tv British Prime Minister Theresa May Delivers a Statement on Brexit... CSPAN March 17, 2017 12:03am-12:54am EDT
>> statement, the prime inister. ms. may: thank you. i would like to make a statement on last week's european council and the steps to begin the process of leaving the european union. he summit began by welcoming president truck as president they have council. i welcome this. with talked about the challenge of mass migration, the threat to stability in the balkans and the measures needed to booths europe's growth and competitiveness, which will remain importance for us as we build a new relationship between the e.u. and a self-governing,
global britain. we showed how britain will continue to play a role in europe after leaving. i welcomed the progress in implementing the action plan which we agreed at the informal e.u. summit in malta last month this included italy strengthen asylum processes and increasing returns and greece implementing the e.u.-turkey deal, where the u.k. is providing extra staff. i argued that we must do more to dismant they will vile people smuggling ring that profit from the migrants' misery and are subjected many to unimaginable abuses. with coordinated and committed action we can make a difference. indeed, just last month, an operation between our national crime agency and the hellenic coast guard led ledthth arrest of 19 members of an immigration crime group in greece. as i argued before, we need a
managed, controlled and truly global approach and that's what this council agree. we need to help ensure refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and help those countries support the refugees so they don't have to make the perilous journey to europe. and we need a better overall approach to managing economic migration, one that recognizes that all countries have the right to control their borders. mr. speaker engaging our african partners in this global approach will be crucial and this will be an important part of the discussion at the somalia conference which the u.k. will be post -- hosting in london in may. turning to the deteriorating situation in the western balkans, i made clear my concerns about the risk this presents to the reand to our wider collect i security. organized criminals an terrorisms are ready to exploit these vulnerables and we are seeing increasingly brazen interference by russia and others. in light of the alleged montenegro coup plot, i called
on them to do more to raise the viz thovelt western commitment to this region. the u.k. will lead the way. the foreign secretary will be visiting russia in the coming weeks where i expect him set out our concerns about reports of russian interfeern in the -- interference in the affairs of the fwoth of montenegro. we will provide strastiege -- strategic communications expertise to the institution to counter disinformation campaign campaigns in the region and will host the 2018 wen balkans summit and in the runup to that summit, we will enhance our security cooperation with our western balkan partners including on serious an organized crime, anti-corruption and cybersecurity. more broadly, ealso re-emphasized the importance that the u.k. places on nato as the bedrock of our collective defense. and i urged other member states to start investing more in line with nato's target so every
country plays its full part in sharing the burden. only by investing in proper will i in our defense can we ensure we are properly equipped to keep our people safe. turning to growth and competitiveness, as i have said, i want us to build a new relationship with the e.u. that will give our companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the european market and allow european businesses to do the same here. so a successful and competitive european market in the future will remain in our national interest. at this council i called for further steps to complete the single market and the digital single market. i also welcome -- i also welcomed the completion -- the completion of the free trade agreement between the e.u. and canada and agreement -- pressed for an agreement with japan in
the coming months. for these agreements -- just wait a bit. these agreements will lay the foundation for our continued trade. as we leave the e.u. at the same time we will also seize the opportunity to forge our own new trade deals and to reach out beyond the walls of europe to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. this week as we announced the two-day conference with the largest ever trade delegation to visit the u.k., building on the five billion pounds of trade we already do with qatar every year. we will also strengthen the unique an proud global relationship we forged with the diverse and vibrant alliance of the commonwealth which we celebrated on commonwealth day yesterday. finally, mr. speaker, last night the bill on article 50 successfully completed its passage through both houses.
it will now proceed in the coming days so we remain on track with the timetable i set out sex months ago. i will return to the house before the end of the month to notify when i have formally triggered article 50 and gone the pro-- and begun the process through which the united kingdom will leave the european union. this will be a defining moment for our whole country as we begin to forge a new relationship with other couldn'trieses and a new role for ourselves. we'll be a strong, self-governing britain with control once again over our borders and our laws. and we will use this moment of opportunity to build a stronger economy and a fairer society. so that we secure both the right teal for britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary working people at home. and mr. speaker, the new relationship, the new relationship with the e.u. that we negotiate will work for the whole of the united kingdom.
