British Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear: the UK will make a clean break from the European Union and leave its single market of some 500 million people. In her most direct remarks since the June 23 vote, May says Britain must regain control of its laws and borders, even as she calls on the bloc to negotiate a free-trade agreement that will benefit both sides, reports the AP. "We do not seek membership of the single market," she said Tuesday. "Instead, we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement." May also made the EU an offer—she hopes—that it can't refuse: arguing that a "cliff-edge for business or a threat to stability" is good for neither Europe nor Britain.
She said "a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path" would be "an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe." May—who said she would formally begin a two-year process of negotiating Britain's departure on March 31—also acknowledged for the first time that Britain's Parliament will be able to vote on the final divorce deal reached between the UK and European Union. However, she did not address what would happen should there be a vote against the agreement. The British pound rallied from steep losses earlier in the week as May focused on keeping Britain open to global trade, trading 2.2% higher at $1.23. On Monday, it was as low as $1.20, a near 31-year low.