Developing: UK PM delivers key Brexit speech in Florence

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May laid out the government’s Brexit plans in Florence today after criticism that she hasn’t given any more clarification since January, when she said the UK would be leaving the single market. She is trying to break the deadlock in negotiations with the European Union (EU) after three previous rounds of talks in which little has been agreed.

Key points

  • May wants implementation period after Brexit, likely to be two years – during this time she says access to EU markets should continue. She also says EU rules would continue to apply and EU citizens would be able to come to the UK but they would have to register.
  • UK will continue to pay into EU budget until 2020.
  • May says a dispute resolution after Brexit should not be left to the European Court of Justice, which currently has ultimate sovereignty over the UK, but says it shouldn’t be left to UK courts either. She says an alternative mechanism is needed.
  • May again ruled out a Canada or Norway style EU model. Norway is in the European Economic Area (The EEA gives countries membership to the single market and freedom of movement between EEA and EU nations)
  • She says the UK and the EU have committed to protecting the Good Friday agreement and the common travel area. However, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, recently said that the British government’s proposals for the Irish border are not possible. 
  • May offers new EU security treaty “unprecedented in its depth.”
  • When questioned whether “no deal is still better than a bad deal, she said yes.

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