Britain will leave the EU's single market when it exits the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday (January 17), putting an end to speculation that London might try to seek a ''soft Brexit''. Mia Womersley reports.
Speculation of a 'soft' Brexit has been firmly put to bed. Britain will leave the single market when it exits the EU. The prime minister unveiling her Brexit plans in London on Tuesday (January 17) and Theresa May confirmed she'll trigger divorce talks by March. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY SAYING: "I know many fear this might herald the beginning of a greater unravelling of the EU, but let me be clear, I do not want that to happen. It would not be in the best interests of Britain, it remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain's national interest that the EU should succeed." Following months of criticism that she was not being transparent enough, May seemed determined to define the country's future as a global player and one which would trade freely far beyond Europe. The PM also took the opportunity to allay voters' concerns over unlimited migration from Europe. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY SAYING: "Britain is an open and tolerant country, we will always want immigration, especially high-skilled immigration. But the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear. Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe and that is what we will deliver. May stressed that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain - warning leaders of the 27 other member states not to try to punish Britons for voting to leave. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY SAYING: "I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal, that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path. That would be an act of calamitous self harm for the countries of Europe and it would not be the act of a friend. Britain would not, indeed we could not accept such an approach." European Union Council President Donald Tusk said May's speech was "at least more realistic." But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the PM of wanting to have her cake and eat it. The prime minister said the final deal would be put to a vote in both houses of parliament.