Theresa May and Boris Johnson face awkward reunion

Beth Rigby, Senior Political Correspondent

Theresa May and Boris Johnson face an awkward reunion later as the Prime Minister joins her Foreign Secretary at the United Nations after a very public spat over Brexit.

Officials said no meeting was scheduled although both are due to attend a reception for Commonwealth representatives on Tuesday evening. Mr Johnson is also attending Mrs May's 15-minute address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

There were terse words exchanged between the duo after the Foreign Secretary's decision to publish his own Brexit blueprint before the Prime Minister delivers a keynote speech in Florence on Friday.

Mr Johnson sought to downplay the intervention, which he described as an "opening drum roll" ahead of the Prime Minister's keynote address. "There's one driver in the car…it's Theresa."

But he also stood by the demands he made in his 4,200 word article in the Telegraph reiterating his belief that there can be no extended transition period after Britain leaves the EU by the end of March 2019. He also said the UK should not make "extortionate" payments to the EU for access to its markets.

His position puts him at odds with the Chancellor Philip Hammond who has suggested that a transitional deal should replicate the status quo after Brexit in order to give London and Brussels time to complete detailed talks on their future relationship.

The Prime Minister has been tight lipped on how she would like talks to proceed, although speculation has been mounting that she would side with the Chancellor and offer tens of billions of pounds to the EU during a transitional deal that could last up to three years.

But she will look to shift the agenda away from Brexit at the UN summit in New York and said she would press again on the clamping down on modern slavery and terrorist use of the internet.

Mrs May has stepped up pressure on other world leaders to do more to tackle terrorism in the wake of the Manchester bombing earlier this year. She led a discussion on counter-terrorism at the G7 summit in Sicily.

Mrs May will also use the summit to hold bilateral talks with world leaders, including US President Donald Trump as well as European leaders, including the Dutch and Italian prime ministers, who are of key importance to Brexit.

On Tuesday she will hold bilaterals with the UN Secretary General as well as the leaders of Switzerland, Turkey, Qatar and South Korea before hosting a round table discussion on modern slavery.