Theresa May vows to turn Britain into "a great global trading nation"

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

Prime Minister Theresa May will today vow to make Britain “a great global trading nation” in an eagerly-awaited landmark speech on Brexit.

Speaking at Lancaster House later today, May will set out 12 key negotiating objectives for the UK, underpinned by promises to provide certainty and clarity, and to create a stronger, fairer and more global Britain.

In what will be seen as the Prime Minister advocating a “clean” or so-called hard Brexit, she will seemingly rule out membership of either the Single Market or the Customs Union by signalling her intention to secure a relationship with the EU “unlike that enjoyed by any other nation”.

“We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU,” she will say.

“Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave.”

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Despite repeated pledges to clamp down on migration since last summer's referendum, May will also insist the UK will remain “outward looking” and will continue to welcome talented workers who contribute to the economy.

May will promise to make the UK “a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead”. This allies with chancellor Philip Hammond's October statement to parliament's Treasury select committee, in which he stated that “computer programmers, brain surgeons, bankers, senior managers” would be unlikely to face blocks on migration.

May will set out her vision for “a country that gets out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike,” stressing that it remains in Britain's national interests for the EU to prosper, and that while the UK is leaving the EU, it is not leaving Europe.

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“We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends,” she will say.

“We want to buy your goods, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship.”

The details of the speech will be watched closely in the City with the Treasury expected to reach out to the Square Mile's top bankers in the immediate aftermath of May's comments, while the Prime Minister will also offer to provide “as much certainty and clarity as we can at every stage”.

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