May: ‘Not about hard or soft Brexit’

PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 December 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May

PA Wire/PA Images

Theresa May believes EU negotiations are “not about a hard or soft Brexit”.

The Prime Minister is expected to make the claims during a statement to the House of Commons on progress made last week.

May’s words are a clear attempt to stop hardliners in her Cabinet sparking a civil war after rows erupted over whether the UK will have regulatory alignment with the EU post Brexit.

She is expected to say: “This is not about a hard or a soft Brexit.

“The arrangements we have agreed to reach the second phase of the talks are entirely consistent with the principles and objectives that I set out in my speeches in Florence and at Lancaster House.

“I know that some doubted we would reach this stage. I have always been clear that this was never going to be an easy process. It has required give and take for the UK and the EU to move forwards together. And that is what we have done.

“Of course, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

“But there is, I believe, a new sense of optimism now in the talks and I fully hope and expect that we will confirm the arrangements I have set out today in the European Council later this week.

“In doing so we can move on to building the bold new economic and security relationships that can underpin the new deep and special partnership we all want to see.

“A partnership between the European Union and a sovereign United Kingdom that has taken control of its borders, money and laws once again. A partnership that is in the best interests of the whole United Kingdom.

“And a partnership which can deliver prosperity and security for all our people, for generations to come.”

But Labour’s Clive Lewis, who quit his party’s front bench in order to vote against triggering Article 50, said: “I don’t think anyone really believes a word Theresa May utters about Europe anymore.

“No deals, bad deals, red lines, impact assessments – It all feels like randomly generated bluster. The only people she should be directing her words to are the hardline Brexiteers in her Cabinet who are desperate to see the UK crash out of Europe.”

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