Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May Image Credit: AFP

The coming months will be critical in shaping the future of our country [Britain] and I am clear about my mission. This government will fulfil the democratic decision of the British people by ensuring that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU) on March 29 next year — and that as we do so, we build a stronger, more meritocratic Britain that is fit for the future.

At Chequers in July, the government came together around a set of proposals that could break the deadlock of the discussions and bring a fresh dynamic to the talks. And there are signs over the summer that this has happened, with real progress in the negotiations.

Our White Paper proposals are a good deal for Britain. They will allow frictionless trade in goods and agricultural products, protecting the jobs that depend on just in time supply chains. Unlike alternatives, they will not allow the break-up of our precious Union; nor will they undermine the Belfast Agreement with a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. They will protect the shared security capabilities that keep us all safe. But they will end the vast payments to the EU budget so we can fund our long-term plan for the National Health Service (NHS). They will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK, take us out of the Single Market, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. And they will take us out of the Customs Union so we can secure new trade deals around the world.

They will also end freedom of movement — and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Provisions for limited mobility arrangements are commonplace in other trade agreements. In the same way our proposed “framework for mobility” is simply a way of supporting a trading relationship. With our Brexit plan, the era of unfettered access to the UK — and our benefits system — will be over. Britain will finally control its own borders. We want to leave with a good deal and we are confident we can reach one. But, of course, there is still a lot more negotiating to be done. So it is only responsible that we have also spent time this summer, preparing for a no-deal scenario — just as the EU has done too. As the head of the World Trade Organisation has said, leaving without a deal would not be the end of the world, but it wouldn’t be a walk in the park either. For some sectors, there would be real challenges for both the UK and the EU. But we would get through it and go on to thrive. So we will be ready for a no-deal exit if we need to be. And I will not be pushed into accepting compromises on the Chequers proposals that are not in our national interest.

Neither will I give in to those who want to reopen the whole question with a second referendum. In the summer of 2016, millions came out to have their say. In many cases, for the first time in decades they trusted that their vote would count; that after years of feeling ignored by politics, their voices would be heard. To ask the question all over again would be a gross betrayal of our democracy — and a betrayal of that trust.

But repaying that trust is about more than a good Brexit deal. It is also about responding to the wider call for change that was at the heart of the Brexit vote. So, as we negotiate a bold new partnership with the EU, we will continue vital work at home to build an economy that works for everyone and a true meritocracy where the chances you have in life no longer depend on who you are or where you come from.

Balanced approach

Too often in the Westminster bubble, people forget that for many working people in Britain, life is hard. But I want people to know they can count on this government to act on their side. Already, through our balanced approach to the economy, unemployment is at its lowest rate since the 1970s, and youth employment in Britain is one of the highest in Europe. Our modern industrial strategy is helping to create new jobs in the industries of the future, including in regions that have too often been left behind. And our latest increase in the National Living Wage means a full-time worker is £2,000 (Dh9,516) a year better off than before its introduction.

Now we must go further. We will make markets work for working people, including through our energy price cap, which will see 11 million households with lower bills by the end of this year. We will do more to help young people get a foot on the housing ladder. And we will build on the great exam results that have followed our school standards reforms by delivering a revolution in technical education, so all our children have the skills they need to get the jobs of the future. We will secure the future of our NHS with our long-term plan underpinned by an extra £394 million a week in real terms by 2023-24. And we will continue our mission to cut plastic waste and leave a cleaner, greener Britain for our children.

In all these ways and many more, if we stay the course in the months ahead, we can build a bold and exciting future for our country outside the EU.

You can trust me to do so.

— The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2018