David Davis introduced confusion into the Government’s approach to Brexit today, saying that Britain would not stay in the Single Market or the Customs Union as part of a transitional deal with the European Union, while Chancellor Philip Hammond was in Berlin calling for transition and warning of the dangers of a “cliff-edge.”
Speaking at the Times CEO Summit, the Brexit Secretary, asked whether Customs Union membership would be required as part of a temporary transitional arrangement, said “I wouldn’t think so.” Mr Davis also, in response to a question by Open Britain Chairman Roland Rudd, ruled out Single Market membership as a transitional stage because of the impact on immigration control.
Meanwhile, in a speech in Berlin, the Chancellor warned that a challenge for Brexit would be to “agree, at an appropriate stage, transitional arrangements to get to the new relationship without damaging business confidence and disrupting cross-border trade and investment along the way. In other words the risk of a ‘cliff-edge’.”
Commenting, Roland Rudd, Chairman of Open Britain, said:
“To protect our economy during the Brexit process, it is vital that the Government negotiates a transitional period that keeps Britain in the Single Market and Customs Union until a trade deal that gives us the ‘exact same benefits’ can be negotiated. It is truly concerning that the Brexit Secretary appears to have ruled this out.
“I hope that common sense wins the day within Whitehall, and the Chancellor and other Ministers make their views known and prevent a hard Brexit with no transition that would put our economy at risk.”
Notes to editors:
Philip Hammond’s Berlin speech is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/cdu-economic-council-annual-conference-chancellors-words