UK govt sees need for phased Brexit: Philip Hammond

LONDON : Senior members of the government are becoming convinced of the need for a phased British departure from the European Union to help protect the economy, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday.

Brexit minister David Davis heads to Brussels on Monday for a first full round of talks with EU officials hoping the British government, yet to set out detailed proposals on several major issues, begins to show more urgency about doing a deal before Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.

Hammond is seen as the voice of a so-called soft Brexit within Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, favoring prioritizing trade ties with the EU over curbing immigration.

With May weakened by a failed election gamble last month which saw her Conservatives lose their parliamentary majority, Britain’s weekend papers were full of stories of infighting as cabinet colleagues reportedly vie for her job.

Hammond, regarded as one potential successor to May, has repeatedly talked about the need for a transitional deal, saying such an arrangement would see Britain replicate as much as possible the existing arrangements in order to minimize the impact on business.

Hammond said the majority of his colleagues now recognized this was the right and sensible way to go.

Source : Reuters



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