PM to tell Davos: ‘Listen to those left behind’

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The Prime Minister will use her first appearance at the exclusive gathering to say that Brexit was a response to people feeling dispossessed.

In her speech at the Alpine resort, Mrs May is set to echo the words she used when taking office, when she spoke of governing for the many rather than a “privileged few”.

According to Downing Street sources, Mrs May will say that globalisation and free markets have delivered wealth and prosperity for millions but that many others had experienced its downsides, such as having their jobs outsourced, wages undercut and their communities rapidly changed.

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A source told Sky News the message “won’t be combative” but said: “The PM is reflecting themes she’s spoken about before – that change has to come in order to benefit who have been left behind.”

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, sets out her vision of 'a global Britain'.


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Mrs May declared in her Brexit plan this week that Britain would be leaving the single market but that she intended to strike a free trade deal with Europe which would protect jobs and living standards.

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Her speech at Davos will be aimed at drumming up trade and investment, as she plans to tell world leaders that Britain is set to “rediscover” its role as a “great, global trading nation” outside Europe.

Modern slavery will also feature in the speech, the first time the issue – which the Prime Minister has long highlighted and has described as a “barbaric evil” – has been raised at the World Economic Forum.

World leaders and captains of industry will be urged by the Prime Minister to eliminate the scourge which affects around 45 million people worldwide, but is often hidden in complex supply chains.

On becoming Prime Minister, Mrs May listed modern slavery as one of the issues which made her angry.

Two years ago, as Home Secretary, she brought in a Modern Slavery Act in Britain to tackle it.

UK and EU flags


Video:May speech receives mixed EU response

Mrs May’s Brexit plan had a mixed reception in Europe, and the Prime Minister will have bilateral meetings with other leaders in the margins of the summit to discuss trade deals.

But her speech comes just hours after a blow to the City – as Europe’s biggest bank HSBC announced plans to move 1,000 UK-based jobs to Paris in two years’ time when Brexit comes into effect.

HSBC is the first bank to outline job losses but the news follows a leaked warning from JP Morgan that Mrs May’s threat to walk away from Europe if we do not secure a good deal is “dangerous for jobs”.

The move will trigger fears about a wider exodus from the financial sector, which accounts for 12% of Britain’s economy and employs over two million people.

Insurance giant Lloyds of London has already warned it will need a subsidiary in Germany or Holland to do business post-Brexit and UBS is also considering moving some staff to mainland Europe.

Theresa May’s speech in Davos will be live on Sky News Sunrise from 9am.

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