The Prime Minister made a very powerful speech today, outlining her strategy for the UK's exit from the EU. It was more powerful than I expected, and will have left no doubt in the minds of anyone listening that the UK will be leaving. It was good that she began by telling us that both the Commons and the Lords will have the opportunity to vote on the final deal - assuming there is one!! Took away some of the anti. It was a strong confident performance based around clear principles. The UK is leaving the EU to embrace the world, and create a stronger, fairer, more united Britain, where our children and grandchildren will have a brighter future. I like this line - heard too many 'remainers' telling me they voted 'Remain' for their children and grandchildren, as if I didn't care about ours.
The Prime Minister was at pains to be nice to the EU. The language was friendly. Hope they appreciate that. She made it clear that the UK is leaving the EU, but not leaving Europe and wants as positive a deal for both sides in any negotiations. But she also made clear if there is no deal acceptable to the UK, she as our Prime Minister will favour the UK just walking away.
She made a point of informing us that she accepts the EU's commitment to the "Four Freedoms' and will not challenge them. This makes it inevitable that the UK will have to leave the Single Market. The EU should be very pleased about that. But it does take one of their strong bargaining chips away. Mrs May also committed to developing trade all over the world, which makes full membership of the Customs Union impossible as well. Perhaps she noted the intransigent way leaders of the Commission dealt with David Cameron when he sought a deal to support remaining, and realised it would be an intransigence too far!!
On 23rd June, my 'red line' was taking the UK out of the European Court of Justice. This 'red line' has underpinned my antipathy for last 40 years. I felt quite emotional hearing the Prime Minister state so catagorically the we our leaving this court behind. The other biggie is absolute commitment to the UK taking control of immigration. Personally, I've not thought that leaving the EU will bring down immigration as much as many suppose. But we will 'take back control' and decide who comes moves into the UK.
And then there was the repetition of the Chancellor's warning to a German newspaper. If the EU decide to visit 'punishment' on the UK by damaging our economy, we will re-set our economic policy to ensure our economy thrives. I do think there is an element of warning in this. I just sense that making clear we are leaving the Single Market, and ready to 'walk away' from a bad deal has put the Prime Minister and her Government in a good place. But as always with big speeches, we will have to wait and see how it looks in a few days time. I think, like a good French, German, or Spanish wine, it will improve over time