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Days ahead of her speech, the sterling pound plummeted to just above $1.20. But it rallied after she pledged to seek a parliamentary vote on whatever Brexit deal she could reach with the EU; she also said the UK would seek to remain a key European partner.
The sterling pound closed at $1.2373 on Tuesday.
Below are key elements of May’s speech:
A little over six months ago, the British people voted for change … They voted to leave the European Union and embrace the world.
The result of the referendum was not a decision to turn inward and retreat from the world.
It was a vote to restore, as we see it, our parliamentary democracy, national self-determination, and to become even more global and internationalist in action and in spirit.
We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU.
As we repeal the European Communities Act, we will convert the “acquis” – the body of existing EU law – into British law.
I can confirm today that the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament, before it comes into force.
We will take back control of our laws and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.
The Government has set up a Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations, so ministers from each of the UK’s devolved administrations can contribute to the process of planning for our departure from the European Union.
As we leave, the United Kingdom will share a land border with the EU, and maintaining that Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland will be an important priority for the UK in the talks ahead.
We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain – indeed openness to international talent must remain one of this country’s most distinctive assets – but that process must be managed properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest.
So we will get control of the number of people coming to Britain from the EU.
The message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.
We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.
We will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
But it is not just trade with the EU we should be interested in. A Global Britain must be free to strike trade agreements with countries from outside the European Union too.
We believe a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us will be in our mutual self-interest.