Theresa May could choose Aberdeen to deliver her long-awaited speech setting out her vision for Britain’s future relationship with the European Union.
Downing Street says the Prime Minister will give the speech on Friday – the same day she is due to speak at the Scottish Conservative conference in Aberdeen.
The Prime Minister cleared the way for the much-anticipated speech by securing agreement from senior ministers at a Brexit “war cabinet” at Chequers on Thursday on key features of the future relationship.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – who was not at the meeting – said the Government will pursue a policy putting Britain outside a customs union with the European Union but matching Brussels rules in certain sectors in an attempt to achieve “frictionless” trade.
Unlike previous keynote Brexit addresses in Florence and Munich, the Prime Minister’s speech is expected to take place in the UK, though Downing Street refused to discuss the venue.
It is not known whether she intends to use Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre as the venue for her Brexit speech.
Her official spokesman characterised the eight-hour Chequers meeting as “very positive … and a step forward, agreeing the basis of the Prime Minister’s speech on our future relationship”.
Downing Street dismissed reports that the PM was preparing for a U-turn on the rights of EU migrants who arrive in the UK during any transition period following the date of Brexit in March 2019.
Her official spokesman said there was no change in Mrs May’s position that the rights of EU nationals arriving after the date of Brexit in March 2019 would be different from those coming to the UK before.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, who chairs the European Research Group of backbench Tory Eurosceptics, said it would be “unconscionable” for Mrs May to cave in to Brussels demands for permanent settlement rights for anyone arriving before the end of the transition period – probably 2021.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I’d be astonished if Mrs May would make U-turn of that kind; she is a lady of great backbone and for her to kowtow to the European Union is I think unconscionable.”