Philip Hammond and Liam Fox in post-Brexit deal call

Judith Bessette
Agosto 13, 2017

Appearing to put aside their opposing views on Brexit after weeks of squabbling, chancellor Philip Hammond and trade secretary Liam Fox have finally agreed that there will be a fixed transition period after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Finally, the Cabinet has put on a show of unity.

It comes as ministers this week set out their detailed aims for Brexit.

A series of papers are being published, including one covering what will happen to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after the United Kingdom has left the EU.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Hammond and Mr Fox said the United Kingdom definitely will leave both the customs union and the single market when it exits the EU in March 2019.

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 can not be indefinite; it can not be a back door to staying in the EU.

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"We are both clear that during this period the United Kingdom will be outside the single market and outside the customs union and will be a "third-country" not party to EU treaties", they said.

"But 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". While Hammond has since June's election sought to re-focus Brexit on the needs of the economy, calling for as smooth a departure as possible, Fox is seen as taking a more hard-line approach.

Mr Hammond has raised the prospect of a Brexit deal that saw little immediate change on issues such as immigration - something Brexiteers have rejected.

He described the outcome of last year's referendum as an "unparalleled act of economic self-harm".

Mr Hammond and Mr Fox write: 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 referendum will be no excuse if the country is driven off a cliff".

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