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UK prime minister Theresa May gave a rather strongly-worded speech on Brexit negotiations and the general election yesterday afternoon.

Unsurprisingly, her claims that European officials have been trying to sabotage the upcoming general election dominated the British press this morning.

Here’s a roundup of what the papers are saying:

The Guardian described the speech as “extraordinary” and “unexpectedly antagonistic”, but stressed the domestic motivation behind the attack, suggesting the strong tone was part of efforts to “inject a sense of drama into an election campaign that otherwise risked appearing to be a foregone conclusion”.

The Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts also suggested the PM’s speech “was almost declaration-of-war 1939″, but in this case it was a compliment for the “terrific clobbering” she gave to Brussels. The paper’s front page described May’s speech as “electrifying”.

This morning its website followed up with a story about the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, reporting that the EU “could crumble if Britain resists” paying its “Brexit bill”.

The Sun continued the military theme (with the addition of some questionable puns), saying the prime minister had gone “ballistic”. In an editorial, the paper praised Mrs May for speaking “for millions of us”, saying “Brussels more than had it coming” after weeks of sniping while the prime minister was a “model of polite diplomacy”.

Like the Guardian, the Times pointed to the electoral benefits of the speech, saying in an editorial that Mrs May knows “she has much to gain with voters and little to lose from bashing Brussels”. It added, however, that when Brexit negotiations begin in earnest after the election, “they will do so in an atmosphere that neither side should poison”.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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