Most top UK ministers agreed on need for Brexit transition period: Hammond

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves Downing Street in London on June 28, 2017.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves Downing Street in London on June 28, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Prime Minister Theresa May's top team of ministers are increasingly convinced of the need for a transition period as Britain leaves the European Union, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday (July 16).

Brexit minister David Davis and his negotiating team are due in Brussels on Monday for a first full round of Brexit talks.

"Five weeks ago the idea of a transition period was quite a new concept, I think now you would find that pretty much everybody around the cabinet table accepts that there will be some kind of transition," Hammond told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

"We're into a real process now with the start of negotiations and I think you'll find the cabinet rallying around a position that maximises our negotiating leverage and gets the best possible deal for Britain."

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Hammond said the length of any transition period would depend on how long is needed to get new systems in place to handle areas such as customs and immigration, but it should be a defined period and was likely to need to be at least two years.