UK wants "broadest, deepest" possible agreement with EU: PM

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that her country wants "the broadest and deepest possible" trade agreement with the European Union (EU).

In a keynote speech at the City of London's Mansion House, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain wants the deal to cover "more sectors and co-operating more fully than any Free Trade Agreement anywhere in the world today."

She also pledged to deliver the real change the country voted for in June 2016 while protecting jobs and security.

She called for a Brexit deal with the European Union (EU) unmatched by free trade agreements anywhere else in the world and set out five tests to guide negotiations with Brussels on a new relationship after Britain leaves the EU next March.

May said her five tests say the agreement Britain reaches with the EU must respect the result of the 2016 referendum when the historic vote to leave the bloc was taken by a 52-48 margin. She said it was a vote to take back control of British borders, laws and money.

The five tests for the deal that Britain negotiates would mean implementing the decision of the British people; reaching an enduring solution; protecting British security and prosperity; delivering an outcome that is consistent with the kind of country Britain wants to be and bringing the country together, and strengthening the precious union of all our people.

She said: "As Prime Minister it is my duty to represent all of our United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; north and south, from coastal towns and rural villages to our great cities."

On a future economic partnership, May said: "What I am seeking is a relationship that goes beyond the transactional to one where we support each other's interests."

"I want the broadest and deepest possible agreement, covering more sectors and co-operating more fully than any Free Trade Agreement anywhere in the world today."

May said she believed the goal is achievable, saying: "It is in the EU's interests as well as ours and because of our unique starting point, where on day one we both have the same laws and rules. So rather than having to bring two different systems closer together, the task will be to manage the relationship once we are two separate legal systems."

May's speech, titled "Our Future Partnership", set out what she said was an ambitious but credible vision for the future and the UK and EU have a "shared interest" in getting this right.

May said her vision was of a UK that is a "champion of free trade based on high standards" -- thriving in the world by "building a bold and comprehensive economic partnerships with Britain's neighbors in the EU, and reaching out beyond to foster trade agreements with nations across the globe.

She said there is no escaping the complexity of the task ahead, but adds the government is making "real progress". May rejected any idea of a border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic or a border in the middle of the Irish Sea that would separate the British mainland from Northern Ireland.

Britain will leave the customs union and the European single market, May said, adding leaving the EU will be a new beginning for Britain.

She added: "Change is not to be feared.. I am in no doubt whatever agreement we reach with the EU our future is bright. There will be ups and downs in the months ahead, and nobody will get everything they want, but I am confident we will get there."


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