What Theresa May’s 12-point Brexit plan really means

What Theresa May’s 12-point Brexit plan really means

The Prime Minister has answered critics of her lack of Brexit detail with a 12-point plan but what does it all actually mean?

Big Ben

Theresa May has set out her plan for leaving the European Union, or the Plan for Britain, as she has called it.

With her 12-point negotiating strategy she will hope to silence the critics who dubbed her Theresa Maybe over her uncertainty.

So just what do those points mean?

Plan for Britain

1) Provide certainty about the process of leaving the EU: we will provide certainty wherever we can

What it means: We cannot tell you everything, we won’t tell you everything, but we will try to prevent mass panic and market freefall by telling you some stuff.

Parliament will get a vote on the final deal with the EU so it will be all signed off… (includes veiled threat to MPs about not frustrating the will of the people by blocking any Brexit deal).

Plan for Britain

2) Control of our own laws: Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast

What it means: UK laws for UK people. Decisions made in the courts of the country – and not in Luxembourg.

(Waves goodbye to the European Court of Justice).

Plan for Britain

3) Strengthen the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom: a stronger Britain demands that we strengthen the precious union between the four nations of the United Kingdom

What it means: I will listen to what Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland say but ultimately this Brexit deal is a matter for the UK Government.

So, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but mainly Scotland, please don’t try to leave and create any “new barriers” to us “living and doing business” together.

(Sinn Fein and DUP it would be great if you could put aside your differences, put the assembly back together “as soon as possible” so you can get on board with this whole process).

Plan for Britain

4) Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland: we will deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the republic of Ireland

What it means: There will be no return to the physical land borders of the past with Ireland. We are family and we will sort this out pronto.

(We go way back before the EU so let’s not build a wall between us).

Plan for Britain

5) Control of immigration coming from the EU: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe

What it means: We will continue to take your doctors, scientists and tech geniuses but not so much people who come here to work in coffee shops.

Sorry, while we recognise the contribution of EU citizens here, record net migration has driven down wages and clogged up schools, hospitals and housing, the public won’t have it anymore.

(The Home Office is still working on exactly how the immigration controls will work).

Plan for Britain

6) Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU: 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

What it means: We really, really want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living here but unless you do, we won’t.

(So be fair and let’s crack on with this.)

Plan for Britain

7) Protect workers’ rights: not only will the Government protect the rights of workers set out in European legislation, we will build on them

What it means: I am absolutely serious when I talk about the people who are just about managing and job security.

You won’t lose your maternity leave and working hours guarantees – actually things could even get better.

(Gives no ground to Corbyn on this. It’s one of his chief concerns).

Plan for Britain

8) Free trade with European markets through a free trade agreement: we will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union

What it means: We are leaving the single market but we want a few bits of single market agreement, on exporting cars for instance, a very good free trade deal with the EU – and some sort of Customs Union agreement that will mean we don’t have to pay tariffs.

We don’t intend to pay the EU “huge sums” anymore either.

If we don’t get it we are prepared to move to a low-tax, low-regulation economy to make the UK more attractive to businesses than the EU.

And make no mistake: we will walk away if we have to.

(EU leaders you gave us no choice: the price for staying in the single market is a lot like not leaving the EU at all)

Plan for Britain

9) New trade agreements with other countries: it is time for Britain to get out into the world and rediscover its role as a great, global, trading nation

What it means: Donald Trump.

(We’re not at the back of the US queue any more).

Plan for Britain

10) The best place for science and innovation: we will welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.

What it means: We recognise that science and innovation are really important because they are absolutely the future of industry.

We want to be in on all the big Europe-wide science projects because the reputations of our universities depend on it and they really need to attract fee-paying foreign students.

Plan for Britain

11) Cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism: we will continue to work closely with our European allies in foreign and defence policy even as we leave the EU itself

What it means: The spooks must carry on talking to prevent terror attacks – it is way too dangerous for us all not to do this.

On defence, we have more than pulled our weight and you will still need us to help manage Russia.

Plan for Britain

12) A smooth, orderly Brexit: we believe a phased process of implementation will be in the interests of Britain, the EU institutions and member states

What it means: There will be a transitional deal hammered out with the EU but we will call it a “phased transitional status” because a lot of the Leave camp doesn’t like the idea of it.

However, there was a promise not to get stuck “forever in some kind of permanent political purgatory” ie the phase will be short.