The UK can not expect to hold on to “bits” of its membership after leaving the EU, Theresa May has said. The prime minister’s comment came after she was asked whether she would “prioritise” Controlling immigration over staying in the single market.
May said her approach was not “muddled” Following criticism by the UK’s former EU ambassador. Mrs May, whose critics have demanded details of her plans, promised to provide this in the coming weeks. But Labour Urged the prime minister to give more clarity ahead of the most important Negotiations for a generation.
Brexit talks with the EU are expected to begin as early as April 2017. There has been much debate in recent weeks about the nature of the deal the British government is aiming for, in particular whether controls on the movement of EU citizens will mean the UK leaves the European single market and customs union.
Theresa May does not like to give a running commentary on Brexit, so we have to read between the lines on this one. While she did not go as to say she would ditch single market access in favor of being free to control EU immigration, she certainly appeared to hint at it.
Mrs May said the UK would have control of its borders and the best possible trade deal with the EU. She did not commit to maintaining single market access, and she suggested that people who thought the country could keep bits of EU membership were missing the point that it would be leaving. But, as with so much in the Brexit debate, clarity over the UK’s position in the negotiations, which will start very soon, remains lacking.
Mr Ivan Rogers, who resigned as the UK’s ambassador to the EU last week, criticised muddled thinking among ministers. The prime minister has promised to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – getting formal Brexit Negotiations with the EU- by the end of March 2017. Asked Whether she was prepared to prioritise full control over immigration above membership of the single market, Mrs May said: Often people talk in terms as if somehow we are leaving the EU, but we still want to kind of keep bits of membership of the EU. We are leaving. We are coming out. We are not going to be a member of the EU any longer. So the question is what is the right relationship for the UK to have with the European Union When we are outside. We will be able to have control of our borders, control of our laws.”
“This is what people were voting for on 23 June 2016. But of course we still want the best possible deal for us, for our companies to be able to trade, for UK companies to be able to trade in and within the European Union and European companies also to be able to trade with the UK within the UK.”
In the referendum last summer, voters Opted by 51.9% to 48.1% in favor of Brexit.
Mrs May further said: “Over the coming weeks, I’ll be setting out more details of my plan for Britain. Yes, that’s about getting the right deal for Brexit, but it is also about economic reform. It’s about getting the right deal internationally, but it’s also about a fair deal at home.”
Taking back control
There are some question put to May that still she did not answer it, which is is she’s prioritising immigration over access to the single market?
That was the question the British Prime minister May did not want to answer. And I think now, 10 to 11 weeks from the triggering of Article 50, and the most important negotiations for a generation, British people need more clarity than that, clarity that they have not got.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Mrs May’s comments confirmed she is taking Brits towards a disastrous hard Brexit that will leave their country poorer and more divided. Labour MP and leading supporter of pro-EU Open Britain group, Chuka Umunna, said: “Any trading arrangement outside the single market would erect barriers with our largest trading partner and would be disastrous for the UK economy, jobs and businesses.”
Pound falls on May’s Brexit comments
The value of the pound has fallen to a two-month low against major currencies after Prime Minister Theresa May signalled the UK would pursue a so-called “hard Brexit” from the EU. Sterling fell about 1% across the board. The only currency against which it gained ground was the Turkish lira.
The Prime Minister having dismissed the idea that the UK could keep bits of membership in EU, has triggered the anger ogf British people who interpreted this as meaning that Mrs May would not seek to keep the UK in the EU’s single market, with radical consequences for the country’s economy.