Published: Tue, August 01, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Brexit Latest: Cabinet torn over Brexit negotiations as PM enjoys holiday

Brexit Latest: Cabinet torn over Brexit negotiations as PM enjoys holiday

Free movement for European Union citizens to Britain will end in March 2019, it's been announced.

"This remains the position of the Prime Minister and of the government".

The International Trade Secretary said he had not been involved in any Cabinet talks on extending free movement for up to three years after Brexit, stating: "If there have been discussions on that I have not been party to them".

Hammond - whose cabinet position was solidified after May lost her majority in parliament after June's general election - has been pushing for a simple transitional deal out of concern that negotiations in the 2-year time-frame, provided by Article 50, can not produce a comprehensive transitional deal.

The total figure was split +175,00 for non-EU nationals, +113,000 for European Union nationals and -60,000 for British citizens, suggesting the United Kingdom government should not just concentrate on reducing European Union immigration if it wants to meet its target.

The scheme could also help firms access finance after Brexit, because now businesses rely on the European Investment Fund, which they may lose access to after the UK's withdrawal from the EU. However, within a matter of days, trade secretary Liam Fox hit back at the notion there was any consensus on retaining freedom of movement during a transitional deal.

Mrs May's spokesman also said the PM was clear that any transitional deal - or "implementation period" - would be time limited and would not turn into "some kind of permanent political purgatory".

"The amount of tax that we raise, measured as a percentage of GDP, is within the European average and I think we will remain at that level".

May herself is now on vacation so the comments are not directly attributed to her. "That would not be good for Britain, but nor do I believe it would be good for the EU".

"Free movement will end in March 2019", May's spokesman told reporters, adding that the government had already set out some details including proposals on European Union citizens rights post-Brexit.

Hammond's commitment to maintain present tax and social policies has irritated Tory MPs hoping that Brexit will mean a clean break from Brussels, according to the Times.

'That is neither our plan nor our vision for the future.

Number 10's intervention came as ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sir Michael Fallon sought to play down reports of cabinet splits, especially between Hammond and the worldwide trade secretary, Liam Fox.

Reports emerged over the weekend that both Dr Fox and the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson claimed they had not been pre-briefed about immigration plans set out by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd last week.

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