PM May's Brexit Speech: Six Key Points

Jan. 18, 2017

BBC News reports:

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK "cannot possibly" remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean "not leaving the EU at all". 

The PM promised to push for the "freest possible trade" with European countries and warned the EU that to try to "punish" the UK would be "an act of calamitous self-harm". She also said Parliament would vote on the final deal that is agreed.

Labour warned of "enormous dangers" in the prime minister's plans. The European Parliament's lead negotiator said there could be no "cherry-picking" by the UK in the talks.

Mrs May used her much-anticipated speech to announce her priorities for Brexit negotiations, including maintaining the common travel area between the UK and Irish Republic and "control" of migration between the UK and the EU.

BBC News summarised the six key points of her speech:

1) The final Brexit deal will be put to a vote in both houses of parliament
2) Immigration: May is determined to control the numbers of EU citizens moving to the UK (no specific figures ggiven)
3) Single market: UK will pursue a "bold" free-trade agreement with the EU, but this will not mean membership of the single market
4) Trade: the prime minister wants to be able to strike deals with non-EU countries. Britain will not retain full membership of the customs union. Instead, she wants some form of customs agreement with the EU
5) The UK may continue to make payments to the EU after Brexit, but they will not be "vast".
6) Transition: There will be a "phased process of implementation" on any deal to avoid a "discruptive cliff edge"

Negotiations are set to begin after notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is served by the end of March 2017.

It was not her intention to "undermine" the EU or the single market, Mrs May said, but she warned against a "punitive" reaction to Brexit, as it would bring "calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe and it would not be the act of a friend".

She added: "I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain."

Source: BBC News online, 18 January 2017


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