Brexit: Philip Hammond and Liam Fox finally agree on a "time-limited" transition period to avoid "cliff-edge" after UK leaves EU

Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
Philip Hammond and Liam Fox have previously disagreed over a post-Brexit transition (Source: Getty)

Appearing to put aside their opposing views on Brexit after weeks of squabbling, chancellor Philip Hammond and trade secretary Liam Fox have finally agreed that there will be a fixed transition period after the UK leaves the EU.

Writing together, the pair who have been at odds over the summer when it comes to Brexit amid a divide within Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet, said there should be a "time-limited" transition period after the country officially leaves Europe in March 2019.

Read more: Britain's most senior judge calls for Brexit clarity

The UK will leave the Customs Union and Single Market they said, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, but there will be a "time-limited" transition period with the aim of helping business adjust and to avoid a "cliff-edge". But they warned this would not be "a back door to staying in the EU".

"We are both clear that during this period the UK will be outside the single market and outside the customs union and will be a 'third-country' not party to EU treaties," they said.

Read more: These groups are crowdfunding a Brexit-blocking "war chest"

"But we are also clear that during this period our borders must continue to operate smoothly; goods bought on the internet must still cross borders; businesses must still be able to supply their customers across the EU and our innovative, world-leading companies must be able to hire the talent they need, including from within the EU."

Hammond had asserted in July that there was a majority support in among the cabinet for a transition deal, adding that he believed this would last for "a couple of years" rather than months. Fox had said any transition should last months, though later softened that stance, giving a deadline of a 2022, the year of the next scheduled General Election.

Labour MP David Miliband today praised the chancellor over his push for a transition, while also calling for a second vote on Brexit.

Related articles