that is why we have been working administration including the scottish government, listening to their proposals, and recognizing the many areas of common ground that we have such as protecting workers' rights and our security from crime and terrorism. so mr. speaker, this is not a moment to play politics or reate uncertainty. it is a moment to bring our country together. to honor the will of the british people. and to shache for them a better, brighter future and a better britain and i commend this statement to the house. >> jeremy corbin. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i would like to thank the prime
minister for an advance copy of this statement. withdrawal ion of act marks a historic step. late they are month the triggering of article 50 a process that will shape this country's future there is no doubt that it's a -- if the wrong decisions are made we will pay the price for decades to come. so now more than ever britain needs an inclusive government that listens and acts accordingly. however all the signs are we have a complacent government. complacent with our economy. complacent with people's rights and complacent about the future of this country. i urge the prime minister to listen to the collective wisdom of this parliament. and to give this house the full opportunity to scrutinize the article 50 deal with a meaningful, final vote. the people's representative, mr.
speaker, deserves better than take it or leave it. and if we are to protect jobs and living standards and if we are to protect the future prosperity of this country, the vernment needs to secure tariff-free access to the single european market. mr. speaker, the prime minister has already made the threat to our negotiating partners to turn britain into a deregulated tax haven. is that what she means by global britain? when the foreign secretary says no deal with the e.u. would be perfectly ok, it simply isn't good enough. and far from taking back control, leaving britain to world trade organization rules would mean losing control, jobs, an frankly losing out. so when the prime minister says a bad deal is better than no deal, let me be clear, no deal
is a bad deal. such a complacent strategy would punish business, hit jobs, and devastate public services on which people rely. the prime minister says she is seeking to secure a future free trade deal with the e.u. after initial negotiations are completed. but if that is the strategy, it is essential that this government stop being complacent and focuses on securing a transitional agreement with the e.u. at the earliest opportunity. that will at least give the british people and businesses some short-term clarity in this period. mr. speaker, the prime minister said she wanted to provide certainty on e.u. nationals as soon as possible. so then why have they voted down every labor attempt to bring
certainty to e.u. nationals who make such a mass i contribution to our community and our society? these people are not bargaining chips. they are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands. they are valued members of our community. the government could and should have acted months ago. i agree with the prime minister, now is not the time to create uncertainty or play politics. she should tell that to the e.u. migrants in britain who have no idea what their future holds because of the decisions made by her government. on refugees, is the prime minister saying she is content for refugees to remain in camps in libya? is that a safe country? or for greece, italy, and malta to shoulder the entire burden of refugees from north africa and the middle east? whilse we welcome the conference
she's proposing on somalia, we need to know what support britain is offering to all of those countries. does the prime minister still believe we have a collective responsibility on the issue of refugees? the prime minister says that she argued about tackling vile smuggling rippings and people being subject to unimaginable abuse. does she not agree that her argument would be so much stronger if her government had been prepared to accept some of the victims of that unimaginable abuse? for example, the children who should have been accepted through the amendment. mr. speaker, as we move forward the -- toward the triggering of article 50, there is much uncertainty about britain's future. a responsible government would set a positive tone with our negotiating partners and would move to protect our economy, workers, and citizens at the earliest opportunity. instead, we have a reckless
government playing fast and loose with the british economy. we will fight for jobs and the economy using every parliamentary mechanism available and the government hould welcome that scrutiny. >> prime minister. >> thank you. the right honorable gentleman mentioned a range of issues there. he spoke again about the issue of e.u. nationals. as i have said in this house, as has been said from others from this dispatchbacks in this house, we do want to ensure that the issue of the status of e.u. nationals living here in the united kingdom is dealt with at an early stage in the negotiations. but we also have a consideration for the u.k. nationals who are living in the european union. he says that the e.u. nationals living here are individuals who have contributed to our society. indeed, they are. but so the u.k. nationals living in member states of the european
union are also individuals who contributed to our society and economy. i want to ensure that their status is also ensured and we hope and expect that this will be an issue we can address at an every he steanl. he talked about the need to come forward and be very clear about the need for transitional period. i refer him to the speech i gave in lankster -- in lankster house . the -- in lancaster house. a smooth andrderly brexit is one of the objectives set out in that speech and in that document he talked about refugees from north africa and the middle east, what we want to ensure is that people don't feel the need to make the often dangerous, life-threatening journey across the central mediterranean. many of these people, more than there three -- more than three quarts of the people doing this, are not refugees, they are economic migrants. with eneed to ensure that we're
