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The Sun: ‘This is what the people want to see more of’ – Britain’s politicians, business leaders and commentators give their verdict on Theresa May’s speech

Date: 17 01 2017


‘This is what the people want to see more of’ – Britain’s politicians, business leaders and commentators give their verdict on Theresa May’s speech

But Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron says the push for a “hard Brexit” was a “theft of democracy”, and she had adopted Nigel Farage’s Brexit plan.

THERESA May has set out her 12-point plan for Brexit, promising to take control of our borders and laws and leaving the Single Market.

The PM said today that MPs WOULD get a vote on the final Brexit deal, and that just because we are leaving the EU, it did not mean we would stop cooperating with our neighbours.

And the pound soared at the news that MPs would get a vote on the final deal with the EU.

Brexiteers were cheerful at today’s speech. Richard Tice, Co-Chair of Leave Means Leave said: “No deal is better than a bad deal, the Prime Minister said today. We are delighted by this…We welcome her commitment to delivering the democratic will of the people and the tough position she has set out ahead of negotiations with the EU.

“We share her vision of an ‘independent, self-governing Global Britain’ outside of the single market, without the restrictive elements of the customs union and no longer ruled by the European Court of Justice.

“Her speech highlighted the positive future Britain has outside of the EU and this is exactly what the British public want to hear more of.”

Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said the PM struck a “welcome and balanced tone” today, and praised her support of a phased withdrawal from the EU.

He added: “Britain can be more nimble than the EU at negotiating free trade deals with the world’s largest economies, and we’re delighted that the Prime Minister sees Brexit as a chance to make Britain a world leader in free trade. As she rightly said, trade is not a zero sum game – the more open we are to it with both the EU and the rest of the world, the richer we’ll all be.”

But Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron says the push for a “hard Brexit” was a “theft of democracy”, and she had adopted Nigel Farage’s Brexit plan.

Mrs May is, Mr Farron said, “leading the UK towards a hard Brexit that was never on the ballot paper”.

He added: “This is a theft of democracy, a presumption that the 51.9% of people who voted to leave meant the most extreme version of Brexit available.”

Former deputy PM Nick Clegg said taking Britain out of the Single Market was a “kick in the teeth” for the youth of Britain.

He said: “Claiming to represent the interests of the young whilst pursuing a hard Brexit which will damage their interests will only deepen the generational divide highlighted by the Brexit referendum.”

And Jeremy Corbyn said the PM would turn Britain into a “bargain basement tax haven on the shores of Europe”.

He said: “She makes out this is a negotiating threat to the 27 EU countries but it’s actually a threat to the British people’s jobs, services and living standards.

“We welcome that the Prime Minister has listened to the case we’ve been making about the need for full tariff free access to the single market but are deeply concerned about her reckless approach to achieving it.

“This speech should have been given in Parliament where MPs could ask her questions on behalf of their constituents. She talks about Brexit restoring parliamentary sovereignty but, once again, she is determined to avoid real scrutiny of her plans.”

GMB Union said the British people deserved to know what the news meant for their jobs.

Tim Roache, the GMB General Secretary, said: “Fantastical speeches and wishful thinking is all well and good, but what does this actually mean for British jobs and industry in the coming years?

He added: “A leap in the dark and political platitudes just won’t cut it for families trying to budget and plan for the future. When it comes to the day to day impact of the government’s Brexit policy on working people, sadly it’s still as clear as mud.”

The CBI said the PM’s speech showed “greater clarity” for our EU exit and the pressure was on to achieve a “smooth and orderly exit”.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General said: “Businesses want to make a success of Brexit but will be concerned about falling back on damaging WTO rules.

“They stand ready to support the negotiations to get the best possible deal for the UK by ensuring that the economic case is heard loud and clear.”

And a hard Brexit could undermine crucial environmental protections, Greenpeace UK said today.

Head of public affairs Rosie Rogers said that “Many of the laws that keep our bathing water clean and control dangerous air pollution and toxic chemicals come from the EU.

“Without EU laws and courts to underpin and enforce them, they could be left at the mercy of ministers who may ignore them and scrap them with a stroke of the pen.

“A majority of the UK public voted to leave the EU – they didn’t vote for a more polluted, less green Britain.”

Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce said businesses now had a clearer sense of the PM’s priorities, but that they didn’t know much more about the likely outcome of the Brexit talks.

He said: “The simple fact is that businesses all across the UK are carrying on. Directly-affected companies are being pragmatic, and are preparing for a range of possible outcomes.

“Their message is that Brexit must not become all-consuming, and that having the right skills, infrastructure and business environment across the UK will play a far bigger part in our future success than any eventual Brexit deal.”

Veteran Tory Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash said he agrees with the PM that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

While a comprehensive free trade deal is the best option, he told Sky News that “there will be no bad deal as we will walk away – that is clear”.

UKIP spokesman Suzanne Evans said the general outline was positive. Continued membership of security and intelligence agencies like Europol would be completely unacceptable but she would support continuing contributions to the EU during an interim or transitional period.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said she wanted to hear more information on workers’ rights and jobs.

“Working people are worried they will end up paying the price of leaving the Single Market,” she said. “There is real concern that it will be bad for jobs, bad for rights at work, and bad for the living standards of British people.

And the Institute of Directors said that it welcomed Mrs May’s commitment to providing certainty wherever possible.

Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy, said: “Whatever the shape of the final trade deal, a smooth and orderly departure is in the whole country’s interests, so businesses will support the commitment to a phased process of implementation.

She added: “Business leaders will be heartened by the Prime Minister’s strong argument for the value of free trade, an argument currently being made by all too few global leaders… so the aim must be a new deal that creates minimum disruption for importers and exporters.”

January 17th, 2017: The Sun