Boris Johnson says things will 'remain as they are' during Brexit transition period
The UK will continue to abide by European rules and regulations during the transition period after Brexit, Boris Johnson said today.
There have been suggestions of a Cabinet rift over the terms of the implementation period, which the EU has suggested will finish at the end of 2020.
It also throws into question Theresa May's insistence Britain will no longer be part of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy or Common Fisheries policy after March 29, 2019.
This morning's remarks from the Foreign Secretary suggest the Government has now agreed on a transition that mirrors current arrangements.
Speaking to reporters after a major speech on Brexit, Mr Johnson said: "What I’m saying there is obviously during the implementation period, as Theresa has said, things will remain as they are and it’s very important for confidence and for certainty and the rest of it. So I realise there’s been some misunderstanding about that, I’m glad to clear that up."
Cabinet ministers have also apparently been at odds over the extent to which the UK aligns with Brussels regulations after Brexit.
Mr Johnson strongly suggested he would prefer a system where the UK starts from a point where it has entirely separate rules, then decides areas where the Government wants to mirror the EU.
"It’s all about voluntarism, it’s all about who decides. Of course when it comes to EU standards for washing machines or hair dryers or vacuum cleaners or whatever it may very well make sense for us to remain in alignment as a matter of choice, something we elect to do," he said.
"I'm sure for the purposes of supply chains, there are many businesses who understand the need for that. But I don’t think we should necessarily commit as a matter of treaty that forever and a day we are going to remain locked into permanent congruence with the EU.
"It just doesn't seem to me to be a sensible thing to do. If you're going to come out then you might as well take the advantages of difference."
In his speech this morning, Mr Johnson said it was time for Brexiteers to acknowledge the concerns of pro-Europeans worried about the consequences of Brexit.
"We must accept that many [pro-Europeans] are actuated by entirely noble sentiments, a real sense of solidarity with our European neighbours and a desire for the UK to succeed," he said.
"If we are to carry this project through to national success - as we must - then we must also reach out to those who still have anxieties.
"I want to try to anatomise at least some of those fears and to show to the best of my ability that they are unfounded and that the very opposite is usually true: that Brexit is not grounds for fear but hope."
Elsewhere he insisted leaving the EU was not a "V sign from the cliffs of Dover", but the opportunity for an "outward-looking liberal global future".
At the same time he warned that reversing the result of the 2016 referendum would be "disastrous" and a "betrayal" of Leave voters.