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Former cabinet minister: UK to be heading towards 'a dilution of Brexit'

30 January 2018

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis takes a trip along the River Tees after delivering a speech outlining the UK's ambitions for an implementation period after Brexit, during a visit to PD Ports at Teesport in Teesside, north west England on January 26, 2018.

And it came after Donald Trump said he would have taken a "tougher" attitude in Brexit talks than the Prime Minister, in comments which could be seized on by Leavers as evidence she should demand more in negotiations. Changes to the acquis adopted by European Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies during that period would also apply in the UK.

Speaking in the Commons today, junior Brexit minister Robin Walker insisted the transition period would not become a backdoor to keep the United Kingdom tied to Europe.

Britain would meanwhile be able to negotiate trade deals with other countries during the transition, but could not "enter them into force", Barnier said.

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"So that's why we've raised the matter, and let's see how it goes".

She noted that a transitional period of less than two years is "rather short" given how long it takes to negotiate trade agreements, adding, however, it would not be good to have a "too-prolonged transition period" either.

All existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will also apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The EU says any new deals will not be able to take effect until after the end of the transition period, which has been proposed for December 31, 2020. One EU diplomat voiced frustration that the British side seemed "not ready" to advance on the topics: "They actually haven't done much".

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"In London, Brexit Secretary David Davis played down the impact on Britain's status during the 21-month transition, saying that it's "not exactly the same as membership - but it's very, very similar".

The three men are reported to have been encouraged by an usual move from British MEP Nigel Farage, who said on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff on January 11: "Maybe, just maybe, I'm reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on European Union membership". The best Mr Barnier was prepared to offer was consultation "on an exceptional, case-by-case basis agreed by the 27 remaining member states".

"What is of interest to both parties is to have a fixed specific date to the transition period".

And if London and Brussels end up with a "no deal" scenario and revert to World Trade Organization rules, growth would be reduced by eight percent over the same period, the report said, according to BuzzFeed News.

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In December the EU27 had agreed that sufficient progress had been made in the talks to allow phase-two discussions to open, but "sufficient progress does not mean full progress", he said.