February 22, 2018

Philip Hammond accused of caving to hard line Cabinet Brexiteers

14 August 2017, 12:09 | Kenneth Drake

Sean Gallup Getty Images The Matterhorn

Sean Gallup  Getty Images     
       The Matterhorn

The chancellor clarified the government's position in a statement jointly written with Liam Fox, the worldwide trade secretary, saying that the United Kingdom would be "outside the customs union" during the post-Brexit transition phase and that at that point it would be "a "third country", not party to the EU treaties".

"We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation", the ministers said, adding that the government was committed to make sure there "will not be a cliff-edge when we leave the EU in just over 20 months' time".

Prime Minister Theresa May then called a snap election in an attempt to increase her Conservative Party's majority in Parliament and strengthen her negotiating hand.

News of the offer of a "Schengen area" between Britain and Ireland came as the Government prepares to publish a formal proposal to the European Union on the future of the Northern Irish border.

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.

"By triggering Article 50 in March of this year we leave in March 2019, what the transition period will look like is down to the negotiations", he said during a surprise appearance at Alex Salmond's show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

"We want our economy to remain strong and vibrant through this period of change".

But they warned this would not be "a back door to staying in the EU".

In their article, Fox and Hammond said: "We are also clear that during this period our borders must continue to operate smoothly; goods bought on the internet must still cross borders, businesses must still be able to supply their customers across the European Union, and our innovative, world-leading companies must be able to hire the talent they need, including from within the European Union".

"Nobody voted to be poorer previous year but that is exactly what will happen if the Government continues to put Eurosceptic dogma ahead of the national interest".

"We've been crystal clear that issues around our withdrawal and our future partnership are inextricably linked", a source in Britain's Brexit department said. We should. But democracy did not end on June 23 past year.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May walks behind flags of Europe as she arrives on the second day of a summit of European Union (EU) leaders and focusing on globalization and migration, after the first day was dominated by the future of the EU and the Brexit, on June 23, 2017 in Brussels.

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