providing for and working with countries within africa which the european union is doing and other countries are doing to ensure the circumstances are such that people don't try to make a life-threatening journey. but we also need internationally to be able to bring a better distinction between refugees and economic myfwrans so we can give better support to those who are refugees. he talked about the vile snuggling rings and appears to suggest the united kingdom government was doing absolutely nothing to break the vile smuggling rings. in my statement i quoted a recent example from the national crime agency. it is a conserve-led government that set up the national crime agency and that is dealing with these issues. while he talked about abuses and movement of people and the trafficking of people, it is this government that brought in the modern slavery act and i'm very proud of that. finally he referred to global britain and what global britain
means. i'll tell him what global britain means. it's a a strong, self-governing britain. it's a britain trading around the world with old friends and new allies alike. it's about a britain proud to take its place on the world stage. >> thank you, mr. speaker. may i congratulate my right honorable friend, not only on her statement just now and the way she dispatched the leader of the opposition but also on the passage of the e.u. withdrawal bill. would she accept that now is the time for the united kingdom to do all the things that she herself has recommended in her statement but in addition to that, to take urgent legal advice and respect of the legal warnings that have been given by lord hope of craighead to be sure that we don't have anienen -- any unforeseen attempts to undo the e.u. withdrawal bill in
the courts. >> i can assure my ron habble friend as we move ahead with this as we have at every stage we have of course taken appropriate legal advice but we do not discuss that on the floor of this house. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. may i begin by thanking the prime minister for advance notice of her statement and agree with her how valuable it was that a large part of the e.u. council was given over to jobs growth and competitiveness. it really matters, economic growth across all 27 member state this esingle european market really matters to all of us given it is of course the largest single market in the world. now the last time the prime minister came to the dispatch box from an e.u. council meeting i asked what issues did she raise on behalf of the scottish government and she couldn't give an example then. i'll try the same question again. given that this was the last e.u. council since the invoking
of afrl 50, can she give a single example, just one, please, of a single issue that was raised on behalf of the ask the -- scottish government or its priorities at meeting? there's a lot of hubbub from the government benches on this perhaps, perhaps they're also keen to hear from the prime minister who didn't make a single mention of what she raised on behalf of the scottish government. we will all wait with baited breath to hear the prime minister answer that question. now while the prime minister was in brussels, what discussions did she have about her brexit timetable? can she confirm the plan is to negotiate a deal and after that, that there needs to be time, time for ratification, time for agreement across the european union and its institutions. will she confirm from the dispatch box that that is indeed her plan? the prime minister decided for
one reason or another, i can't imagine why, to delay the invoking of article 50. last july, last july we were told by the prime minister herself, and i'm sure she remembers saying these very words, that she would not trigger article 50 until she had, and i quote, her own words a u.k.-wide approach. now she knows that she has no agreement with the devolt administration despite months of compromise suggestions from the scottish government. will the e.u. government -- will the u.k. government even at this late stage use the next days to secure a compromise, u.k.-wide approach or does she still plan to plow on regardless even though she know what is the onsequences of that will mean? >> thank you, mr. speaker. he asked what issues that were of relevance to the scottish government and scottish people
were actually raised at this european council. i can answer him. jobs, growth and competitiveness. those matter to the scottish people but also matter to the people as a whole -- as a whole of the crinetted kingdom. he also talked about whether or not there was a discussion at the european council of the timetable for the discussions on the negotiations of article 50. as i said in my -- very early on in my statement, we discussed the challenge of managing mass migration, the threat to organized crime and instability in the balkans and the measures needed to boost europe's growth and competitiveness. this was a council in which we focus ooed on those issue. i was presenting the united kingdom's case as relates to those issues including jobs which matter to the people of scotland he talks about a single market and access to a single market of the european union. i would simply remind him and his colleagues once again that
the most important single market for scotland is the single arket of the united kingdom. >> friendly democracy with values rush to reassure british citizens that they can stay on the continent and isn't it strongly in the economic interest of our partners to accept our generous offer of continuing with tariff-free trade on the same basis as today? >> my right honorable friend makes an important point. i think the issues of e.u. nationals and u.k. nationals and also the question of the trading relationship we have in the future is not a one-sided argument. it's actually about benefiters in european union as well. i very much think that is the case in relation to trade. as i said before this isn't about something that just works for the u.k. i believe the trading deal for the united kingdom, the sort of free access and open access will be good for the rest of the european union as well.
