He noted she had recognized that Britain must accept "trade-offs" in terms of reduced access to EU markets as she clarified once more her determination to leave both the EU's customs union and its single market. She said it is in both negotiating parties interests to strike an open deal on financial services, given the EU's reliance on London-based financial markets.

In her address, the Prime Minister insisted a good trade deal was possible from the Brexit talks.

In a much-anticipated speech which the European Union hopes will offer details of her plan for Britain's future after Brexit, May will try to defuse a dispute over the border with Ireland that threatens to stall the Brexit talks.

"I'm not going to let our departure from the European Union to setback the historic progress we've made in Northern Ireland". "The future of our trading relationship is up there with the most critical issues facing the British farming industry".

"Actually what the Prime Minister is doing here is bringing those sides together. And I fully expect that our standards will remain at least as high as the EU's". The USA and Canada have only been deemed to be partially adequate, and the data sharing with the USA is governed by the 2016 Privacy Shield agreement. "Even after we have left the jurisdiction of the ECJ, EU law and the decisions of the ECJ will continue to affect us", she said.

"We will now need to see more detailed and realistic proposals from the UK".

But she added: "Unlike some politicians, I have actually been straight with people because there are choices to be made".

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In her speech, May said she was "confident" that a deal was "achievable" and her message to the European Union was: "We know what we want". Disputes would be resolved through British courts.

She also reiterated her intention to abandon European mechanisms such as the common market, but explained that her nation wants to avoid the establishment of any type of border after the separation and proposed the creation of an effective association or customs agreement with the bloc.

"First, the agreement we reach with the European Union must respect the result of the referendum". So it will be particularly important to have domestic flexibility, to ensure the regulatory environment can always respond nimbly and ambitiously to new developments.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, who was prevented from attending the speech because of the snow, tweeted a picture of himself giving a thumbs-up while arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg praised the PM for her "statesmanlike speech", which he said had set out the hard facts about leaving the EU. "I don't see how we could reach an agreement on Brexit if the government continues to bury its head in the sand", said leading German MEP Markus Weber.

There would be no "race to the bottom" in areas such as workers' rights and the environment - and the voters would not support it, she pledged. By close alignment on key issues like data flows coupled with world-beating regulation here at home, the United Kingdom tech sector can thrive.

There are of course still questions to answer and further detail that is needed, for example around the kind of technologies the Government wants to deliver for the border. techUK looks forward to working through this detail to help Government deliver on this plan.

The DUP leader welcomed the Prime Minister's pledge that one of her five tests for a Brexit deal was "strengthening the Union". They will have their own demands and requirements for a free trade agreement.