Britain will not be able to conduct parallel talks with the EU on both the Brexit agreement and a future trading relationship, Angela Merkel has said.
In her letter triggering Article 50, Theresa May said she believed it "is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union".
However, commenting in Berlin, the German Chancellor said: “The negotiations must first clarify how we will disentangle our interlinked relationship... and only when this question is dealt with, can we, hopefully soon after, begin talking about our future relationship.”
It comes after other key planks of the Government’s Brexit position were slapped down by the European Parliament and European Council President Donald Tusk.
Commenting, Chris Leslie MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said:
“Hours after invoking Article 50, the Prime Minister’s plan has been roundly rejected by Europe. Angela Merkel’s slapdown makes a two year timetable almost impossible and, therefore, the Prime Minister’s reluctance to accept a transition agreement is unsustainable.
“The Prime Minister’s pledges are unravelling. Both member states and the European Parliament say Britain will have to pay our liabilities. The Parliament has confirmed there is no chance that Britain can leave the Single Market and get a trade deal that delivers the ‘exact same benefits’. Ministers admit migration may go up, not down. The Prime Minister has said we will hand control to Europe over setting regulations, not take it back.
“The promises made by Government ministers and the Leave campaigners are clearly not worth the paper they are written on. The Government needs to drop the inflated rhetoric and deal with the reality of Brexit.”
Notes to editors:
Since Article 50 was formally invoked:
- Chancellor Merkel said the UK could not talk about the exiting agreement and trade talks in parallel – when the Prime Minister said that we could.
- The European Parliament said we could not leave the Single Market and keep the ‘exact same benefits’ – when David Davis has said we can.
- Both the European Parliament and Donald Tusk have reiterated that the UK will need to pay its liabilities – when Boris Johnson has said the UK will get large amounts of money back from Brussels.
- The Prime Minister has confirmed we will lose control over EU regulations that will always have a large impact on our economy.