‘Brexit SABOTAGE’ fears as Hammond says Britain could keep ties with EU for FOUR YEARS

PHILIP Hammond triggered alarm over the Government’s Brexit plans today by suggesting Britain could keep many ties to Brussels for at least four years after leaving the EU.

By MACER HALLHammond: We will negotiate transitional arrangements
In a interview, the Chancellor repeated his call for a “transition period” to allow businesses time to adjust to new arrangements following the country’s departure from the bloc scheduled for March 2019.And he gave a fresh indication of the possible timescale by confirming that the changeover to full independence could take “three or four years or even longer”.

The cabinet minister, who was a firm supporter of the Remain campaign during last year’s referendum, said: “All these things remain to be negotiated.”

His remarks provoked calls from Euro-sceptic Tory MPs for the Government to clarify exactly what aspects of EU membership could be retained for the so-called transition period.

All these things remain to be negotiated

Philip Hammond

There were fears his plans could mean the UK keeping an open-door to EU migrants longer than expected, continuing with multi-billion payments to Brussels and remaining committed to many EU Single Market regulations.And concern is growing that senior Tory ministers are deeply divided over the pace and details of the process.

Mr said it was in the interests of both Britain and the EU that there was an early agreement in the Brexit negotiations to ensure there was no “cliff edge” break when the UK finally quits the bloc.

Philip HammondGETTY        Philip Hammond suggested Britain could keep many ties to Brussels for at least four years

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if such transitional arrangements could remain in place for three or four years “or even longer”, Mr Hammond replied: “All these things remain to be negotiated.”He added: “We are leaving the European Union but when you buy a house you don’t necessarily move all your furniture in on the first day you buy it. This is a process.

“What people will expect us to do is put in place arrangements that allow us then to move from where we were when we were members of the European Union to where we are going to be in a long-term future partnership with our European neighbours which we hope and expect to negotiate.

“But we will do that via process so we will avoid cliff edges and disruption to business, disruption to the lives of citizens. That is in everybody’s interests.”

Veteran Euro-sceptic Tory backbencher Sir William Cash, who was chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee in the last parliament, said: “We need to know exactly what the transitional arrangements would be.

“We cannot have anything that would prejudice the sovereignty of the UK Parliament. “We cannot leave the EU and yet stay in the Single Market, the customs union or the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.”

Philip HammondGETTY                  There were fears his plans could mean the UK keeping an open-door to EU migrants

And Suella Fernandes, chairwoman of the Brexit-backing European Reform Group of Tory MPs, said: “I think it’s reasonable to have an implementation period as often happens when domestic laws are introduced.”But we do need to be out of the customs union as quickly as possible so that we can get the benefits of increased trade with the rest of the world.”

In his BBC interview, Mr Hammond also warned Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn not to try to exploit the government’s lack of a Commons majority to try to wreck the eight planned parliamentary bills being drafted to smooth Britain’s departure from the EU.

He said: “I hope that the Labour Party and Mr Corbyn will act in the national interest. Of course it is possible for people to make mischief in Parliament, to cause delay in Parliament, but I think they would do so at their peril.

“There is a very clear majority for us to get on with this. Even among people who voted to remain in the European Union, the overwhelming sense now is that we need to get on with this.

“We need to make a success of it but we have got to get on with it.”

The Chancellor sought to play down claims that he was at odds with Theresa May, although he failed to deny reports that she had been planning to sack him after the election.

Jeremy CorbynGETTY                 ‘I hope that the Labour Party and Mr Corbyn will act in the national interest’ says Hammond

 He said: “We get on very well. This is a piece of popular mythology that has been peddled by the media.”I have known Theresa May for many, many years. We work very well together. We have discussions, of course we do, on different issues.

“But she is doing a very difficult and important job now, leading the country through this critical period.

“I am supporting her, right behind her, with her all the way in the job that she is doing because it is in the national interest that we make this Government work well and work well for Britain.”

Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman MEP, a leading member of the Brexit-backing pressure group Leave Means Leave said: “The Chancellor really must clarify what he means by this – it is far too vague and uncertain.

“A transitional arrangement means not making a deal and stringing the process out. This is totally unnecessary and undesirable.

Philip HammondGETTY           ‘I have known Theresa May for many, many years. We work very well together’ says Philip Hammond

“We should also be talking of implementation phases – which implement an agreed deal after the deal is made – and not of transitional arrangements, which means stringing out the making of a deal for longer or having multiple stages.“We must have a clean, swift Brexit in order to quickly benefit from the opportunities Brexit offers. Australia made three trade deals with its biggest customers – Japan, China and Korea – in just one year. We can do the same.

“A three or four year transitional deal is completely unnecessary and undesirable – it is simply extending the period of uncertainty, and is planning for failure not success. It is Brexit sabotage and won’t wash.

“The Government needs to show positive leadership, be optimistic and start selling the opportunities in Brexit not just apologising for the risks. Only that will give British businesses and the economy the stability that is needed.”

Leave a Reply

Help put the World to rights and leave a Comment

Notify of

It is a pity that after the bodged election, May is not strong enough to sack Hammond, who is a closet remoaner-and maybe not so closet! Only leaving the single market and the customs union will we be free of the pestilential EU.

Powered by: Wordpress
%d bloggers like this: