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PM sets out ‘principled practicality’ approach to Brexit

Business chiefs attended a meeting in Downing Street with Theresa May and Philip Hammond.

Theresa May told business leaders gathered in Downing Street that her approach to Brexit was based on “principled practicality” rather than ideology.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister spoke about the need to secure agreement on the terms of the implementation period – something business leaders have pressed Mrs May to achieve by the conclusion of next week’s European Council.

Number 10 said all attendees agreed that it was “vital” to secure agreement on the implementation period to provide certainty ahead of Brexit in just over a year’s time.

Our immediate goal is to agree a strictly time-limited implementation period by the March European Council next week David Davis

Bosses from firms including Diageo, Lloyds Banking Group, BT, John Lewis and Rolls-Royce were at the business advisory council meeting, along with the heads of organisations including the Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Businesses and British Chambers of Commerce.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “On the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the Prime Minister spoke about the need reach agreement with the EU on the terms of the implementation period ahead of the March European Council next week, which the attendees agreed would be vital in providing certainty to businesses and people across the UK.

“She then reiterated the themes from her Mansion House speech which set out an ambitious partnership with the EU, one driven by principled practicality rather than ideology.

“The business leaders welcomed the detail provided in the speech and gave their support.”

The meeting was also attended by Chancellor Philip Hammond, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Brexit Minister Suella Fernandes.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told MPs in the Commons that agreeing the implementation period at the March European Council was the Government’s “immediate goal”.

He said: “This is crucial to helping us build a bridge from where we are to where we want to be on our exit.

“We’ve also been working hard to codify the joint report into legal text. We are confident that both of these aims are in reach.

“Finally, the March European Council is expected to issue the negotiating guidelines to the commission to negotiate the future partnership.

“We are seeking to ensure that those guidelines are as broad and open as possible, to allow the most constructive negotiations to deliver the close relationship we are seeking and indeed we are aiming for.”

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