Theresa May has delivered a Christmas message calling for unity in the UK as the country prepares for Brexit.

Invoking her upbringing in a vicarage, the Prime Minister also paid tribute to those with family who are working away from home over the festive period.

She said: “Coming together is also important for us as a country. As we leave the European Union we must seize an historic opportunity to forge a bold new role for ourselves in the world and to unite our country as we move forward into the future.

Sky News

“And, with our international partners, we must work together to promote trade, increase prosperity and face the challenges to peace and security around the world.

“As we gather with our friends and families at this time of year we proudly celebrate the birth of Christ and the message of forgiveness, love and hope that He brings.

“We also think of Christians in other parts of the world who face persecution this Christmas and re-affirm our determination to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to practise their beliefs in peace and safety.”

Inevitably, the message prompted a mixed response.

THE GOOD

@theresa_may and I wish you the same. I also wish you fortitude and optimism for 2017

— Graham Galpin (@Graham_Galpin) December 24, 2016

@theresa_may Christmas would be better if you would remove the threat of deportation for my family and millions of other EU citizens.

— (((Richard Tol))) (@RichardTol) December 24, 2016

@theresa_may I hope you are wrapped up, sleep well & eat heartily while others are homeless, cannot sleep & queue at food banks. Lucky ol u.

— Alistair McGregor (@gregalach) December 24, 2016

The full speech reads:

This year, the United Kingdom has had much to celebrate. Her Majesty The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday, surrounded by the Royal Family and well-wishers from across our four nations, the Commonwealth, and the world. Four years after the success of London 2012, our Olympic and Paralympic athletes continued to work and train – and they were rewarded by coming second in the medal table, becoming the first team ever to increase its medal haul four years after hosting the Games. Many of us will have more personal memories too, of happy times with family and friends. These are precious moments when people from many backgrounds, with different beliefs, come together to celebrate with families and communities. Coming together is also important for us as a country. As we leave the European Union we must seize an historic opportunity to forge a bold new role for ourselves in the world and to unite our country as we move forward into the future. And, with our international partners, we must work together to promote trade, increase prosperity and face the challenges to peace and security around the world. As we gather with our friends and families at this time of year we proudly celebrate the birth of Christ and the message of forgiveness, love and hope that He brings. We also think of Christians in other parts of the world who face persecution this Christmas and re-affirm our determination to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to practise their beliefs in peace and safety.

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