Theresa May 'preparing for third big Brexit speech' to set out trade aims

Posted On: 
19th December 2017

Theresa May is reportedly preparing for a third major speech on Brexit to set out her aims for a future trade deal with the EU.

Theresa May delivering a landmark speech in Florence in September

The Prime Minister will invite further contributions from ministerial colleagues after chairing her 'Brexit War Cabinet' of senior ministers yesterday. 

According to The Times, Downing St is moving towards drafting a third speech to bind the Cabinet to a collective position on the trade talks. 

WATCH: Commons Speaker John Bercow defends Tory MPs branded 'traitors' by Brexit press

ANALYSIS: The Tories are split on Brexit - but Labour's problems are just beginning

Number of UK citizens applying for Irish passports soars since Brexit vote

At yesterday's meeting Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove apparently made the case for a presumption that British and European rules would diverge after Brexit.

However Home Secretary Amber Rudd is understood to have argued that the Government should weigh up the benefits of divergence in each sector before deciding. 

Meanwhile a minister who attended the meeting said Chancellor Philip Hammond - who has faced criticism for being pessimistic over Brexit - was "notably upbeat about the range of scenarios that would work".

And another senior Brexit-backer told the paper there was little support for a swift uncoupling from EU rules.

“I think this has to be a gradual process that is extensively debated in parliament in the years ahead. I don’t think many of us favour a big bang approach," they said.

On the prospects of another speech to follow the Lancaster House and Florence addresses, an ally of the Prime Minister said: "It’s not finalised yet but we’re moving in that direction."

Elsewhere the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has made clear there will not be a bespoke deal on offer for the City of London.

"There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn’t exist," the Frenchman told the Guardian.