LONDON – The pound bounced up against the dollar, rising 1.4 percent on Tuesday afternoon to $1.22, following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech, while markets were mixed.
Europe’s main indices were mixed at 1 p.m. GMT, with the FTSE MIB in Milan and the DAX in Frankfurt both up 1 percent to 19,273.64 and 11,558, respectively, while the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris both declined 1 percent to 7,263.96 and 4,880.82, respectively. Earlier today, European stock markets were down in morning trading, as investors waited to hear May’s Brexit plans, which took place at 12 p.m. GMT.
May laid out her initiatives pertaining to Brexit in a speech held in central London.
Standing at a podium at Lancaster House, she began her keynote talk noting that the British public voted for change six months ago and “with their eyes open” and for a “brighter future.” As a result, she aims for the U.K. to be “fairer, more secure, united and outward looking” alongside being a “good friend and neighbor” to the EU. She has confirmed that she has decided not to uphold the U.K.’s membership of the European single market. Rather she aims to strike a deal with the EU that will still allow businesses the means that they need to trade.
May noted that the U.K. “cannot possibly” stay within the European single market as remaining in it would be “not leaving the European Union at all.” She contended that it “cannot be half in and half out” and pledged to act on the “greatest possible” access.
“While I’m confident that this scenario need never arise, while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached — I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal because we would still be able to trade with Europe,” said May. “We would still be free to strike trade deals across the world and we would have the freedom to set the competitive tax rates and embrace the policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors to Britain.”
May spoke to British Parliament and said the governing body would be able to vote on the Brexit settlement between the EU and U.K. The prime minister said she plans to seek an end to “vast contributions” to the EU.
Among her 12 objectives that she disclosed include: to provide certainty and clarity and a positive assurance about the Brexit process of exiting the EU; control and having the jurisdiction over their own laws; strengthening and building up the union between Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Great Britain; her aim to uphold a “common travel area” between the Ireland and the U.K.; the control of immigration and of people who emigrate from Europe into the U.K.; rights for EU nationals in the U.K. and British nationals living in the EU; protection of worker rights; free trade with European markets through a free trade agreement; new trade agreements with other global countries outside the EU; creating the U.K. as a key area for science and innovation; cooperation in the plight against crime and terrorism, and a smooth Brexit transition.
She ended her speech noting the country to take advantage of opportunities of Brexit. “When future generations look back at this time, they will judge us not only by the decision we made but what we made of that decision,” said May. “They will see we shaped them a brighter future and they will know we built them a better Britain.”