Theresa May is hinting at the end of the UK's Single Market membership

 
Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested the UK will give up its Single Market membership in Brexit negotiations, with the European customs union participation also expendable.

May appeared to take a swipe at Remain campaigners who want the UK to keep hold of "bits" of EU membership. "We are leaving. We are coming out. We are not going to be a member of the EU any longer," she told Sky News.

"I'm looking at the outcome, and the outcome is a really good, ambitious trade deal for the UK with the European Union that enables our companies to trade in and operate in the European Single Market," she said.

"And that's for both goods and services, because of course for the UK, financial services - and the services sector generally - is a very important part of our economic relationship with the EU."

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May also declined to specify whether immigration reform would be a "red-line" for the government in Brexit negotiations, but her comments suggest that the UK is at least approaching talks with a willingness to discard the existing terms of European trade in favour of signing a fresh trade deal with the bloc.

The Prime Minister also further intimated an end to the UK's customs union membership by suggesting that the UK "will be able to have trade deals around the world."

Being within the EU customs bloc requires all members to impose a common tariff on imported goods, and has been cited as a potential road-block to new trade deals in the aftermath of Brexit.

May also vowed to set out more on her Brexit plans "in the coming weeks". The Prime Minister is expected to make a speech adding detail later this month.

The government has committed to triggering Article 50, and beginning Brexit negotiations by the end of March.

Responding to May's comments, Tory backbench Brexiteer Steve Baker said: "This is a welcome clarification of a sensible position by the PM. We wont be clinging on to bits of EU membership.

"The best outcome for the UK is an ambitious trade deal plus control over out laws, trade policy and borders. The PM's interview is great news for the UK."

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