The British PM staid it was time to accept “hard facts” regarding the country’s EU withdrawal.
That said, as direct as that may sound, many have expressed frustration with the confusion she has generated.
Facing “Hard Facts”
In her recent speech, Prime Minister Theresa May said she would be “straight with the people.” She cautioned them that it was time to accept some “hard facts” when it came to the consequences of Brexit. Among them is that leaving the European Union’s single market will mean a reduced access between the markets of the E.U. and the U.K.
This was May’s third major speech regarding what the British people can expect when their country is no longer a part of the E.U. This speech was made at Mansion House in London, addressing ambassadors and business leaders. It was meant to strike back at her critics who have criticized her government for attempting to obtain a “cake and eat it” Brexit deal.
Response to the Speech
In her speech, May outlined an intention to impose harsher immigration and trade red lines while simultaneously being receptive to certain areas of compromise. This was well received by both Brexiters and Tory remainers. That said, while this could have been seen as an achievement as those two groups have been becoming increasingly distant recently, the speech was far from a victory overall.
Brussels had a rather muted reaction to May’s speech. That said, certain high-profile figures spoke more openly, quoted by the Guardian in accusing the PM of doing little more than providing “vague aspirations.”
Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the European Commission, said the intervention was welcome, but that May’s “recognition of trade-offs” would help direct E.U. guidelines published this week. Some observers underscored Barnier’s interpretation, saying that it could be interpreted as a rather ominous warning.
Back at Home
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, said that May’s speech managed only to add more confusion to a large amount of confusion.
In her speech, May said that “I want to be straight with people – because the reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts.” She went on to state that the country is leaving the single market and that “Life is going to be different.” She then asked how it could be possible for the E.U. to maintain the same structure of rights and obligations if the United Kingdom was interested only in being able to “to enjoy all the benefits without all of the obligations.”
At the same time, she accused the E.U. for pushing back too hard, stating: “So we need to strike a new balance. But we will not accept the rights of Canada and the obligations of Norway.”
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