Highlights of British PM Theresa May's Brexit speech

LONDON (REUTERS) - Prime Minister Theresa May set out the principles that will guide her approach to Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in a speech in London on Tuesday (Jan 17).

Below are highlights from her speech:

1. UK WILL LEAVE EUROPEAN SINGLE MARKET

This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU's member states. It should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets, and let European businesses do the same in Britain.

But I want to be clear: What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market. Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement.

2. FREE TRADE AGREEMENT MAY TAKE IN ELEMENTS OF SINGLE MARKET ARRANGEMENTS IN SOME AREAS

That Agreement may take in elements of current Single Market arrangements in certain areas - on the export of cars and lorries for example, or the freedom to provide financial services across national borders - as it makes no sense to start again from scratch when Britain and the remaining Member States have adhered to the same rules for so many years.

3. WILL PURSUE GREATEST POSSIBLE ACCESS TO SINGLE MARKET

An important part of the new partnership ... will be the pursuit of the greatest possible access to the single market on a fully reciprocal basis through a comprehensive free trade agreement.

4. NOT SEEKING PARTIAL OR ASSOCIATE EU MEMBERSHIP

We seek a new and equal partnership between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU. Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out.

We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave. No. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union and my job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do.

5. WILL NO LONGER CONTRIBUTE HUGE SUMS TO EU BUDGET

Because we will no longer be members of the Single Market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget. There may be some specific European programmes in which we might want to participate. If so, and this will be for us to decide, it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution. But the principle is clear: the days of Britain making vast contributions to the European Union every year will end.

6. PUNITIVE DEAL FOR UK WOULD BE SELF-HARM FOR EUROPE

I must be clear: Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe. Some voices are calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path. That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe and it would not be the act of a friend. Britain would not, indeed we could not accept such an approach.

7. NO DEAL BETTER THAN BAD DEAL

While I am sure a positive agreement can be reached I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.

8. CUSTOMS UNION: SEVERAL OPTIONS, NO PRECONCEIVED POSITION

I know my emphasis on striking trade agreements with countries outside Europe has led to questions about whether Britain seeks to remain a member of the EU's Customs Union. And it is true that full Customs Union membership prevents us from negotiating our own comprehensive trade deals.

Now, I want Britain to be able to negotiate its own trade agreements. But I also want tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade there to be as frictionless as possible.

That means I do not want Britain to be part of the Common Commercial Policy and I do not want us to be bound by the Common External Tariff. These are the elements of the Customs Union that prevent us from striking our own comprehensive trade agreements with other countries. But I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU.

Whether that means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an associate member of the Customs Union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it, I hold no preconceived position. I have an open mind on how we do it.

9. BREXIT MUST MEAN CONTROL OF NUMBER OF IMMIGRANTS

We will always want immigration, especially high-skilled immigration, we will always want immigration from Europe, and we will always welcome individual migrants as friends. But the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.

10. PHASED APPROACH TO AVOID CLIFF-EDGE EFFECT

It is in no one's interests for there to be a cliff-edge for business or a threat to stability, as we change from our existing relationship to a new partnership with the EU.

By this, I do not mean that we will seek some form of unlimited transitional status, in which we find ourselves stuck forever in some kind of permanent political purgatory. That would not be good for Britain, but nor do I believe it would be good for the EU.

Instead, I want us to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year Article Fifty process has concluded. From that point onwards, we believe a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us will be in our mutual self-interest. This will give businesses enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements.

11. I WANT A TRULY GLOBAL BRITAIN

I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country, a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead.

I want us to be a truly global Britain, the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

12. INVESTMENT IN ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE

As we continue to bring the deficit down, we will take a balanced approach by investing in our economic infrastructure - because it can transform the growth potential of our economy, and improve the quality of people's lives across the whole country.

13. EU NATIONALS WILL STILL BE WELCOME

You will still be welcome in this country as we hope our citizens will be in yours.

14. GUARANTEEING RIGHTS OF EU CITIZENS IN UK, UK CITIZENS IN EU

We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can. I have told other EU leaders that we could give people the certainty they want straight away, and reach such a deal now.

15. EU LAW WILL BE CONVERTED INTO UK LAW TO PROVIDE CERTAINTY

As we repeal the European Communities Act, we will convert the "acquis" - the body of existing EU law - into British law. This will give the country maximum certainty as we leave the EU. The same rules and laws will apply on the day after Brexit as they did before. And it will be for the British Parliament to decide on any changes to that law after full scrutiny and proper Parliamentary debate.

16. PARLIAMENT WILL BE GIVEN A VOTE ON FINAL BREXIT DEAL

I can confirm today that the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament, before it comes into force.

17. EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE WILL NO LONGER HAVE JURISDICTION OVER UK

We will take back control of our laws and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. And those laws will be interpreted by judges not in Luxembourg but in courts across this country.

18. BREXIT DOES NOT MEAN UK IS TURNING INWARD

The result of the referendum was not a decision to turn inward and retreat from the world, because Britain's history and culture is profoundly internationalist. We are a European country and proud of our shared European heritage. But we are always a country that has looked beyond Europe to the wider world.

19. COMMON TRAVEL AREA WITH IRELAND AN IMPORTANT PRIORITY

The United Kingdom will share a land border with the EU and maintaining that common travel area with the republic of ireland will an important priority for the UK in the talks ahead.

20. UK DOES NOT WANT EU TO UNRAVEL

Our decision is not always understood by our friends and allies in Europe, and many fear the beginning of a great unravelling of the EU. But let me be clear. I do not want that to happen. It would not be in the best interest of Britain, it remains overwhelmingly and compellingly in Britain's best national interest for the EU to succeed.

21. UK WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TO KEEP EUROPE SAFE

At a time when together we face a serious threat from our enemies, Britain's unique intelligence capabilities will continue to help to keep people in Europe safe from terrorism.

22. UK TROOPS IN EASTERN EUROPE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THEIR DUTY

And at a time when there is growing concern about European security, Britain's servicemen and women, based in European countries including Estonia, Poland and Romania, will continue to do their duty.