>> the prime minister has spoken many times about the importance of achieving a good deal from the gorkses that the country is about to embark upon. yet in recent days, the foreign secretary has said that leaving with no deal would be perfectly ok. while the international trade secretary has said that not achieving a deal would be bad. would the prime minister care to adjudicate and tell the house which of those minister -- ministers was peeking for the government. >> i am optimistic we are going to get a good deal for the united kingdom in trade with the uropean union. >> no deal may be a bad deal for both the e.u. 27 and for the united kingdom. but it is very far from the worst deal for the u.k. if there was no root to a future free trading arrangement with the european union. the deal is not in the gift either of her government,
however hard they are trying to deliver it, or of this parliament but of course the european parliament and our partners. so no deal remains a real possibility. it seems that her government is now preparing and departments are preparing for it. will that preparation include the opportunity for individuals and businesses to be able to make their own dispositions in that possibility? >> first of all, i was clear in the lancaster house speech that no deal was better than a bad deal. i'm optimistic we will be able to negotiate a good deal. my good friend is right of course, there are other parties to this, there will be a negotiation about that trade arrangement and in coming to that trade arrangement, in coming to that agreement, i can assure him that i and others across the parliament, the secretary of state, the secretary of state for business are talking to businesses across the united kingdom to understand
the issues most important to them. >> the prime minister said again just now that no dell is better than a bad deal but what possible deal is worse than no eal and can she describe it? >> i have to say to the honorable lady, we are about to enter into a negotiation with the remaining 27 members of the european union. as part of that negotiation we will be negotiating a trade deal for our future relationship with the european union. i confidently expect that we will get a good deal and somebody says you hope for such position, precisely because of the answer i gave to my right honorable friend. this is not about the one-sided negotiation. it's not just about what is going to suit the u. cumplet. it's about what is right for that relationship for the future of the u.k. with the european union and a good trade deal for the u.k. is a good trade deal for the european union.
>> can i welcome the prime minister's announcement that the u.k. is strengthening its contributions to cybersecurity and counterering disinformation and also they will forthcoming visit to russia. with russia spending over $ billion on media outlets and troll facties -- factories is she satisfied that the e.u.'s east stratcom which counts as fake news and misinformation from the kremlin is a good resource and what progress was made to set up further centers and counteract russian propaganda mentioned in the prebriefing? >> my right honorable friend raises a very important point. in the whole series of communications around these areas, this is an area where the u.k. does have particular expertise and experience, that's why we'll be making that expertise available to to the european union in order to
believe air to -- to be able to enhance the work that doirning to counter the disinformation campaign. >> can i tell the prime minister it is not just in scotland where there's a fear that the right wing of her party is dictating the terms of this debate and pushing us toward a brexit deal that favors longer -- london and the south over the north. can i ask her to dither no more, establish a brexit committee of the regions and nations and give places like greater muenster equal and fair represent representation in this crucial debate. >> as i have said repeatedly in this house, this government is negotiating a deal that will be negotiating a deal that will be good for the whole of the united king come. that is why we have been listening to businesses and others from across the whole of the united kingdom. the deas a result administration but people from across the
united kingdom and businesses across the united kingdom to know what to take into account as we negotiate a keel. >> as my right honorable friend begins the negotiations, i wonder if she's had time to consider the excellent house of lords report that says we have no legal obligation to pay any money whatsoever to the european union and does she share my view that this is an excellent basis for beginning the negotiations >> >> i can assure my honorable friend that i have noted the house of lords report on this particular matter. as he will know when people voted on the 23rd of june last year they were clear they did not want to continue year after year to be paying huge sums of money into the european union. >> mr. speaker, i thank the prime minister for advance notice of her statement. given she's interpreting the will of the people and not enacting it, history will declare that last night she
demonstrated contempt for this place and for the british people. the blecks sit deal -- the brexit deal is an unwritten, unknown deal and it is a deal that will be signed off i bisomeone. the only question is, will it be signed off by a handful of politicians or will it be signed off by the whole of the people. will she agree with me it should be signed off by the whole of the people? >> can i say to the right honorable gentleman that i think what he says comes a little strange from a party, i seem to remember a time when the liberal democrats were going out there, telling everybody, they were going to have an in-out referendum on membership in the european union. we've had the in-out referendum and they're not willing to accept the results the british people gave them. we are that's why we're putting it into practice and delivering the will of the british people. >> my right honorable friend the
prime minister has been very clear that the united kingdom is leaving the european union. we are not leaving europe. a strong and prosperous european union remains in the interest of the united kingdom. can she agree with me that a strong, stable, united united kingdom is also in the interest of the european union and she will vigorously resist anyone who use this is moment to try and destroy our precious united kingdom? >> i absolutely agree with my honorable friendment as he has said and i have said before, a strong remaining european union of 27 will be in the best interest of the united kingdom, we want to see the e.u. remaining strong. but we also want to see a strong united kingdom playing its role as a global britain. it is important that we keep the union of the united kingdom together. there is much that binds us and i don't want to see anybody
