UK to leave the single market
Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed details of her goals for Brexit negotiations for the first time.
By Isabella Griffiths
17 January 2017
In a much anticipated speech earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed key details of her approach and goals for the impeding negotiations with the EU over Brexit. May confirmed that she is planning to trigger Article 50, the official start of the divorce proceedings, no later than the end of March and shed some light on the deal she is seeking with the EU.
The single market
May confirmed that the UK will be leaving the single market, as staying in it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”. Instead she said she is seeking “a new and equal partnership between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU,” and that she was not pursuing “partial membership”, “associate membership” or “anything that leaves us half in and half out”. She added: “We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries” and seek to “hold on to bits of membership as we leave”. Instead, she said, the UK would push for a new "comprehensive free trade agreement", giving it "the greatest possible access" to the single market.
The PM also specified that the UK will leave the EU customs union, while at the same time aiming to establish "a customs union agreement with the EU". She explained: "Whether that means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an associate member of the customs union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it, I hold no preconceived position."
May confirmed that there will be restrictions to EU migration, saying "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." However, she did not give details on what kind of system will be used to control immigration.
The PM did not give a clear statement over the fate of EU citizens currently living in the UK either, only citing that she is hoping to secure a reciprocal deal for British citizens living abroad in Europe, acknowledging that this is a pressing matter.
European Court of Justice
May made it clear that the UK will no longer be bound by the European Court of Justice, which ensures the application of EU legislation, after Brexit. "We are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice," she said. "That's not going to happen."
Furthermore, May agreed to put the final Brexit deal to both houses of Parliament. “I can confirm today that the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the EU and the UK to a vote in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into force,” she said, however, indicating that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”
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