Industry has reacted to Theresa May’s speech of 17 January, when she confirmed Britain would leave the single market. In her speech, the Prime Minister reiterated that it is for the Government alone to invoke Article 50 and take responsibility for negotiations with the EU, working with the devolved administrations. She confirmed the plan, soon, to publish the Great Repeal Bill to remove the European Communities Act from the statute book; and, as this happens, convert the “acquis” into British law. Any significant changes to the current laws must be subject to full scrutiny and Parliamentary debate. However, she said negotiations would not be regularly reported, as this would not be in the country’s best interests.
In relation to the single market, Mrs May said Britain would not look for a model used by other countries, or seek to hold onto parts of its membership. However, it will seek the best deal possible, and Mrs May said she wants this to involve free trade in goods and services, and to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with an operate in the single market, and for European businesses to do so in Britain.
The City of London welcomed the ambition to retain the best possible access to the single market, but called urgently for a clear transitional path so that businesses, particularly financial services and professional services businesses, were not left “on a cliff edge”. The WMA also picked up on this, welcoming the reference to the “phasing-in” of implementation.