British ministers: Brexit transition period "will be important" for businesses

British ministers: Brexit transition period

However, pro-European Finance Minister Hammond and ardent Brexiteer Trade Minister Fox set out a joint position in the Sunday Telegraph that a transition period was needed when Britain leaves the European Union, but single market membership would still end and the interim period would not be used to stop Brexit.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond and the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, write that the transition period is created to avoid a so-called "cliff-edge" - but their comments in the Sunday Telegraph don't reveal how long this period will last.

They wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: "We want our economy to remain strong and vibrant through this period of change".

It added that businesses should be assured there would be no "cliff edge" despite fears expressed that the UK could crash out of the EU without reaching a deal, which would see UK-EU relations revert to World Trade Organisation rules. "That means businesses need to have confidence that there will not be a cliff-edge when we leave the European Union in just over twenty months' time", the pair write.

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.

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.

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Mr Davis' Brexit department said it was preparing to publish several papers, including plans for a new customs arrangement and a proposal on how to resolve the difficulties of a non-physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"I've launched this process because 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 EU", Davis said.

The former business minister also indicated that she could be prepared to join politicians from other parties to stop the country "staggering recklessly" towards a hard break with Brussels.

"Brexit means Brexit" has been the slogan regularly used by the British government to summarise its strategy since last year's referendum vote in favour of leaving the European Union. "But I would be betraying my principles if I did not make it clear that country must always come before party".

"We've been crystal clear that issues around our withdrawal and our future partnership are inextricably linked, and the negotiations so far have reinforced that view".

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