Prime Minister Theresa May will make her pitch for a ‘smooth and sensible’ Brexit today in her speech to EU leaders in Florence.
As previously reported, it is understood the UK is likely to make a financial offer, worth up to £20 billion, to cover a transitional period and help break the deadlock in negotiations about the UK’s so-called divorce bill.
A report by the BBC this morning said it understands May will today propose a two year transitional deal. The transition would start after Mach 2019 and would precede a final trade deal between the UK and EU.
The BBC reported pre-released excerpts from May’s speech.
If a successful agreement is reached, she will say, ‘then when this chapter of our European history is written, it will be remembered not for the differences we faced, but for the vision we showed; not for the challenges we endured but for the creativity we used to overcome them; not for a relationship that ended but a new partnership that began.’
May is expected to appeal for both sides to be ‘imaginative and creative’, adding ‘I believe we share a profound sense of responsibility to make this change work smoothly and sensibly.’
The two year transition period could mean the UK pays to keep its links to the European single market.
Earlier this week, a former aide to George Osborne, the former chancellor, and ex-chief of staff to David Davis, who is currently the Brexit minister, told New Model Adviser® the government would not be able to take the UK out of the single market without winning a vote in the House of Commons.
With the Conservatives lacking a majority, said James Chapman, this presents a significant barrier to so-called hard Brexit. Just like the vote on Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which triggered the process of the UK leaving the EU, Chapman said the government would need to trigger Article 127 of the European Economic Area (EEA) Treaty before the UK leaves the single market.
He said: ‘In my view, Brexit is already dead, and that’s because the government has not triggered, nor yet taken a power to trigger, article 127 of the EEA Treaty.
‘Article 127 runs on a 12 month trigger so it has to be done by March next year. The government is trying to claim that this is just about a tidying up exercise and that effectively we must leave the single market when we leave the EU. That is not the case in my view.’
Speaking at the Liberal Democrat party conference this week, Thomas Cole, head of policy at Remain campaign group Open Britain, and former EU Commission foreign policy negotiator, said: ‘I’m sure that if no notification is given under article 127 prior to the 29 March next year, then you’re already into that one-year period and I think you will see a huge number of legal cases coming forward.’
For more of New Model Adviser's coverage of the party conferences click here.