Prime Minister Theresa May warns weight needs to be given to globalisation worries

Hayley Kirton
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Prime Minister Theresa May Attends The Lord Mayor's Banquet
May's words come less than a week after the US election (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May warned tonight that political "change is in the air" throughout western democracies, telling an audience in the City: "globalisation in its current form has left too many people behind".

Speaking at the Lord Mayor's banquet at the Guildhall, May accepted that liberalism and globalisation continue to have "an overwhelmingly positive impact on our world", but said that many voters do not believe they are benefitting from the system.

"If we are to continue to make the case for liberalism and globalisation, as we must, we have also to face up to and respond to these concerns," May said.

"If we believe, as I do, that liberalism and globalisation continue to offer the best future for our world, we must deal with the downsides and show that we can make these twin forces work for everyone.

"Because when you refuse to accept that globalisation in its current form has left too many people behind, you’re not sowing the seeds for its growth but for its ruin."

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May's speech not only comes less than half a year after the UK voted to leave the EU, but less than a week after the US elected business tycoon Donald Trump to be its new President.

Much of government's dialogue surrounding the likely shape of the Brexit deal has paid attention to making sure changes to immigration rules respect the concerns of the electorate.

While not much is known about the details of president-elect Trump's incoming policies, perhaps his most well-known proposals include pledging to build a wall along the US border with Mexico and clamping down on trade deals with other nations.

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With general elections on the horizon for both France and Germany, there is some concern that it will not be too long before two more major countries are fronted by political parties with a very nationalist focus.

"Change is in the air," May added in yesterday's speech. "And when people demand change, it is the job of politicians to respond.

"But it's also the job of all those in positions of influence and power – politicians, business leaders and others – to understand the drivers of that demand too."

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