Theresa May: Brexit transition period could be less than two years "in some areas"

Emma Haslett
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Conservative Party Conference 2017- Day Two
May said some "areas" could have a shorter Brexit transition period (Source: Getty)

Theresa May provided a hint the UK's Brexit transition period could be tailored by industry today, saying it could last "less than two years in some areas".

In an interview on the BBC's Today programme ahead of a landmark speech by the foreign secretary at the Conservative Party conference today, May said:

I said [transition will be] around two years because it's a practical period. But what I also said is that it could be less than two years in some areas. If we find there are some things that can be changed in a shorted period of time [then they will be].

Asked whether the government will publish an outline of its plans for what happens if it cannot reach a deal with the European Union, May added:

I think what we should be doing is what we are doing, [which is] doing work across departments saying what work will need to take place... if there is a "no deal".

Read more: Theresa May's Help to Buy extension to deliver big boost to housebuilders

Boris takes the stage

May's comments came as Boris prepared to take the stage on the penultimate day of the Tory conference. Although the speech has not been trailed, he is expected to build on an interview last week in which he set out his Brexit demands.

The foreign secretary's so-called red lines included "no monkeying around", a transation period lasting "not a second more" than two years", and an insitence the UK must not accept and new EU of European Courts of Justice rulings during the transition period.

“You heard the Prime Minister say very clearly in Florence that she envisages the transition period being run under existing arrangements — that was the phrase she used, ‘The existing rules’," he said.

“What I have always said is that we will pay for things that are reasonable, scientific programmes.

“But when it comes to paying for access to the market, that won’t happen any more than we would expect them to pay us for access to our market.”

Read more: Lords committee launches inquiry into cost of Brexit transition period

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