Today, 2 March 2018, at the Mansion House in London, Prime Minister Theresa May made a speech on the future economic partnership between the UK and the EU.
(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
I am grateful to the Lord Mayor and all his team at the Mansion House for hosting us this afternoon.
And in the midst of the bad weather, I would just like to take a moment before I begin my speech today to thank everyone in our country who is going the extra mile to help people at this time. I think of our emergency services and armed forces working to keep people safe; our NHS staff, care workers, and all those keeping our public services going; and the many volunteers who are giving their time to help those in need. Your contribution is a special part of who we are as a country – and it is all the more appreciated at a moment like this.
Now I am here today to set out my vision for the future economic partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union. There have been many different voices and views in the debate on what our new relationship with the EU should look like. I have listened carefully to them all. But as we chart our way forward with the EU, I want to take a moment to look back.
Eighteen months ago I stood in Downing Street and addressed the nation for my first time as Prime Minister. I made this pledge then, to the people that I serve:
I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle.
The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.
We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.
When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.
When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you.
When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.
When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few.
We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.
We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.
That pledge, to the people of our United Kingdom is what guides me in our negotiations with the EU.
And for me that means five things:
First, the agreement we reach with the EU must respect the referendum. It was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money. And a vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again. But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours.
Second, the new agreement we reach with the EU must endure. After Brexit both the UK and the EU want to forge ahead with building a better future for our people, not find ourselves back at the negotiating table because things have broken down.
Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security. People in the UK voted for our country to have a new and different relationship with Europe, but while the means may change our shared goals surely have not – to work together to grow our economies and keep our people safe.
Fourth, it must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be as we leave: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, explorers and creators. A country that celebrates our history and diversity, confident of our place in the world; that meets its obligations to our near neighbours and far off friends, and is proud to stand up for its values.
And fifth, in doing all of these things, it must strengthen our union of nations and our union of people.
We must bring our country back together, taking into account the views of everyone who cares about this issue, from both sides of the debate. As Prime Minister it is my duty to represent all of our United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; north and south, from coastal towns and rural villages to our great cities.
So these are the five tests for the deal that we will negotiate.