Why Theresa May’s secret speech really does matter


May displayed much stronger attachment to staying in EU in private than lukewarm public support she gave to remain campaign.

The disclosure of Theresa May’s private Brexit campaign speech to US bankers, Goldman Sachs, cannot be dismissed as an unsurprising confirmation of her pre-referendum remain views.

For it clearly shows that in private she was prepared to articulate a much stronger attachment to staying in the European Union than the lukewarm public support she gave to the remain campaign in the one major public speech she made during the campaign.

There is also a reason to believe that the Goldman Sachs speech was much closer to her own personal views because they reflect the fact that May’s entire career before going into politics was at the Bank of England and as a European lobbyist for the financial service industry.

In both speeches she stressed her belief that Britain should take a lead in Europe and voters should look to a future of reform rather than to past failures.

But in her private hour-long session with Goldmann Sachs she went much further and revealed her strong support for Britain remaining in the single market. She went on to deliver a stark warning that leaving the single market would deter international investors from Britain and lead major companies to question whether they should relocate to mainland Europe.