The Prime Minister said the UK "cannot possibly" remain within the European single market
Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that Britain is headed for what might be called a hard Brexit in her most direct speech on the subject since the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. She also announced that Parliament would vote on the final Brexit agreement between the UK and the EU.
In a speech outlining 12 key objectvies, the Prime Minister said the UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market, because staying would be like “not leaving the EU at all”. About 20 minutes earlier chancellor Phillip Hammond told the Treasury Committee: “We cannot be members of the single market because of the political lines around the four key freedoms that the other leaders have set”.
There was also a promise to work towards the “greatest possible” access to the single market following Brexit. Theresa May said there would be an end to “vast contributions” to the European Union. EU citizens are still going to be welcome in the UK. The government will now work to maintain the “common travel area” between the UK and Irish Republic too.
For anyone wondering what the 12 points were in their entirety, here they are:
- About 20 minutes earlier chancellor Phillip Hammond told the Treasury Committee: “We cannot be members of the single market because of the political lines around the four key freedoms that the other leaders have set”.
- Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
- A stronger Britain demands that we strengthen the precious union between the four nations of the United Kingdom.
- We will deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland.
- Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe.
- We want to guarantee rights of EU citizens living in Britain & rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.
- Not only will the government protect the rights of workers set out in European legislation, we will build on them.
- We will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
- It is time for Britain to get out into the world and rediscover its role as a great, global, trading nation.
- We will welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.
- We will continue to work closely with our European allies in foreign and defence policy even as we leave the EU itself.
- We believe a phased process of implementation will be in the interests of Britain, the EU institutions and member states.