The Brexit transition period could extend beyond the next election

 
Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Post-Brexit transition measures could be in place until after the next General Election, Brexit secretary David Davis has said.

Yesterday, Theresa May committed to a "phased" introduction for a new trading relationship with Europe, but today Davis stressed while such a process "won't be very long", it could last until 2021.

May will launch two years of negotiations with the EU by March this year, and Davis said today that process will be followed by an implementation phase running for "a year or two".

The UK is currently set to go to the polls in May 2020.

Read More: Is letting Parliament vote on the Brexit deal a disaster waiting to happen?

Speaking on the Today programme, he said: "Those interim arrangements will be determined by what the final outcome will be. If the final outcome is very like where are now then it won't be very long. If it is very different, then they will be longer."

Asked if the transition could last as long as five years, Davis said "I doubt it".

Read More: "No deal" or "Bad deal" - Six things we learned from May's Brexit speech

The Brexit secretary also played down fears the UK will struggle to complete its negotiations with Europe within the two-year timeframe allotted by the Article 50 process.

Davis conceded that the European Union is "notoriously slow" on trade deals. However, he added: "We are unique in a number of respects.

"The thing that takes a lot of time is getting all the product standards on the same basis. We are already there, we are already in that position."

He added the UK benefits from the fact trade with the EU already operates on a non-tariff basis.

"There is £290bn of trade that comes into Britain," Davis said.

He added he will tell member-states: "You want that to be tariff free, so do we."

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