Time isn’t on her side: Theresa May must set out her Brexit plan this week | Anand Menon and Jonathan Portes

What should transition look like? What to do about the Brexit bill? The prime minister needs to clearly articulate her stance at Friday’s speech in Florence

We are approaching what Alex Ferguson used to refer to as “squeaky bum time”: the summit at which EU leaders will decide whether “sufficient progress” has been made on article 50 negotiations to allow trade talks to start kicks off on 19 October. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has set October 2018 as the tentative date for the end of the negotiations as a whole. Moreover, the longer the talks continue without visible progress, the more businesses will start planning and preparing for the worst, “no deal” scenario – which will not be good news for the UK. So there is much to be done. And not much time to do it. Consequently, Theresa May’s speech in Florence on Friday is of crucial importance.

Related: Theresa May will get no sympathy for Brexit in Italy | Natalie Nougayrède

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