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Britain says will not stay in EU via `back-door`

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EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, welcoming British Secretary of State, David Davis, for a meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels.

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14th-Aug-2017       Readers ( 267 )   0 Comments
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AFP, London :
After weeks of feuding, two key figures in Britain's cabinet came together on Sunday to say any post-Brexit transition would not be a "back door" to continued European Union membership.
Finance minister Philip Hammond, who favours a softer, pro-business Brexit, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, a hardline supporter of Britain leaving the EU, have clashed over the UK's future outside the bloc.
But in a joint article for The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, they agreed there should not be a "cliff-edge" when Britain leaves in March 2019.
They said any transition period would be "time-limited" and that Brexit would mean Britain pulling out of both the European single market and the customs union.
"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 20 months' time," they wrote.
"That is why we believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty-but it cannot be indefinite; it cannot be a back door to staying in the EU.
"We are both clear that during this period the UK will be outside the customs union and will be a 'third country', not a party to EU treaties."
Meanwhile British government ministers were this week due to start publishing detailed papers setting out their aims for the Brexit talks, with Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government facing criticism over a perceived lack of clarity about its negotiating position.
The papers will include one covering the difficult issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland once Britain has left the EU.
Another batch, to be released ahead of the October meeting of the European Council in Brussels, will examine future arrangements including Britain's proposals for a customs agreement with the EU.
Britain's Brexit Secretary David Davis is due to hold a third round of talks with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels at the end of August.
Meanwhile, Britain needs a transition period to soften its exit from the European Union, but it cannot be used to stop Brexit, two senior ministers said on Sunday, signaling a truce between rival factions in Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet.
May's Brexit strategy has been the subject of open debate among her top team ever since a botched June election which weakened her authority and exposed differences of opinion over how Britain should manage its departure from the bloc.
However, the pro-European Chancellor Philip Hammond and ardent Brexiteer trade minister Liam Fox looked to end the debate by setting out a joint position in a newspaper article, as Britain said it was ready to push on with Brexit talks.

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