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PM spells out Brexit quest

May rejects Canada-style post-Brexit deal with EU

Theresa May Mansion House

Theresa May: ‘five tests’ in negotiations

Prime Minister Theresa May today rejected ‘off the shelf’ models for a new UK relationship with the EU.

Mrs May made her case for a hard Brexit with Britain outside a customs union and based on a deeper free trade agreement “than exists anywhere in the world”, but dismissed existing deals such as those applying to Canada and Norway.

The financial services industry will also lose its “passporting” arrangements with the EU, she confirmed. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, will set out more details on this next week.

She used her Mansion House speech to set out her plans to call for the EU and Britain to build a model based on their shared interests.

“What I am seeking is a relationship that goes beyond the transactional to one where we support each other’s interests,” she said.

“So I want the broadest and deepest possible agreement – covering more sectors and co-operating more fully than any Free Trade Agreement anywhere in the world today.

“I believe that is achievable because it is in the EU’s interests as well as ours and because of our unique starting point, where on day one we both have the same laws and rules.

“So rather than having to bring two different systems closer together, the task will be to manage the relationship once we are two separate legal systems.”

She said that if the UK is “cherry picking” what it wants from a deal, then so is every trade arrangement. She added that any deal with the EU must respect the British people’s demands “to take back control of our borders, laws and money.”

The speech, titled “Our Future Partnership”, follows the Prime Minister’s meeting with senior government figures at Chequers last week.

Mrs May set out an “ambitious but credible” vision for the future and say the UK and EU have a “shared interest” in getting this right.

The PM spelled out her vision of a UK that is a “champion of free trade based on high standards” – thriving in the world by “building a bold and comprehensive economic partnership with our neighbours in the EU, and reaching out beyond to foster trade agreements with nations across the globe.”

She set out five tests based on her July 2016 pledge to “forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world and…make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.”

She said: “That pledge, to the people of our United Kingdom is what guides me in our negotiations with the EU.

“And for me that means five things:

 “First, the agreement we reach with the EU must respect the result of the referendum. It was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money. And a vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again. But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours.

“Second, the new agreement we reach with the EU must endure. After Brexit both the UK and the EU want to forge ahead with building a better future for our people, not find ourselves back at the negotiating table because things have broken down.

“Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security. People in the UK voted for our country to have a new and different relationship with Europe, but while the means may change our shared goals surely have not – to work together to grow our economies and keep our people safe.

“Fourth, it must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be as we leave: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, explorers and creators.

“A country that celebrates our history and diversity, confident of our place in the world; that meets its obligations to our near neighbours and far off friends, and is proud to stand up for its values.

“And fifth, in doing all of these things, it must strengthen our union of nations and our union of people.

“We must bring our country back together, taking into account the views of everyone who cares about this issue, from both sides of the debate.

“As Prime Minister it is my duty to represent all of our United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; north and south, from coastal towns and rural villages to our great cities.

“So these are the five tests for the deal that we negotiate.

“Implementing the decision of the British people; reaching an enduring solution; protecting our security and prosperity; delivering an outcome that is consistent with the kind of country we want to be; and bringing our country together, strengthening the precious union of all our people.”

See also:

May’s Brexit signposts offer few clear directions 

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