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Brexit transition would not be way to remain — Hammond and Fox

Brexit transition would not be way to remain — Hammond and Fox

They write that there will be a "time-limited" transition period that would "further our national interest and give business greater certainty", but insist that Brexit will not be halted.

In what seems as an effort to lessen those fears, the ministers write: "We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty - but it can not be indefinite; it can not be a back door to staying in the European Union".

They said the UK's borders "must continue to operate smoothly", that goods bought on the internet "must still cross borders", and "businesses must still be able to supply their customers across the EU" in the weeks and months after Brexit.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said that "with time of the essence, we need to get on with negotiating the bigger issues around our future partnership to ensure we get a deal that delivers a strong United Kingdom and a strong European Union".

Prime Minister Theresa May will hope the intervention of the two ministers will cool temperatures in the Tory ranks amid divisions over Brexit and speculation of a possible leadership challenge when MPs return to Westminster in September.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Britain was seeking a "Schengen area" between Britain and Ireland, which would allow free movement of people and a "light-touch customs regime" across the border of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The government will this week publish the first of three discussion papers ahead of the next round of negotiations, scheduled to start August 28 in Brussels, Brexit Secretary David Davis's office said in a statement on Sunday.




Meanwhile the leading Conservative Remainer Anna Soubry warned the Prime Minister that she needed to face down the "hard Brexiteers" in the Conservative ranks if she wanted to hold on to her position in No 10. "And has that moment arrived yet?" she wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

"But I would be betraying my principles if I did not make it clear that country must always come before party".

A second batch of papers, to be released in the run-up to the October meeting of the European Council in Brussels, will look at "future partnership" arrangements, including the UK's proposals for a new customs agreement with the EU.

Mr Miliband also described Brexit as an "unparalleled act of economic self-harm".

Barnier has expressed concern that the first two rounds have failed to produce clarity on the key issues and that there was "a clock ticking" towards the date in 2019 when Britain would be out of the bloc.

"These papers show we are ready to broaden out the negotiations", the source said.


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