K E Y P O I N T S
Theresa May set out the ‘hard facts’ about Brexit and reminded voters ‘life is going to be different’ after the UK leaves the EU.
The prime minister acknowledged the UK can not have ‘all the benefits’ of the single market without ‘all of the obligations’.
May said Britain had to accept that the European Court of Justice would ‘continue to affect’ the UK even if it was no longer under its jurisdiction.
She said the UK was prepared to make ‘binding commitments’ for regulations to remain in line with the EU.
The PM said the UK would commit to keep regulatory standards ‘as least as high’ as the EU in order to facilitate a ‘customs partnership’.
May said the UK would be willing to pay to continue to participate on EU agencies including the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
She rejected Brexiteers arguments that it was up to the EU to solve the Irish border problem. ‘We chose to leave and we have a responsibility to help find a solution,’ she said.
May rejected the EU’s claim the UK was unfairly ‘cherry picking’ what it wanted in a deal. ‘If this is cherry picking then every trade arrangements is cherry picking,’ she said.
S N A P V E R D I C T
From Paul Waugh
Every band faces the problem of the difficult third album. And Theresa May and her Brexit Boys, a group dogged by rumours of an imminent split, were no different today.
Her debut Lancaster House work was full of hard Brexit tracks, warning the EU that failure to find a trade deal would be an act of ‘calamitous self-harm’ – for them, not us. Humbled by a general election defeat, May’s second major recording in Florence had a more emollient vibe, with ‘Status Quo’ riffs on cash payments, migration and EU rules in a transition period.
Today ‘Mansion House’ had some more experimental stuff, while echoing earlier tunes. Most notable today was the PM’s offer to keep paying ‘ongoing financial contributions’ with ‘reciprocal binding commitments’ on EU trade rules and regulatory bodies. Her call for a ‘deep and broad’ relationship may be dismissed by the EU as yet more ‘negotiation by adjective’. And her idea of ‘mutual recognition’ has already been dismissed by Michel Barnier as unworkable. Yet Brussels may welcome May’s tone of pragmatic compromise (not least on Northern Ireland) – and her frank admission that in “certain ways our access to each other’s markets will be less than it is now”.
The best British band to pull off the third album trick was The Clash, with ‘London Calling’. May’s effort today was certainly not an instant classic. It may be met with a collective ‘meh’ by the public and stock markets alike. But in Brussels, and maybe the country, there will be relief that she’s at least changed her tune.
K E Y Q U O T E
If this is cherry picking then every trade arrangements is cherry pickingTheresa May
B R E X I T E E R R E A C T I O N
R E M A I N R E A C T I O N
W H A T N E X T
Theresa May is still facing a House of Commons defeat at the hands of pro-EU Tory MPs who have threatened to vote with Labour in order to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.