Business leaders warned Theresa May yesterday that she needed to re-consider her Brexit blueprint and negotiate a temporary deal with the EU that would keep Britain in the single market and customs union. The CBI joined other business groups and unions to demand a new approach to Brexit talks and heavily criticized government policy towards the issue. The CBI also called on the government to delay its plans to strike new trade deals with other countries in favour of Britain remaining within the customs union and single market for an unspecified period until such time as “a final deal is in force”. The move has angered Brexit supporters who accused the group of “wasting their time” with “unrealistic demands”. Bill Cash, Conservative MP, said in “you can’t have it both ways: you can’t leave the EU and then stay in the single market and customs union.” Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, made the following statement at the EU’s economic and social committee – “I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits. That is not possible. I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and build a customs union to achieve ‘frictionless trade’ that is not possible. It is clear that only the combination of the customs union and the rules of the internal market allow this free, ‘frictionless’ trade between our states.”
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