The Prime Minister is set to tell EU leaders that they must all work together to make Brexit work “smoothly” as she reportedly prepares to propose a two-year transitional deal before a permanent trade deal comes into force.
Mrs May faces a daunting test as she tries to appease both Remainers and Brexiteers inside her own party alongside EU leaders with her vision for a “constructive” solution to Brexit.
Early reports suggest it could include payments of around £18billion (€20billion) over the next two years.
Boris Johnson told reporters on Friday morning that the Prime Minister has prepared a “great speech” after the Cabinet held a mammoth two-and-a-half hour meeting where they discussed this afternoon’s Florence address.
She is expected to say that if the UK and the EU can be “imaginative and creative” about the possibility of a new relationship then both sides are able to “optimistic about the future”.
Refresh this page for live updates of Theresa May’s speech in Florence
14.04 Protesters voice concerns about their futures
One of the protesters demonstrating this lunchtime, Rachel Pugh, a 48-year-old from north Wales who has lived in Florence since 1991, is concerned about losing her rights to a pension in the future and had been left uninformed by the UK Government.
She said: ”Who do we ask? The tooth fairy? Father Christmas? The Easter Bunny? Who can we trust? None of them.
“We couldn’t vote. We’re invisible, in limbo.”
14.00: Theresa May’s latest Brexit slogan revealed
After ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and a ‘red, white and blue Brexit’, the Prime Minister’s latest Brexit slogan has been revealed.
The PM will call for a ‘shared history, shared challenges, shared future’ as she makes her Florence address.
13.57: The Mayor of Florence welcomes Theresa May
Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence, has posted on Facebook to welcome the PM to Florence, saying the choice “confirms the deep ties between the English people and our city”.
He writes: “Florence, European city of dialogue and capital of Culture, welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May, who has chosen the historical heart of Europe for her important speech.
“An event which confirms the strong and deep cultural ties between the British people and our city. Today, once again, we have the opportunity to proudly affirm our determination to build a more and more united, plural and stronger Europe. The Europe of people and cities. A free Europe able to make the dream of those men and women,…