Theresa May vows to get "the right deal" for both Remainers and Leavers in Brexit negotiations

Rebecca Smith
May has called for unity in the wake of the Brexit vote
May has called for unity in the wake of the Brexit vote (Source: Getty)

The Prime Minister acknowledged the tensions surrounding the EU referendum in her first New Year message, but vowed to "get the right deal" for the whole country.

Amid uncertainty over what type of deal the government will be pursuing in Britain's negotiations to leave the European Union and concern over a "hard Brexit", Theresa May sought to reassure the nation that everyone's needs will be considered.

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She said:

The referendum laid bare some further divisions in our country - between those who are prospering, and those who are not; those who can easily buy their own home, send their children to a great school, find a secure job, and those who cannot; in short, those for whom our country works well, and those for whom it does not.

Theresa May said she felt the opportunities in the coming year "are greater than ever", after the country made a "momentous decision".

"We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren," she said. "These ambitions unite us, so that we are no longer the 52 per cent who voted Leave and the 48 per cent who voted Remain, but one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future."

"So when I sit around the negotiating table in Europe this year, it will be with that in mind – the knowledge that I am there to get the right deal – not just for those who voted to Leave – but for every single person in this country," May said.

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The Prime Minister has committed to triggering Article 50 by the end of March to launch formal negotiations for Britain to leave the EU, but has kept her cards close to her chest regarding the approach the government will take in navigating Brexit.

In her speech, May pledged that 2017 will also be the year that barriers are broken down to secure "a better deal for ordinary, working people".

She also took the opportunity to quote the late Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed a week before the EU referendum.

May said: "As the fantastic MP Jo Cox, who was so tragically taken from us last year, put it: "We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us."

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