May seeks ‘broad energy co-operation’ with EU

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK will want to secure “broad energy co-operation with the EU" after Brexit.

In a speech on the UK's future economic relationship with the EU, May such co-operation “includes protecting the single electricity market across Ireland and Northern Ireland - and exploring options for the UK's continued participation in the EU's internal energy market”.

“We also believe it is of benefit to both sides for the UK to have a close association with Euratom,” she added.

No rolling back on environment

Although the speech didn’t go into detail on specific regulations May also said that the UK Government had no intention of rolling back environmental protections.

"In other areas like workers' rights or the environment, the EU should be confident that we will not engage in a race to the bottom in the standards and protections we set," she said. "There is no serious political constituency in the UK which would support this - quite the opposite."

Last month Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn signalled his party would seek to remain in the EU's internal energy market and Euratom nuclear co-operation treaty after Brexit.

Speech follows Corbyn comments

In a speech setting out Labour’s vision for Britain after it leaves the EU, Corbyn said climate change, pollution and environmental degradation can only be tackled by working together “and many of our closest allies in that struggle are in Europe”.

He pointed out the value of the low carbon economy to the UK, citing Green Alliance estimates that trade in the sector's goods and services contributed over £42 billion to the economy in 2015.

The UK low carbon and renewable energy sector was also expected to increase fivefold by 2030 potentially bringing 2 million jobs and contributing more than 8% of the UK’s total output.

> Read May's speech in full