City economist and ex-Boris Johnson adviser Gerard Lyons wants a two-year Brexit transition period

Lynsey Barber
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Tick tock: Two years is the ideal transition time period for Gerard Lyons (Source: Getty)

A top City economist who backed Brexit and is an ex-adviser to Boris Johnson has called for a Brexit transition period lasting two years

Gerard Lyons shot down talks of a "cliff edge" saying many of the perceived risks to business are not real, countering the general consensus of the City.

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“Agreeing a deal in March 2019 but then knowing what it is and that there is two years before it is implemented helps everyone. There is alarmist talk of a cliff-edge. It reminds me of the Y2K bug where computers were apparently going to stop at the millennium. I prefer the analogy of a bridge. With a bridge we can usually see how long it is and we know where it is taking us," said Lyons, writing in the Sunday Telegraph.

"Many of the ‘risks’ being highlighted about Brexit are perceived risks, not real risks. And a two-year transition would alleviate many concerns.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond has insisted there is a general agreement in the cabinet that a transition period is needed. On Friday he put an estimate of three years on it.

Trade secretary Liam Fox has previously been reluctant in supporting a transition time frame, but has admitted that it may be years, rather than months.

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Today however, he said in an interview with the Sunday Times that he had "not been party to" any talks on such a period for freedom of movement.

The back and forth over a transitional period and its detail has sparked talks of rows in the cabinet while Prime Minister Theresa May is away on holiday during the Parliamentary recess over summer.

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