Sunday 19 August 2018

Brexit was 'not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours' - May

British Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall
British Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall

Shona Murray

Theresa May will today say the result of the Brexit referendum was "not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours."

In a crucially-anticipated speech the UK Prime Minister will outline Britain’s vision for its relationship with Europe.

It follows on from a week of turmoil where the UK government appeared to step away from the agreement made in December aimed at protecting the Irish border.

Ms. May will deliver a rallying cry for the country and parliament to unite amid an increasingly divided and bitter national debate.

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

Foremost she is due to say her priority is to "respect the result of the referendum."

"It was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money.

"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" 

Brexit was a "vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again."

 Ms. May will also list areas of common interest to the EU and UK particularly in the areas of security, and prosperity through the pursuit of free trade.

"On security, what I am seeking is a relationship that goes beyond the transnational to one where we support each other’s interests.

"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", according to UK sources.

The Tory-leader will say she sees the UK as a ‘champion of free trade based on high standards’ –  ‘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.’

"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."

The speech titled "Our Future Partnership" sets out five 'tests' guiding Britain’s negotiations with the EU.

It will take place at London’s Mansion House, and will echo the words she delivered when she took over from David Cameron at Number 10 in July 2016.

At that time she promised 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 will call for concrete, ‘enduring’ solutions to the new relationship with Brussels, referencing the backlash over the Brussels draft text on the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement – Britain’s contract for leaving the EU.

"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."

She'll say it "must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be as we leave: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy.”

And commit Britain to being 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."

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