Theresa May: UK cannot keep 'bits' of EU membership


The UK cannot imagine to hold on to “bits” of its membership after leaving the EU, Theresa May has said.

The prime missionary’s comment came after she was asked whether she would “prioritise” controlling immigration closed staying in the single market.

She told Sky News her approach was not “muddled”, check up on criticism by the UK’s former EU ambassador.

Mrs May, whose critics have demanded innumerable detail of her aims, promised to provide this in “the coming weeks”.

But Troubled urged the prime minister to give “more clarity” ahead of the “sundry important negotiations for a generation”.

Brexit talks with the EU are expected to in as early as April.

There has been much debate in recent weeks close to the nature of the deal the government is aiming for, in particular whether controls on the crusade of EU citizens will mean the UK leaves the European single market and customs fraternity.


By Susana Mendonca, BBC political correspondent

Theresa May doesn’t cast to give a running commentary on Brexit, so you have to read between the acquires on this one.

While she didn’t go as far as to say she would ditch single market access in coddle of being free to control EU immigration, she certainly appeared to hint at it.

Mrs May claimed the UK would have control of its borders and the best possible trade reckon with with the EU. She didn’t commit to maintaining “single market access”, and she recommended that people who thought the country could keep “bits of EU membership” were errors the point that it “would be leaving”.

This failure to commit to the apart market will be music to the ears of Brexiteers. To Remainers it will scrape up concerns that a “hard Brexit” could be on the offing.

But, as with so much in the Brexit altercation, clarity over the UK’s position in the negotiations, due to start very soon, detritus lacking.

Sir Ivan Rogers, who resigned as the UK’s ambassador to the EU last week, criticised “mismanaged thinking” among ministers.

But Mrs May told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Anybody who looks at this query of free movement and trade as a sort of zero-sum game is approaching it in the unseemly way.

“I’m ambitious for what we can get for the UK in terms of our relationship with the European Union because I also intend that’s going to be good for the European Union. Our thinking on this isn’t contrived at all.”

However, it was “important to take some time” to look at the “complexity of the issues”, she added.

The prime minister has promised to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Contract – getting formal Brexit negotiations with the EU under way – by the end of March.

Asked whether she was “advance to prioritise full control over immigration above membership of the unmarried market”, Mrs May said: “Often people talk in terms as if somehow we are desert the EU, but we still want to kind of keep bits of membership of the EU.

“We are leaving. We are total out. We are not going to be a member of the EU any longer.

“So the question is what is the right relationship for the UK to experience with the European Union when we are outside. We will be able to pull someones leg control of our borders, control of our laws.

“This is what people were opting for on 23 June.

“But of course we still want the best possible do business for us, companies to be able to trade, UK companies to be able to trade in and operate within the European Club and also European companies to be able to trade with the UK and operate within the UK.”

In the referendum terminal summer, voters opted by 51.9% to 48.1% in favour of Brexit.

Mrs May told Sky: “Onto the coming weeks, I’ll be setting out more details of my plan for Britain. Yes, that’s approximately getting the right deal for Brexit, but it is also about economic emend…

“It’s about getting the right deal internationally, but it’s also about a spotless deal at home.”

‘Taking back control’

Following Mrs May’s interview, sidekick Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told the BBC: “She had one question put to her three outdates and still didn’t answer it, which is, ‘Are you prioritising immigration over access to the apart market?’

“That was the question she didn’t want to answer. And I think now, 10 to 11 weeks from the triggering of Article 50, and the most high-level negotiations for a generation, we need more clarity than that, and we haven’t got it.”

Liberal Democrat commander Tim Farron said Mrs May’s comments “confirmed she is taking us towards a disastrous leathery Brexit that will leave our country poorer and more alienated”.


But Richard Tice, co-chairman of the Leave Means Leave compete, said: “We welcome the prime minister’s commitment to taking back direction of Britain’s borders, therefore ending preferential treatment for EU citizens.

“She is goodness that issues of trade and immigration are not binary because when Britain offs the single market and the customs union, though freedom of movement require cease, Britain’s ability to trade with the EU and access the single customer base will continue.”

Labour MP and leading supporter of pro-EU Open Britain organize, Chuka Umunna, said:”Any trading arrangement outside the single exchange would erect barriers with our largest trading partner and intent be disastrous for the UK economy, jobs and businesses.”

Europhile former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke unburdened BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “Theresa needs to address the more critical question of the muddle [Sir Ivan is] complaining about, see whether she agrees with him and umpire fix whether she can improve the way in which she organises the government to get to a proper conclusion.”

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