The official date of Brexit may be closer than you think

Catherine Neilan
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Is it Brexit yet? No - but the official date may be closer than you think, with reports suggesting the UK is falling in with the EU's suggestion that the transition period end in December 2020.

The Sun reports that the UK's negotiators are planning to agree to the Brussels timetable, which would see the country formally leave the bloc on New Year's Eve - three months ahead of the time provisionally earmarked.

Although Prime Minister Theresa May has not given a definitive timetable, she said during her speech in Florence last year that she saw transition as lasting "around two years" - a period subsequently repeated by government spokespeople - meaning Brexit would formally occur in March 2021.

But the EU, led by chief negotiator Michel Barnier, has called for it to end in December 2020.

The Sun quotes one government source as saying this would fall within the period set out by the Prime Minister and a Whitehall source suggests the idea has broad support.

However, as reported by City A.M. this morning, there are still several issues on which there is no government consensus.

Tomorrow foreign secretary Boris Johnson is due to make a major speech setting out his vision for post-Brexit trade. It is thought he will make the case for regulatory divergence - although this is an area that former Leave campaigner and sometime ally Michael Gove is understood to be at odds with him over.

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