Saturday 24 March 2018

May to push for migration controls and access to EU

Theresa May
Theresa May

Laura Hughes

Britain will retain access to the single market for financial sector and the car industry while curbing migration under plans being considered by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will this week put forward plans for Britain to retain access to the single market on a "sector-by-sector" basis during a meeting at Chequers.

Ms May has previously suggested that Britain should have a "bespoke" deal after it leaves the European Union.

The Prime Minister's cabinet is due to gather tomorrow where they will outline how their departments can make a success out of leaving the EU.

It comes amid reports of a an internal row between senior figures in the Conservative Party over whether the government should retain membership of the single market.

Mr Hammond is understood to believe Britain should fight to stay in the economic area.

A source close to him told a UK newspaper that single-market access could be maintained "on a sector by sector basis".

They added: "A key priority is going to be financial services for us. For the Germans, the automotive industry is going to be key."

However, senior government sources said David Davis, Dr Liam Fox and Ms May's advisor Nick Timothy, all believe Britain can only curb migration if it leaves the single market.

A senior Conservative told one newsaper: "There's a tussle going on here. The chief culprit is the chancellor.

"He has taken the position that there are no red lines, that you've got to stay part of the market and it doesn't matter what you give way on. Hammond is operating as a blocking mechanism."

They added that the team surrounding Ms May "believe controls on immigration are vital - this is the bit where the chancellor has been dragging his feet. The Treasury wants to run all this stuff. They are furious that anyone else is responsible for it."

A Treasury source dismissed suggestions of a cabinet split, arguing that ministers all share a similar view.

"Everyone agrees there has to be controls on immigration and some access to the single market - taking a flexible approach," he said.

It comes after a former cabinet Secretary said Brexit "is not inevitable" and the UK could instead stay on as part of a changed European Union.

Lord O'Donnell said he anticipated that whatever happened the UK would also keep in place EU law and rules.

He said there was no "rush" for Ms May to trigger the two-year negotiation period that will take the UK out of the EU. © Daily Telegraph, London

Irish Independent

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