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‘New sense of optimism’ in Brexit negotiations, Theresa May says

PM insists she has stuck to her principles in the push to open trade talks.

Theresa May has insisted she has stuck to her principles on Brexit following a last minute deal designed to let negotiations switch to trade issues.

In an address to the Commons on Monday the Prime Minister will indicate she expects the EU to formally agree the second phase of talks at a Brussels summit this week, and is rejecting talk of a hard or soft Brexit.

With some Tory Brexiteers expressing concern that the UK has agreed to pay a £39 billion exit bill, let the European Court of Justice have a legal role for a further eight years, and accepted “full alignment” with the EU on issues that impact on Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister is saying she has been consistent in her approach.

The PM is expected to say: “This is not about a hard or a soft Brexit.

“The arrangements we have agreed to reach the second phase of the talks are entirely consistent with the principles and objectives that I set out in my speeches in Florence and at Lancaster House.

“I know that some doubted we would reach this stage.

“I have always been clear that this was never going to be an easy process.

“It has required give and take for the UK and the EU to move forwards together.

“And that is what we have done.”

Mrs May is saying a new sense of optimism hangs over the Brexit talks.

Theresa May.

“Of course, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

“But there is, I believe, a new sense of optimism now in the talks and I fully hope and expect that we will confirm the arrangements I have set out today in the European Council later this week.

“In doing so we can move on to building the bold new economic and security relationships that can underpin the new deep and special partnership we all want to see.

“A partnership between the European Union and a sovereign United Kingdom that has taken control of its borders, money and laws once again.”

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