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Date TimeSeptember 14, 2017
VoiceA speech by Theresa May billed as an important moment in the Brexit negotiation process is to take place in Florence next week, Downing Street has announced.

May will speak in the historic Italian city on Friday 22 September “to update on Brexit negotiations so far”, the prime minister’s spokesman said.

“She will underline the government’s wish for a deep and special partnership with the European Union once the UK leaves the EU,” he said.

News of the planned address emerged just over a week ago when Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said the next round of UK-EU talks on the subject would most likely be delayed as May planned to make an “important intervention” on the issue.

Theresa May to deliver Brexit speech in Florence

May’s spokesman gave no further details of what the prime minister would be saying and whether the speech would include any new information or proposals.

“The PM has said that she would provide updates on how the negotiations were going and be engaged in an ongoing conversation with Europe, and that’s what she’s doing,” he said.

May will be travelling to Italy purely to make the speech, which is not tied in to any bilateral talks or conferences. The list of attendees has yet to be announced, but Downing Street has informed the office of the Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, about the event.

Asked why the venue had been picked, May’s spokesman said the prime minister “wanted to give a speech on the UK’s future relationship with Europe in its historical heart”.

He said: “The UK has had deep cultural and economic ties spanning centuries with Florence, a city known for its historical trading power. As the UK leaves the EU, we will retain those close ties. As the prime minister has said on many occasions, we are leaving the EU, not Europe.”


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