THERESA MAY told MPs yesterday that Britain will seek to strike trade deals with non-EU countries despite potentially being bound by the bloc's rules during a two-year transition period after Brexit takes effect.
The Prime Minister said she wanted “access to one another’s markets” to continue “as now” during an implementation period before Britain eventually drops out of the single market and customs union.
EU guidelines say that this country will have to comply with the bloc's trade policy during a transition period, and that this would prevent the government from striking deals with other non-EU nations.
But Ms May said she wanted to sign agreements before the “strictly time-limited” period ends that would come into force afterwards.
A Cabinet meeting earlier yesterday concluded without senior ministers agreeing a position on what trade relationship with the EU Britain should pursue during exit negotiations.
There was discussion of the potential for “gradual divergence” – a step-by-step move away from EU laws after Brexit and the end of the implementation period in 2021.
The meeting coincided with a senior adviser to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warning that Britain could not “cherry-pick” the advantages of different trading models with the EU.
Ms May’s spokesman said she was determined to seek a bespoke deal, rather than one modelled on pre-existing examples such as Norway’s membership of the European Economic Area or a Canada’s free trade deal on goods.
The spokesman also claimed that the Prime Minister was committed to “maintaining and where possible enhancing” workers’ rights following Brexit, after she has been urged by the TUC not to scrap the EU Working Time Directive, which limits the working week to 48 hours and guarantees paid holiday for part-time and casual workers.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.