UK to leave single market, May confirms in Brexit speech

Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that the UK will not remain within the European single market, explains that remaining in it would mean ‘not leaving the EU at all’.

During her Brexit speech, May promised to push for the ‘freest possible trade’ with European countries and announced that Parliament would get the final vote on the deal agreed between the UK and the EU.

The PM’s speech shed light on a number of areas concerning her Brexit plans including: maintaining the common travel area between the UK and Irish Republic; tariff-free trade with the EU; a customs agreement with the EU; new trade agreements with countries outside the EU; continued ‘practical’ sharing of intelligence and policing information; ’control’ of immigration rights for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU; and a implementing ‘phased approach’ to the process.

May said: "This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU's member states.

"It should give British companies the maximum possible freedom to trade with and operate within European markets and let European businesses do the same in Britain. But I want to be clear: what I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market."

"It would, to all intents and purposes, mean not leaving the EU at all. That is why both sides in the referendum campaign made it clear that a vote to leave the EU would be a vote to leave the single market."

"We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain - indeed, openness to international talent must remain one of this country's most distinctive assets - but that process must be managed properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest.

"So we will get control of the number of people coming to Britain from the EU."