Rejoice British People Cheer Our Great Prime Minister Theresa May Iron Lady

Prime Minister

A great nation is reborn: Quitting will let us rediscover our role as a trading power promises May

  • Theresa May rejected the case for keeping Britain tied to the EU single market
  • She said staying in single market ‘would to all intents and purposes mean not leaving EU at all’
  • The PM also ruled out staying in the linked customs union on its current term
  • Theresa May great British Prime Minister of our times

Theresa May yesterday rejected the case for keeping Britain tied to the EU single market – pledging instead to ‘rediscover’ our role as a ‘great, global, trading nation’.

The Prime Minister said that membership of the single market ‘would to all intents and purposes mean not leaving the EU at all’, owing to its rules on free movement and accepting the supremacy of the European Court of Justice.

To the fury of Remainers, she said this would not be acceptable to a British public which voted to retake control of its own destiny.

The PM also ruled out staying in the linked customs union on its current terms – saying this would prevent us striking trade deals with the rest of the world.

She will look for a deal which allows goods such as car parts to move freely in and out of Britain without bureaucracy and customs checks, but without the onerous rules of the current agreement.

The PM said her overall aim was tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade that is ‘as frictionless as possible’.

She told ambassadors at London’s Lancaster House: ‘We will pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union. This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU’s member states.

‘It should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets – and let European businesses do the same in Britain.’

She went on: ‘I want us to be a truly global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

‘I want Britain to be what we have the potential, talent and ambition to be. A great, global trading nation that is respected around the world and strong, confident and united at home.

‘The result of the referendum was not a decision to turn inward and retreat from the world. Because Britain’s history and culture is profoundly internationalist. June the 23rd was not the moment Britain chose to step back from the world. It was the moment we chose to build a truly global Britain.’

The decision not to remain inside the existing customs union was seen as a victory for Boris Johnson, who has been fighting a Cabinet battle with Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Allies of the Foreign Secretary also pointed to Mrs May’s declaration that Britain will no longer ‘contribute huge sums to the EU budget’.

Mrs May said: ‘There may be some specific European programmes in which we might want to participate. If so, and this will be for us to decide, it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution. But the principle is clear: the days of Britain making vast contributions to the European Union every year will end.’

The issue is of huge importance to Mr Johnson and other Cabinet ministers who campaigned to leave on the basis of no longer sending £10billion net every year to Brussels. On immigration, the PM reiterated that retaking control of our borders will be a red-line in talks with Brussels but stopped short of spelling out the full details.

She is expected to opt for a visa system which reduces the number of low-skilled workers pouring in from the EU, while still giving ready access to the UK to students, tourists and skilled workers.

Mrs May said: ‘We will always want immigration… but the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.

To ease the nerves of business, Mrs May said she was willing to consider a period of transition when the two-year Brexit talks are complete – allowing new policies on the likes of immigration and trade to be phased in gradually. No time limit was put on how long this would last but officials insisted the process would not be allowed to drag on for years.

Mrs May said: ‘I do not mean that we will seek some form of unlimited transitional status, in which we find ourselves stuck forever in some kind of permanent political purgatory. That would not be good for Britain, but nor do I believe it would be good for the EU.’

On security, Mrs May stressed Britain’s ‘unique intelligence capabilities’ in what was seen as an implied urge to the EU to remain close to the UK. However, she stopped short of saying defence and security co-operation would be on the negotiating table.

Her hour-long speech also included a warning to MPs to remain ‘disciplined’ – not leaking stories to the media or demanding too many details on the negotiations when they begin.

She said: ‘It is not my job to fill column inches with daily updates, but to get the right deal for Britain. And that is what I intend to do.’

Daily Mail

Point by point, her blueprint to free Britain from Brussels

Theresa May delighted Eurosceptics yesterday with an ambitious road map for Brexit. 

The PM extended the hand of friendship to the EU but threatened to walk away if Brussels tried to impose a punitive deal. 

JACK DOYLE sets out her 12 objectives and analyses her chances of success.

1. CERTAINTY 

What she said: We will provide certainty where we can. The same rules and laws will apply on the day after Brexit as they did before. And the Government will put the final deal to a vote in both Houses of Parliament.

Can she deliver? By keeping in place – at least initially – all EU laws, Mrs May will provide a degree of continuity and confidence for business. However, as she freely admits, she cannot control the outcome of the negotiations. Parliament is highly likely to approve any deal because the alternative will be a chaotic Brexit.

