Theresa May delivers Brexit speech - as it happened

Mrs May is likely to signal a hard Brexit

Theresa May is delivering her speech from Lancaster House

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Welcome to talkRADIO's live coverage of Theresa May's speech on Brexit.

Scroll down to see updates on the Prime Minister's hugely ancticipated speech



So that's that then. Mrs May, after 45 minutes, has finally concluded her speech.

It was clear and well-delivered, but the Remainers (or Remoaners, depending on your point of view) will still have plenty to grumble about.

Key points of the speech:

  • It'll be a hard Brexit, with no membership of the single market.
  • Britain will pursue a free trade deal with the EU after leaving the single market.
  • MPs will get a vote the deal the Government comes back with.
  • Mrs May and her ministers won't say more than is consistent with the national interest.
  • Talented EU migrants will still be encouraged but, once again, migration has to be in the national interest.
  • Britain will continue to take an active role in Europe on issues such as security, and wants to be "a good neighbour."
  • The British union will be preserved at all costs.



"When a vote is held, we must all respect the result."

Yep, that's definitely going to stop the anti-Brexit protests Theresa. Definitely gonna work.



Mrs May is talking about how much the EU would lose by refusing a free trade deal with Britain. Kinda sounds like a threat.

She reckons the EU member states won't put their own citizens out of work just to make a political point. 



"After Brexit, Britain wants to be a good friend and neighbour in every way."

Perhaps it could start by taking the passports away from the hooligans who converge on holiday resorts in Spain and Greece and smash the place up every summer.



"The Government will not be pressured into saying more than is in the national interest."

Roughly translated: those who expect me to reveal any detail of my discussions with the EU can jog on.



In summing up the aims of her strategy, Mrs May says it is a "comprehensive and carefully considered plan that focuses on the ends, not just the means, with its eyes focused firmly on the future and on the kind of country we will be once we leave."



Mrs May says Britain leads the rest of Europe in national security and counter-terrorism. Few would disagree with this, to be honest, although some would argue the laws go too far.



Mrs May says Britain will seek to access the single market via a comprehensive free trade agreement. Meanwhile, in a fusty office somewhere in Brussels, messrs Tusk and Juncker stroke their chins and furrow their brows.

The Prime Minister also says we can now stop spending so much money on the EU. Although some people have questioned the validity of the spending claims made the Brexiteers in the run-up to last year's referendum, it's worth pointing out that UK is one of the highest contributors to the EU budget - as you can see by reading this.


No membership of the single market

Mrs May says that, by leaving Brexit and accepting the single market, we wouldn't be leaving the EU at all. We'd have to accept the freedoms intrinsic to the single market without having any say on it.

Another part of the speech which had been teased in advance. But, given the months of debate on the single market, it's big news nonetheless.



Mrs May says "you cannot control immigration when there is free movement", pointing to her experience as Home Secretary.

FYI, immigration hit a record 650,000 during Mrs May's final year at the Home Office.



Mrs May says "openness to international talent must remain one of Britain's most distinctive assets" but it must be "in the national interest."



The Government will put the final deal to a vote before both Houses of Parliament.

This is pretty big news, given that Theresa May had previously indicated MPs might not be given a vote.

It essentially pre-empts the Supreme Court case, which is expected to rule against the Government and decree that Mrs May must consult MPs before Article 50.

MPs have already agreed to vote in favour of Mrs May's timescale on triggering Article 50, so it's hard to see too many MPs voting down the deal.


It's going to be a hard Brexit

Here's the crux of the speech.

Mrs May says Britain is leaving the EU, 100%.  We don't want a model employed by other countries, clinging onto parts of the existing relationship with EU.

Once again, this was widely trailled but will still make headlines (and possibly cause palpitations among currency traders).



Mrs May says there are two ways of managing difference: you can try to suppress the differences, or work with them. Take that you Brussels pen-pushers!

She says Britain has "No desire to become more distant from you [or] to damage the EU or its member states," and doesn't want to "turn the clock back" to a time when Europe was a more divided place.

Instead, she says, "it was a vote to restore our Parliamentary sovereignty."



Mrs May is now pointing out how different we are from mainland Europe, saying our lack of a formally codified constitution is evidence of this.

Once again, it's hard to remember her saying this before the referendum last June.



"June 23 was not the moment when Britain chose to step back from the world. It was the moment we chose to build a truly global Britain."

This line had been widely trailled but is still very impactful. Nice line from Mrs May's speechwriters, but what does it actually mean in practice?



"We will put the preservation of our preservation at the heart of everything we do."

Mrs May is talking about the British union of course, not the European one.

Sure a lot of people in Scotland will have something to say about this...



Mrs May says she wants Britain to be a "magnet" for foreign talent, a stance which might be welcomed by migrants living in London and fearing for their future.



Mrs May arrives and begins by saying the British people "voted for a brighter future" by backing Brexit.

Not sure that was her view in the run-up to the referendum...



The highly-anticipated speech will be delivered from Lancaster House, which is already packed in anticipation of the Prime Minister's arrival.

Mrs May is expected to signal her desire for a hard Brexit with a full departure from the single market - an intention which is sure to prove hugely divisive.