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Brexit cabinet
Cabinet minister Michael Gove © Policy Exchange

Brexit: Cabinet ‘united’ over EU transition


Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said that the “cabinet is united” over the need for a transitional period after the UK officially leaves the EU.

He said an “implementation period” ensuring access to migrant labour and economic stability would happen.

He said it must be driven by “pragmatism” but also recognise the UK’s vote to leave the EU last year.

It follows newspaper reports that free movement for EU citizens could continue for years after March 2019.

The Times reported that Prime Minister Theresa May was ready to offer EU citizen’s free movement for up to two years after the UK officially leaves the EU.

A senior Downing Street source dismissed the reports as coming from “someone on a flyer” and said it was “not the government’s position”.

When asked about the newspaper reports, Gove said: “The prime minister has made clear, as we leave the EU we will have an implementation period which will ensure that we can continue to have, not just access to labour, but the economic stability and certainty which business requests.”

The Labour Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsSue Hayman said: “It is imperative that the warm words in Michael Gove’s speech today are followed by robust action, and we will hold the Government’s feet to the fire to ensure that they deliver on their promises when it comes to the environment, agriculture and fisheries. Gove has been notoriously dismissive of expert advice in the past, so Labour will closely watch that he follows the science when it comes to our precious environment.”

Meeting business leaders yesterday (20 July), May signalled that a transition period was a priority for the government.

“On Brexit, the prime minister reiterated that the government’s overarching goal is for a smooth, orderly exit culminating in a comprehensive free trade deal with the EU, with a period of implementation in order to avoid any cliff edges,” Downing Street said in a statement.

Pan European Networks Ltd