Markets Fret, Trump Applauds as UK Signals 'Hard Brexit'

Trump says Britain 'so smart' to leave EU
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2017 6:20 AM CST
As Trump Applauds 'Smart' Move, UK Heads for 'Hard Brexit'
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen during an interview in London earlier this month.   (John Stillwell/PA via AP)

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May plans to make a big speech on Brexit on Tuesday and the country's currency is taking a beating amid signs she will set out plans for a "hard Brexit"—meaning a clean break from the European Union's single market. British newspapers briefed on the upcoming speech say May is intent on leaving behind the EU's rules on free movement of goods, services, and workers, though the government says this is "speculation" and stresses that May's speech will be about how "to make a success of Brexit and build a truly global Britain," the New York Times reports. The BBC reports that the pound, which has lost around 20% of its value since June's Brexit vote, fell to a three-month low on Monday.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has also signaled a hard line, saying the UK won't stand for any EU punishment for leaving the club, and will move away from "European-style" taxation models if need be. "We will change our model and we will come back, and we will be competitively engaged," the top financial official told a German newspaper. Donald Trump, meanwhile, praised Brexit in an interview with Conservative MP Michael Gove, the Guardian reports. He blamed German policy on refugees for anti-EU sentiment, said Britain had been "so smart" to vote to leave, and promised to press ahead with US-UK trade talks. "Absolutely, very quickly. I’m a big fan of the UK," he said. "We're gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly." (More Brexit stories.)

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