Hammond, Fox Say Transition Won't Be Back Door to Staying in EU

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U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Trade Secretary Liam Fox made a joint declaration that calling for a

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Trade Secretary Liam Fox made a joint declaration that calling for a transition period after Brexit isn’t a way for Britain to stay in the European Union “through the back door,” as they confirmed the U.K. will leave the customs union and the single market.

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Philip Hammond

Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

The statement, by the ministers seen as representing the opposing visions of Brexit in Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, confirmed the government will be pushing for a period of transition so businesses can avoid a “cliff edge.” But they sought to quash criticism by some Brexit supporters that this amounted to trying to prevent Britain from departing the bloc.

“We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation,” Hammond and Fox wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. “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.”

The decision to pen a joint article comes amid reports May’s cabinet has split three ways on how to navigate Britain’s exit form the bloc. 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. He has, however, compromised by agreeing to a transition period, albeit as short a one as possible.

Sunday’s intervention will seek to reassure both voters and the EU that the government is adopting a united front.

“We are both clear that during this period the U.K. 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.

“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 EU, and our innovative, world-leading companies must be able to hire the talent they need, including from within the EU.”

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    Article Hammond, Fox Say Transition Won't Be Back Door to Staying in EU compiled by www.bloomberg.com

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