May to call for UK unity in Brexit speech

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LON­DON: Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May will use a ma­jor speech on Brexit this week to call on Bri­tons to re­ject the ac­ri­mony of last year’s ref­er­en­dum and unite around the vi­sion of a Bri­tain more open to the world, her of­fice said yes­ter­day.

May in­tends to kick off the for­mal process of ne­go­ti­at­ing the terms of Bri­tain’s exit from the Euro­pean Union by the end of March, but has given lit­tle away about what deal she will be seek­ing, frus­trat­ing some in­vestors, busi­nesses and MPs.

She is due to make a speech in Lon­don to­mor­row be­fore an au­di­ence in­clud­ing for­eign diplo­mats as well as Bri­tain’s own Brexit ne­go­ti­at­ing team and other se­nior of­fi­cials, May’s Down­ing Street of­fice said.

It said she would stress the need for Bri­tons, who voted for Brexit by 52 to 48per­cent af­ter a deeply di­vi­sive cam­paign, to unite around com­mon goals such as pro­tect­ing and en­hanc­ing work­ers’ rights.

“Now we need to put an end to the di­vi­sion and the lan­guage as­so­ci­ated with it – ‘Leaver’ and ‘Re­mainer’ and all the ac­com­pa­ny­ing in­sults – and unite to make a suc­cess of Brexit and build a truly Global Bri­tain.”

Down­ing Street did not say whether May would re­veal her stance on some of the key ques­tions, such as whether she will try and keep Bri­tain within the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket or cus­toms union or, if not, what level of ac­cess she will aim for.

The EU is likely to in­sist on free­dom of move­ment for EU cit­i­zens in re­turn for full ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket, while many of those who voted for Brexit did so to re­strict im­mi­gra­tion.

May’s speech will be closely watched by fi­nan­cial mar­kets for in­for­ma­tion on which of these di­ver­gent goals she will pri­ori­tise.

Af­ter she said a week ago that post-Brexit Bri­tain would not be able to keep “bits” of its EU mem­ber­ship, the pound fell sharply as

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