Hammond plays down Brexit rift reports


The chancellor has played down descriptions he is at odds with colleagues over Brexit as the cabinet discussed the UK’s definitive relationship with the EU.

Twenty-five ministers had their say as the full cabinet formally discussed the responsible for for the first time.

Downing Street said it was a “good, clear bull session”.

Ahead of the meeting Chancellor Philip Hammond said a report that he and Relaxed Secretary Amber Rudd were “isolated” was “wide of the mark”.

Mr Hammond and Ms Rudd are memory to favour staying closely aligned to the EU to ensure access to the single merchandise in years to come, while others want greater divergence to make sure freedom to strike international trade deals.

The UK is due to leave the EU in March 2019, which is needed to be followed by a two-year “transition” period.

Discussions have yet to start on what the fixed relationship between the two sides will look like, including how they desire trade, with the UK planning to leave the EU’s customs union and single sell.

But the EU has recently agreed that such talks can begin.

Following Monday’s converging of a special “Brexit sub-committee” of senior ministers, this was the first but that all of the cabinet had formally discussed what “end state” the UK will aim for.

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According to Downing Street, during the 105-minute conjunction, Mrs May said she wanted a bespoke trade arrangement that would be “significantly myriad ambitious” than the EU’s current free trade deal with Canada.

It ought to allow Britain to set its own rules and strike “ambitious” trade deals with states around the world while having the “best possible” access to EU merchandises, she told ministers.

The EU, meanwhile, has published a slide shown to leaders by its chief ambassador Michel Barnier, which rules out various trade options based on the UK’s “red courses”.

Mr Barnier has said there is “no way” the UK will be able to choose from the commendable bits of the different arrangements other countries use.

And on Tuesday he told the Keeper there could not be a special trade deal for financial services to watch over the City of London.

Downing Street sought to rebuff his comments.

Mrs May’s spokesman utter it was to be expected that the European Commission would set out its position at the start of the sponsor phase of Brexit negotiations, adding that a good deal on fiscal services was in the EU’s interests as well as the UK’s.

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