‘Have your cake and eat it’ Brexit notes exposed
November 29, 2016

Handwritten notes carried by an aide to a Conservative MP have been captured by a photographer outside Downing Street this morning, potentially exposing the government’s secret Brexit strategy. The confidential notes were photographed after vice-chair and MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Mark Field, and his aide left a meeting with the Brexit department in Westminster.

The notes reveal discussions on the following contentious Brexit topics, which the Prime Minister has so far refused to comment on:

  • Negotiation strategy: “what’s the model? Have your cake and eat it”.
  • EU Single market: “We think it’s unlikely we’ll be offered single market. Our criteria are clear – more open the better.”
  • Transition deal: “Transitional – loath to do it. Whitehall will hold onto it. We need to bring an end to negotiations.”
  • Article 50: “Difficult on Article 50 implementation – Barnier (Michel, the EU’s lead negotiator) wants to see what deal looks like first.”
  • Manufacturing: “Relatively straightforward.”
  • Financial services: “Services harder – because French hoping for business.”
  • Borders: “ECJ (European Court of Justice) and control of borders won’t fit.”
  • Norway: “Why no Norway – two elements. No ECJ intervention. Unlikely to do internal market.”
  • Trade: “Looking at Canadian deal and add to it.”
  • The French: “French likely to be the most difficult. Don’t want instability in Europe. Fearful of us as competitor.”

The government rushed to immediately release a statement this morning dismissing the notes: “These individual notes do not belong to a government official or a special adviser. They do not reflect the government’s position in relation to Brexit negotiations”.

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