May to call for UK unity in Brexit speech
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