Prime Minister Theresa May has outlined her plans for Brexit, making it clear that the UK will withdraw from both the European Union and the single market - but that the government will continue to try and attract "potential, talent and ambition" following the UK's departure from the EU.
Indeed, May asserted her desire to make the UK "the best place for science and innovation" in a "global Britain" that "looks to the future".
She went on to suggest that the government would do its utmost to support the UK's technology and science sectors as one of the key principles of the negotiation process and of post-Brexit Britain.
"One of our great strengths as a nation is the breadth and depth of our academic and scientific communities, backed up by some of the world's best universities. And we have a proud history of leading and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation," said May, as she laid out her foundations for the coming negotiations.
May painted an image of a Britain that would retain cordial relations with its EU neighbours, but which was equally open to the rest of the world, too.
"I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country - a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead," said May.
May went on to outline 12 main objectives for the forthcoming negotiations, which will commence as soon as the government invokes Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, expected by the end of March 2017:
First, May asserted the important of providing as much "certainty" as possible: "We are about to enter a negotiation. That means there will be give and take. There will have to be compromises. It will require imagination on both sides.
"And not everybody will be able to know everything at every stage. But I recognise how important it is to provide business, the public sector, and everybody with as much certainty as possible as we move through the process."
As part of this process, existing EU laws in force in the UK would be converted into full UK laws. That, effectively, means that the EU's General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR will be law in the UK, too.
Second, control of the UK's own laws mean that, over time, this may change and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain will be ended.
Third, a Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations will be set-up so that ministers in the devolved Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments will be kept informed and provided with an opportunity to contribute to the Brexit process.
Fourth, the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland will be maintained.
Fifth, May promised government control of immigration, but with a policy that would "continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain". She added: "openness to international talent must remain one of this country's most distinctive assets... but that process must be managed properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest".
She emphasised, though, her determination to reduce overall numbers.
Sixth, the rights of EU nationals already living and working in the UK would be guaranteed, with May claiming that she is keen to get a separate deal that included their rights, as well as the rights of British people living and working in the EU, thrashed out as "an important priority for Britain".
Seventh, to protect working people's existing employment rights May promised not just to maintain rights conferred via EU directives and regulations, but to build on them.
Eighth - and arguably the main objective for many business people - would be free trade with European markets via a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, but not membership of the Single Market, which would be like being a member of the EU, but without the ability to influence rules and regulations.
"This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU's member states. It should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets - and let European businesses do the same in Britain. But I want to be clear. What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the Single Market," said May.
Ninth, and not surprisingly, May said that the UK would pursue trade agreements with other countries. "Countries including China, Brazil, and the Gulf States have already expressed their interest in striking trade deals with us," she claimed.
May continued: "We have started discussions on future trade ties with countries like Australia, New Zealand and India. And President Elect Trump has said Britain is not 'at the back of the queue' for a trade deal with the United States, the world's biggest economy, but front of the line," adding: "That means I do not want Britain to be part of the Common Commercial Policy and I do not want us to be bound by the Common External Tariff."
Tenth on May's list was the pledge to make the UK the best place in the world for science and innovation, pledging to maintain the UK's collaboration with its European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.
It would also, as May's eleventh key principle, continue to cooperate with European neighbours in fighting crime and terrorism.
And twelfth, May pledge a "smooth, orderly Brexit".
She added: "It is in no one's interests for there to be a cliff-edge for business or a threat to stability, as we change from our existing relationship to a new partnership with the EU," nor would the UK seek a transitional status in which "we find ourselves stuck forever in some kind of permanent political purgatory."
Rather, a comprehensive agreement will be reached within two years of invoking Article 50, followed by a phased process of implementation. "This will give businesses enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements."
May concluded by asserting that it "this is not a game or a time for opposition for opposition's sake. It is a crucial and sensitive negotiation that will define the interests and the success of our country for many years to come".
Commenting on the speech Antony Walker, Deputy CEO of techUK, said it was vital the government gets all this right or it risks damaging the nation's tech sector.
"The UK tech sector is highly integrated with suppliers and customers across Europe and depends everyday on laws and regulations set at European level. Leaving the Single Market will have a bigger impact on tech than the rest of the UK economy. That is why it is essential that the government does everything that it can to secure a soft landing for Brexit," he said.
"The Prime Minister"s objective to reach an agreement on a future partnership arrangement within two years followed by a period for phased implementation appears a sensible approach although businesses will be looking for further detail.
"The crux for tech will be about building a bridge between membership of the single market and a future free trade agreement. That bridge needs to be solid and dependable if businesses are going to have confidence in it."
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