Bri­tish gov­ern­ment dis­tances it­self from Brexit strat­egy memo

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE Bri­tish gov­ern­ment dis­tanced it­self from a memo out­lin­ing plans for Brexit spot­ted as a law­maker left Down­ing Street, which in­cluded the aim to “have cake and eat it”.

“What’s the model? Have cake and eat it,” read the hand-writ­ten pa­per held by an aide ac­com­pa­ny­ing Mark Field, a Lon­don MP for the rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive Party.

The notes were caught by a pho­tog­ra­pher as Mr Field left the Department for Ex­it­ing the Euro­pean Union – an of­fice set up in the wake of Bri­tain’s shock June 23 vote to leave the bloc.

The Brexit department would not de­tail the pur­pose of Mr Field’s visit to Down­ing Street or who he had been meet­ing.

The memo sug­gests Bri­tain will fail to keep ac­cess to the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket and will seek to keep the ne­go­ti­a­tions to two years, re­ject­ing the idea of a length­ier tran­si­tional deal aimed at less­en­ing the sud­den im­pact of leav­ing the EU.

More than five months after the ref­er­en­dum, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May has re­fused to out­line the gov­ern­ment’s Brexit strat­egy.

The gov­ern­ment’s prom­ise to keep its play­ing cards close to its chest ahead of start­ing for­mal di­vorce pro­ceed­ings with Brus­sels – which Ms May has promised to do be­fore the end of March – has also fu­elled in­ter­est in any snip­pets of in­for­ma­tion out of Down­ing Street.

The notes pho­tographed and pub­lished in Bri­tish me­dia go into brief de­tail on ne­go­ti­at­ing by sec­tor, sug­gest­ing a deal on man­u­fac­tur­ing will be “rel­a­tively straight­for­ward”.

“Ser­vices harder – be­cause French hop­ing for business”, is also writ­ten, while “French likely to be most dif­fi­cult” ap­pears fur­ther down the page.

Paris is just one of many Euro­pean cities hop­ing to at­tract business away from the City of Lon­don fi­nan­cial hub, by promis­ing ac­cess to the EU sin­gle mar­ket and free move­ment of work­ers.

The memo also men­tions a “very French ne­go­ti­at­ing team”, in a nod to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s top Brexit ne­go­tia­tor, Michel Barnier, a for­mer French min­is­ter.

The notes will prove em­bar­rass­ing for Down­ing Street, fol­low­ing a memo leaked ear­lier this month which claimed the gov­ern­ment had no over­ar­ch­ing plan for Brexit.

Civil ser­vants are struggling to cope with more than 500 Brexit-re­lated projects and an ex­tra 30,000 ex­tra staff may be needed to han­dle the work­load, the memo said. –

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