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United Kingdom leader tries to ease concerns of banks in Brexit talks

But neither would Britain accept trade on World Trade Organisation terms, which would mean a "significant reduction in our access to each other's markets compared to that which we now enjoy".

"May will have to try and reconcile the conflicting interests of the supporters of a hard and soft Brexit within her party in a manner that constitutes a realistic basis for the negotiations with the EU".

But Nick Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister, was more downcast, telling social media: "PM's speech is a bit like someone who used to say they wanted to move out of their home to a shiny new one but end up moving into the attic of the house they lived in all along".

UK Prime Minister Theresa May stressed in conversations with first ministers of Wales and Scotland that the UK government would ensure the absence of hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, the prime minister's spokesperson said Saturday.

No details emerged of exactly what May will propose in a speech on Friday for an "ambitious economic partnership" after Brexit.

Theresa May has used a landmark speech on Brexit to hit back at the EU's refusal to offer Britain a bespoke deal after it leaves the bloc.

In Europe, the reaction was more muted.

Coveney brushed aside any suggestion this was a plea for trilateral talks between Dublin, London and Brussels, saying all the negotiating would be done in the EU.

The pound was little changed.




She then corrected herself: "To avoid a hard border..."

Asked whether he prioritises new free trade deals over an EU customs union, McDonnell said: "I don't believe it is impossible".

"The reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts", May said.

May proposed having either a customs partnership, where Britain would implement European Union tariffs on its border for goods intended for the European Union but could set different ones for goods going elsewhere, or a streamlined customs arrangement, where jointly implemented measures would minimise frictions to trade.

"We are leaving the single market. In certain ways, our access to each other's markets will be less than it is now". May has previously ruled out a role for the ECJ - which is loathed by euroskeptics - in making rulings that affect the United Kingdom.

Speaking about her keynotes address, the culmination of the "Road to Brexit" series of speeches by her top team, she said: "I was being straight with people". This would affect chemicals, aviation and medicines, which are overseen at an European Union level.

"If we were to accept "passporting" we'd just be a rule taker, we'd have to abide by the rules that were being set elsewhere", May said in the interview with the BBC.

But a spokesman for Mr Johnson said: "This is a yawnerama - a nonsense claim from an anonymous quote about a half-baked and misleading leak that has been totally superseded by the Prime Minister's excellent speech on Friday". Over lunch in London, an European Union official said, Tusk focused on plans for future ties, talks on which should finally get under way next month after an interim deal on divorce issues was struck in December.

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