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UK Expected To Unveil Post-Brexit NI Border Plan This Week

UK Cabinet Brexit UK ministers united front on Brexit UK ministers on Brexit European Union UK Chancellor Philip Hammond

The Chancellor Philip Hammond and the International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, write that the transition period is created to avoid a so-called "cliff-edge" - but their comments in the Sunday Telegraph don't reveal how long this period will last.

The thawing in relations comes at a critical time for the prime minister whose leadership was challenged by the poor showing at the general election in June.

"Over the summer, we heard that Philip Hammond was courageously fighting off the more extreme Brexiteers". Supposedly he was looking for a compromise to keep Britain within the customs union and single market as long as possible. "Get job done + on with Global Britain", he wrote on Twitter.

After weeks of cabinet infighting and damaging headlines, Hammond - accused by Brexit hardliners of trying to water down attempts to break free of the European Union after Brexit - and hard Brexit advocate Fox appeared to have reconciled their differences in a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph.

"Once the interim period is over, we want a permanent, treaty-based arrangement between the United Kingdom and the EU which supports the closest possible relationship with the European Union, retaining close ties of security, trade and commerce", Hammond and Fox said.

"That is why we believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty - but it can not be indefinite; it can not be a back door to staying in the European Union", they wrote.

Their article was published as the Conservative MP Anna Soubry said that she and probably other pro-Europeans could leave the party if May insisted on pursuing a hard Brexit.

"Could I ever see myself joining with like-minded people who want to save our country from such an appalling fate?"

"The answer to the first question is "it is not impossible"; the answer to the second is "no".

Brexit Secretary David Davis said exactly how the transitional arrangements would work had still to be determined.

"These papers show we are ready to broaden out the negotiations", a source told CNBC. "When we've left the customs union, we will build up on [relationships with other countries] by negotiating as an independent nation with the freedom to sign bilateral free trade agreements".

The UK is now due to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019 after almost 52 percent of Britons opted to leave the bloc during the European Union referendum in June a year ago. "The referendum will be no excuse if the country is driven off a cliff".