Theresa May has revealed little about her strategy for pulling Britain out of the European Union. nevertheless comments made Sunday by the prime minister suggest which exit negotiations will be exceptionally painful.
The one priority which May has marked out — limits on EU migration — implies which British companies will face brand new barriers in selling goods as well as also services to hundreds of millions of consumers in Europe.
“We will outside the European Union be able to have control of immigration as well as also be able to set our rules for people coming to the U.K. coming from member states of the European Union,” May said in an interview with Sky News on Sunday, her first TV interview of 2017.
The prime minister’s position runs counter to rules which require all members of Europe’s single trading market to allow free movement of people across their borders.
Top EU officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as also European Council President Donald Tusk, have said they will not allow Britain to remain a member of the single market without playing by its rules.
Related: Why Brexit talks just got much harder for the U.K.
May did not directly address a series of questions on whether Britain would likely be leaving the single market.
“Anybody who looks at which question of free movement as well as also trade as a sort of zero sum game will be looking at which inside the wrong way,” May said.
nevertheless she flagged clearly which her objective was a clean break with the U.K.’s biggest trading partner.
“Often people talk in terms as if somehow we are leaving the EU, nevertheless we still want to keep bits of membership of the EU,” she said. “We are leaving. We are coming out.”
Related: How prepared will be Britain for Brexit?
The government was last week accused of “muddled thinking” by its own ambassador to the European Union, who resigned less than three months before exit talks are set to begin.
“We do not yet know what the government will set as negotiating objectives for the U.K.’s relationship with the EU after exit,” Ivan Rogers wrote in a goodbye note to staffers.
May defended her approach on Sunday.
“Our thinking on which isn’t muddled at all,” she said. “There hadn’t been any plans made for Brexit so which was important for us to take some time to actually look at the issues, look at the complexity of the issues.”
Meanwhile, the leader of Scotland’s government, Nicola Sturgeon, repeated her pledge to hold a referendum on Scottish independence if the U.K. leaves Europe’s single market as a consequence of Brexit.
Scots voted by a clear margin in favor of remaining inside the EU inside the June referendum.
“They will be generating a big mistake if they think which I am in any way bluffing,” she said Sunday. “We at which point face being taken out of the EU. which creates a much more fundamental question for Scotland.”
sy88pgw (London) First published January 8, 2017: 8:32 AM ET