British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has made her long awaited speech about the United Kingdom’s plans for exiting the European Union following the referendum to leave last June.
In it, she revealed a final deal on Britain’s exit from the EU will be put to a vote of both Houses of Parliament, and Ireland will have a common travel area between UK and Irish republic, ‘which will protect the security of UK’.
She also confirmed she wants to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in Britain, and Britons living in Europe, as soon as possible.
On the subject of trade, she revealed Britain will leave the single market, but the Government will seek ‘the greatest possible access with a fully-reciprocal free trade deal’. While she indicated that Britain could pay if necessary, the country would stop making the huge contributions it makes now.
Mrs May also said she wants to see ‘a phased process of implementation of new arrangements outside the EU’ from 2019 but also warned she would prefer ‘no deal’ to a ‘bad deal’, telling EU leaders punishing Britain would be “an act of calamitous self-harm”
The UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, picked up on Mrs May’s point about it being time for Britain to “get out into the world and rediscover its role as a great, global, trading nation”, Tweeting: “Ambitious, open trade deals as we leave EU will be good for Kenya & UK investors here & help our trade expand.”
— Nic Hailey (@HCNicHailey) January 17, 2017
Leave campaigner and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also used Twitter to post his reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech.
Hi folks, here’s my reaction to the Prime Minister’s fantastic speech on Brexit pic.twitter.com/BzYrizwISp
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 17, 2017
Mrs May’s 12 point Brexit plan at a glance:
- Provide certainty about the process of leaving the EU
- Control of our own laws
- Strengthen the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom
- Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland
- Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe
- Rights for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU
- Protect workers’ rights
- Free trade with European markets through a free trade agreement
- New trade agreements with other countries
- The best place for science and innovation
- Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism
- A smooth, orderly Brexit
Negotiations are set to begin after notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is served by the end of March.