Infighting UK ministers seek truce on Brexit transition period

Infighting UK ministers seek truce on Brexit transition period

Senior British ministers presented a united front to negotiations with the European Union on Sunday.

Brussels has refused to start talks on a post-Brexit relationship with London until the immediate issues of Britain's withdrawal، including its "divorce bill،" have been settled.

But according to The Times, UK Government ministers are preparing to rebuff the Irish Government, and instead insist on bringing in a customs border.

In a joint "Sunday Telegraph" article, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond and global trade minister Liam Fox - the two key ministers believed to be on opposing ends of Britain's future outside the EU - also said that the UK will not remain in the customs union during the transitional period.

The finance minister's Brexit department said it would publish some papers, including plans for a new customs arrangement and how to resolve the problems of a non-existent border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Soubry said: "If the prime minister or her successor [in the event of May standing down] is not prepared to confront the ideologues, I gravely fear that the party could split - and that would change Britain's political landscape completely".

"By triggering Article 50 in March of this year we leave in March 2019, what the transition period will look like is down to the negotiations", he said during a surprise appearance at Alex Salmond's show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

"We've been crystal clear that issues around our withdrawal and our future partnership are inextricably linked, and the negotiations so far have reinforced that view", the Department for Exiting the European Union said in the statement released on Sunday.

Since May lost her parliamentary majority in a election gamble in June, infighting between members of her cabinet has appeared, with disagreements on issues including whether freedom of movement of European Union nationals should continue after Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.

The bloc's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said last month there was "a clock ticking" on the talks. But the British government rejected the report.

David Davis, the Brexit secretary said the publication of the papers, which will begin this week, would mark "an important next step" towards delivering last year's referendum vote to leave the EU.

His gloomy assessment cast doubt on whether the talks will have made enough progress to begin discussions in the autumn on a new free-trade deal between the United Kingdom and the EU.

Barnier is due to meet Britain's Brexit minister, David Davis, for a new round of negotiations at the end of August.

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