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Did Theresa May say anything in her speech today and why does it matter? Theresa May adds little detail to Brexit negotiations
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  Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech today from Mansion House, London, was billed as her biggest Brexit announcement since her Florence September 2017 speech, when she said she wanted a two year transitional period from day one of Brexit (<a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2017/09/22/politics/emerging-uk-pm-delivers-key-brexit-speech-in-florence/5374/"><em>WikiTribune</em></a>). <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43250039">Commentators say</a> she was tasked with delivering a realistic Brexit vision beyond the UK <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38134859">having its cake and eating it, </a>and the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, had even warned May would recognise in this speech that Brexit "is not about cherry-picking."
  Today she set out five tests for any Brexit deal, but provided little detail beyond the exerts Downing Street already published last night, despite her and 11 senior ministers preparing for this speech at <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43136076">an eight-hour Brexit discussion</a> at the PM's country retreat a week ago.
  She didn't discuss her position that Northern Ireland can't be part of any customs union, which risks peace in Northern Ireland according to some political commentators (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/11/irelnd-peace-risk-brexit-bertie-ahern"><em>The Guardian</em></a>). This was after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43189878">recent announcement</a> that Labour supports 'a' customs union and Remain-supporting Conservative MPs, Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke's recently proposing amendments that the UK remains in some sort of customs union, which she could be defeated by (<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/d268c0c8-1bbd-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6">Financial Times</a>).  European Council President Donald Tusk told her she needed to come up with a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43235794">"better deal"</a> during her meeting with him yesterday.
  Their meeting was after the EU released its <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/EC-draft_withdrawal_agreement.pdf">draft Brexit treaty</a> on Wednesday, which reconfirmed the EU’s position (<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/56dbd2d8-1a2d-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6" rel="external">first reported by the <em>FT</em></a>) that the only way to avoid a “hard border” between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and preventing risking undermining the Good Friday peace agreement, is to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and the single market. The draft Brexit treaty also said the UK would be bound to UK-EU court rulings into the 2030s and beyond; and questioned whether the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar would be covered by a transition deal (<em><a href="https://www.ft.com/content/bb94946c-1c76-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6">Financial Times</a></em>).  Much of what she said in her speech went against the EU's draft Brexit treaty. Here's what she said:
  <h2><strong>Key points from May's speech:
  </strong></h2>
  <ul>
   <li>"We are leaving the single market,<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43250035"> life is going to be different.</a>" However, she said Brexit will reduce access to the single market in some respects, implying she plans the UK will still have some access to it. But the EU <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42861496">has said</a> no "cherry picking on single market" so freedom of movement which May is against, would have to continue.</li>
   <li>Reconfirmed previous position that the "jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43250035">must end.</a>"</li>
   <li>UK will make binding commitments for regulations to remain in step with EU ones in some areas.</li>
   <li>Rejected claim the UK is ‘cherry picking’, saying all trade deals are bespoke.</li>
Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence today is expected to be her biggest announcement on Brexit since January, when <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38641208" rel="external">she committed</a> to leaving the single market.  <li>Wants freedom for UK to negotiate its own trade deals with EU but Brexit treaty guidelines<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42861496"> say this</a> isn't possible.</li>
She is attempting to break the deadlock in negotiations with the European Union after three previous rounds of talks in which little has been agreed.  
<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41342580" rel="external">According to the BBC</a>, one minister said May plans on making an “open and generous offer” in her speech. However, another cabinet minister has warned against the UK offering too much money to the EU, saying, “it’s our only leverage.”  
   <li>Doesn't want to lower standards for goods but there has to be an agreement on customs which allows the UK to not abide by the EU’s common external tariff (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2018/mar/02/may-brexit-speech-theresa-may-to-use-her-brexit-speech-to-say-we-cant-have-everything-grayling-says-politics-live"><em>The Guardian</em></a>).</li>
   <li>Still wants frictionless trade and an end to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_movement" rel="external">freedom of movement</a> (the ability for EU citizens to move freely between EU countries) – something the EU has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/aug/31/theresa-may-leader-election-david-davis-michel-barnier-brexit-talks-press-conference-unlikely-to-let-may-led-them-into-next-election-says-former-party-chair-politics-live" rel="external">said is not possible</a>.</li>
  </ul>
  <h2>Reactions (To be added)</h2>
  <div></div>
<h2><strong>Time is running out</strong></h2> <h2><strong>Time is running out</strong></h2>
The timespan for a Brexit deal is two years. The UK now has 18 months left to negotiate a deal with the EU after <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39431428" rel="external">May triggered Article 50</a><strong> </strong>in March.  
However, European Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/06/uk-will-have-under-18-months-to-negotiate-deal-says-eus-brexit-broker" rel="external">has said</a>the Article 50 deal will have to be negotiated by October 2018 to give the European Parliament time to vote on it. This would leave the UK with 12 months left to agree on its divorce bill which the EU says must be settled before it will negotiate citizen’s rights, trade agreements and law and immigration policies.  The UK now has just over one year left to negotiate a deal with the EU after <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39431428" rel="external">May triggered Article 50</a><strong> </strong>in March 2017. However, European Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/06/uk-will-have-under-18-months-to-negotiate-deal-says-eus-brexit-broker" rel="external">has said </a>the Article 50 deal will have to be negotiated by October 2018 to give the European Parliament time to vote on it. This would leave the UK with seven months left to agree on a final Brexit deal.