Deal or No Deal? 3/5

2. OUR OWN LAWS 

What she said: We will take back control of our laws and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.

Because we will not have truly left the EU if we are not in control of our own laws.

Can she deliver? Adopting the ‘take back control’ slogan of the Leave campaign, Mrs May repeated her promise to end rule by EU law and judges in Luxembourg, and restore power to Parliament and domestic courts. Without this there is no Brexit. A firm red line.

Deal or No Deal? 5/5

3. A UNITED KINGDOM 

What she said: A stronger Britain demands that we strengthen the precious union between the four nations of the UK.

Can she deliver? By consulting devolved administrations, Mrs May is seeking to reassure voters in the nations of the UK which didn’t vote for Brexit that she is listening to their concerns, and avoid Nicola Sturgeon calling for a second independence vote.

Deal or No Deal? 3/5

4. THE IRISH BORDER 

What she said: We will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.

Can she deliver? Both countries want to maintain the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic without opening a back door into Britain. Likely to mean UK border checks at Irish ports and airports.

Deal or No Deal? 3/5

5. CONTROL OF IMMIGRATION

What she said: The message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.

Can she deliver? Ending free movement is a red line, but Mrs May left open when it will end, what system will replace it and details of any transition deal. The PM wants highly skilled EU migrants, and doctors and nurses, but will she compromise on unskilled migrants to get a better trade deal?

Deal or No Deal? 5/5

6. EU NATIONALS AND BRITISH EXPATS 

What she said: We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.

Can she deliver? Likely to be agreed early on, as long as the EU doesn’t want to haggle. Last year Mrs May offered to settle on the rights of three million EU nationals in the UK, and 1.2million Brits on the continent in advance of formal talks – but Angela Merkel refused.

Deal or No Deal? 5/5

7. WORKERS’ RIGHTS

What she said: Not only will the Government protect the rights of workers’ set out in European legislation, we will build on them.

Can she deliver? Mrs May is determined to at least preserve protections for workers on low and middle incomes – many of whom voted for Brexit. Could come under threat if there is no deal, and Britain slashes taxes and regulation to attract business.

Deal or No Deal? 3/5

8. TRADE WITH EUROPE

What she said: As a priority, we will pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the EU. This should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services. But I want to be clear. It cannot mean membership of the single market.

Can she deliver? The crux of the negotiation. Britain will leave the single market, and with it EU laws and free movement. Instead Mrs May wants tariff-free trade and a customs agreement to stop goods being held up at ports.

She ruled out ‘vast contributions’ to the EU budget, and the only money going to Brussels will be for particular programmes or agencies like Europol. Her huge gamble is to threaten to walk away if the EU attempts to punish Britain.

Deal or No Deal? 3/5

9. GLOBAL TRADE

What she said: A global Britain must be free to strike trade agreements with countries from outside the EU too. But I also want tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade there to be as frictionless as possible.

Can she deliver? Mrs May wants deals with non-EU countries including the US. That would be impossible from inside the customs union, which imposes a uniform tariff on all non-EU countries. It would also make Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s job redundant.

Deal or No Deal? 4/5

10. SCIENCE AND INNOVATION

What she said: We have a proud history of leading and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation. So we will also welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives.

Can she deliver? Unlikely to be an obstacle to any deal. Much collaboration between academics takes place outside formal EU structures, and so will continue unimpeded.

Deal or No Deal? 5/5

11. CRIME AND TERRORISM 

What she said: All of us in Europe face the challenge of cross-border crime, a deadly terrorist threat, and the dangers presented by hostile states. All of us share interests and values in common, values we want to see projected around the world.

Can she deliver? Security and intelligence cooperation and defence cooperation cannot be a formal bargaining chip, but without making it one, Mrs May reminds EU allies of Britain’s importance as an ally in fighting terrorism and important status as a military power.

Deal or No Deal? 5/5

12. A SMOOTH EXIT 

What she said: It is in no one’s interests for there to be a cliff-edge for business or a threat to stability, as we change from our existing relationship to a new partnership with the European Union.

Can she deliver? Mrs May wants transitional arrangements to smooth the process of leaving the EU with specific deals on budget contributions, immigration, trade and customs lasting different periods of time. Securing this as well as securing a final deal within two years is a huge task.

Deal or No Deal? 3/5

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