making, doing constitutional game-playing with the future of the united kingdom. >> can i congratulate the prime minister on bringing the country together and uniting scotland behind their first minister. she was asked by my right honorable friend about what was said last year, so let me cite the tory bible, "the daily telegraph" on the 15th of july. theresa may indicate shed will not trigger the formal process of leaving the e.u. until there's an agreed u.k. approach backed by scotland. was that misreporting by the "daily telegraph," missed speak big the prime minister, or is she still working on it? >> as the right honorable gentleman knows full well, we have been in discussions with the scottish government and the administration recognizing the issues they have raised, recognizing issues and concerns and the common ground between
us. the right honorable gentleman refers to the views of the scottish people in relation to the announcement made yesterday by the scottish first minister. i might remind him that the evidence in scotland is that actually the majority of the scottish people do not want a second independence referendum. >> can i commend my right honorable friend's very measured response to the provocation of the calling of another second independence referendum in scotland, that she's not ruling out a referendum in the future but now is not the right time. but can she also just point out that the 2015 scotland act reserves all the single market issues to the united kingdom government. these are not matters -- these are matters we should share with scotland in the discussion but they are matters reserved for the united kingdom. >> as i just said in response to the right honorable gentleman,
the previous questioner, it is the case that obviously as the moment as i said the evidence is that the scottish people do not want a second independence referendum and issues as we negotiate issues in relation to accessing single marks through the free trade deal that we will be negotiate, we'll be taking into account the interest of the whole of the united kingdom, every part of the united king dm and ensuring that that deal works for everybody across the united kingdom incluing the people of scotland. >> mr. speaker, following the successful conclusion of the article 50 bill last night, there are some who in northern ireland would add to the uncertainty and division by calling for a border pool. they've already created uncertainty by collapsing institutions in northern ireland. would she take this opportunity to tell people there's never been more support for the union in northern ireland across all communities and in fact such a call is outside the terms of the belfast agreement, the very
point that sinn fein keep harping on about that they want the implementation of the agreements. >> the right honorable gentleman is right but obviously there are circumstances which the secretary of state of northern ireland has looked at this issue and does not, it is not right to have a border poll at this stage. what we should all be focused on is bringing the parties together to ensure that we can continue to see the administration in northern ireland working as it has done in the interest of the people of northern ireland. we want to see that administration being formed, that's what all the parties should be looking for at the moment. >> isn't it clear from european negotiations that all the detail won't be finalized until the end of this process and therefore the timetable set out yesterday by the fivers minister to have a premature second independence referendum is an excuse, not a reason, an shouldn't we indeed listen to the right honorable
gentleman when he referred to the last independence referendum as a once in a generation opportunity. >> i'm grateful to my right honorable friend as he rightly pointed out, we have a timetable for negotiation which is up to two years. it is possible that the details of that negotiation will not be finalized until close to the end of that period and he entirely right of course. those in scotland who talk about having a second independence referendum should remember what the right honorable gentleman said, that it was a once in a generation vote that took place in september, 2014. it seems a generation now is less than three years. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister has said that no deal is better than a bad deal. hile we all wish her well in getting the best possible deal for the u.k., will she now
publish what the effects would be of crashing out of the european union on w.t.o. rules so we can have a debate in the country about her assertion that no deal is better than a bad deal. >> i say to the right honorable lady, i'm grateful for the comment she has made about being in support of the government and looking ahead and trying to negotiate the best possible deal for the united kingdom. that is precisely what we will be doing. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i welcome the prime minister's positive approach to establishing a new cooperative relationship with europe and the sensibleness of planning contingency planning. can the prime minister tell us how much that contingency planning will cost? >> this is important, the contingency planning does take place. obviously we have to look at a
variety of scenarios and a will the of work is being done by the department and the european union and will be done by other departments as well. i think what is important is that we ensure that that work is done properly so the government has the best possible information on which to negotiate our relationship for the future. >> affleckturing the other european leaders on how they should complete the single market, did she remember that she's already thrown in the towel on britain's membership of the single market and would she admit what an error it was for her to have given the scottish first minister exactly the excuse she was looking for for their opportunistic second referendum? >> first of all, there was no lecturing that took place. there was a view around the table. i encouraged that and others contributed that it is important that the european union continues to complete the single market. talked about the single market.
