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Theresa May pledges to get 'best deal' for British business in Brexit talks

Published 01/09/2016

Theresa May says she is determined to
Theresa May says she is determined to "make the most of the opportunities" resulting from the vote to withdraw from the European Union

Theresa May has pledged to get "the best deal" for British business in negotiations over the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

Cabinet ministers meeting at Chequers on Wednesday agreed that any Brexit deal will have to include controls on EU migration, sparking speculation that this will dash any hopes of full access to the single market for British companies.

But in a visit to the West Midlands, the Prime Minister insisted she will be seeking a good deal on trade as well as controls on freedom of movement.

As new figures showed manufacturing activity bouncing back from its post-referendum slump, Mrs May said she would be taking a message to this weekend's G20 summit in China that the UK is "open for business around the world".

Speaking at the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Solihull, the PM said: "I'm very clear that we are going to be working to get the best deal for Britain when we come out of the EU.

"British people voted to ensure the freedom of movement doesn't carry on as it has done in the past, and we also want to ensure we get the best deal for trade in goods and services.

"And the message of Jaguar Land Rover is of British success, British manufacturing success, British exporting success, and that's the message we'll be taking to the G20, that Britain is open for business and we're open for business around the world."

The Hangzhou summit will be the new PM's first opportunity for face-to-face talks with China's leaders since she angered Beijing by delaying a final decision on the Chinese-backed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

In an article for the state-run China Daily, China's ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming urged Britain to "continue to be pragmatic and stay open to Chinese businesses" after the Brexit vote.

Mr Liu made no direct reference to Hinkley, but said "a number of steps need to be taken in order to maintain the momentum in the relationship" between London and Beijing.

A decision is expected in the autumn amid speculation that Mrs May is concerned about the involvement of Chinese state-owned CGN in the project and any further agreement for China to build reactors in Bradwell, Essex.

Mr Liu wrote: "In times of change, wise strategic choices and strong, far-sighted leadership are needed more than anything.

"China always takes a strategic and long-term perspective toward its relationship with the UK. I hope the UK will do the same and our two countries will join hands to write a new chapter for China-UK relations."

Mrs May was joined by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the West Midlands, where they were also visiting new research and innovation facilities at Warwick University.

Mr Hammond said: "This Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. One aspect of this is building on our productive, open and competitive business environment, as part of our industrial strategy.

"As an outward-looking country we will continue to attract companies to invest and grow in the UK, while supporting British businesses like JLR and the hard-working people who make them great."

Meanwhile, European Council president Donald Tusk confirmed that Brussels will not engage in negotiations on its future relationship with the UK until London formally gives notice of its intention to leave under Article 50 of the EU Treaties.

"Our principle of no notification, no negotiations is there to protect those who stay together, not the one leaving," said Mr Tusk. "We shall not give it up."

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