24th Mar 2018

Theresa May: UK cannot be 'half-in, half-out' of EU

  • May: 'The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. My job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do.' (Photo: Prime minister's office)

British prime minister Theresa May is steering towards a "hard Brexit" from the European Union, a leaked draft of a policy speech indicates.

“We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU,” May is expected to say according to a draft of her speech reported in the British media.

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“Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out,” she will add in a speech to be delivered on Tuesday (17 January).

“We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. 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.”

The UK leader will speak on Tuesday in Lancaster House, addressing the ambassadors of the other 27 EU member countries.

British media expect the speech to contain the most concrete vision yet of how Britain will leave the EU, after its people voted for Brexit in a referendum in June last year.

“They voted to shape a brighter future for our country. They voted to leave the European Union and embrace the world,” May is expected to say.

“And they did so with their eyes open: accepting that the road ahead will be uncertain at times, but believing that it leads towards a brighter future for their children – and their grandchildren too.”

“And it is the job of this government to deliver it. That means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU. It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.”

May will lay out 12 objectives, the Telegraph reported. The goals include removing the UK from the jurisdiction of EU courts, gaining control of the UK's borders, signing free trade treaties and maintaining workers' rights.

The British leader has promised she will trigger the legal tool – article 50 of the EU treaty – needed for Brexit to take place, before the end of March.

Her EU counterparts have always maintained that negotiations on the separation will not begin before article 50 is triggered.

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