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UK wants 'phased' Brexit deal to avoid 'cliff edge': PM May

Press Trust of India  |  London 

British Prime Minister Theresa May today unveiled her 12-point plan to leave European Union, saying she wants the Brexit deal within two years, but implementation would be 'phased' to avoid a "cliff edge."

In her much-anticipated speech in London today, May also said that the both houses of the British parliament will vote on any final Brexit agreement, amid pressure from lawmakers to have more say over leaving the 28-nation economic bloc.

"I can confirm that the government will put the final deal to a vote in both houses of parliament before it comes into force," she said in the landmark 40-minute long speech.

In her address at Lancaster House to senior officials working on Brexit and representatives from around the world, May said it "remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain's national interest that the EU should succeed."

The UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum on June 23 by a margin of 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent.

Asserting that British people have voted for change six

months ago for a "brighter future" with their eyes open, not just to leave the EU but to embrace a wider world, May said she wants the UK to be "fairer, more secure, united and outward looking" as a result of Brexit.

"Brexit must mean control of the number of people coming from Europe, and that is what we will deliver. What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market," May said, laying out her plan on immigration.

She said the UK "cannot possibly" remain within the European single market following the Brexit, as staying in it would mean "not leaving the EU at all".

But the prime minister promised to push for the "greatest possible" access to the single market following Brexit.

"We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends. We want to buy your goods, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship," she told the other 27 EU member states.

May, who backed Remain in the referendum, called for a "new and equal partnership" with the EU, "not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out".

"We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave," May added.

Her 12 objectives broadly covered aspects of certainty; control over own laws; strengthening the union; maintaining the common travel area with Ireland; control of immigration; rights for EU citizens in Britain and British nationals in the EU; protecting workers' rights; free trade with European markets; new trade agreements with other countries; making UK the best place for science and innovation; cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism; and smooth and orderly Brexit.

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First Published: Tue, January 17 2017. 18:28 IST