United Kingdom eyes Brexit transition deal in march

Brexit: David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg spar over extending Article 50

Speaking in Davos, Mr Hammond insisted he was in line with Downing Street in wanting to negotiate a "pragmatic Brexit" which delivers on the results of the referendum.

In his speech on Friday, the Brexit minister said Britain would negotiate its own trade deals during the transition period and seek to sign them, even if they could not come into effect until afterwards.

The guidance, obtained by Channel 4 News, says any changes to the European Union "acquis" - the accumulated body of case law and legislation - should "automatically" apply to Britain during the transition, even though it will have no say in the decision-making process.

"We will not be subject to the duty of honest co-operation, which is what stops us arriving at trade deals now, negotiating and signing trade deals now, so that freedom will exist".

But a time-limited transitional or "implementation" period - thought likely to last up to two years - is expected to come into force first, before the terms of the UK's ultimate relationship with the European Union have been finalised, to avoid a "cliff edge" for businesses. The minister said a transition deal was essential to give governments and businesses time to adapt to the future arrangement.

The speech comes amid a row in his party over the government's approach to Brexit negotiations with influential Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg accusing United Kingdom negotiators of being "cowed by the EU".

Mr. Rees-Mogg is expected to lead the pushback, which may take form over the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill.

He later told Davis to: "Be honest about it". And there is brewing anxiety among Theresa May's Brexiteer base that what was billed originally as an implementation phase, where we move from one system to another, will be more like two years stuck in aspic.

However, Davis used his speech today, in Middlesbrough, North East England, to paint an optimistic portrait of Britain's trading opportunities after Brexit.

"But participating in a customs union should not preclude us from formally negotiating - or indeed signing - trade agreements", he said, adding that any such trade deals would then enter into force at the end of the transition period.

Amid reports that Eurosceptics are also anxious that Mrs May was being bounced into a "soft Brexit" by civil servants as she lacks authority, a Number 10 source said: "The PM triggered Article 50, she set direction of the Brexit negotiations in her Lancaster House and Florence speeches and personally secured the deal that led to sufficient progress". Increasingly, we trade with key emerging markets in Asia and America.

"The UK's fastest growing export markets between 2005 and 2014 included countries like China and Brazil". In that time Britain will not be at the decision-making table.

Representatives from Britain's Brexit department have been meeting with European Union officials in Brussels in recent weeks, said Davis, but formal negotiations will restart in March after a deal was struck before Christmas on the withdrawal arrangements.

Leading Tory Brexiteers Jacob Rees-Mogg said he "profoundly disagrees" with the comments.

Referring to Prime Minister Theresa May's Lancaster House speech, Ms Villiers said it was that "optimistic vision" that needed to be at the forefront of the negotiations.

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