Chancellor says Chequers white paper lets UK remain linked to EU economy in way that works for both sides
The British chancellor, Philip Hammond, has called on Brussels to accept Theresa May’s Brexit blueprint, saying it offers a “fair and sensible” way forward.
Hammond said the controversial plan hammered out at Chequers last month would enable the UK to remain closely connected to the EU economy in a way that worked for both sides.
His comments came after the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, said “intransigence” on the EU side meant there was now a 60-40 chance that Britain would crash out without a deal.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has already rejected a key element of the proposals for a “facilitated customs arrangement”, saying the the bloc would not accept anything that undermined the integrity of the single market.
At the same time, May is under fire at home from Tory Brexiters who argue that the plan for a “common rule book” for trade in goods would restrict Britain’s ability to strike free-trade agreements around the world.
Hammond, however, said the Chequers plan represented a “pragmatic” way out of the the current deadlock.
“Getting a deal with the European Union that allows our businesses to continue accessing the European market is clearly in our best interest. I believe that the Chequers white paper represents the best way forward,” he told Sky News.
“It is a fair and sensible and pragmatic offer to the Europeans that will allow us to deliver on the result of the referendum – taking back control of our borders for immigration, allowing us to develop our own trade policy, the ending of large amounts of money to Brussels every year – but at the same time allow us to remain closely connected with the European economy in a way that works for us and works for the Europeans.”