Sunday 2 October 2016 7:56 pm

Two senior Eurosceptic politicians from the continent have suggested the UK could keep Single Market membership

Two Eurosceptic politicians from the continent have argued Britain should be able to retain Single Market membership, and warned Europe's leaders seeking a deal to "punish" the UK for its referendum vote.

Finland's foreign minister and a Flemish MEP both backed Theresa May's ambitions for free trade with EU members at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.

Finn Timo Soini and Belgian Sander Looners are part of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, led by London MEP Syed Kamall.

Soini said today that both the EU and the UK would suffer if European politicians seek to deter other members from leaving by pushing for a severe settlement.

"If the EU punishes the British for leaving both parties will suffer and that is a no-go road. None of us can afford it," Soini said.

"Britain is one of our biggest trading partners," he added. "We want to keep Britain in the Single Market."

And Looners, who also serves as vice-chair of the European Parliament's committee on economic and monetary affairs, added that he saw no reason for the UK to be unable to remain a member of the Single Market and achieve migration reform.

"Personally I see no contraction in providing the British with full access to the Single Market even if you don't want freedom of movement," he said. "Free trade is win-win, even without that."

It comes after UK Brexit secretary David Davis said the UK would seek the "freest trade possible" compatible with migration reform.