Theresa May Brexit Speech – What did we learn?

18 Jan 2017 Jenna Maghie    Last updated: 18 Jan 2017

The Prime Minister Theresa May has made her long awaited statement on her position on Brexit. So what did we learn?

The Prime Minister outlined a 12 point Brexit Plan, or 'A Plan for Britain' that the UK government will use in EU exit negotiations.

  1. Provide certainty about the process of leaving the EU
  2. Control of our own laws
  3. Strengthen the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom
  4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland
  5. Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe
  6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU
  7. Protect workers' rights
  8. Free trade with European markets through a free trade agreement
  9. New trade agreements with other countries
  10. The best place for science and innovation
  11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism
  12. A smooth, orderly Brexit

She outlined that she would not seek to replicate any other countries relationship with the EU. Therefore, no model similar to that of Norway. Rather she will seek, “not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out.”

Despite a commitment to certainty she reiterated that this will be a negotiation and “not everybody will be able to know everything at every stage.”

The Prime Minister did however confirm that despite repealing the European Communities Act, Parliament will convert existing EU law into British law. Meaning, “the same rules and laws will apply on the day after Brexit as they did before. And it will be for the British Parliament to decide on any changes to that law after full scrutiny and proper Parliamentary debate.”

Under control of our own laws she recommitted to removing the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.

The commitment to maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland was restated, “while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.”

Any Brexit agreement will mean gaining control “of the number of people coming to Britain from the EU.” Having said that the Prime stated also stated that “we want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.”

The UK will also “pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union” however the Prime Minister confirmed that this will not mean membership of the Single Market.

On trade agreements with other countries she said “I want Britain to be free to establish our own tariff schedules at the World Trade Organisation, meaning we can reach new trade agreements not just with the European Union but with old friends and new allies from outside Europe too.” This means the UK would not be part of the Common Commercial Policy or be bound by the Common External Tariff. This mean negotiating a completely new Customs Agreement with the EU.

On how the negotiations and process of the leaving the EU will take place there was commitment to “avoid a disruptive cliff-edge” and to do “everything we can to phase in the new arrangements we require as Britain and the EU move towards our new partnership.”

Read the speech in full here. 

Not a NICVA member yet?

Save time, money and energy: Join NICVA and you’ll be connecting in to a strong network of local organisations focused on voluntary and community activity.

Join Us

NICVA now welcomes all small groups for free.

Read more on...