After three rounds of monthly talks the UK is yet to agree on this.  
If, after the two year period for Brexit, no deal is reached the UK will automatically revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) trading rules. This would mean the UK would have to pay tariffs on goods and services it exported into the EU. Economist from the Centre for European Reform John Springford <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/what-would-brexit-mean-for-british-trade/" rel="external">estimates</a> these costs would range from 2.2 percent to 9 percent of UK GDP.  
<h2><strong>Take back control</strong></h2>  
Theresa May’s Brexit speech has significance beyond the EU. What she says will potentially split her cabinet, which is already divided on the UK’s relationship with the EU.  
May’s Conservative Party lost its majority in June after deciding to call a snap election and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently published a 4,000-word article promoting a hard Brexit. Some <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/may-seeks-to-unite-divided-cabinet-before-big-brexit-speech/2017/09/21/d8c3e70a-9ecb-11e7-b2a7-bc70b6f98089_story.html?utm_term=.34b51171d2ce" rel="external">commentators </a>say she needs to set out her own position and get her cabinet and party to unify behind a vision.  
  If after March 2019 'no deal' is reached the UK will automatically revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) trading rules, unless the EU agrees to the UK's proposed two year transitional period. WTO rules would mean the UK would have to pay tariffs on goods and services it exported into the EU. According to r<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-42982819">ecent government impact analysis</a> by officials for the Department for Exiting the European Union, a 'no deal'  arrangement would result in 8 percent lower economic growth for the UK. It is not clear whether the UK will still be able to negotiate its Brexit deal in any agreed transitional period to avoid such a scenario.
<h2><strong>Why the EU cares</strong></h2> <h2>Comments before Speech</h2>
If the UK left the EU without paying anything towards a divorce bill it would leave a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41346057" rel="external">£20bn</a> black hole in its budget, according to the BBC’s political editor. Although it seems unlikely the EU would agree to this, as it gets closer to the UK leaving the EU, it will want confirmation that the UK at least intends to contribute something towards the bill.  
<h2><strong>Clarification for the public and opposition</strong></h2>  
So far May has refused to clarify the kind of deal she is after. Just a few days ago in Canada she said she wanted a “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/sep/18/boris-johnson-brexit-theresa-may-trudeau-conservatives-split-over-boris-johnsons-brexit-article-as-backlash-continues-politics-live?page=with:block-59bffd6be4b021abf316156c#block-59bffd6be4b021abf316156c" rel="external">bespoke</a>” deal. She has said the UK will no longer be in the <a href="https://fullfact.org/europe/what-single-market/" rel="external">single market</a> (which eliminates tariffs on goods) but she still wants frictionless trade and an end to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_movement" rel="external">freedom of movement</a> (the ability for EU citizens to move freely between EU countries) – something the EU has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/aug/31/theresa-may-leader-election-david-davis-michel-barnier-brexit-talks-press-conference-unlikely-to-let-may-led-them-into-next-election-says-former-party-chair-politics-live" rel="external">said is not possible</a>.  
<a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-theresa-may-european-parliament-speech-antonio-tajani-a7935036.html" rel="external">She recently declined</a> an invitation from the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajanito, to publicly address the elected European representatives of Parliament.  
Pressure is mounting on May to clarify her government’s position after the Labour Party <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/aug/26/labour-calls-for-lengthy-transitional-period-post-brexit" rel="external">has said</a> it wants to stay in the single market and customs union for a transitional period.  
May’s former co-chief of staff, Nick Timothy, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/sep/21/may-brexit-speech-florence-cabinet-meets-to-discuss-theresa-mays-florence-speech-on-brexit-politics-live?page=with:block-59c38718e4b0c40626e2ef29" rel="external">says</a> nobody should expect an “immediate breakthrough.”  
“In public, the Europeans will be surly. Expect negative briefing from the commission, sarcasm from Guy Verhofstadt, and a polite but not positive reply from Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker.  
“Offering to pay an exit bill … should prompt further talks that will get the negotiators to stage two.”  
  <ul>
   <li>Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon <a class="story-body__link-external" href="https://twitter.com/NicolaSturgeon/status/969511585206161408">said on Twitter</a> the PM's speech "must set out exactly how she intends to achieve her - seemingly contradictory and unachievable if we leave single market/customs union - objectives" <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-43206967">after she rejected</a> the UK government's latest proposal, over what powers currently exercised by the EU would return to Holyrood.</li>
   <li>Political Editor of ITV News, Robert Peston, <a style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;" href="https://www.facebook.com/pestonitv/posts/2008298449494890">posted on Facebook</a><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;">, </span><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;">Theresa May’s biggest challenge today was to "persuade the rest of the EU that her ambitions are consistent with EU lore and law AND would be approved by the UK’s parliament ... It will be horrifically difficult for her."</span></li>
  </ul>
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