but actually there is work yet to be done. but it continues to work on trade arrangements with other parts of the country and the reason why i can ask them to do that is because it will be good for the united kingdom in our future relationship with the european union. so this is something that will be good for us. i have always been clear, always been clear, that we will trigger article 50 by the end of march and that's exactly what we will do. >> thank you, mr. speaker. there's been much speculation about the divorce from the european union and how much money would be -- would need to be paid. i'm afraid i'm going to disagree with my honorable friend on this, since we joined the e.c. 184 3, we've paid in billion pounds. i understand we're back to -- i understand that's a net-net contribution, the actual amount we paid in after we got money back. when you get a dworse don't you split the net amount in two?
that would be 92 billion pounds that should be paid back to us. did the prime minister have a chance to bring this up? [laughter] >> we want our money back. >> i'm tempted to say to my honorable friend, nice try but i don't think that was an application for a job at the reasury. >> the gentleman seems to be able to contain his misery. >> not everyone shares her enthusiasm for the imminent application of the e.u.-canada agreement, not least because the new investment court system still fails to address serious concerns about the investor dispute settlement process. does she regard ceta as a
blueprint for the trade deal they can agree once the u.k. left the e.u. and what protebses for environmental standards and public services if that's the case? >> there is no blueprint. i have said consistently over the last seven months or so that we are not looking to adopt a model for another country's relationship with the european union. we were in -- we will negotiate a deal that's right for the u.k. >> did my right honorable friend detect any strong support for a separatist scotland remaining in the e.u., no questions asked? >> i can honestly say to my honorable friend i did not detect any such support in the european capital. >> the country is almost evenly divide about leaving e.u., how oes the prime minister [inaudible] i've never demone
this country so divided since 1956. >> i thank the honorable gentleman. this house chose to give a vote to the british people in the referendum on the 23rd of june. the people of the united kingdom voted in that referendum and the majority voted for the u.k. to leave the european union. i actually thing thi that when i talk to people who voted to leave and people who voted to remain, the overwhelming message is that they want the government now to get on with the job of delivering on that vote. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my right honorable friend the prime minister has made it clear both from the dispatch box and the country that she wishes to prioritize the certainty of u.k. nationals living in the e.u. 27 and e.u. nationals living here in the u.k. but i have it on good authority that the e.u. negotiators want to prioritize the so-called divorce settlement. will she make it clear to the people with whom she is
negotiating that we will not countenance british and e.u. citizens being used as bargaining ships -- chips in such a way. >> my honorable friend is right. what we want to do is ensure we see both e.u. citizens living here and u.k. citizens in the e.u., reciprocal arrangements for them in terms of future status. i want to see that as an early -- as a discussion that will take place at an early stage in the negotiations. i recognize the point that he's made about some of the thing that was been said but i will simply say this to him, in my conversations with other european leaders, i believe there is also an extent of good will there to deal with this issue as an -- at an early stage. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister lectures nationalists on the importance of staying within unions all the while she advocates leaving one. she lectures our european part nornse importance of the single
market, all the while she is hellbent on our leaving it. does she think that this incoherence in her position might be dealt with and she might make her own life easier if she thought again about staying in the single market? >> i said this on a number of occasions in this house and i will repeat it here today. what we want to do is to negotiate the best possible trading arrangement, my right honorable friend talked about frictionless, seamless movement of goods and trade and services. it is wrong to think about the issue of in the single market as just a single buynary issue, either your in it or have no access to it. what we want to do is ensure we have good access to the single market, the best possible trade deal which allows that frictionless and as far as possible tariff-free access. >> mr. speaker, could i particularly welcome my right
