Prime Minister Theresa May told the British people Friday that they have to face "hard facts" about the looming exit from the European Union, warning that the United Kingdom will have less access to the bloc's markets after the separation.
Despite the conciliatory tone of May's speech, she failed to meet European Union demands to flesh out what her government means by "ambitious managed diversion" as the basis for an interim Brexit agreement that is acceptable to her hard-Brexit critics.
May's spokesman said her ministers had agreed with her that her speech would be "a real step forward in the negotiations". But her references to heading a government "driven not by the interests of the privileged few", "the powerful" and "the mighty", would have solicited groans and boos from any but the selected audience she addressed.
It comes after Downing Street and Mr Johnson denied reports that Mrs May's chief of staff Gavin Barwell was behind a leak of a memo from the Foreign Secretary in which he said the Government should focus on stopping the Irish border becoming "significantly" harder, reigniting a row over the issue.
"But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours". Her conciliatory tone will be welcomed in Brussels, but what detail she provided will not be. However, even here she faces significant opposition in ruling circles.
"I've said before that no deal is better than a bad deal, but I'm confident that we can get a good deal, and get the right deal for the British people", May said during her broadcast interview. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.
"We both want good access to each other's markets".
She repeated a "hard fact" that Britain would leave the EU customs union and single market. She is getting there in baby steps, while insisting that ECJ jurisdiction will end.
The EU official called Tusk's lunch with May "an open and honest debate in a good atmosphere about the real political difficulties ahead of us".
"In certain ways, our access to each other's markets will be less than it is now", she said.
She said "U.K. and European Union regulatory standards will remain substantially similar in the future" to ensure there is no need for tariffs and other obstacles for the free movement of goods. We're leaving the single market.
The speech is titled "Our Future Partnership" and the Prime Minister will set out what she claims is an ambitious but credible vision for the future and more specifics on the proposed trading relationship are expected. But even as she finished speaking, the negative verdict was coming in domestically and from Europe on the impossibility of squaring her position with that of the EU.
Mr Hunt admitted the speech showed Brexit would be "incredibly complex" and "incredibly challenging", but insisted there were still "big opportunities" and "very exciting possibilities" for Britain.
Those proposals, first published in a position paper in August, were dismissed as 'magical thinking by the European Union, and the Irish senator Neale Richmond said May offered no fresh detail on Friday to move any of them forward.
Northern Ireland's leader of the Democratic Unionist party, Arlene Foster, welcomed May's commitments to staying out of the customs union, while the Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said proposals for a 'fantasy technological solution lacked credibility.