May vows to work with European Union to avoid hard Irish Border

May vows to work with European Union to avoid hard Irish Border

May vows to work with European Union to avoid hard Irish Border

In a speech Friday aimed at answering critics who accuse Britain of failing to grasp the tough realities of leaving the EU, May will call for "the broadest and deepest possible agreement - covering more sectors and cooperating more fully than any free trade agreement anywhere in the world today".

Tensions are simmering between London and Brussels, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May saying on Wednesday that no one in her position could ever agree to the draft Brexit treaty published by the EU. But in another swipe at the hard Brexiteers in her party she argued that "in practice we are unlikely to want to reduce our standards: not least because the British public would rightly punish any government that did so at the ballot box".

However, she also stressed that parliament would remain sovereign and could reject rules set by European Union agencies at a later date, albeit "with consequences for our membership of the relevant agency and linked market access rights".

The 61-year-old leader has long kept her cards close to her chest, trying to avoid provoking those who want a clean break with the European Union, or others who fear the world's sixth-largest economy will suffer if barriers are raised against a major trading partner.

She said that agreement on these terms could be reached through a commitment to ensure that the relevant United Kingdom regulatory standards "remain at least as high as the EU's and a customs arrangement".

But the prime minister said such associated membership should not see Britain tied to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), instead wanting any disputes resolved through United Kingdom courts.

"If this is cherry-picking, then every trade arrangement is cherry-picking", she commented.

But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a leading eurosceptic, said May set out a "clear and convincing vision". May didn't say exactly who it was that had to do this "facing up", but it seemed directed at the pro-Brexit wing of her party.

Following May's speech, the leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, criticised May for alleged inaction over Brexit.

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While Labour also had a pop at the Prime Minister in its Twiter response.

Talks on the terms of the withdrawal and a transition period are already underway, and Britain hopes a trade deal can be agreed by the end of the year.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the speech had "only strengthened the case for giving the British people a vote on the final deal, with an option to stay in the EU".

What business will most appreciate is that this was not a complacent speech.

She said Friday that it's inevitable because the leaving the bloc's single market and customs union.

May, including in Florence, Italy and Lancaster House in London, but was the most focussed on specifics, outlining Britain's vision for the tailored kind of relationship it hoped to negotiate with the European Union, including through sector-by-sector arrangements, and through binding commitments.

But she also says Britain is committed to avoiding a hard Irish border and ensuring there is no return to violence in Northern Ireland. "Those proposals can ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after we exit the European Union".

Under the first, at the EU-UK border, the UK would mirror EU rules for imports from the rest of the world, applying the same tariffs and rules of origin as the EU for goods arriving in the UK and intended for the EU. Nor would I allow anything that would damage the integrity of our precious union.

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