honorable friend's comments on the balkans, an area which has plunged europe into horrors several times over the last few centuries. would she confirm that it's britain that is insisted that we keep the mission there going against the opposition of several of our european partners? >> indeed. my honorable friend is absolutely right. the united kingdom has been playing a key role in relation to the western balkans. there was a good discussion at the european council a very clear recognition around the table of the need for us to continue to be involved in the western balkans and a number of steps that may -- that can be taken in future to ensure we do stabilize this region which is in the interest of not only the countries in the western balkan bus also those in europe. >> mr. speaker, in the spirit of the so-called u.k.-wide approach to brexit, can the prime minister confirm to the house how much advance notice she intends to give to the first
nisters, the leadership of scotland and northern ireland on the date she intends to invoke article 50? >> we will be invoking article 50 by the end of march. there will be a number of proesses is that will take place in advance of that invocation. and i can assure, as i said to this house, i will come and notify this house when the -- when we have notified. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in the european council did the prime minister have time for two topics, one their attitude toward borders with gibraltar and also breaking away to rejoin the e.u. >> in the discussion with he spanish government they are very concerned and very clear that it is not possible for a country to break away from a country that is a member of the european union and to immediately rejoin
that european union. this is the barosso doctrine, it's been reaffirmed by the injure pune commission. as far as scotland is concerned, it would not mean membership of the european union. >> i'm sure the prime minister will be pleased to know there are millions of labor supporters across the country who will be delighted and share the pleasure that he has and my pleasure at the legal division in parliament. d she have any chance in the meeting to discuss informally with e.u. leaders the position of our e.u. in -- our citizens in other country and are they sticking up for their -- for our citizen there is the way we're staking -- sticking up for their citizens here? >> i've had a number of discussions with european leaders on this point and that is why i said earlier in response to another question
from an honorable friend that i believe there is good will on both sides to deal with this issue and recognize the needs of u.k. citizens living in other e.u. member states as well as recognizing the needs of e.u. citizens living here in the united kingdom. i think there is good will there. but it's been made clear in the past, no negotiation on this, no discussion on this, can take police until negotiations have formally been triggered. >> i welcome the prime minister's statement that politics is not a game but for those of us who have sought the s.n.p., the it is a game. yesterday's announcement by the first minister is just the first of many that we're going to hear in the weeks and months to come. would the prime minister agree with me that it's imperative that her government and every member of this house who believes in great britain and northern ifrlede, that we must reaffirm to our own constituents
outside of scotland why the united kingdom is important to all of us. >> i absolutely agree with my honorable friend. i think it's important for us to continue to confirm and reaffirm the importance of the united kingdom. he says to reaffirm the importance of the united kingdom for constituents outside scotland. i think as i did when i was in gloss go recently, also -- in glasgow, recently, we should reaffirm the importance of the united kingdom to scotland and scotland's economy. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i was glad to hear they are prime minister say she's been working closely with the government, i was glad but slightly puzzled because the ministerial of the e.u. is less organized than a community council. not my words, mr. speaker, but those of an actual participant. so how is she now ensuring that
the interest of the governments are reflected in the article 50 notification? >> the joint ministerial process, committee process, has been operating now for some months at various levels. it's been bringing ministers together if the united kingdom together with the three administrations at various levels discussing the issues that have been raised on both sides, including looking aing a -- looking at what the world government provided on particular concerns that wales has an those are being taken into account. >> the premier of luxembourg believes apparently that we might yet be persuaded to stay. are there others like him? and if the emphatic proceedings yesterday has not disabused him, will she do so in the nicest possible way? >> i have to say to my right honorable friend, i think we can be reassured that the votes that
took place in this house and in the house of lords last night and the passing of the european union withdrawal notification bill into royal aaccident will give a >> the prime minister. >> thank you mr. speaker. i'm sure members will want to join in wishing people across the uk and around the world happy st. patrick's day this coming friday. this morning i have meetings with ministerial colleagues and others in addition to my duties in the south i should a further such meetings later tod