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PM in pledge to produce a 'Brexit that works for ordinary people'

Theresa May has vowed to create a "Brexit that works for ordinary people" as she prepares to publish the Government's industrial strategy next week.

The Prime Minister urged people to "stop fighting the battles of the past" and accept the UK is going to leave the European Union, insisting Brexit could make the UK stronger and fairer.

Mrs May said the modern industrial strategy was part of her plan to turn post-Brexit Britain into a "great meritocracy" and create a "more united nation".

Writing in The Sun, she said: " This is a time to stop fighting the battles of the past and look to the future.

"It is a time to be bold, confident and ambitious about seizing the opportunities that Brexit can bring."

She said the plan for Brexit she has set out - leaving the single market but seeking a comprehensive free trade deal with Brussels - would result in a "new and equal partnership between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU".

Mrs May, who is keen to ensure her administration is not dominated by Brexit, said her approach was part of a wider plan "to shape the country we want to be when we have left the EU".

She said: " Our modern industrial strategy, which we will publish next week, will lay the foundations to build a more prosperous and more equal Britain.

"We will spread wealth and opportunity across every community. And we will help young people to develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.

"We will create a fairer society by breaking down the barriers of privilege and making Britain a great meritocracy where success is defined by work and talent, not birth or circumstance.

"This will include going further in reforming our schools and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive in a post-Brexit Britain.

"And we will build a more united nation by forging a shared society and putting the values of responsibility, fairness and citizenship at the heart of everything we do."

The Prime Minister will attempt to reassure nervous business and finance chiefs about her plans for Brexit at the World Economic Forum in Swiss ski resort Davos.

She will hammer home her vision of a "global Britain" and her desire for an ambitious settlement with the EU in a speech and meetings at the event.

Mrs May will also highlight her hopes of a series of trade deals with countries around the world once the UK has left the European Union.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "I think it will be an opportunity for her primarily to engage with a wide range of business leaders and inward investors from around the world, talking to them about the Government's plan for Brexit, the type of relationship we will be seeking with the EU moving forward, the opportunities of strengthening our trading relationships with other countries and the benefits that that can bring for business."

The Davos gathering has already seen bankers raise the prospect of jobs moving from the UK to other EU member states amid fears about the impact of Brexit.

HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver indicated 1,000 jobs from the bank's London business are on course to move to Paris while Switzerland's UBS is also preparing to move posts from the UK to the continent.

In her landmark Brexit speech on Tuesday, t he Prime Minister specifically raised the issue of the financial-services sector, hinting the free trade agreement she hopes to strike with Brussels could "take in elements of current single market arrangements".

London's financial firms have been waiting to discover whether the UK can hold on to passporting rights which allow them to trade freely across Europe after Brexit.

Without access to a passport, UK-based banks face a significant barrier when attempting to trade with countries within the European single market.

Access to the single market is a key factor for overseas firms basing their European operations in the City and Mrs May is expected to use the annual Davos gathering to speak to Wall Street bosses about the issues they face amid reports Goldman Sachs is considering moving hundreds of jobs from London to New York and Frankfurt.

Mrs May's latest effort to set out her Brexit vision comes after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson caused controversy by comparing French President Francois Hollande to a Second World War camp guard administering "punishment beatings".

The Foreign Secretary's comment - during an official visit to India - was condemned as "abhorrent" by the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt while Labour said it was "wild and inappropriate" and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron denounced it as "utterly crass".

Mr Johnson was defended by Downing Street, who said he continued to enjoy the full confidence of the Prime Minister.

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