Theresa May to confirm clean break from EU single market

The prime minister is ready to announce UK's complete exit rather than being 'half in, half out' of the European Union, according to excerpts released by her office before her highly-anticipated Brexit speech on Tuesday.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Fears of a 'hard Brexit' ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech have beaten the pound sterling down to three-month lows against the US dollar.

Britain will not seek a Brexit deal that leaves it "half in, half out" of the European Union, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to say on Tuesday, according to her office. May's speech on Tuesday at Lancaster House, Westminster will confirm Britain's exit from the single market and customs union. 

Britain voted to leave the EU over six months ago, however, there is still a lack of clarity on how Brexit will actually pan out. In her much-awaited speech, she will set out her twelve priorities for upcoming divorce talks with the bloc – May has come under fire from investors, businesses and lawmakers for revealing little about the relationship she will seek with the EU when formal talks begin end of March.

Some of these priorities include leaving EU’s single market and regaining full control of Britain's borders, several newspapers reported. This reinforced investor fears of a 'Hard Brexit' which has pushed the pound to some of the lowest levels against the US dollar seen in more than three decades.

"We seek a new and equal partnership, between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU," May will say, according to advance extracts released by her office.

"Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out," the speech reads. "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."

May will say she wants Britain to be a "magnet for international talent", and a "great, global trading nation" that reaches beyond Europe to build relationships with other countries around the world.

However, EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the UK can’t negotiate trade deals with other countries until it officially exits the EU.

Her comments came after US President-elect Donald Trump said his administration will be ready to push through a speedy deal with Britain.

Jack Parrock has more from Brussels.

TRTWorld and agencies