May tells EU citizens 'you are welcome'

UK Prime Minister Theresa May sent a message to citizens from other EU states living in the UK as part of her conference speech today saying they are welcome.

Speaking today in Manchester, Mrs May said: “If you are a citizen of the EU who has made your life here I know you will feel unsettled and nervous but we value the contribution you make to the life of the country and you are welcome here.”

She added: “I urge the negotiation teams to reach agreement on this quickly because we want you to stay.”

However she made no reference to British citizens living in the EU.

Mrs May restated her commitment to Brexit as set out at Lancaster House earlier this year (ie. including leaving the single market and customs union) and repeated that Britain would leave by the end of March 2019.

She said she was confident of agreeing on a deal that works for the UK and the EU, allowing for both a sovereign United Kingdom and a successful EU and that “it is in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed”.

“A deep and special partnership is our ambition and offer and I look forward to that receiving a positive response,” she said.

However she said the UK was preparing to cope should the talks fail and the UK exit with no deal.

Mrs May added that she knew some young people thought Brexit meant the UK turning its back on the world, but on the contrary she said it would allow for an “outward looking” Britain, which would cooperate with other countries on the great challenges of our time and provide a moral lead – “a global Britain, that stadnds tall in the world”.

EU chiefs expressed hopes yesterday that the speech would move on the negotiations, which the European Parliament says have not made ‘sufficient progress’ for a second phase of talks, including future trading arrangements, to start later this month. 

You can watch the whole speech at this link. 

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