May sets out her Brexit demands

Tony Blair to ask EU leaders to help stop Brexit with immigration promises

In her speech, titled "Our Future Partnership", she will set out what she claims is an ambitious but credible vision for the future.

The UK's Prime Minister, Theresa May, has confirmed in a much anticipated speech today that the UK will be leaving the EU's Digital Single Market - but has called for a free trade agreement that covers most sectors of the British economy and for a strong data relationship with the trading bloc.

"The reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts".

"We need to resolve the tensions between some of our key objectives", May said in the speech, which was moved from the Brexit-leaning North East of England.

"But Parliament would always have the final say and if it wanted to change that and have less market access as a result, that is a trade-off that we would be empowered to make because the sovereignty would reside with Parliament". But Barnier made no comment on May's assertions that Britain could achieve "frictionless" trade and secure European Union recognition for its own, independent regulations. "I don't see how we could reach an agreement on Brexit if the United Kingdom government continues to bury its head in the sand like this".

Mrs May said Britain would not be buffeted by European Union demands in divorce talks, nor would it threaten to walk out of the negotiations. "We are leaving the single market".

"The British Government knows this and that is why they have failed to bring forward any workable solutions or new thinking", she said.

One of the most difficult Brexit questions is how to avoid a hard border between Britain's Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Yet she has barely inched closer to outlining her defined interpretation of how Brexit will look and work.

The prime minister has faced rising calls this week from the European Union and Conservative rebel MPs to commit to maintaining close customs arrangements with the European Union in order to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

NFU President Minette Batters responded to the speech, and said that the future trading relationship with the European Union is "one of the most critical issues" facing British farming.

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May said she stood by commitments she has made previously on the border issue.

"May was preparing the ground for medicine that both factions in the Conservative Party's heated debate on Europe will find hard to swallow", he wrote.

That, the former French minister said, would inform the EU's own proposals next week for negotiations to start next month on a free trade agreement.

She promises to negotiate the most comprehensive trade deal "anywhere in the world".

The speech comes at the end of a rough week for May.

And a "customs partnership" in which the European Union trusted Britain to collect tariffs for it was "fantasy", he added - the European Union is already suing over customs fraud in Britain and long memories of Britain's "mad cow" scandal two decades ago have left Brussels wary of accepting British standards in, say, animal health.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the Europe Union needs to deliver on its promises of prosperity, security and stability if it wants to beat back the rise of populism on the left and right. If Brexit flops, he said, "there will be the most bad backlash".

"Neither of us can have exactly what we want", May said.

It says the common regulatory area is created to safeguard North-South co-operation, the all-island Irish economy, and protect the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

"We are now approaching a crucial moment", she told ambassadors and business leaders in the Mansion House, the 18th-century official home of the Lord Mayor of London in the heart of the capital's financial district.

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