations for a crushing Conservative victory in the general election and to redouble her attacks on the European Commission’s approach to negotiations for the UK’s exit from the union.

The issue was not who won and who lost in the local elections, she said during a visit to Brentford, in west London.

“It is about continuing to fight for the best Brexit deal for families and businesses across the United Kingdom, to lock in the economic progress we have made and get on with the job of making a success of the years ahead,” she said.

Despite the “evident will” of the British people, “bureaucrats in Europe” were questioning the UK’s resolve to get the right deal, she went on.

“The reality is that only a general election vote for the Conservatives in 34 days time will strengthen my hand to get the best deal for Britain from Brexit,” she said. “So today I will continue with my efforts to earn the support of you the people.”

It was “encouraging” to have won support across the whole of the United Kingdom, Mrs May added.

But she went on: “I will not take anything for granted and neither will the team I lead because there is too much at stake.”

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