Theresa May says the UK will know its "future relationship" with the EU before Article 50 talks end

 
Mark Sands
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May is visiting Saudi Arabia and Jordan during a parliamentary recess. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that Britons will have sight of the UK's future outside of the EU within the two years of Brexit negotiations.

Questions have been raised over whether the government will be able to close talks on both trade and divorce terms within the timeframe allowed by Article 50, but May yesterday reiterated her commitment to establishing the UK's "future relationship" before the deadline.

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Speaking in Jordan yesterday, May was quizzed on whether the UK would have to sign a final trade deal on third party terms, which would mean a deal coming after Brexit, in line with the EU's draft negotiating guidelines.

“There's obviously a legal situation in terms of how the EU can conduct trade negotiations,” the Prime Minister responded.

“I'm clear by the point at which we leave the EU, it's right that everyone should know what the future arrangement, relationship, partnership between us and the EU will be. That's the sensible thing. It's a pragmatic way to look at it.”

Read More: Has the Article 50 process got off to a good start?

Labour responded by accusing May of a “significant retreat”. Shadow Brexit minister Paul Blomfield said: “They promised a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU giving the “exact same benefits” we have now. They said it would be ready for the day we leave, along with new trade deals with other countries.

“Now, as they face reality, they are trying to downplay expectations. They need to spell out the transitional deal that will be in place, to stop the economy falling off a cliff edge without new agreements in two years time.”

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