Theresa May says a 'new sense of optimism' has come to the Brexit process

Tom Peck
Theresa May with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Friday: AP

Theresa May will tell Parliament there is a “new sense of optimism” in the Brexit talks following Friday’s agreement with the EU over phase one of the negotiations.

In a statement to the House of Commons today, she will say she stuck to her principles on Brexit, and that Friday’s deal is “not about hard Brexit or soft Brexit” but consistent to the objectives set out in her Lancaster House speech earlier this year.

The agreement involves an expected exit bill of around £39bn, the continuing jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in certain UK issues until 2027 and and “full alignment” with the EU on issues that affect Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister will say: “I believe there is a new sense of optimism now in the talks and I fully hope and expect that we will confirm the arrangements I have set out today in the European Council later this week.

“In doing so we can move on to building the bold new economic and security relationships that can underpin the new deep and special partnership we all want to see – a partnership between the European Union and a sovereign United Kingdom that has taken control of its borders, money and laws once again.”

Some Conservative Brexiteers have said the initial phase of the deal represents a capitulation that paves the way for “soft Brexit”, meaning continuing membership of the single market for years after Brexit.

Theresa May will tell MPs: “This is not about a hard or a soft Brexit. The arrangements we have agreed to reach the second phase of the talks are entirely consistent with the principles and objectives that I set out in my speeches in Florence and at Lancaster House.

“I know that some doubted we would reach this stage. I have always been clear that this was never going to be an easy process.

“It has required give and take for the UK and the EU to move forwards together. And that is what we have done.”