Tuesday

6th Dec 2022

May: Brexit is 'quiet revolution'

  • May said laws will be made in Westminster again, not in Brussels (Photo: Prime minister's office)

UK prime minister Theresa May has called the Brexit vote a "quiet revolution”, adding that she wanted to retain the maximum possible access to EU single market, but to full control over immigration.

In a speech on Wednesday (5 October) at the Conservative Party conference laying out her vision for a post-Brexit Britain, May said: "I want it [a Brexit agreement] to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within the single market."

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"But let’s state one thing loud and clear," she added. "We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration all over again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice”.

"Our laws made not in Brussels but in Westminster … The authority of EU law in this country ended forever," she said.

The EU has insisted that the link between the access to the single market and the freedom of movement of workers could not be cut. If Britain wanted to have access, it needed to agree to some level of free movement of Europeans, EU leaders have said.

May admitted that it was going to be a "tough negotiation". "It will require some give and take," she said.

She already told the Tory conference in a speech on Sunday that the article 50 exit procedure would be triggered by the end of March.

The British prime minister repeated that pledge on Wednesday.

She also sent a message to Scotland, which voted in favour of staying in the EU, and which had raised the possibility of a second independence referendum if the UK left the bloc.

"Britain's success is all possible, because we are one United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I will never let divisive nationalists drive us apart," May said.

Revolution

May described the June Brexit vote as a "quiet revolution", when people "stood up and said they were not prepared to be ignored anymore."

“The roots of the revolution run deep," she said, mentioning the financial crisis, and adding that working class families had paid the biggest price.

She promised to change how the British elite related to the working classes.

She also took aim at the establishment in a tone reminiscent of some populist leaders on the European .

"Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public: they find your patriotism distasteful, your concerns about immigration parochial, your views about crime illiberal, your attachment to your work inconvenient," May said.

She added: "They find the fact that more than 17 million voters decided to leave the EU simply bewildering, because if you're well-off and comfortable, Britain is a different country and these concerns are not your concerns."

“If you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere”, she said.

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