A UK cabinet minister has said Britain will be leaving the single market in the strongest signal yet that the government is moving towards a hard Brexit.
The remarks came from David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland, at a hearing on the impact of the Brexit vote, Reuters has reported.
Mundell told Scottish lawmakers: "If we are leaving the EU, we are leaving the single market."
Businesses and financial markets are worried about a hard Brexit, which would restrict access to the European Union's single market, comprising of 500m consumers.
Negotiations with the European Union will kick off when Article 50 is triggered in March next year. Prime Minister Theresa May has said that there is a "false dichotomy" between access to the single market and restricting the freedom of movement. However, Europe's most powerful leader, Angela Merkel, has made it clear that Britain can't have both.
There have been rumours that May is looking for a special carve-outs for bankers to ensure that they get access to the single market, and the EU's regulatory framework.
The Labour opposition is against the move. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: "Britain has voted to leave the EU, it has not voted for paying huge fees for special favours for bankers."