She says Britain owes it to the people of Ireland to ensure Brexit does not threaten the peace process

The British Prime Minister has insisted that her government will ever accept any “physical infrastructure” on the Irish border.

The Taoiseach's said Theresa May's speech today means we're less likely to have a hard Brexit.

Leo Varadkar says her commitment to maintaining an invisible border so as not to damage the peace process shows progress.

Speaking in Florence, Theresa May set out her vision for a future partnership between the UK and the EU.

She called for a transition deal to be put in place while the details of Britain’s final exit from the bloc are hammered out.

She said she expected this “implementation period” to last approximately two years from when Britain officially leaves in 2019.

Referencing Ireland, she said Britain had “recognised from the outset that there are unique issues to consider when it comes to Northern Ireland.”

“The UK government, the Irish government and the EU as a whole have been clear that through the process of our withdrawal, we will protect progress made in Northern Ireland over recent years and the lives and livelihoods that depend on this progress,” she said.

“As part of this, we and the EU have committed to protecting the Belfast Agreement and the Common travel Area.

“Looking ahead, we have both stated explicitly that we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border.

“We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland and indeed to everyone on the island of Ireland to see through those commitments.”

She called for a new “ambitious economic partnership” between the UK and the EU – warning that this should not be modelled on any existing trade deals.

She also rejected the rejected the option of Britain remaining within the European Economic Area.