THERESA MAY: Leaving the EU doesn't mean 'retaining bits of membership'

Theresa May seemingly reiterated her desire for a hard Brexit during an interview on Sky News on Sunday.

While speaking in her first interview of 2017, May repeatedly drove home the importance of finding a deal that works for both the UK and the EU, while skirting around the issue of a hard brexit.

A “hard Brexit” is the UK leaving the European Union without unfettered access to the single market, in exchange for full control over immigration. It is seen as a potential death blow to the City of London, and therefore the wider economy, as it would mean companies would lose financial passporting rights.

Journalist Sophy Ridge told May: “Everything you are saying seems to suggest we are leaving the single market. Why don’t you just admit it?”

May replied, saying she “wants the best possible deal for trading with and operating within the single European market,” but added that “leaving the EU doesn’t mean “retaining bits of membership” and that she will be looking at alternative trade deals.

If the London’s financial passport is taken away, then the capital could cease to be the most important financial centre in Europe, costing the UK thousands of jobs and billions in revenues. Around 5,500 firms registered in the UK rely on the EU’s passporting rights for the financial services sector, and they turn over about £9 billion in revenue.

NOW WATCH: Trump answers reporters’ questions in his longest news conference since winning the election

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.