British Prime Minister Theresa May has urged MPs to back her Brexit deal, saying that passing it into law will allow the UK to "turn a corner" and put a disruptive period of political turmoil behind it.

She used her New Year message to put pressure on politicians to support her Withdrawal Agreement when it is put before the Commons.

Mrs May said while the 2016 referendum was "divisive" there was a chance to make 2019 "the year we put our differences aside and move forward together".

In her video message, she said: "New Year is a time to look ahead and in 2019 the UK will start a new chapter.

"The Brexit deal I have negotiated delivers on the vote of the British people and in the next few weeks MPs will have an important decision to make.

"If Parliament backs a deal, Britain can turn a corner."

MPs return to Parliament next week, with debate on the Brexit deal due to start on January 9 before a meaningful vote the following week.

Mrs May also used the message to attempt to look beyond Brexit, saying settling the deal would allow time and energy to be spent on areas like housing, trade, the NHS, immigration reform and the environment.

Highlighting the government's 2018 achievements, she added: "Together, I believe we can start a new chapter with optimism and hope.

"We have all we need to thrive and if we come together in 2019 I know we can make a success of what lies ahead and build a country that truly works for every one of us."

DUP leader Arlene Foster used her New Year message to warn the PM that she will need to get significant changes to her Withdrawal Agreement if her party is to back it.

Mrs Foster, whose party is in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservative government, said: "The Prime Minister has promised to get changes to the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement.

"We will be holding her to that commitment and we will work with the government to achieve a better deal.

"We are very mindful that any deal will bind the hands of future governments and prime ministers therefore the legal text must be watertight for the United Kingdom."