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Summary

  1. PM proposes transition period of two years after UK leaves EU
  2. Theresa May addressed press and politicians in Florence
  3. PM says EU 'never felt to us like integral part of our national story'
  4. Theresa May says UK would pay its 'fair share' into the EU budget
  5. She says the UK will be 'strongest friend and partner' for the EU
  6. Labour says speech left 'questions unanswered'

Live Reporting

By Jackie Storer and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

  1. Theresa May speech recap

    Here's a round-up of key points in the PM's Florence speech and reaction to it:

    • Transition period could be around two years, during which time access to the single market will continue on current terms
    • Mrs May proposes a "bold new security agreement" between the UK and EU
    • On trade, the PM says both sides could do "so much better" than adopting existing models
    • The UK would honour commitments made while it remains a member
    • There was "no need to impose tariffs where there are none now"
    • EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier described the speech as "constructive"
    • He said the prime minister had shown "a willingness to move forward"
    • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the speech suggested the PM had faced up to the reality "that Britain needs a transition to provide stability for businesses and workers"
    • But former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: "Theresa May's vision is that we leave the European Union but we do it in name only."
  2. Irish minister: More work needed on Brexit

    Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney hailed Theresa May's speech as "a positive contribution" towards making progress on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and Irish issues.

    But he said it was clear "a lot of work is still required before European leaders can make a decision that parallel discussions on the EU’s future relationship with the UK can begin".

    He added:

    Quote Message: Ultimately Ireland wants: the gains of the peace process protected, including avoiding a hard border, an orderly UK withdrawal, a sufficiently long and non-disruptive transition arrangement, and the closest possible EU-UK future relationship, including in trade, which minimises to the greatest extent possible the impact on the Irish economy.”
  3. May uses Florence Brexit speech for 'sympathetic gesture'

    Laura Kuenssberg

    BBC political editor

    Theresa May

    "At times our need for a sympathetic gesture is so great, we care not what exactly it signifies or how much we have to pay afterwards."

    Forgive the delving into my fifth year English homework. (Before you ask: EM Forster, A Room with a View, the homework was rather a long time ago.) But, when someone has said it better before, why try to say it again?

    Theresa May's speech is indeed, above all else, an attempt at a "sympathetic gesture", an admission that the UK government is willing to pay tens of billions of taxpayers' cash to the EU over the next couple of years, and acknowledgement that there will have to be a limited, but extended period of time - a transition period - where the relationship between the UK and the EU might not actually change very much.

    It is an offer, not a blinding revelation, but a limited flash of ankle to her continental counterparts.

    Read more

  4. SNP: Theresa May has changed her position on Brexit

    Scotland's Brexit Minister and SNP veteran Michael Russell described Theresa May's speech as "short on detail", but her acceptance of a transition period within the single market, with freedom of movement, "shows the UK government has changed its position".

    He said:

    Quote Message: That is due to the growing consensus of opinion - including leading business voices - that leaving the world's biggest single market is potentially disastrous for jobs, investment and living standards."

    But Mr Russell added that the PM now needs to go further and "commit to a long-term future in the single market and customs union, not just as a transition arrangement".

  5. Davidson: PM looking for 'a bespoke Brexit deal'

    Ruth Davidson

    Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, says the prime minister's speech included a lot "for both leavers and remainers".

    Giving her reaction to Mrs May's vision for Brexit negotiations, she said: "Crucially we will be leaving the European Union, this is not an open ended transition," adding: "Also we are looking for a bespoke deal. We are not a Canada and we are not a Norway, we are looking for a British deal."

  6. CBI: Firms will welcome 'status quo' transition

    Carolyn Fairbairn

    The proposed transition period post-Brexit "will protect jobs and investment on both sides of the Channel", CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn has said.

    Hailing the PM's "positive tone", she said: “Firms will welcome the proposal of a ‘status quo’ transition period for business that averts a cliff-edge exit."

    Millions of EU workers and their families in the UK need certainty and vice versa, she said, adding:

    Quote Message: Negotiators must now move the talks on to trade and transition as soon as possible. More tough choices and compromises await and listening to firms will help ensure agreement on a comprehensive version of what our future economic relationship with the EU will look like."
  7. Soubry: Speech will give business some certainty

    BBC News Channel

    Anna Soubry

    Conservative former business minister Anna Soubry has welcomed Theresa May's speech, saying it was "absolutely the right step and the right direction".

