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Hammond ‘wants UK to keep full single market access in initial post-Brexit deal’

The Chancellor is said to have told business leaders he initially wants an “off-the-shelf” deal with the EU.

Philip Hammond wants Britain to maintain full access to the European single market and customs union in the first of a two-part transitional deal after Brexit, according to reports.

The Chancellor is said to have told business leaders he initially wants an “off-the-shelf” deal with the EU that would maintain the UK’s current trading relationship with the bloc.

According to reports in the Financial Times, this would be followed by a second “implementation” phase while the final terms of a future trade deal were negotiated.

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The Chancellor is said to have told business leaders he initially wants an "off-the-shelf" deal with the EU (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Allies of Mr Hammond told the newspaper the transition and implementation periods should end by 2022.

Mr Hammond has been an advocate of transitional arrangements between Britain’s exit from the EU in 2019 and any new trade deal coming into force, an approach that has caused tensions with senior Brexiteers in the Government.

Sources present at a meeting with Mr Hammond and business leaders at Number 11 Downing Street on Monday told the Financial Times the Chancellor was clear there was not enough time to negotiate a new bespoke trade deal before Britain’s exit in April 2019.

“He was very clear these were two different phases,” someone at the meeting told the newspaper.

Earlier this week Mr Hammond told ITV he hoped talks on a transitional deal could start in the autumn.

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