Transition Must Be Short Enough to Keep UK Appealing to New Trade Partners

As Guido reported yesterday morning, most Leave Tory MPs are on board with David Davis’ customs union plan. The influential European Research Group of 80+ Tory Brexiteers last night gave their blessing to the “welcome” proposal. What Leave MPs do want is for the transition period to be as short as possible. Leave Tories have indicated they support a time-limited transition completed by the next election, though they would obviously prefer it lasted closer to 1-2 years than 3. They have several arguments for this. One, the transition phase must be short enough to keep the UK appealing to new trade partners – a very important point which is being argued by Leave MPs at the moment. Two, it must be strictly time-limited and short enough to allay concerns it could be used to keep the UK in the EU by the back door. Three, Tory MPs believe it is vital voters see as much progress as possible on the results of Brexit, on immigration and new trade deals, before the next election. As we said yesterday, that means the transition finishing with time to spare…

This is the latest “Cabinet row erupts” story in the papers. When you consider previous “splits” on the single market, customs union etc, a debate boiling down to a matter of a few months is relatively small fry. As Guido has said for some time, there is a broad Cabinet consensus on the trajectory of the Brexit process – Stephen Pollard is worth a read on this today. It is nonetheless important for Leave MPs to keep up the pressure on the length of the implementation phase. The shorter the transition the better it is for trade deals, and the less likely it is for Britain to stay in the EU by the back door…




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