The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister
The Sunday Times
Sunday 13th May 2018
Trust me, I’ll take back control — but I’ll need your help
Amid all the noisy debate and technical discussions about our departure from the European Union, I want to take this opportunity to remind the British public of my mission in the negotiations. Brexit provides the opportunity to build a new relationship with the EU where we are close trading partners and strong allies but with the British government in control of our laws, our immigration policy and how taxpayers’ money is spent.
It provides the opportunity to develop closer relationships with fast-growing nations around the world. And in doing all this we will put the values that make us so great as a nation at the forefront: openness, tolerance, diversity and innovation.
You can trust me to deliver.
I will ensure that we take back control of our borders. The public want their own government to decide on the number of people coming into Britain from across the European Union and that is what we are going to do.
I will ensure that we take back control of our money. We have agreed a settlement with the European Union and the days of vast contributions from taxpayers to the EU budget are coming to an end. So Brexit means there will be billions of pounds that we used to send to Brussels that we will now be able to spend on domestic priorities, including our National Health Service.
I will ensure that we take back control of our laws. So Brexit means that, while we may sometimes choose to take the same approach as the EU, our laws will be made in Westminster, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, with those laws tried by British judges.
We will leave the single market because staying in the single market means continued free movement of people, but we will maintain the strongest possible trading partnership with our European neighbours and create new trade deals around the world ensuring that we seize the opportunities to build an economy that works for everyone.
We will get a fairer deal for our farmers and fishermen by leaving the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy, regaining control over access to our waters and safeguarding the interests of the UK fishing industry.
We will take back control of our social policy and our tax policy so rather than being decided in Brussels, we will decide them in the interests of ordinary working people in Britain.
And we will leave the customs union so we can establish our own independent trade policy and negotiate trade deals in our interests. I have proposed different options for a new customs arrangement with the EU and the government will continue to develop them during the negotiations.
I have three clear tests for the outcomes that we want to see.
First, as a proud unionist and prime minister of the whole United Kingdom I am clear that any deal with the EU must protect our precious Union and also honour the agreements that were reached in the historic Northern Irish peace process.
This means there can be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. We will uphold the Belfast agreement in full — and we will ensure the constitutional and economic integrity of the whole United Kingdom.
Second, any agreements must create as little friction as possible for trade to protect the jobs that rely on speedy and integrated supply chains. These are a valued part of our economy, particularly for our manufacturing regions.
And third, we must not constrain our ability to negotiate trade agreements with other countries around the world by being bound into a customs union as the Labour Party would have us. We must be a global Britain that makes the most of the opportunity to create jobs and growth by trading ambitiously with partners across the world, old and new.
I have put forward a plan to negotiate all these outcomes and to leave the European Union. Throughout this process I have tried to balance the legitimate concerns of those on both sides of the debate and I believe that our negotiating objectives answer those concerns.
The path I am setting out is the path to deliver the Brexit people voted for. Of course, the details are incredibly complex and, as in any negotiation, there will have to be compromises. But if we stick to the task we will seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain that is respected around the world and confident and united at home.
I will need your help and support to get there. And in return, my pledge to you is simple: I will not let you down.