Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

United Kingdom and Switzerland strike post-Brexit continuity agreement

United Kingdom and Switzerland strike post-Brexit continuity agreement

Prime Minister Theresa May will pledge this week to give parliament another chance to voice their opinions on Brexit by February 27 as she tries to buy more time to negotiate a new deal with the European Union.

However she questioned his support for a customs union with the EU, saying it would prevent Britain from striking free trade deals with other countries around the world.

Signing the agreement in Bern today, worldwide trade secretary Liam Fox said: "Switzerland is one of the most valuable trading partners that we are seeking continuity for, accounting for more than £32bn worth of trade a year".

She said it was possible to pass bills "quite quickly" with "goodwill" from the Commons and Lords, but added: "It's just not possible to say how quickly it could be done, but obviously it depends on the way in which there is adequate debate on the meaningful vote and that's what the Prime Minister is determined to do".

"Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the United Kingdom but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU", Fox said.

Mr Barclay was said to have held "constructive" talks on Monday night with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

It was one of five demands he said May must meet if she wanted to secure his backing for any revised Brexit deal.

"We have got to put a hard stop into this running down the clock", Starmer told The Sunday Times.

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If London and Brussels manage to reach a deal for an orderly Brexit, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union will continue to apply to Britain until the end of the transition period, the statement said.

"The prime minister remains very clear that she thinks that a very major economy like the United Kingdom needs to have the freedom to be able to make its own trade deals, so she's disagreeing with Jeremy Corbyn's suggestion that we enter a permanent customs union", he told the broadcaster.

'So he wants a customs union and he is unclear as to whether that means he also wants an independent trade policy.

They have also signed a deal to preserve the rights of some 43,000 British nationals living in Switzerland and the 35,000 Swiss residing in Britain after Brexit. I think you would need to have a time limit.

At the meeting, Department for Trade officials were probed on the pledge by Mr Fox that he would sign free trade agreements to replicate the EU's 40 existing deals with countries around the world.

While Mrs May questioned the move, describing it as "unclear", she did not reject the proposal out of hand and welcomed the Labour leader's desire to leave the European Union with a deal.

He said "there needs to be a day when Parliament says that's it, enough is enough".

Her spokesman said she is committed to replacing the backstop with "alternative arrangements".

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