The UK’s 12-point Brexit Plan Explained

The foundations of Theresa May’s landmark Brexit speech were 12 objectives for untangling Britain from the European Union. Here, we unpick each ambition in turn.

#1 “We will provide certainty wherever we can”

May has been criticised for not revealing more about her Brexit plans until now. Her speech on Tuesday goes some way to addressing this by revealing her preferred destination for Britain.

She said: “I recognise how important it is to provide business, the public sector, and everybody with as much certainty as possible as we move through the process.”

But don’t expect her to provide regular updates on the journey, or to be more precise, the negotiations with the European Union. “It is not my job to fill column inches with daily updates, but to get the right deal for Britain,” May added.

#2 “Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast”

What it means: In simple terms, May will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Or to sum this ambition up in a now famous Brexit election campaign slogan: “Take back control.”

#3 “A stronger Britain demands that we strengthen the precious union between the four nations of the United Kingdom”

What it means: “We will put the preservation of our precious union at the heart of everything we do,” May said. In other words, she will do all in her power to prevent the second Scottish independence referendum threatened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

May also has to juggle political instability in Northern Ireland, which is holding a snap election in March following the collapse of its government.

She added: “We won’t agree on everything, but I look forward to working with the administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole of the United Kingdom.”

#4 “We will deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland.”

What it means: The prime minister wants control of immigration from Europe, which will almost certainly lead to tougher border controls. But she insists it will not mean a new hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

#5 “Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe.”

What it means: Music to the ears of hardline Brexiteers. May is sacrificing membership of the single market for complete control of the UK’s borders.

“We have seen record levels of net migration in Britain, and that sheer volume has put pressure on public services, like schools, stretched our infrastructure, especially housing, and put a downward pressure on wages for working class people,” May said. It could have been Nigel Farage speaking.

#6 “We want to guarantee rights of EU citizens living in Britain & rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.”

What it means: May wants security for EU nationals currently living in the UK, as well as British expats in Europe. But it will not be straightforward. She said many EU leaders favour such a deal, but others do not. “I want everyone to know that it remains an important priority for Britain,” she stressed.

#7 “Not only will the government protect the rights of workers set out in European legislation, we will build on them.”

What it means: A large proportion of workers’ rights in the UK come from EU law — and May wants to keep them after Brexit. She is effectively pledging to maintain rules such as 48-hour weeks, 20 days of paid leave, and 14 weeks maternity leave for women.

#8 “We will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.”

What it means: This is May confirming that Britain will leave the single market. But she wants to have her cake and eat it: “An important part of the new strategic partnership we seek with the EU will be the pursuit of the greatest possible access to the single market, on a fully reciprocal basis, through a comprehensive free trade agreement.”

#9 “It is time for Britain to get out into the world and rediscover its role as a great, global, trading nation.”

What it means: Here, May signalled her intention to exit the EU customs union, which would prevent the UK from striking free trade deals with other countries. She spoke at a lectern with the slogan “A Global Britain” and began a charm offensive for future British trade.

“Since joining the EU, trade as a percentage of GDP has broadly stagnated in the UK,” the prime minister said. “We want to get out into the wider world, to trade and do business all around the globe. Countries including China, Brazil, and the Gulf States have already expressed their interest in striking trade deals with us.”

#10 “We will welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.”

What it means: It’s not just open trade routes May wants to keep. “We will also welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives,” she said. This could include space exploration, clean energy, and medical technology.

#11 “We will continue to work closely with our European allies in foreign and defence policy even as we leave the EU itself.”

What it means: Britain still wants to wield influence in big European conversations about defence and security. Prime Minister May highlighted past British action on implementing sanctions against Russia over Crimea and securing Europe’s external border.

“A global Britain will continue to cooperate with its European partners in important areas such as crime, terrorism and foreign affairs,” she said.

#12 “We believe a phased process of implementation will be in the interests of Britain, the EU institutions and member states.”

What it means: May does not want a cold, clean break at the end of the Article 50 two-year negotiation process. “We will seek to avoid a disruptive cliff-edge, and we will do everything we can to phase in the new arrangements we require as Britain and the EU move towards our new partnership,” the former home secretary said.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

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