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May: Britain has ‘historic chance’ to give leadership to world

The prime minister will make her first foreign policy speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet in the City of London.

She will also say more needs to be done to ensure communities are not left behind by the forces of globalisation.

Labour said her actions have betrayed her words and she simply represents more of the same failed politics.

‘New direction’

Mrs May envisages a stronger role for government in developing an industrial strategy aimed at spreading wealth more evenly across the country.

She will tell her audience that after Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, “change is in the air” and it will be essential to help those who have experienced downsides of globalisation.

Mrs May is set to say: “To be the true global champion of free trade in this new modern world, we also need to do something to help those families and communities who can actually lose out from it.

“Not standing inflexibly, refusing to change and still fighting the battles of the past, but adapting to the moment, evolving our thinking and seizing the opportunities ahead.

“That is the kind of leadership we need today. And I believe that it is Britain’s historic global opportunity to provide it.”

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Mrs May will say leaving the EU shows “how a free, flexible, ambitious country can step up to a new global role”.

“This is a new direction – a new approach to managing the forces of globalisation so that they work for all – and it is the course on which the government I lead has embarked,” she will say.

She will cite the UK’s recent agreement to keep Nissan car production in the north-east of England and the development of a global hub to repair and maintain fighter aircraft in Wales as evidence of an industrial strategy that is competitive and takes wider social and cultural factors into account.

Mrs May, who has called for more employee representatives on company boards and greater disclosure about corporate pay, will also pledge to crack down on unfair business practices which “undermine faith in capitalism and free markets”.

The Mansion House speech is one of the major foreign policy and security addresses which the prime minister makes every year.

Nissan car workers in SunderlandImage copyrightPA
Image captionNissan and other firms have benefited from an activist industrial strategy, Mrs May will say

Shadow lord president of the council Jon Trickett said: “Theresa May ‎has spent the early days of her time in Number 10 giving speeches about spreading opportunity and providing leadership but her actions have betrayed her.

“She talks about leading Europe. But has no plan for Brexit. She talks about extending opportunity. But Britain’s working people are worse off. And she talks about transforming the economy. But all that is on offer is more cuts, poor investment and little, if any, growth.”

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage’s meeting with US president-elect Mr Trump over the weekend meant he was the first British politician to meet Mr Trump since his election.

Some Conservatives are questioning Mrs May’s refusal to entertain any role for the interim UKIP leader in building links with the US administration.

But the prime minister will say she is looking forward to doing more trade with “old allies” after Brexit.

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Read more at BBC

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