Theresa May gives Brexit statement to MPs
Theresa May, the UK prime minister, has addressed MPs on the draft Brexit agreement, after her Brexit secretary resigned
Edited by Jamie Han, Footage:Reuters/Bloomberg
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Thank you. Thank you, Mr Speaker. And with permission, I would like to update the House on our negotiations to leave the European Union. Mr Speaker, what we agreed yesterday was not the final deal. It is a draft treaty - it's not. It is a draft treaty that means that we will leave the EU in a smooth and orderly way on 29th of March, 2019.
We were told that we had a binary choice between the model of Norway or the model of Canada - that we could not have a bespoke deal. But the outlined political declaration sets out an arrangement that is better for our country than both of these, a more ambitious free trade agreement than the EU has with any other country.
I believe this issue can best be solved through our future relationship with the European Union, but the withdrawal agreement sets out an insurance policy should that new relationship not be ready in time at the end of the implementation period. I do not pretend that this has been a comfortable process, or that either we or the EU are entirely happy with all of the arrangements that have been included within it. But of course, this is the case. This is an arrangement that we have both said we never want to have to use. But while some people might pretend otherwise, there is no deal which delivers the Brexit the British people voted for, which does not involve this insurance policy.
I know it's been a frustrating process. It has forced us to confront some very difficult issues. But a good Brexit, a Brexit which is in the national interest, is possible. We have persevered and have made a decisive breakthrough. Once a final deal is agreed, I will bring it to parliament. And I will ask MPs to consider the national interest and give it their backing. Voting against a deal would take us all back to square one. So Mr Speaker, the choice is clear.
We can choose to leave with no deal. We can risk no Brexit at all, or we can choose -
- or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated. This deal - a deal that ends free movement; takes back control of our borders, laws, and money; delivers a free trade area for goods with zero tariffs; leaves the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy; delivers an independent foreign and defence policy; while retaining the continued security co-operation to keep our people safe; maintain shared commitments to high standards; protects jobs; honours the integrity of our United Kingdom; and delivers the Brexit the British people voted for.
I choose to deliver for the British people. I choose to do what is in our national interest and I commend this statement to the House.