UK Brexit cabinet 'united', but lingering questions remain

UK's May to set out Brexit wishes EU says ideas so far are 'pure illusion'

UK's May to set out Brexit wishes EU says ideas so far are 'pure illusion'

Mr Hunt also rejected calls to remain in a customs union with the EU and claimed "frictionless" trade was still possible without one.

Speaking after a summit of European Union leaders - minus Britain's prime minister - Tusk acknowledged divisions among the 27 nations but sought to paint an upbeat picture.

In January previous year, in a key speech at Lancaster House, Prime Minister May outlined the central tenets of the government's exit strategy which included leaving the customs union.

He will also push ahead with that even if there is no deal on a post-Brexit transition period, now mired in negotiations about how long it will last, how closely Britain must stick to EU laws, and the rights of European citizens.

"At that point, the sensible thing - since this whole Brexit business originated from the referendum in June 2016 - is to say it's got to go back to the people to decide", he added.

Britain does not want Brexit to damage its security relations with the European Union after the country leaves the 28-nation bloc, the former head of its domestic security service said yesterday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is to deliver a keynote speech setting out her vision for Britain's future relationship with the European Union on Friday, March 2nd.

The EU official said that in the absence of any new input from London by March, the guidelines for Barnier would simply be based on what Britain has declared so far.

Just three weeks ago, the prime minister insisted citizens who arrived after March next year would be treated differently to those arriving before.

Britain has little time to negotiate the terms of the divorce and the outlines of the future relationship before it leaves the European Union on March 29 next year.

May is expected to make a speech next week on Britain's partnership with the European Union after Brexit, her office said Thursday, after she chaired an eight-hour cabinet meeting at her country retreat to thrash out a plan.

Three weeks after the prime minister said that those coming from the European Union after 29 March 2019, when the transition phase starts, would not have the same rights as those already in the UK, Downing Street is said to be looking at changing this policy, the Times reported.

He added: "You have divergent views on a big issue like Brexit, as you would expect, but the central common understanding is that there will be areas and sectors of industry where we agree to align our regulations with European regulations". The automotive industry is perhaps an obvious example because of supply chains that are integrated. To many people, it makes no sense to walk away from cooperation within an EU which is a powerhouse in the world and apparently commit economic suicide by voluntarily leaving its massive single market and customs union that is right on Britain's doorstep.

Mr Tusk, who is due to meet the PM the day before, said media reports suggested the "cake philosophy is still alive" in the UK.

Transition is one part of a divorce deal which will not be formally approved by governments until October or later.

"There was a very, very good atmosphere and we agreed on the way forward", said Michael Gove, the environment minister and a leading Brexiteer.

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