    The pro-EU MP claims the Florence address put the interests of the economy and jobs "at the heart of Brexit".

    "It will give British business some sort of certainty," she tells the BBC, although "they need a bit more flesh on the bones".

  8. Will EU negotiators cut May some slack?

    BBC News Channel

    BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said Theresa May's speech was warm, conciliatory and spoke of an exciting future for the UK and EU.

    He said EU negotiators that were listening might think they can "cut Mrs May some slack" and allow the UK to move to the second phase of Brexit negotiations.

    But he warned there may not be enough yet on the rights of EU nationals to allow the talks to move ahead.

    He added that Mrs May had gone out of her way to appeal to EU leaders, and if they were listening, they might "put the squeeze" on EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

  9. What did we learn from May's Florence speech?

    Reality Check

    Theresa May

    Prime Minister Theresa May has used a speech in Florence to set out the UK's position on how to move Brexit talks forward.

    With further negotiations planned next week, what did her speech tell us about the sort of Brexit deal we might end up with?

    Reality Check correspondent Chris Morris has been scanning the speech.

    Read more.

  10. Barnier: UK 'recognises it cannot keep all EU benefits'

    In his statement, Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier also said the EU "shares the goal of establishing an ambitious partnership for the future".

    Quote Message: The fact that the government of the United Kingdom recognises that leaving the European Union means that it cannot keep all the benefits of membership with fewer obligations than the other member states is welcome. In any case, the future relationship will need to be based on a balance of rights and obligations. It will need to respect the integrity of the Union's legal order and the autonomy of its decision-making."
  11. Clarke: 'Speech should reassure British business'

    BBC News Channel

    Ken Clarke

    Conservative former chancellor Ken Clarke, a staunch Europhile, says British business "will be considerably reassured" by Theresa May's speech in Florence.

    The PM outlined how "we're going to stay in the single market and customs union for at least the next two years", he said, commenting that Mrs May had not been playing to any particular gallery in the UK.

    He added: "The fact is we're going to have no new barriers... we're going to continue under our present rules."

  12. 'No new policy initiatives on Ireland'

    Northern Ireland border
    Image caption: The government says it does not want a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic

    Guy Lougher, partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, says the issue of the Irish border remains outstanding following the Florence speech.

    "The three key issues are the rights of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit, the size of the UK’s exit bill, and Ireland," he says.

    "The speech covers two of the three key issues.... However, the prime minister’s speech does not contain any concessions on Ireland, which is the third key filter issue identified by the EU."

    He argues: "It is possible that the EU maintains its view that there has not been enough ground conceded by the UK to justify moving negotiations into the second phase, because the prime minister’s speech contains no new policy initiatives in relation to the thorny question of Ireland."

  13. Barnier: 'Ready to discuss' UK payment pledge

    Europe's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says Theresa May's speech "shows a willingness to move forward" on Brexit.

    But he stresses that the EU's priority is "to protect the rights" of EU citizens living in the UK in the same way as the rights of British citizens are protected in the EU.

    While the UK recognises none of the remaining 27 members of the bloc will have to pay more or receive less because of Brexit, "we stand ready to discuss the concrete implications of this pledge", he said.

    Mr Barnier said the UK's request to continue to benefit from the single market during the two-year transitional period "could be taken into account by the EU".

    But he added:

    Quote Message: The sooner we reach an agreement on the principles of the orderly withdrawal in the different areas – and on the conditions of a possible transition period requested by the United Kingdom – the sooner we will be ready to engage in a constructive discussion on our future relationship."
  14. Italian MEP awaits 'concrete' proposals

    BBC News Channel

    Roberto Gualtieri

    Italian MEP Roberto Gualtieri, who chairs the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee, describes Theresa May's speech as "interesting".

    He would like to know whether the UK PM is committing to a longer-term "financial framework" or a "yearly budget" for financial contributions to the EU during the proposed transition period.

    He says he doesn't know whether Mrs May's words will be enough to move Brexit talks forward, but more "concrete" proposals from the UK might.