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Hilary Benn tells David Davis clarity ‘urgently needed' over UK's Brexit demands

2 min read

Hilary Benn has warned David Davis that details are "urgently needed" on what Britain wants to achieve from Brexit.

In a letter to the Brexit Secretary, Mr Benn pleaded for clarity on both the transition period and the “UK’s proposals for that future partnership”.

His warning came as the Brexit's Cabinet sub-committee meets at Chequers in a bid to thrash out the UK's demands.

But Mr Benn warned that negotiations were already entering a critical phase and clear terms should be made public long before the October deadline for the end of the talks.

"It is now clear that events in the next few weeks will have a crucial influence on the shape, and therefore the outcome, of the negotiations that will follow," the letter said.

Mr Benn said he was "concerned" the Government had yet to make its plans on the future relationship with the EU public in a White Paper., as his committee had called for last year.

“I am concerned that this has not yet happened and, given that there appear to be some differences of interpretation between the Government and the EU on how the transitional/implementation period will work in practice, UK businesses need certainty as soon as possible if this period is to serve its purpose.”

The letter ended with Mr Benn warning there was a risk talks on the future relationship “will be delayed” or “the EU’s negotiating guidelines may close off options” if the Government failed to make its position clear.

A draft of the UK’s negotiating position was leaked to Bloomberg News yesterday.

The document showed plans for an indefinite transitional period, despite calls from 62 Eurosceptic Tory MPs for it to be short so the UK could negotiate trade deals “immediately”.

It has also emerged that the Cabinet had not agreed the Government's position on the transition period before the document was released.

One minister told PoliticsHome: "The full Cabinet have never discussed, let alone agreed it."

"You can't keep everyone happy but I don't think the solution is making everyone unhappy."

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