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Theresa May says Ireland's border 'important priority' in Brexit negotiations and calls for Stormont politicians to reestablish government

NI Secretary of State has said Assembly crisis will not impact Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on the government's plans for Brexit at Lancaster House in London (AFP/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on the government's plans for Brexit at Lancaster House in London (AFP/Getty Images)

Theresa May has outlined her plans for Britain's exit from the European Union.

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The Prime Minister gave her long-awaited address in London on Tuesday saying that she does not want an outcome that leaves the UK "half-in, half-out" of the European Union.

Mrs May announced that the final Brexit deal reached between the UK and European Union will be put to a vote of both Houses of Parliament.

Among the 12 objectives Mrs May set out, the Prime Minister said maintaining the common travel area between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland was a priority during the negotiations.

Mrs May said that "no-one wants to return to the borders of the past".

The Prime Minister said: "We cannot forget that, as we leave, the United Kingdom will share a land border with the EU, and maintaining that common travel area with the Republic of Ireland will be an important priority for the UK in the talks ahead.

"There has been a common travel area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland for many years.

"Indeed, it was formed before either of our two countries were members of the European Union. And the family ties and bonds of affection that unite our two countries mean that there will always be a special relationship between us.

"So we will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the common travel area with the Republic, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom's immigration system.

"Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past, so we will make it a priority to deliver a practical solution as soon as we can."

Mrs May also urged Northern Ireland's politicians to work together to reestablish the government "as soon as possible" after it was plunged into crisis.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire previously said the Assembly crisis would have no impact on the timing of the Government's decision to trigger Article 50, the mechanism signalling the start of negotiations on exiting the EU.

The Secretary of State also said representatives from the Executive will still be invited to attend meetings of the London Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit.

Listing her key objectives Mrs May said: "These are the objectives we have set:

"Certainty wherever possible. Control of our own laws. Strengthening the United Kingdom.

"Maintaining the common travel area with Ireland. Control of immigration. Rights for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU. Enhancing rights for workers.

"Free trade with European markets. New trade agreements with other countries. A leading role in science and innovation. Co-operation on crime, terrorism and foreign affairs. And a phased approach, delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit."

And she added: "This is the framework of a deal which will herald a new partnership between the UK and the EU. It is a comprehensive and carefully considered plan that focuses on the ends, not just the means, with its eyes fixed firmly on the future and on the kind of country we will be once we leave."

Prime Minister's Brexit key address as it happened

We shaped them (future generations) a brighter future they will know we built them a better Britain

The prize towards which we work - let us not do it for ourselves but for those who follow, for the county's children and grandchildren too.

Overwhelming majority of people no matter how they voted want us to get on with it

Any EU member states seeking a punitive Brexit deal with the UK that that would be "an act of calamitous self-harm", adding that "no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain"

It's not my job to fill column inches with daily updates but to get the right deal for Britain

This is not a game - it's a crucial and sensitive negotiation

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

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

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

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

The days of Britain making vast contributions to the EU every year will end

Brexit cannot mean membership of the single market

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

We want to guarantee rights of EU citizens living in Britain and rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can

Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe

We will deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland

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

I hope the main parties in Northern Ireland will will work together to reestablish a partnership government as soon as possible

Second objective: Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast

First objective: We will provide certainty wherever we can

We do not want to turn the clock back to the days when Europe was less peaceful and less able to trade freely

We are leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe

Brexit was no attempt to do harm to the EU itself or any of its member states

Our vote no rejection of the values we share with EU'

There is a lesson in Brexit for the EU itself

The blunt truth is there was not enough flexibility on enough important matters for the majority of British voters

The result of the referendum was not a decision to turn inward and retreat from the world

We are a country that has always looked beyond Europe to the wider world

This government has a plan for Brexit

I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change more united and outward looking

I want us to be a truly global Britain

UK voted to leave with their eyes open


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