UK Prime Minister urged for 'hard Brexit' stance in MPs letter

Brexit secretary David Davis Davis told business leaders in Austria that instead of loosening rules the UK will engage in a

This adds to pressure on the deeply split government of Theresa May to spell out what Britain expects from a future free trade deal with the European Union after it leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Mr Paterson is one of four ex-Cabinet ministers who have signed the letter, along with former global development secretary Priti Patel, former Welsh secretary John Redwood, and ex work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The Brexit war cabinet will try to thrash out a common position on future trade arrangements at an away day at Chequers on Thursday.

He said: "The British government really needs to offer more clarity about where it wants to go".

Not only is the future of the country at stake, but the very future of Mrs May's administration if she, and her top team, are unable to reach an agreed position that reconciles Tory party splits.

Perhaps as shocking is that 750 extra customs agents would be required even in the event of a Canada-style free trade deal with a transition period.

More than 60 Tory MPs fired a shot across her bows by warning that Britain must have full control over its laws after Brexit and not become a "rule taker".

However, Mr Davis said maintaining high regulatory standards could help ensure trade with the European Union remained as "frictionless as possible" after Brexit through "mutual recognition" of each other's rules and institutions.

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Documents released on the eve of the Chequers gathering suggest European Commission negotiators will not approve of a United Kingdom proposal that seeks to select which EU rules to follow and which to diverge from.

"Theresa May can not deliver the Brexit deal Britain needs".

At last year's general election, Labour and the Conservatives between them secured more than 80% of the vote, their highest combined share since the 1950s and a sign that two-party politics is enjoying a resurgence after years of decline. "She is too weak to face down the fanatics in her own party and to deliver a final deal that protects jobs and the economy", said Paul Blomfield, the shadow Brexit minister.

Bishop said Australia was keen to pursue a bilateral free trade agreement with Britain, when the timing was right.

London says the period after Brexit should be "around two years", as prime minister Theresa May has said in a speech in Florence last September. "People arriving after March 2019 arrive in different circumstances to those who arrive before March 2019 and can expect their rights to be different as a result".

The UK government has said human rights will not be jeopardised by Brexit, saying protections in the European Union charter will be covered by domestic law.

Sam Lowe, a trade expert at the Centre for European Reform, told the Guardian: "A standstill transition is in everyone's interest and absolutely essential if the government is serious about negotiating a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship between the EU and UK".

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