May addressed Parliament on its first day back since her disastrous speech to the Conservative conference last week, which saw her bedeviled by a prankster, a sore throat and a malfunctioning set. However, she lost her parliamentary majority, jeopardising her premiership.
With six months of the two-year negotiating period already up, officials and business leaders have become increasingly anxious that both sides may not agree to a final deal in time.
London wants to begin talks on the future, including a possible EU-UK trade deal, as soon as possible. "So I hope our negotiating teams can now reach full agreement quickly", she said.
'Achieving that partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU. What I'm going to say to Nina is, we will look at the arrangements to put in place if there is no deal.
May, however, struck a confident tone during her speech on Monday, telling MPs: "I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong".
But the EU stuck to its terms: "There is a clear sequencing to these talks and there has been so far no solution found on step one, which is the divorce proceedings", European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular briefing. "It will happen", the source said when asked what May had spoken about.
Pressed on what would happen to British citizens in European Union countries, she said: "We don't know what would happen to them".
Six months of Brexit negotiations have passed with little progress.
Despite the enthusiasm of the Danish minister to see negotiations speeded along as they entered their fifth round Monday, European leaders apparently still had no appetite for progress - notwithstanding May's promise of a long transition period and a Brexit "divorce bill" payment, which went down badly with many in the UK.
In a move likely to anger Tory Brexiteers, the Prime Minister, who backed Remain, repeatedly sidestepped questions over which camp she would be in.
Those differences were aired again on Monday with negative briefings in the local media against finance minister Philip Hammond, who supports prolonging the status quo with the European Union for as long as possible, and foreign minister Boris Johnson, who angered some Conservatives for setting his own Brexit red lines. After May's bungled election, her failure to unite the cabinet and a poor party conference, "the writing is on the wall", he said. Under the headline: "Theresa May will stay as Prime Minister and get the job done", interior minister Amber Rudd wrote in us newspaper that "she should stay".
John Baron, another pro-Brexit campaigner, called on the government to "prepare more thoroughly for a "no deal". "We should have no fears about a "no deal" scenario".