nsucurrent.com March 17, 2018

UK PM May Defends Her "Ambitious, Credible Vision" For Brexit Deal

05 March 2018, 01:05 | Colleen Roy

Theresa May says the UK will ditch passporting because it makes the City a "rule-taker"

Theresa May delivers a speech about her vision for Brexit at Mansion House in London

The PM accepted the UK's "responsibility" to help keep a soft border with the Republic - setting out in detail how she believed this could be achieved through technological means or a broader trade deal.

After increasingly impatient appeals from European Union leaders for more detail about Britain's aims, Mrs May used her keenly awaited address at the Mansion House to put more flesh on the bones of her vision for "the broadest and deepest possible partnership" after Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May defended her decision to rule out so-called "passporting" rights for banks after Brexit, saying Britain could not become a "rule taker" when it came to financial services.

"We all need to face up to some hard facts", May told ambassadors and business leaders in the Mansion House, the 18th century official home of the Lord Mayor of London in the heart of the capital's financial district.

"What we do want to see are new customs arrangements, created to minimise any unnecessary costs or regulations at our borders so that trade can continue as frictionless as possible".

And she struck a conciliatory tone by saying neither side would get "exactly what we want" from the talks, and signalling Britain would not fight losing European Union passporting rights.

The speech was as much about tone as it was about laying out Britain's negotiating position.

But senior Tory Sarah Wollaston, one of the MPs who has signed Ms Soubry's amendment, said the rebels would now give the Prime Minister "breathing space" to try to negotiate her own customs plan.

In her speech she said the draft agreement was "unacceptable" but admitted the United Kingdom had a responsibility to help maintain a soft border.

May's speech, entitled "Our Future Partnership", was an attempt to settle doubts over how Britain sees its future outside the European Union and its economic architecture and to try to ease frustrations in Brussels over what they say is a lack of detail.

Contrasting his speech with British Prime Minister Theresa May's comments Friday on Brexit, Rutte said he wants to talk about "the best way to move forward with Europe".

The PM will be pleased to unite both sides of the Conservative Party behind her vision but there were signals that any suspension of hostilities could be temporary.

Meanwhile, Labour former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson dismissed Mrs May's Brexit plan.

A government source said the speech was aimed at showing more pragmatism in the Brexit talks, which are now even struggling over the relatively easier part of agreeing a transition period after Britain leaves in March next year.

But she sought to reassure companies that an alternative system would be set up. Later in the speech she did speak about the use of technology at the border and a customs arrangement (but not a customs union).

"The impact of closing the borders for a few days to the free movement of food would result in a food crisis the likes of which we haven't seen", J Sainsbury Plc. Trade barriers would be especially damaging to Britain's fresh-food retailers, who rely heavily on the unencumbered movement of perishable goods throughout the EU.

"Yes, there will be ups and downs in the months ahead".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Mrs May of failing to bring "real clarity", stressed he was anxious about her admittance that access to European markets would be reduced, and said she "failed to provide solutions" in particular on the Irish border.

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