Brexit: Hammond and Fox pledge fixed transition to avoid 'cliff-edge'

Writing for the Telegraph, Philip Hammond and Liam Fox - the former backed Remain, the latter is a passionate Eurosceptic - spell out the Government's Brexit plans with one voice.

Writing in a joint article in the Sunday Telegraph, two of Prime Minister Theresa May's most senior ministers said that the United Kingdom will seek a transition deal for leaving the European Union, but that any deal will not be a "back door" to staying in the bloc and would be limited in its time period.

The two leading politicians said the government wanted to ensure "there will not be a cliff-edge when we leave the EU".

They said a "time-limited" transition period would "further our national interest and give business greater certainty" - but warned it would not stop Brexit.

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.

"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", Fox and Hammond said.

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. We should. But democracy did not end on June 23, 2016.

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

These include papers on the issue of the Irish border as well as a paper on the future partnership arrangements, including the UK's proposals for a new customs agreement with the EU. In March 2019, Britain will leave the EU.

It's what businesses across Europe have called on both sides to do and will demonstrate that the United Kingdom is ready for the job.

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.

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