Saturday, 19 August, 2017

UK Expected To Unveil Post-Brexit NI Border Plan This Week

Brexit Secretary David Davis Brexit Secretary David Davis
Saul Franklin | 14 August, 2017, 01:09

In an article in the Sunday Telegraph, the chancellor of the exchequer and the secretary for global trade attempt to paper over divisions that have emerged in the cabinet.

In a further sign that the Conservatives are seeking to show a united front, chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond and trade secretary Liam Fox made a joint statement in which they said a transition period following Brexit isn't a way for Britain to stay in the European Union "through the back door".

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 UK will leave the Customs Union and Single Market they said, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, but there will be a "time-limited" transition period with the aim of helping business adjust and to avoid a "cliff-edge".

Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader, said the article showed that it was not Hammond who "calls the shots" in the cabinet over Brexit.

"Over the summer, we heard that Philip Hammond was courageously fighting off the more extreme Brexiteers". Supposedly he was looking for a compromise to keep Britain within the customs union and single market as long as possible.

In contrast, the joint move was welcomed by the pro-Brexit Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who said it was the "right way forward". "Get job done + on with Global Britain", he wrote on Twitter.

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That period, they said, can not be indefinite and will not be a "back door" to staying in the European Union but rather to ensure a smooth pathway for businesses and citizens alike.

They said the UK's borders "must continue to operate smoothly", that goods bought on the Internet "must still cross borders", and "businesses must still be able to supply their customers across the EU" in the weeks and months after Brexit.

Their article was published as the Conservative MP Anna Soubry said that she and probably other pro-Europeans could leave the party if May insisted on pursuing a hard Brexit. "But I would be betraying my principles if I did not make it clear that country must always come before party".

The EU says those negotiations can't start until sufficient progress has been made on three initial issues: how much money the United Kingdom will have to pay to leave the bloc; whether security checks and customs duties will be instituted on the Irish border; and the status of EU nationals living in Britain.

"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.

"The referendum will be no excuse if the country is driven off a cliff".

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

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