UK ministers present united front on Brexit

Pauline Gross
August 13, 2017

Britain is keen to start talking about its post-Brexit relationship with Europe, wary of the need to reassure anxious businesses, citizens and investors.

The disclosure comes as Britain's Brexit secretary David Davis prepares to embark on a third round of talks with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, in the Belgian capital at the end of August.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, the remain-backing Finance Minister Philip Hammond and the Eurosceptic Trade Minister Liam Fox said Britain would leave the European Union in March 2019, there would be a short "interim period" to smooth the transition during which Britain would not be party to European Union treaties and after that Britain would become fully independent.

They will start with one covering the thorny issues of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic to be followed in the autumn by a second series looking at the future relationship with the European Union, including post-Brexit customs arrangements.

"And over the coming weeks we'll advance that thinking with a swathe of new future partnership papers".

Her comments came as Labour former foreign secretary David Miliband issued a call for politicians on all sides to fight back against the "worst consequences" of last year's vote for Britain to leave the EU. The two sides will be looking for a solution to those issues at the next round of talks due at the end of this month.

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The decision to announce the publications indicates Britain's desire to counter criticism from Brussels about its approach to the talks.

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.

Another paper will set out how to ensure "continuity in the availability of goods", addressing the vexed issue of future customs arrangements.

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 between the United Kingdom and the EU, including the UK's proposals for a new customs arrangement with the bloc.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox wrote in a joint article for The Telegraph newspaper, that London would not be side to the European Union treaties for Brexit transition period.

Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered the Brexit process on March 29 and divorce negotiations officially began on June 19.

Other reports by GizPress

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