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Theresa May outlines the Brexit 'hard facts'

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Theresa May outlines the Brexit 'hard facts'

Theresa May outlines the Brexit 'hard facts'
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The British Prime Minister Theresa May has once again said that a no Brexit deal is better than a bad deal

Speaking at London's Mansion House May vowed that she would not be bullied by the EU

But she said the deal must respect the referendum

The PM stuck to her position that Britain would leave the customs union, as well as its single market

May said Brexit would not put at risk the progress made on securing peace in Northern Ireland

And she vowed that Britain could emerge from the talks a stronger and more cohesive nation.

"We all need to face up to some hard facts," May told ambassadors and business leaders.

"Neither of us can have exactly what we want," May said. "So we need to strike a new balance. But we will not accept the rights of Canada and the obligations of Norway."

She said the European Court of Justice could not be the ultimate arbiter of any disputes that develop between Britain and the European Union after Brexit.

Her lectern featured the slogan, "Our Future Partnership", the title of her speech which rounds off a series of briefings by her ministers on how Britain sees its future outside the EU and its economic architecture after more than 40 years in the bloc.

EU leaders are increasingly frustrated by what they say is a lack of detail from London on what it wants, and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has warned that time is short to reach a deal by October in time for Britain's 2019 exit.

May, weak after losing her parliamentary majority last year, has struggled to satisfy the demands not only of EU officials but also of the warring factions in her Conservative Party and major businesses which are desperate for clarity.

FIVE TESTS

She said she would be guided by five tests including respecting the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum and reaching a solution that can endure.

"We are close to agreement on the terms of the implementation period which was a key element in the December deal," May said. "Both the UK and EU are clear this implementation period must be time-limited and cannot become a permanent solution."

One of the most difficult Brexit questions is how to avoid a hard border between the United Kingdom's Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The EU set out a backup plan in a draft withdrawal agreement this week that effectively would see Northern Ireland remaining part of the EU's customs union.

That could mean that Northern Ireland would have different rules from the rest of the United Kingdom, something May said on Wednesday "no UK prime minister could ever agree to".

"We have been clear all along that we don't want to go back to a hard border in Northern Ireland," May said.