A summer of Conservative infighting appears to have ceased after two opposing big beasts in Theresa May’s cabinet buried the hatchet over Brexit. The chancellor Philip Hammond and international trade secretary Liam Fox – prominent Remain and Leave advocates respectively – have jointly confirmed there will be a transition period after leaving the European Union and that the country will leave the single market and customs union.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the pair appear to end months of bickering and confirm the transition period in order to steer the country away from a cliff-edge when it leaves.
“We respect the will of the British people – in March 2019 the United Kingdom will leave the European Union,” they said. “We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation.
“We will leave the single market, because there was a vote for change on June 23rd and that is what we will deliver.
“We want our economy to remain strong and vibrant through this period of change. That means businesses need to have confidence that there will not be a cliff-edge when we leave the EU in just over twenty months’ time.”
That period, they said, cannot be indefinite and will not be a “back door” to staying in the EU but rather to ensure a smooth pathway for businesses and citizens alike.
The thawing in relations comes at a critical time for the prime minister whose leadership was challenged by the poor showing at the general election in June. The united front comes as the government prepares to publish a series of papers on Brexit covering the Irish border, the customs union, fisheries and agriculture.
It has been reported May will look to get on the front foot by offering Irish citizens free movement into and out of Britain after the UK leaves the union.
Source : IBtimes