Britain will not be “keeping bits of EU membership”by Andrew Hammond / January 17, 2017 / Leave a comment
Theresa May set out her long-awaited Brexit vision today, in her most important speech yet as prime minister. She advocated a hard Brexit, arguing against “keeping bits of EU membership,” including of the Single Market. While the speech has been warmly welcomed by Brexiteers, it will divide the nation. Not just because 48 per cent of the population last year voted “Remain,” but because some members of the 52 per cent also wanted a softer Brexit than the one promised today.
Mixing occasional tough talk with an upbeat tone, May made clear that the United Kingdom remains a European country, and that it is in the nation’s best interest that the EU succeeds in the future. She advocated development of a “new positive, constructive partnership” between London and Brussels based on 12 key principles for a “smooth and orderly Brexit.” She believes these will allow the nation to play a bigger global role in the future.
Yet she made explicit that, in her view, “no deal is better than a bad deal.” Thus, there are clear bottom lines in the forthcoming negotiations, especially over the need for the UK to be able to control EU immigration.
Among the key principles she advocated was developing a “stronger [UK] economy and fairer society” which May asserted stronger immigration controls could help provide. She acknowledged that this means continued membership of the Single Market is impossible, given the EU’s commitment to the free movement of capital, goods, people and services.