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PM May says Brexit will lead to ‘new partnership’ with EU allies

Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain does not want a Brexit deal that leaves it “half in, half out” of the European Union.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2017 18:18 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May seen outside 10 Downing Street in London on January 13, 2017.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May seen outside 10 Downing Street in London on January 13, 2017.(Reuters)

Seeking to end speculation about “hard Brexit”, Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday set out her stall to negotiate Britain’s departure from the EU by stating her government would make a clean break and not try to hold on to “bits” of the bloc.

Delivering a major speech to envoys of various countries at Lancaster House, May, who has faced criticism from bureaucrats and others over “muddled thinking” on Brexit, sought to put more details about the process in the public domain.

“We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU. Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries,” she said.

“We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. My job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do,” said added, confirming Britain will leave the European single market and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Critics immediately said the speech did not give enough detail. Senior Labour MP Chuka Umuna said: “The PM fails to understand if we leave the EU single market we’d have no say over the rules applying to almost half our exports.”

‘Final deal will be placed before Parliament’

May announced a major concession to MPs and others: the final deal reached at the end of two-year negotiations will be placed before both houses of parliament for approval before Britain’s exit from the EU is formalized.

Most MPs and lords are said to be against Brexit but May’s remarks immediately strengthened the pound on the financial market.

Insisting that Brexit did not mean cutting Britain off from European neighbours, particularly on the issue of terrorism, May said: “We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends.

“We want to buy your goods, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship.”

May added, “Our vote to leave the European Union was no rejection of the values we share. The decision to leave the EU represents no desire to become more distant to you, our friends and neighbours.”