Theresa May tours United Kingdom on Brexit Day anniversary

The PM is visiting England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, appealing to those for and against Brexit. "As stated by the European Commission in its notice to stakeholders on European Food Law in relation to the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the Commission's position is that United Kingdom exports to the EU27 will face veterinary inspection as any other third country does today".

The prime minister secured last week the EU's agreement to start talks on a future relationship, but uncertainties remain over the first negotiations to be completed, over the divorce itself. But 65% in a new ComRes poll for the Daily Express said they did not want a second referendum and 68% said that Remain voters should respect the will of the majority who backed Brexit.

And she restated her rejection of EU proposals which would effectively create an administrative border down the Irish Sea by keeping Northern Ireland in the Customs Union.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell defended Thornberry's comments, emphasising her "sarcasm" in response to a journalist's question.

Mr Blair, a strong backer of United Kingdom membership of the European Union, told BBC Radio 4's Today the "sensible" option was to "take a final decision" once the terms of the deal have been set out.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair urged Mrs May to offer a free vote in the Commons on the final Brexit deal, telling the Independent that if she did not, Labour and Tory MPs should be ready to vote with their conscience and rebel.

The main opposition Labour Party has said it will back a trade deal with the EU only if the deal meets the six yardsticks it has laid down, which includes Britain retaining the benefits of the European single market and customs union.

Theresa May tours United Kingdom on Brexit Day anniversary
Theresa May tours United Kingdom on Brexit Day anniversary

After starting her four-nation tour at a textile factory in Ayrshire, the PM said: "Let's be clear, there is no power-grab; we are not taking back any of the powers that are now devolved to the Scottish Government, indeed the Scottish Government will be receiving more powers as a result of us leaving the European Union".

Negotiations between Britain and the European Union finally began in earnest last summer.

"Like an unstoppable express, we are heading for Brexit, and frankly my friends, we can't arrive soon enough", he wrote.

Theresa May's United Kingdom tour included a textiles firm in Ayr, Scotland. "I'm determined our future will be a bright one", she said, ahead of her whistle-stop tour.

"We have a very a strong union, that is in our interests and it is in our interests to come together and really seize these opportunities for the future".

Beginning her day in Scotland, May visited textile workers at a factory in Ayrshire, before travelling to Newcastle to meet a local parent and toddler group.

May was later to stop for lunch with farmers near Belfast in Northern Ireland before meeting Welsh business owners in Barry, then returning to London in time for tea with a Polish group.

  • Jon Douglas