Theresa May tells first Cabinet meeting: Britain will not be defined by Brexit

Posted On: 
19th July 2016

Britain must not be “defined by Brexit,” Theresa May will say today as she chairs her first Cabinet since becoming Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Theresa May
PA Images

The new premier will reiterate her social justice agenda, arguing everyone should benefit from the “opportunities” leaving the EU presents as well as from the wider government programme.

“That is why social justice will be at the heart of my government,” she will say.

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Meanwhile she has received a ringing endorsement from George Osborne, who has broken cover for the first time since he was sacked from the Government last week.

Mrs May will chair Cabinet ahead of a meeting in Berlin tomorrow with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

The pair will discuss Brexit despite EU leaders insisting no formal negotiations should take place until Britain has formally triggered the process to leave.

Speaking ahead of her Cabinet meeting, Mrs May declared: "Brexit means Brexit – and we’re going to make a success of it.

“It will be the responsibility of everyone sitting around the Cabinet table to make Brexit work for Britain.

“And it will also be their duty to deliver success on behalf of everyone in the UK, not just the privileged few. That is why social justice will be at the heart of my government.

“So we will not allow the country to be defined by Brexit; but instead build the education, skills, and social mobility to allow everyone to prosper from the opportunities of leaving the EU.”

Following Cabinet Mrs May will chair her first meeting of Britain's National Security Council.


Former chancellor Mr Osborne has pledged his full support to Mrs May, saying she "has the strength and the integrity to do the job, as she faces up to the great challenge that lies ahead".

Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies’ Margaret Thatcher Lecture, Mr Osborne added that he "put everything on the line" in his bid to keep Britain in the EU.

He was accused of peddling Project Fear during the campaign, arguing households would be £4,300 worse off after Brexit and warning of an emergency Budget to slash spending.

"I fought hard – as hard as I could – for a different outcome to the referendum," he said last night.

“I didn’t do it by half-measures. I put everything on the line, and don’t regret for a moment that I did.”

Mr Osborne added that he was “never interested in occupying high office just to say I did the job”, insisting: “I wanted to take risks and do things that might make a difference.”