2016 03 OCT
Article 50 to be invoked in March 2017 - Brexit
Speaking at the start of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham today, Mrs May put Britain on track for a "hard Brexit" by the spring of 2019 and made it clear she will not accept any limits on Britain’s ability to control immigration.
The PM also rejected the idea Britain will be forced to make a “trade-off” between immigration controls and enjoying the single market.
Her promise comes just hours after it was revealed that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March 2017, kick-starting the two-year process of talks to leave the EU.
It means Britain can expect to become a non-EU member by the summer of 2019 – a year ahead of the next general election.
Speaking at the conference, Mrs May said: "Whether people like it or not, the country voted to leave the EU.
"That means we are going to leave the EU. We are going to be a fully independent, sovereign country, a country that is no longer part of a political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts.
"That means we are going, once more, to have the freedom to make our own decisions on a whole host of different matters, from how we label our food to the way in which we choose to control immigration."
She added: "I know some people ask about the 'trade-off' between controlling immigration and trading with Europe. But that is the wrong way of looking at things.
"We have voted to leave the European Union and become a fully independent, sovereign country.
"We will do what independent, sovereign countries do. We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration. And we will be free to pass our own laws."
She said her aim would be to strike a deal with the UK's EU partners to include "co-operation on law enforcement and counter-terrorism work ... (and) free trade in goods and services", and to give British companies "the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the single market and let European businesses do the same here".
She added: "Let me be clear: We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice."
But Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat - who will be president of the Council when Mrs May kicks off talks by invoking Article 50 of the EU treaties - said the single market's four freedoms of goods, services, capital and people "cannot be decoupled".
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron branded Mrs May's announcement a "disaster" that would mean "no single market for Britain".
But Mrs May insisted she would strike a deal allowing "free trade in goods and services" and giving British companies "the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the single market and let European businesses do the same here".
And Brexit Secretary David Davis said EU leaders should "think carefully" before erecting barriers to trade.
Describing talk of Britain being subjected to trade barriers, such as tariffs, as "bluster", Mr Davis said: "It certainly won't be to anyone's benefit to see an increase in barriers to trade, in either direction.
"So, we want to maintain the freest possible trade between us, without betraying the instruction we have received from the British people to take back control of our own affairs."
CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said business needed "urgent answers" on barrier-free access to EU markets.
She said: "Businesses cannot continue to operate in the dark. The decisions they face today are real and pressing.
"The Government's desire to play its negotiating cards close to its chest must be tempered by clear indications on how we will trade with the UK's most important partner, and how firms will be able to employ the people needed to drive growth."
Article from - Standard.co.uk
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