A much anticipated speech on the progress made in Brexit negotiations was given by Theresa May yesterday in Florence, Italy.
The UK Prime Minister confirmed a transition period of two years after we leave the EU during which we will still be part of the Single Market. She also revealed that the UK will continue to pay into the EU budget until 2020.
Regarding free movement, May said both sides are “very close” to an agreement, as she wants EU citizens to be able to stay with the same rights as they have now.
Labour MEPs for the North East of England, Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen, welcome Theresa May’s decision to work “hand in hand” with the EU as its “strongest friend and partner”, but point out that this speech is too little, too late.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: “Theresa May’s speech is at least six months overdue, months during which her Brexit team have made a complete mess of the process by carrying out shambolic negotiations in Brussels.
“The promises in her speech should have been made before EU citizens were pushed out of the UK due to the incompetency of this government who couldn’t guarantee their future in our country from the offset.”
Paul Brannen MEP added: “After an incredible build-up to Theresa May’s address that could have provided a sigh of relief for many of us, this proved to be a weak and disappointing display of leadership on her part.”
“The Prime Minister managed to not say much during an hour-long speech. Perhaps it was wishful thinking to expect more than just empty words, but we are now left with even more unanswered questions.”