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Brexit ‘transitional arrangements’ could last for years admits Philip Hammond

The Chancellor wants there to be no ‘cliff edge’ break when the UK leaves the EU in 2019.

The UK may need “transitional arrangements” with the European Union for years after Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

Mr Hammond said it was in the interests of both Britain and the EU that there was an early agreement in the Brexit negotiations to ensure there was no “cliff edge” break when the UK finally leaves in 2019.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if such transitional arrangements could remain in place for three or four years “or even longer”, Mr Hammond replied: “All these things remain to be negotiated.”

He added: “We are leaving the European Union but when you buy a house you don’t necessarily move all your furniture in on the first day you buy it. This is a process.

“What people will expect us to do is put in place arrangements that allow us then to move from where we were when we were members of the European Union to where we are going to be in a long-term future partnership with our European neighbours which we hope and expect to negotiate.

“But we will do that via process so we will avoid cliff edges and disruption to business, disruption to the lives of citizens. That is in everybody’s interests.”

His comment will infuriate hardline Brexit supporters among Conservative MPs who have been pressing for a swift break with the EU and have been exasperated by the Chancellor’s attempts to argue for a “softer” Brexit.

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